Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Shower

Two good friends asked if they could host a shower for Emma
but have it at my house.
I thought that was very kind of them.
Between Ian's farewell, Emma's friend shower, and this one,
I won't have to clean my house for a month!



 I am also getting better at the reconfiguring my furniture thing 
to make everybody fit better.



People are kind and gracious and thoughtful.

I especially liked the homemade ice cream maker Emma received. The woman who gave it to her told the story of how Emma babysat their children once but their hamster got sick and died while they were gone. Emma didn't know what to do so she put it in the freezer in case they wanted to bury it when they got home. Judy thought Emma liked to "freeze" things,
hence the ice cream maker. :)


Emma was delightful. That's her Maid of Honor sitting next to her.

And I'm a bit tired. 

But the grandbaby is coming for the next four days!!!! 
Better get to sleep. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Better Now

It seems the changes in family with Ian leaving and Emma's upcoming wedding caught up to me a little bit. I can always tell when something is bothering me because I start looking around for something that has whipped cream in it. (OK, so everybody has a weakness of some sort or another, that happens to be mine.)

Emma has been slowly moving her things out since Sunday. First it was the shelves. This morning, her desk and the hamster. If the hamster goes, she is sure to soon follow. :)

I'm fine with all of this, but something must have been bothering me because I was up in the middle of the night again.

This afternoon I went to the Temple in Bountiful. I went in with a knot in my stomach and a few nagging concerns. There is a peace about the Temple that cannot be described, only experienced. Jonah said it well, "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple." Jonah 2:7

My knot is gone, the craving for whipped cream is gone, and my heart has settled.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lucy

I guess I will tell the story of Lucy. Lucy was very dear to me. She was another one of my patients. Lucy was a single mother of three children. Lucy's cancer was terminal and her plight was confounding. There was no husband in her life and no father to care for the children. Lucy knew she was going to die but desperately hung on to the hope that some new remedy would come along any day to help her and give her more time.

Many, many times my job was to carefully and thoughtfully help my patients see the reality that this indeed was their end days. As advancing disease ravaged their bodies, the reality generally became easier to accept. I had to be crystal clear but gentle. I knew never to take away anyone's hope yet I had a job to remind them to make sure all affairs were in order. Some people accepted the inevitable so easily. Some people had wonderful families to help them the whole way. Some people were all alone like a man I took care of once who lived alone in a rented hotel room. I never knew what kind of aid someone needed until I met them in their home and assessed their situations one by one.

I found that people became very real with me very fast. It was like peeling off the layers of an onion. Pretty soon, we were down to the real and important issues. There was no way around it.

I cared for Lucy for many months. I got to know her children well. Lucy trusted me. I never wanted to violate the trust my patients placed in me.

My family took a ten day vacation over a holiday to visit out of state family during the time I worked with Lucy. When I left, she was doing reasonably OK. Upon my return, I checked in with the nurse who cared for Lucy while I was gone. Lucy had taken a turn for the worse while I was gone and was hospitalized in very bad shape.

I immediately went to the hospital. It turned out that she was on the oncology floor I had once worked on. When I walked in the room, it was obvious that Lucy's condition was dire. She struggled to breathe and she had a look of fear in her eyes. She had a family member in with her who informed me that the children were down the hall and that he would go to them and leave me with Lucy.

I remember that Lucy looked somewhat angry with me that I had gone away and left her so to speak. She expressed some anger towards me. I apologized to her for any hurt that may have caused her and she seemed to accept that apology. My visit with her at this time lasted only about ten minutes. I was real and frank and to the point about what was happening. I looked at her deeply  in the eyes knowing what was imminent. I said, "Lucy, I promise you I will make sure your children are OK."  She looked relieved. Lucy still trusted me. That trust was built up over several months of caring for her. I told her I was going to go down the hall and check on her children and make sure they were OK.

I found the children. I spent a very short time with them, maybe ten minutes or so. Someone came into the room and informed us that Lucy had just passed away.

It was at that moment that I realized that Lucy hung on for me to come back so I could help her children. To this day, the realization of that hits me hard.

I went to Lucy's funeral. I could see that one of the children needed very specific help. I did my best to alert the one person I thought could do something about that. Within a few days, the children moved out of state with a relative. I never heard from them again.

A mother's love runs very deep. No mother would ever leave her children unless she had to and unless she knew she could. I can never forget Lucy.

Time is fleeting. If people could only really wrap their minds around that one thought, not in a sad way, but in a good way...our lives would be so different.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lessons Learned From My Patients

When I woke up this morning I immediately found myself thinking about a patient I had over 20 years ago. I have not thought about her for many years. While doing the best I can to respect her privacy, I need to write this one down.

As a hospice nurse I visited many people in their homes over a period of four years. I assessed their situations, worked with their families who would be their chief caregivers, and did my best to make sure that the patient was as pain free as possible and experienced the dying process with as much dignity as possible.

Sometimes we wouldn't receive a call from a doctor that a patient needed help until a day or two before the person would die. The definition of a hospice patient though is one who is terminal and has a life expectancy of six months or less. Those were the kinds of patients we could help the most.

I cared for a woman once who fit into the latter category. I took care of her for many months and she and I developed a very good relationship. As she had no husband, she needed to be cared for by her son. He was in his late twenties I think. She had a very large wound which needed very specific care and she had significant pain issues.

There was one very significant problem however. Her son was a very bad alcoholic. The non-functioning type.

I worked with her son for a while, quite a while, and slowly he understood that he was needed. To see him turn his life around to help his mother was something I will never forget. He rose to the task and provided amazing care for his Mom. Her wound was so bad that I received a call once that there were maggots in it. The maggots were just doing their job unfortunately.

At any rate, this wonderful woman finally did pass away. On occasion, I went to my patient's funerals or viewings (wakes in the east). I went to her viewing. I had the most interesting experience. As I went to her casket, the words "Thanks Liz" came in to my mind. It was as real as anything I have ever experienced. I have never forgotten it.

My point in writing this post is to mention what I learned about judging others. This wonderful son was barely acknowledged at his Mom's viewing. I watched carefully as the only other son from out of state greeted all the people and was generally viewed and accepted as the worthy son. I remember watching the other son and seeing his dejection. I made sure the out of state son knew and understood in great detail just what an amazing service his brother provided their mother. I made sure he knew who the real caregiver was.

I was in the Conference Center the other night surrounded by about 20,000 good women for a women's meeting. We were reminded and admonished by President Monson to not judge others. That talk was one of his very best I think.

