Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Happy Birthday, Dad

 Yesterday was Dad's birthday.  He would have been 95.  I miss him everyday.  On Sunday we met for fast Sunday dinner at Jon and Shelly's for the first time since they completed the remodel of their home (Mom and Dad's address)  It was nice to be together.  I sat at the lazy susan outside and tried to imagine if I was sitting where Dad might have sat.  He loved that table.  And he loved the people around it, no matter who they were.  He was always inviting someone.  But he loved his own family around it the most.  He would always sit in the same spot.  We all knew where he'd be.  Then Mom would be next to him.  Lots of dinners to remember with love!  Then Jon announced the dole whip ice cream was ready from Dad's machine that had been in hibernation during the remodel.  About 1 1/2 years.  It never tasted better!  

Yesterday, Jon and Shelly, Jim and Richelle, and Randy and I planned to go out to dinner for Dad's birthday.  Covid rules the world currently, so we knew we'd have to be careful and social distance with masks.  We followed Jon's truck as he took the rest.....to Arby's.  We trailed west up Elliot Road.  Then north on Val Vista.  We turned west again on Baseline.  Then just before we got to Gilbert Road, where Dad spent so many quick stops for he and Mom, Jon turned South onto a back road for delivery trucks that ran behind a strip mall.  We faithfully followed Jon and Jim.  It was dark.  We hung right.  Then left. Then over and around.  After what seemed like 10 minutes of driving, we ended up at the North side of the strip mall.  Now we could follow him across the big parking lot to find a space next to Dad's Arby's.  When we all got out, Jon informed us that that was the back roads route Dad would have taken, and just to remember him best, he purposely led us that way!    The drive through line was very long, so we were glad to be going inside.  Except they weren't serving from inside.  So we got back in our cars and found a place in the long drive through.

We headed back to Jon's and enjoyed thinking of Dad as we ate the same things he would have eaten there.  I prayed and felt his love.  Jon spoke up and recalled that when he got dressed yesterday morning, he put on a long sleeved plaid shirt.  Then he put on a pair of khakis.  Then a belt Dad used to wear.  And had worn one of Dad's hats (from our Hawaii trip) all day.  He had purposely stood back to look at himself in the mirror before he left the house, to think of Dad.  Jim was proud to be wearing a heavy flannel jacket that could have easily been Dad's.  And Randy, just before we jumped in the car to drive to meet at Jon's had come out of the house wearing the Buehner Block gray zip up sweatshirt.  We talked, laughed, reminisced, compared notes, and planned a See's candy box to be delivered to Aunt Janice for Christmas from her favorite brother's children (the Buehners and Clawsons).  

I look forward to being with my brothers.  I look up to them so much.  So thankful for Dad's evident love for us.  Happy Birthday Dad!  

Monday, October 26, 2020

Short Sighted Sarcasm

 Until We Meet Again

Short-Sighted Sarcasm

Our words should be kind, to promote love and unity.

Dialogue Bubbles

Illustration by Joshua Dennis

I wasn’t just a short girl. In the schools I attended while I was growing up, I was the shortest girl. Because of this, I was often teased. However, I didn’t allow myself to be offended. In fact, I often laughed with those who teased me. For whatever reason, I never felt bullied.

But there was another kind of humor some of my fellow students used, and it did hurt. Sarcastic comments, made in an attempt to be funny, often inflicted unseen wounds. Regardless of the intent, sarcastic remarks can pierce the soul like daggers. Perhaps this is because such comments are usually rolled around elements of truth.

This is particularly the case among family members, whom we know well enough to make our sarcastic remarks to them very personal. What might seem comical to one person might not be so humorous from the other side. I believe that since we can’t know how sarcastic comments may hurt others, it is better not to use them at all.

Like most of us, from time to time I have said something sarcastic. Often I have wished, either immediately or later on, that I hadn’t. I have recently wondered how often I’ve hurt someone by my use of sarcasm. Have I been a bully?

We generally overlook sarcasm as a type of bullying. But sarcasm can cut, berate, and belittle, and isn’t that bullying? Chances are that we’ve never considered ourselves as bullies, but when we throw sarcastic darts at another person, chances are high that they will feel injured.

During the time of King Mosiah, the people of the Church were taught “that they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself” (Mosiah 27:4). Knowing that we are sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents should help us determine how we act, what we do, and what we say. And that means sarcasm is often short-sighted.

Remembering that others are also children of Deity should cause us to treat them with the utmost love and respect. When we speak to our fellow brothers and sisters and to our family members, we can promote love and unity as we heed the words of a well-beloved hymn: “Let us oft speak kind words to each other; kind words are sweet tones of the heart.”1


Because I realized today that my gentle sarcasm comes out more than it should.  Because I am most sensitive to it myself, you'd think I would be more sensitive toward others; especially family members.  Yet, because of my own "wounds" my response was disguised as OK.   Gentle or not, sarcasm is sarcasm, and whether you are the giver or the receiver, and no matter how you try to disregard its intent or pain, it still zings.  And it's just plain hurtful.  When I heard this talk, this day, I was more intent to make a conscious change.  I hope I never run out of things to tweak my life for the better.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Who's Really in Charge, Here

Summer continued on.  We had our medical appointments current in August, ready to add to the final steps of turning in mission