I have been thinking about that subject ever since and I guess that's why I remembered this story. Everyone judged this one son who had some tough issues. But I saw what not judging and gentle kindness and encouragement could do. Sometime later, he told me how he became a nurses aid after his Mom died. I was so proud of him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Reflections

I suppose if I want my posterity to have a link or connection to me someday, then I should write about things that might be meaningful for them as well.

I think it matters that something is important in our lives. If we live life without caring deeply for something, what would  the purpose of our whole life be? I think that we should figure out what that something is and note it for those who follow. If I said the names George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, I think all of us could figure out what the something was that was important to them.

I hope that my great, great grandchildren can one day say that the something that was important to me was that that I knew and tasted of the goodness of God and that it made a difference in my life.

I think there are few people who have heard the 23rd Psalm who aren't somehow touched by it. I like the last verse, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." God has certainly been good to me, others in my life on occasion-not so good- but God has always been good. And merciful for sure.

What is the something that is important to me? God's goodness and mercy and the opportunity to hopefully "dwell in the house of the Lord for ever" with Him and my family. I think that hoped for blessing requires effort on my part here.

I'd like my posterity to know that I'm working on it...everyday. It is important to me. That's why I make the choices I do while I still have time to make choices.

The third verse of this psalm says, "He restoreth my soul..."

Sundays are great that way. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Something To Think About

I took a class one semester about the ancient Chinese philosophers and their works. One very famous philosopher was named Lǎozǐ . His writings are deep and provoke thought. He spoke using a lot of opposites. In essence, he claimed that one had to empty oneself in order to be filled. You have to really sit and think about his teachings for a while. As with any of the philosophers or poems for that matter, the more you read and ponder them, the more they make sense and the more you get out of them. Anyway, here is one that is worth some thought. (Oh, and they are much easier to read in English. :) This is someone’s translation from the ancient Chinese it was originally written in.)

“Accept and you become whole,
Bend and you straighten,
Empty and you fill,
Decay and you renew,
Want and you acquire,
Fulfill and you become confused.

The sage accepts the world
As the world accepts the Way;
He does not display himself,
So is clearly seen,
Does not justify himself,
So is recognized,
Does not boast,
So is credited,
Does not pride himself,
So endures,
Does not contend,
So none contends against him.

The ancients said,
"Accept and you become whole",
Once whole,
The world is as your home.”

From the Dào Dé Jīng 
(Attributed to Lǎozǐ 老子)

Dào literally means "the Way". 
(Commonly referred to as The Dao).

Dé  basically means "virtue" in the sense of "personal character", "inner strength", or "integrity."

Jīng  as it is used here means "canon", "great book", or "classic".

(see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_Te_Ching)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gotta Love The Mission Stories

Some of the best stories come from a mission experience. Most don't come until the mission field but there are a few from the MTC....


" Bom dia everyone,
 
...time is pretty crazy in the MTC, but things are going great! It sounds like you figured this out through the grape vine Mom, but after I wrote my email last Friday I found out that 19 elders got their visas, 7 here and 12 who had been reassigned, however no visas since then so we will see...
 
Some very exciting things happened this week. First of all, last Saturday the sewage for the entire MTC backed up into our building and our building smelled TERRIBLE for about 5 days, we think that the smell is finally gone. One elder walked into the building and threw up, and many others were close to it, it was that bad, but we are all alive, although not everyone thought they were going to make it. I don't know if I have told you this before but our building is.... uh.... different. It is the overflow/quarantine building, and it is nothing like the other rooms and buildings, but it is all ok I guess.  I will try and get you some pictures soon, of that and everything else...
 
Things just keep rolling along here in the MTC, and they are continually getting better. I am starting to figure out the whole district leader thing more and more and the language continues to get better and better. I am pretty much out of time but I love all of you and enjoy hearing about what is going on in the dear elders... it is just a great boost. I testify that this gospel is true and that the Lord loves us. I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he restored the true church and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and that he speaks God's words. I love you all and will talk to you later.
 
Love,
Elder Freeman"
 
A mother loves (ahem) to hear the phrase, "but we are all alive, although not everyone thought they were going to make it..." If I  hadn't served a mission myself, it would probably make me uneasy. But I did serve and I remember things like that myself... like riding a bike in a skirt through two typhoons and one time waking up  in a field where I fell asleep for a quick nap because I was exhausted and  lo and behold, there was a water buffalo looking at me not very far from where I was. (OK, this was a REALLY remote area of Taiwan). Or the time I traveled two hours by bus to visit the same remote area, found the one and only rest room I could use, opened the door and discovered no less than ten million flies in there (no joke), to which I promptly opened my mouth in horror and-you guessed it- in flew some flies which I promptly swallowed, then SCREAMED, then slammed the door shut!

Gotta love the mission stories. :)


 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Mission Call

Prospective missionaries go through an extensive process to submit an application to become a missionary. It involves a thorough medical and dental exam. It involves interviews with their Bishop and Stake President to see if they qualify for missionary service. There are lengthy applications forms which need to be filled out with questions related to the health of the missionary with any physical or emotional limitations noted in great detail. The applications have to be approved and signed by both the Bishop and the Stake President with their recommendations if they find the prospective missionary suitable and worthy to serve. Then the application forms are submitted electronically by the Stake President who is the last person to see and review them. The electronic papers are reviewed by the medical missionary department of the Church and finally they are sent to be reviewed by two Apostles who seek the inspiration of the Lord regarding where the missionary should serve. The missionary is issued a call to labor in a specific mission with a specific mission president. The call is reviewed and formalized by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as his decision is the final and most important step in the process and the call letter is mailed to the prospective missionary.

Waiting for the call to come in the mail is something most missionaries anticipate with great excitement. In Ian's case, he invited several of his friends and family members to his BYU apartment to be there when he opened his call letter. He was very nervous. A missionary understands that he may be called to serve anywhere in the world. A missionary has no idea where he might go because he cannot make a request, he simply has faith that the call is from God and he (or she) accepts.


Here Sarah and her husband and one of Ian's friends were at the ready with their cell phones calling out of state grandparents and Ian's other grandmother who lives in another city as well as other long distant relatives who were anxious to know where he would serve.


You can tell by the look on Ian's face that he was pretty nervous.


If I recall correctly, he was shaking as he started to read the letter very slowly. Everyone listened intently.


BRAZIL!! 
 Quick, somebody get a map. 
(Notice the cell phones on the right).


How cool is that?....
And then the 4 1/2 months of preparation began.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Guess He's Really Gone


Last year when Ian went to BYU I purposely did not call him except for maybe once a week for a minute or two to see if he needed anything. Sometimes, it would be two weeks between calls. That was my way of helping him get ready for a mission.

Well, he's been gone three weeks today and I can't call anymore.  It seems I'm just left with the realization that he's really gone... and the hole in my heart.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Man On The Bicycle

(Disclaimer: This is a LONG post. It is a story I wrote for a class I took in 2005. If you don't have six or seven minutes to read the story, don't start. :) It goes along well with yesterday's post and I would like to preserve it, that's why it is here.)


It was a hot, humid evening in the middle of the summer. New York summers are always hot and humid, that’s just the way it is back east. I was born and raised in the city of Kingston and I was used to its oppressive summer heat. The year was 1977 and I was seventeen years old. I had recently graduated from high school not more than a month prior to this strange and memorable evening. Really, it seems just like yesterday.

Kingston was home to the Tigers, our football team. We had a great season that year. I was the editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook and was trained to have a photographer’s eye. A photographer can see images in their mind’s eye and capture the moment on the lens to etch the image forever. I took a lot of pictures, in all kinds of situations, to capture just the right emotion of the moment felt at the time. Sometimes the pictures were of jubilation such as when the football team scored a touchdown. Sometimes the pictures were of a group of friends just hanging out on the hill next to the school. Sometimes the pictures were of just one lonely student who needed to have validation. Asking them to smile was a way to validate them; they knew you cared that way. I learned to look into a person’s eyes to see if I could capture their heart on my lens. I saw so much when I looked into a person’s eyes.

In 1977 we wore bell bottoms and painter's pants. Corduroys and Frye boots were all the rage. All the girls had a hooded sweatshirt. We loved to shop and eat ice cream at Friendly’s before the games on Saturdays. Kingston is nine miles from Woodstock, yes, THE Woodstock. A ride to Woodstock especially in the autumn, was a sight to see. The sugar maples in full autumn blaze with their oranges, reds, and yellows left a person filled with a rare type of satisfaction not found in the west. Jimmy Carter was President of the United States and Happy Days was still in production. The Eagles, Peter Frampton and Elton John were the singers of the day. 1977 was a much simpler time than 2005. There were no microwaves and there were no cell phones. Computers were housed as large mainframes in corporations like IBM. Personal calculators were introduced just one or two years before my graduation. It was great when halfway through the year I took chemistry class in 1976, we were finally able to use calculators instead of the dreaded slide rule. We were never allowed to use them in a math class however, that would have been unthinkable. Videos had not been invented and cable and MTV were unheard of.

There were no homeless people in Kingston in 1977, at least none that I ever remember. Perhaps there was an occasional alcoholic or two at the local bar, but other than that, one never saw a person who seemed destitute either of home or the necessities of life. That’s why on this sultry summer evening, my trained eye caught hold of a scene I had never beheld before. It has haunted me ever since. I never took a picture of this incident but I see it as if I had captured it like I had captured so many other images. It is printed on the yearbook page in my mind entitled “The Man on the Bicycle."

I worked in my neighborhood at a store called Stewart’s. This ice cream shop was a popular spot on hot summer nights. Patrons lined up at the door and a few lucky ones found their way to the tables for sit down service. Stewart’s was known for their great ice cream. My favorite was chocolate chip. I adored the variation of mocha chocolate chip. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream was unheard of in those days because Ben and Jerry’s wasn’t established yet. Our customers loved hot fudge sundaes and double cones. We even sold grape ice cream. I never could figure out why anyone would buy grape ice cream, I was a chocolate or nut fan, grape ice cream didn’t have any of those in it.

Stewart’s also had a section of the store where we sold all types of dairy foods. We sold milk, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, sour cream, and whipped cream. We also sold bread, soda, cake, cookies and all kinds of junk food such as potato chips. There was plenty of food at Stewart’s. We served customers either at the cash register when they bought their dairy items, waited tables, or as on this particular evening, at the ice cream counter.

The lines were long at the counter that night. It was hot, really hot. The heat brought the customers into the store in droves looking for ice cream to refresh them and bring relief from the heat. We employed only about seven for the entire store. In the winter months, only two employees manned the store on a given night. On this night however, we had the maximum of four employees. We were so busy that we couldn’t keep up. There was no time to stop and think. Customers were hot and only swift efficiency could move the line.

I was a good employee. I was fast. I could move customers and I could move them really fast. I was always cheerful and I loved people, the more, the better. Nothing was better than a crowd to make me happy. On this night I was too efficient. I was extremely busy. “Who’s next?” was my mantra. Step up. I’ll satisfy your desire for the sweet you crave and I’ll do it with a smile and then I’ll send you on your way and help the next person in line.

I looked up and a man with piercing eyes handed me a note. He never spoke a word to me. It seemed as though the room stopped and there was only me and this man; yet I knew I was surrounded by a huge crowd of people. The man was begging me for food. His note requested that I give him something to eat, anything to eat. He scribbled it on a tattered piece of paper. He was disheveled and unshaven. His clothes were old. His hair was unkempt. The people around this man seemed to crowd him. They all wanted their ice cream; this man just wanted something to eat. The note said he had no money. No money to pay for food; the man was a beggar. I had never encountered a beggar before.

It took me only five seconds to read his tattered note. I looked at the note and I looked at the man and then at the note again. I was efficient you remember. The man had no money and there were a lot of people. I handed the note back to him and told him I couldn’t help him. The entire exchange lasted about 20 seconds. He left the store and I was moving the line again. I was unable to concentrate. Who was this man? I was scooping out ice cream fast and furiously but I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. I found myself searching for the man. Stewart’s had huge windows on three sides of the store. I looked out the window to my left. The man came from the right but there he was slowly riding down the street on an old bicycle. This was not an ordinary bicycle. It had three wheels, one in the front and two in the back. There was a basket on the back of the bike. Everything was now happening in slow motion for me. The customers were packed in and wanted their treats. I was scooping ice cream and looking out the window at the same time. My eyes followed the man who slowly rode down the street, still hungry. Before you know it, he was gone. Where did he go? In a moment of handing a cone and collecting the money, I lost sight of him. I never saw where he came from or where he went to.

The night continued to be packed with hungry customers. I did my job and took care of all the people, well almost all. I could not stop thinking about the stranger. It wasn’t until after he left that I realized that I had tip money in my pocket. When we waited tables, we usually got a quarter for a tip. There was only one man who left a dollar when he came in for his weekly banana split. We couldn’t wait till that man came in. I usually went home with anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 in tip money on a given night. I had some tip money in my pocket that night and it dawned on me that I could have paid for something for the man out of my own money. He did not have to go away hungry, I could have helped. My efficiency got in the way.

It wasn’t until four years later when I came to Utah and entered the MTC that I heard a song that has left a deep impression on me. It has become one of my favorite songs and I can’t hear it without thinking of the man on the bicycle. “A poor wayfaring man of grief hath often crossed me on my way, who sued so humbly for relief that I could never answer nay. I had not power to ask his name, where-to he went or whence he came; but there was something in his eye that won my love; I knew not why.”

That was 28 years ago. The man on the bicycle has never left me. His eyes still pierce me to this day. I see beggars of all sorts these days. I can’t go downtown on any given day without running into someone on a corner or on the street holding a sign usually made of cardboard asking me for relief. I find it hard to look at them. I don’t want to look in their eyes. I might see the same look that has haunted me all these years. Times are different and a good many people who ask for money want it for purposes other than to eat. A woman came to my house once begging for money. Her story was incredible, she was starving, she said. I didn’t have any money but I sent her away with a good supply of food from my own pantry. I felt so good about helping her. The next day I saw her and her husband in Albertson’s buying things that obviously told me that she misrepresented herself the day before. She looked at me and our eyes met. I remember the look and I was heartbroken. I had been taken, used so to speak. I remember the time I saw a beggar, a young girl, outside of the bank window where I was sitting. I saw her come up, take out cover-up clothing from a nice backpack, hide her sparkling bracelets under her coat and pull out her cardboard sign which begged for money. No one stopped. After about fifteen minutes, her friends appeared. They were reasonably well dressed. She took off her disguise, folded up her sign, and walked away. I saw her a half hour later in a different spot, with the same sign, same look.

How does one differentiate between someone who is truly in need and someone who is not? I learned that lesson a long time ago. The eyes are the window to the soul. Look, if you dare, into the eyes of your suitor. Take a picture of their heart. The question then remains, will you help? Can you help?  Do you have any tip money in your pocket or food in your pantry? Will the image you take from your mind’s eye haunt you for the rest of your life or will you have the sweet peace that comes from knowing you helped a soul in need?

So much has changed since 1977. I’m much older. Homelessness is prevalent wherever you go. Beggars abound. The plight of the needy is all around us. Cell phones are attached to everyone’s ear it seems and computers can fit in your pocket. I no longer eat chocolate chip ice cream because I became addicted to it. I would say that the styles have changed, but as I look around me it seems that that people are still wearing things like we did in the late 70’s. What hasn’t changed?  The image of the man on the bicycle. He has remained a constant in my mind. Oh how I would give anything to go back and help that honest beggar. I wish I could live my life knowing I helped a person who really needed me. Efficiency has its price. Sometimes decisions made in a hurry affect us long after the moment is gone.

Take time to look at the pictures that have shaped your life and learn from what your lens has captured.

 1976

Monday, September 20, 2010

Family Motto

This morning I was looking through my documents folder on my hard drive for a certain document and came across the  following about our family motto. Many years ago when my children were small, someone suggested the importance of having a family motto. We chose this as our motto and we have referred to it many times over the years especially on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I really can't say that my children could tell you what our motto is but my husband and I can. We have referred to it and remembered that this is what we hoped our family would internalize and be about. We adapted it a little bit from the original speech to fit our family's needs.


"That's the question before you tonight.
Not...
If I stop to help this man in need,
What would happen to me?"

Rather

"If I do not stop to help this man,
what will happen to him?"


Adapted from: I See The Promised Land
Martin Luther King's last speech
April 3, 1968
Memphis, Tennessee

When I was I in the third grade I believe, I was home from school after a dentist appointment (don't ask me why you have to stay home from school after a dentist appointment but that's what I remember). It happened to be the day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s  funeral. I remember watching it on TV. His funeral and what I felt when I watched it has stuck with me to this day. This particular speech is very touching. I have read it many times. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated the day after he gave this speech.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

I went for a walk early this morning to clear my head. I listened to a talk by a man I greatly admire. He spoke about pondering and thinking about the word 'lovingkindness.' So today I have done that. I thought about several things along those lines.

In the Old Testament, in Isaiah 63:7 it says, "according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses." I have to say that if I were asked to describe my life in a nutshell- even the hard stuff- I could say that God  has blessed me  greatly "according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses."

I guess the other thing I thought about was that this is how all people would really like to be treated. I know I do.

I like to talk to people, I always have. I pretty much can talk to anyone. I don't think it's me per se, just that someone cares I guess.  It also seems like everyone wants to be smiled at. I smile a lot at people just because you can tell that they need it. Most everyone smiles back.

I was just thinking today how nice it is to be treated with such overwhelming lovingkindness by God and if that makes me feel good and if I try to treat other people the same way, hopefully they will feel good too. I still have a long way to go though.




Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Bridal Shower


For all the extended family that follow this blog, here is a picture from tonight's bridal shower for Emma.


We learned from Ian's farewell that there were probably better ways to configure our living room to accomodate more people. 
This was much better.


Emma's very wonderful Maid of Honor went to a lot of trouble to color coordinate everything (which is way, way more than I would have done) and make all the food. 
She did a great job.

And the grandbaby came. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thirty Two Years Ago Today

Today I woke up way too early. It was 4 A.M. I found myself on my knees for my morning prayers. When it is that early, I have to ask myself what day it is. Then I realized it was the 17th. Then I got weepy. I always get weepy on September 17th. That's my baptismal anniversary. I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 32 years ago today. Every joy, every happiness that I now enjoy, I can trace back to that one decision in my life to get baptized. I get weepy in my prayers trying to tell God how grateful I am for those missionaries who found me. Because they found me, I have everything.

That's why Ian is on a mission. Somewhere in Brazil, there are people looking and searching like I was. Someday they will be blessed to find what they are looking for because if you truly search, God sends you help. Then as the years go by, they will realize as I have just what a Pearl of Great Price they have and it becomes more and more dear to them with each passing year.

In the meantime, Ian is training in the MTC so he knows what to teach when he finds them and how to teach it in their language which is God's promise to them.

This is from his e-mail home today:

"Como vai minha Familia!
Time is very strange here at the MTC. This week has simultaneously felt like an eternity and incredibly short at the same time. It feels like last P-Day was just yesterday, but it feels like I have been at the MTC my entire life already.

Good news...we got two visas this week!!! There have not been any visas to Brazil in six weeks, and then this week two elders in our district got their visa, one already left and one leaves Tuesday, and one other sister in another district got her visa as well and left already. We hope that this is a sign of more visas to come, but we are not sure. Keep praying.

Things are hard but good. Days are so long here it, and so full, but we learn a lot.

As always in the MTC, there is not enough time. I bear witness to you of the truthfulness of this Church, and of the Savior Jesus Christ. I testify that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He died for us so that we can live again. The Book of Mormon is true, and will bring us happiness as we make daily study of it a priority in our lives. Keep praying for us..."

God bless you son,  you and every other missionary who is out doing God's work. Work that makes people like me weepy at 4 A.M. in the morning when they contemplate the very essence of what the missionaries are out doing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thank Goodness For The State Fair

The words 'wedding' and 'stress' seem to go hand and hand like peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes you just have to do something to relieve your stress.

The words 'stress' and 'eating' also seem to go hand and hand. Not especially good if the words 'fit' and 'mother-of-the-bride dress' are supposed to go hand and hand. Get my drift?

Today I thought I would go to the fair because I haven't been to the state fair in about six or seven years. Going to the fair is just something people should do every once in a while. Just because. And it's a stress reliever. I love the building with the home arts in it. I have told myself for twenty years or so that someday I will enter something in the fair. I looked at all the canning bottles and thought I could enter something next year. I noticed somebody received a blue ribbon for their bottled spaghetti sauce. Now there's an idea that has merit and I certainly did not see any meatballs. Maybe I'll make my own category. :)

Back to the eating. I had a simple plate of chicken and rice but I had to stop at the funnel cake booth. I just stood there sort of thinking that maybe when you die and go to heaven, somebody greets you with a funnel cake with Bavarian cream in the middle with whipped cream on top. Doesn't that sound right?

I am happy to say that my dress might just fit because I passed up the funnel cake but I sure wouldn't have minded having a piece. They weren't selling just "pieces"though, only the 4000 calorie version.

It is a state fair after all and what would a fair be without a funnel cake booth?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More About The MTC

There is a large map in the main hall of the MTC where it is customary for the missionaries to have a photo taken of themselves pointing to their mission area as well as with their district and larger zone members going to the same mission or country. I was 22 in this picture having turned 22 three days after I entered the MTC. I was pointing to Taiwan here.



The MTC is really quite an amazing place. I told Ian when we dropped him off that he was about to make some friends that would become his best friends for life but he just didn't know it yet.


This is a picture of some of the missionaries in my district. We spent two months together in reasonable close proximity to each other studying Chinese. Sorry Eloise for the bad picture. :) I think at this point, we were all tired of having our pictures taken.


This was our larger group. We were all headed to Taiwan in about two days I think. There were three missions in Taiwan at that time and so many of us would not see each other again for a long time.


This was taken in December of '82, a year after we entered the MTC. This was our original MTC district and we were at an all mission conference. By this time, we were well seasoned missionaries, all fluent and comfortable with the language, and all comfortable with the missionary experience.


These are a few of the same people years later at a mission reunion. Some of us lost our hair, some of us colored our hair, but the friendships remained. One even became a famous author. Eloise remained the dearest friend of all. Had I not served a mission, I would have never met her. (2nd from the right).

I don't worry about Ian in the MTC. I know he is studying hard, praying a lot, learning Portuguese, pointing to Brazil on the map while getting his picture taken, and making friends that in many cases...will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Mother Wisdom

Today I went through what seems like a million pictures looking for a few to display at Emma's upcoming wedding. I found a few I forgot about that I like. I will be posting them in the next few weeks.

This picture was taken in 1999. I always liked it.

I was reminded today of something I learned while I was a nursing student. During my pediatrics rotation, my instructor taught us about the importance of what she called "limit setting." That sunk deeply into my heart. She explained that children simply want and need to know what the boundaries are. I alluded to this last week in one of my posts. She said to always remember that during the temper tantrum years and beyond, that the parents were in charge... not the children.

Many times when the kids were little and it definitely seemed like they were in charge, I remember saying to myself and to my husband, "Remember, we are in charge, not them." That was always helpful and reminded me of what my instructor taught me. I just thought I'd pass it on because it was so useful to me when I was raising my children and my kids seem to have turned out OK. I think I was a mostly loving mother but I was also a 'limit setter'.

Monday, September 13, 2010

“Sunrise, Sunset....Swiftly Fly The Years”

People sometimes ask me what I do with my time. A common response is, “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” That is a favorite line of mine taken out of the musical “Fiddler On The Roof.” Years ago, I was asked to play Golde from Fiddler in a community play. I had only been in one play in my life and that was in the third grade. I did not intend to try out for this play at the time. On a particular Saturday in May, I was at home with my five children baking bread as I recall, when someone called me and told me that the auditions were just about to close and the director was waiting for me to come try out. She wanted “that lady from New York” to audition. Huh?

So with flour on my shirt, I left as I was and  took all my children ages almost one to eleven and went to the audition. I was clueless for sure. I certainly cannot sing and dancing is something that was always for other people. I should have been clued in right away that something was up because the directors were all looking at me very intently and watching me with great anticipation. They asked me to read some lines. OK. How does one read lines? They asked me to sing. I told them very plainly that I did not sing. They said to sing anyway. They wanted me to sing a song I could sing loudly so they could hear my voice. I sang a children’s song I know that had an upbeat marching type tune to it. No one in the history of auditions has ever sung “The Lord Needs Valiant Servants” as an audition song for a well known Broadway musical, but that was all I could think of. Then they asked me to go dance. I thought, ‘you people are out of your mind.’ I had bread waiting to go in the oven and they wanted me to dance.

Off I went and danced with a bunch of others. Then I went home and baked my bread. They called back later that day very excited and wanted me to come in for callbacks the following Tuesday. What on earth was a callback? Did I have to dance again? And please don’t make me sing again.

I arrived at callbacks having been told that they wanted to try me for the part of Golde with a man already chosen to be Tevye. Golde was the female lead in the musical and is Tevye’s wife. Are you serious?

I have no doubt to this day that the only reason I got that part is because if you put a bandana on me and see my nose from the side and my dark features and olive skin, I’m Golde. Or any other Golde-type looking person you can imagine for that matter.

They called back again and told me that I had the part. Boy were they excited. I distinctly remember being asked if I was excited. Are you kidding me? I was terrified! Why didn’t I just stay and bake the bread?!

Four and a half months of being terrified, I sang opposite a man who was born to be Tevye who basically just talked me through the whole rehearsal thing and constantly told me I would be just fine. I maintained my position to the end that I couldn’t sing yet people kept saying, “Don’t worry, Golde is not supposed to sing.” Was that somehow supposed to make me feel better?

On the night of the dress rehearsal before the following night’s opening night performance, I heard over the loud speaker, “We need to do a sound check on Golde.” I had a mike on and was clueless that the entire building could hear what I was saying. I told the ‘voice from the dark’ that I couldn’t sing… really… even though he kept telling me to sing something anyway because he had to check my microphone.

After about a minute of this, Tevye who had been in another part of the building listening to this exchange, came walking up to the stage where I was and said, “Liz, I’ll sing with you.” He was used to me by then and was a great support. We sang together and my mike was OK. Kindness came in the form of that man who played Tevye.

I was quite comforted when the curtain went up that night and I realized for the first time after four and a half months that I could not see any of the faces in the audience. I just looked at the back of the room and imagined a happy place. To this day if I have to give a talk in front of a large audience, I do the same thing.

The play was very well received. Tevye, who had been in many plays and who had a commanding stage presence, understood how to go out on the stage for curtain calls. I was shocked when they called my name and he ran over, took me by the hand, and ran out with me out onto the stage. That was an extremely kind and generous thing he did because we received three standing ovations all three nights of the play when they were all really meant for him.

Never say never.

So what does this have to do with today? A little while ago, I just stood looking at the calendar and realized that I have a daughter getting married in a month. Didn’t I just have my first grandbaby in July (or my daughter did), and didn’t I just send off a missionary?

What do I do you ask? “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.”

"Sunrise, Sunset
Sunrise, Sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears"


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tell Them What?

I have always loved Sundays. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Sundays. I look forward to them every week. Sunday is a day to think about things you sometimes otherwise would not get a chance to think about.

Today I came across a scripture that I have been thinking about all day that I might not have otherwise thought about. In the book of Joel in the Old Testament of The Bible, in the first chapter, the third verse, it says, " Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."

I find it interesting that both the 'let' and the 'tell' are in italics. That implies action, something that should be done.

I have been thinking about what kinds of things I should be telling my children that I would 'let' or 'want' them to tell their children about me. If I don't act before I pass on to tell them my stories about my life and the motivations of my heart....what would their children tell their children about me?

I want them to know who I am. I want them to know why I have made some of the choices I have made in my life. I want them know what things make me happy and what challenges I have overcome and how I have overcome them. I want them to know why I love Sundays.

I dearly loved my Italian grandmother. We called her Nanny. She always exhibited and showed love for me. I felt her love for me....always. What I would give to have some stories she might have written about herself. But she did not write any and I have nothing but what is in my memory. I can only pass on to my children what is in my memory but sooner than later, too many generations will pass away and there will be no more stories to tell.

Maybe that is what that scripture is talking about. It sure is something to think about.

So it seems to me that maybe there might just be a bigger purpose in keeping this blog. Somewhere, someday, maybe one of my grandchildren's children will delight to hear some of my crazy stories. How nice. I hope so. This is a good place to write some. :)



Saturday, September 11, 2010

"When A Child Is Born, So Are Grandmothers." Judith Levy



Meet Nathan. Nathan is 9 weeks old and is just delightful. 


Nathan came to play today while his Mom had to go somewhere. 


Being a grandma is about one of the best things going.



"A hundred years from now...
it will not matter what my bank account was,
 the sort of house I lived in, 
the kind of car I drove...
but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
Dr. Forest E. Witcraft




Friday, September 10, 2010

P-Days Mean E-mails :)

P-Days are short for Preparation Days. They are the days the missionaries have to do their laundry, visit the Temple if one is close by, get haircuts if needed, have down time, etc., but especially to write an e-mail to the family or letters to friends. The P-day usually ends at 5:00. The day goes by quickly but missionary mothers track the day waiting for an e-mail. Here is an excerpt from today's e-mail. In the future, I will only post a very small excerpt as these e-mails are meant for the family, but for any extended family following this blog, you might enjoy this one.

"Boa Tarde Familia! (This must be Portuguese for hello family I guess or something like it).

Things are rolling along here are the MTC, things are starting to pick up and the time is flying by, it seems like I was e-mailing you just yesterday. To answer your questions Mom: no I do not need anything, I did get the photos you sent and they are wonderful, thank you so much... No word on the visa yet...  I am prepared to stay here the whole time and then even be reassigned stateside for a bit if needs be. The best thing that you could do to support me write now is to pray for my district. They are so awesome...and keep on sending Dear Elders and letters they are a wonderful strength, a package with some goodies might be nice too. We did sing Called To Serve but I was not in the gym. I will let you know when that happens. Devotional was amazing, our Branch Pres. said it was one of the best he had ever been to.

Mom before I left you said that I would drive all  my companions crazy with my beatboxing, but I would like you to know that everybody in my hall thinks it is awesome. Especially my companion. Oh and everybody else in the MTC thinks it is awesome too. My Portuguese is chugging along, I often contact people who are a few weeks ahead of us but I keep up just fine. Being a district leader is stressful and hard but it is wonderful to see my district. They are all stellar and they will be great missionaries. Just know that things are going well. I testify that this Church is true, that the Book of Mormon is true and as you study it every day it will do more to make you happy and help you overcome trials then anything else. Christ is our Savior and through faith in him God will work miracles though us. I love you all, and hope to hear from you soon..."



Ian has done this beatboxing thing for years and years. (Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion which primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one's mouth, lips, tongue and voice.Wikipedia entry). I always wondered if it was a way to relieve stress or just a bad habit he had . If you know Ian, you know he beatboxes...all the time. So his comment about the beatboxing is hilarious because on the way down to the MTC he beatboxed like crazy as if to say, "This might be my last time." I guess not. I recorded him on my cell phone and I can't believe I'm saying this, but today I made it the ring tone for my messages. Who would have ever thought I would do that in a million years?!! Mothers do crazy things. :)

There is an old movie I remember called "The Singing Nun." I guess Ian will be known as "The Beatboxing Missionary." Watch out Brazil.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Salsa, Plums, And My Brother Rob



I didn’t grow up knowing how to preserve anything in a bottle. Preserving produce is commonly referred to as canning. When Ian was about a year old, a kind neighbor told me I needed to learn how to ‘can’. She shared her grapes and apples with me and step-by-step showed me how to bottle grape juice and applesauce. I went home that day with 7 jars of grape juice and 21 jars of applesauce. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world that you could take fruit or vegetables, put them in a jar, and preserve food yourself for your family. This picture is from my salsa making efforts this week. I make great salsa and use it in all kinds of recipes all year long.

For many years after that first experience with canning, I bottled many different kinds of fruit, dehydrated numerous veggies, and made amazing fruit leather. My kids were very fond of my apricot nectar and loved plum cobbler made from the plums I bottled off of the plum tree that hung over my backyard fence.

The last time I had a conversation with my brother Rob, I had to be called down from the plum tree in the backyard where I was picking plums from off a ladder. Rob lived in Connecticut and just called because he wanted to talk to me. I told one of my kids to tell him I was “up in the plum tree.” He was sort of dumbfounded by the whole concept and just wanted me to come down and talk to him. I came down and we had a great conversation. Canning always reminds me of my brother Rob.

That last conversation with Rob was ten years ago. Rob will be dead ten years next month. I miss Rob. There are many sad ironies in life and unfortunately, Rob’s leukemia was one of them. I had previously worked as an oncology nurse and leukemia is one disease I sadly know all too well. The word suffering has a sub-category all its own called leukemia. The day Rob called to tell me he had leukemia in 1999 was a heartbreak I will never forget. I knew what it meant to the nth degree.

Rob’s leukemia was a very rare form called ‘natural killer cell’ leukemia. It’s about the worst of the worst kind of leukemia. I visited him the first time he had his induction chemo in Connecticut when he was wrongly diagnosed with a different form of leukemia. The induction went well, he went into remission (we thought), and the visit was great. Rob got sick again very fast. When they finally made the correct diagnosis, I went and stayed with him in the Yale-New Haven Hospital for nine days after he had his bone marrow transplant. I slept in his room on a cot the whole nine days I was there and helped him through his darkest hours. Like I said, the word suffering has a sub-category all its own called leukemia.

Rob lived almost another year and a half after that. Shortly after our conversation when I had to come down from the plum tree, Rob had a stroke. He was 33 years old. I went back to Connecticut again, this time he was in ICU and sedated in a coma-like state because of being on a ventilator. Again, I stayed with him as long as I could.

I had always told Rob that I would “tell him when it was time for him to go” referring to when the end was close. Being a hospice nurse, I knew what to look for. I told him that in the meantime, enjoy life the best he could and forget the rest.

The call finally came and they had moved my brother out of ICU after about six weeks to die in a regular hospital room. His wife put the phone up to his ear so I could tell him I loved him. I told him it was “time to go.” He had been mostly unresponsive his wife said before that but she said when I told him that, he just shook his head back and forth, back and forth, as to indicate  the expression “no.” I kept my end of the bargain no matter how hard it was.

We all headed back for the funeral. Rob was still alive when my husband and I arrived at the hospital after a long plane trip. It was late at night. Rob was unconscious and near death, but I got to say my goodbyes while he was yet alive. A tender mercy for me for sure.

Rob died the next day, October 6, 2000. I will never forget riding along the beautiful hills of Connecticut through the spectacular autumn foliage to his funeral and then again to the cemetery for the burial. He is buried in the loveliest little cemetery in a beautiful spot in the cemetery. I will go visit him next month. I look forward to it.

I miss Rob. He was so dear to me. Making salsa reminds me of bottling plums. Bottling plums reminds me of my brother Rob.

“When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.”

Canning reminds me of my treasure.

 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Is The MTC?

They say that Disneyland is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth but in my opinion, the MTC  trumps that by far. I spent two months in the MTC in late ’81 & early ’82. It was a wonderful experience and I loved it. Missionaries need to be trained to be missionaries and the training that occurs at the MTC is remarkable. The following is taken from the MTC’s website:

“At the Church's Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, young men and women as well as retired men and women from around the world come together to prepare to serve the Lord. The purpose of the MTC is to provide an atmosphere of peace, love, trust, confidence, and respect in which missionaries can prepare for missionary service.

Missionaries dedicate 18 months to two years to missionary service. Approximately 52,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are currently serving as full-time missionaries. They are called to serve in one of 334 missions in approximately 120 different countries around the world.

Each Wednesday several hundred missionaries enter the Provo MTC…The MTC curriculum consists of up to 12 weeks of studying doctrine, learning to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively, and developing excellent communication skills. When missionaries are called to serve in foreign lands, their training also includes learning a new language. The Provo MTC is well known for its language teaching program. Approximately 50 languages are taught at the Provo MTC. The teaching staff is composed largely of former missionaries, who are well acquainted with missionary life. Using state-of-the-art language training technology, the Provo MTC fulfills the prophecy that "every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel in his own tongue . . . through those who are ordained unto this power" (D&C 90:11).

The Provo MTC is a beautiful campus designed to accommodate up to 4,000 missionaries. The facility includes a large gymnasium, cafeterias, a medical clinic, a bookstore, a mail center, laundry facilities, classrooms, and residence halls. There are three cafeterias at the MTC with a combined seating capacity of 1,200 missionaries, serving approximately 8,000 - 10,000 meals per day.”

Perhaps my most favorite memory is when all the missionaries stand in one meeting and sing “Called To Serve.” Anyone who has had this experience will tell you what power there is in singing this song with a few thousand other missionaries.

See following: YouTube video "Called To Serve"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Favorite Picture

While I was making a ton of salsa today to bottle for the year, I thought how nice it would be from time to time to throw in a few favorite pictures of my kids when they were young . After two years of blogging I can print this blog off, have it spiral bound, and it will have included everything I would like to remember.

From left to right: Elisa, Emma, Seth, Ian, and Sarah. Sarah has her own baby now. Time flies, it really does.

Some mother wisdom:
  1. Smile at your children, they like it and they usually smile back.
  2. If your kids want to fight and argue, make them stand together hugging each other until they start to laugh. They hate it but it works. :)
  3. Kids like to know what the boundaries and rules are. Honestly they do, they feel safer that way.
  4. If your kids raise your voice to you, whisper back. 
  5. Make sauce and meatballs as often as possible. Kids love and remember the smell as a form of love. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Garage


Unfortunately, our garage is the first thing one sees when someone drives past our house. When the garage door is open inadvertently, one could seriously wonder how one family could stuff so much 'stuff' in one garage. Seeing that today was Labor Day, we did a little labor in the garage. :)

The garage has been mostly Ian's domain. He has a workbench in there and he loved to tinker around doing all sorts of mechanical projects. There were quite a few occasions I would go in the garage and not know Ian was in there until I heard him whistling. He liked to whistle while he tinkered.

When Ian was 11, he built a gas-powered scooter out of a regular scooter. He took an old gas-powered lawn trimmer motor, put it on the scooter, and made it work. We took it to a park for its first trial run one day and quite a crowd gathered watching Ian whiz off on his gas-powered scooter. One man came up to me, gave me his card, and said that he would patent Ian's first invention.

A few years later, Ian wanted to build a hovercraft. He wanted to build it really badly so he saw no obstacle that could or would stand in his way, including his parents. It took months to build.  He had me sew a gigantic outer skirt for it that would keep the air in because it had to be airtight.  He relentlessly asked us to buy some little thing he needed to make it work. The hovercraft was enormous, he could actually sit on it. It had a different motor he took off something else to use on the hovercraft. Lo and behold, the thing actually hovered. It lifted off the ground a few inches but I don't think it ever went forward. It was very loud and that's an understatement. All his friends thought he was really cool.

Fast forward a few more years and Ian decided he wanted to build a gas-powered longboard....from scratch. This was a huge undertaking because he wanted it to be just so. He made a few prototypes and after a while, he had an amazing and highly prized gas-powered longboard with another motor he took from something else. The longboard worked really, really well and still does.

When Ian was a senior in high school, he was captain (or lead person-not sure of the title) of the First Robotics team from his school. This was a huge, $6,000 project involving many team members. Ian worked for months with his fellow teammates to build a competition ready robot and lo and behold, the robot was pretty great. His team went to regionals in Las Vegas with it and the robot made it to the last game of the last round. It was very impressive.

Ian would like to be a mechanical engineer someday. No surprise there. He’ll make a good one and I have no doubt he'll invent something someday. From the time he was five, he told everyone he wanted to be an inventor. He didn't know at the time that an inventor meant mechanical engineer.

So what does this have to do with the garage? We cleaned the garage today. All the people who now look in when the door is inadvertently left open can think better things about our garage. But what it really means is no more tinkering. No more whistling. No more Ian.

I'd rather have a messy garage.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Last New Family Picture

 


I guess I haven't blogged this picture yet. It is the last of the new family pictures.

"You don't choose your family.  
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu"
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

An E-mail In My Inbox!

Waiting for the first e-mail from a missionary is torture. The rest are not so bad except for the first one when they arrive in their assigned field. But the first one is torture. All a mother wants to know is that the missionary is safe and well and OK. After that, mothers calm down. Here is a portion of the e-mail. Now I can rest.

"Things are going great here at the MTC!...My companion is awesome and my district is great. My companion is from Miami and his family is from Columbia. He always has great ideas of things we can do to strengthen our companionship and the district. My district is full of great elders, (and one great sister) when you look at them you can really tell that the bar has been raised. They all have strong testimonies and contribute great stuff in class every day....The time I put into studying Portuguese has really paid off, I am about where the second or third week elders are I think, and it is making life a lot easier, although we haven't done a whole lot with the language yet. We met with our Branch President on Thursday and he called me to be district leader, so things are pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what I am suppose to do as a missionary in the MTC and as a district leader, but I am sure it will come....It looks like they are having lots of problems with visas to Brazil right now, we are in overflow housing, and a lot of Brazil elders are getting re-assigned stateside for a while, so I could be here a lot longer then we had thought....I am so grateful for all the letters and the 'dear elders' I have received already

I am out of time but I know the church is true and I am in the right place. I love you all and am so grateful for your support...



P.S. P-Days are usually Fridays."

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's Up For The Blog?

memory grove 

As I was driving back from Provo today through beautiful Provo Canyon, I thought about what I will blog about while waiting for weekly correspondences from my missionary son. That's a lot of space to fill for two years. Thinking about it, I realized I have a lot of stories to tell. My brain sees and thinks about everything in an organized format. I think I will organize stories from my life in themes for however long it takes to finish the story and the theme. When I am done with this blog in two years, my autobiography will be done and my family can remember my stories as I told them.

What kind of stories? All kinds. Growing up in New York. Things I remember (that I can share) about some of my favorite patients from when I was a nursing student in Albany, New York and from my days as an R.N. in Connecticut and in Utah. Lessons learned from being a Hospice nurse. Raising children. Stories from my mission in Taiwan like the famous running over a turkey with my bike and having it get caught between the front and back wheel of my bike or my FOUR I was 'almost killed' stories while on my mission. I'll add in stories about my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when I was eighteen and what it was like to travel to Utah as a new bride (I am still looking for the trees). I think I will mention some stories of what it was like to return to school as an adult trying to learn Chinese (again) with much younger students and what that was like for me.

I think I would like to add a few stories about what makes me happy. I have no idea if anyone at all will stick with this blog, but I will enjoy writing the stories. People have told me over the years that I should write some down.

The posted picture is for a purpose. I recently posted a picture of my husband and myself when we were young and just about to be married. This is a picture taken a month ago, 27 years later. I love it. This is Jim's "I'm as happy as a clam" look, and that is a look I cherish. So what if we're old, happy has no age limit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tough Good-bye

So I hesitate to write about how tough the good-bye was, but it was much more difficult than I had anticipated. It was a very quick good-bye, about a minute. This was the last image I have of Ian both in my camera and in my heart.

I was pretty non-functional yesterday afternoon and semi-functional last evening. I am doing well today however and life moves forward.

Yesterday was a lovely day weather wise and we were able to take some pretty pictures of family near the MTC. Ian had spent the morning finishing his packing and double checking his lists. He never did put his suit on until about 15 minutes before we left. He did a quick check through the house and we were off.

I hadn't thought much about the good-bye because I had been so busy. I was fine until we got to the bank on the way to the MTC. Ian had one last deposit to make into his account. Ian and I have been to the bank many times together in the last few years. I taught him how to set up accounts and how to save for his mission. He is a good saver and the women at the bank have gotten to know him really well because of all the times he went in the bank to make a deposit for his mission. Even when he was away at BYU last year, sometimes the tellers would ask me how Ian was. Once, they even asked me as I was going through the drive through. Everybody likes Ian.

So yesterday when I went into the bank with Ian, the two women who know him were just beaming at him and they knew where he was headed. One asked how I was and that was the end of me. That's when it hit me. I guess the reality of the change in Ian into his mission clothes and the obvious fresh missionary haircut signaled that he was off.

I tried to hide my tears, really I did and I especially tried to hide them from Ian. I did pretty well until the final good-bye when that very large, very handsome 6'2" young man hugged me for the last time. He was shaking and what does a mother do when she senses that kind of nervousness? Just let the tears flow I guess. And they did, all over the place. I was quite traumatized for a good 20 minutes after we drove off.

That's it though. I won't be sharing such tender moments like this anymore. This is a happy time. Really. Ian sang and "beat boxed" some funny missionary songs on the way to the MTC yesterday. He was thrilled to be going. We had a great lunch at Noodles & Company and good quality family time the last few days. I am happy he has chosen to serve. So enough of the teary good-bye sappy stuff and we just move on.

Slowly and quietly... but we move on. :)

Oh, and by the way, I don't think Dads get the whole mother-son good-bye thing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good-bye Son, I Love You

"Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come..." Doctrine and Covenants 31:3

God be with you till we meet again.

Love, Mom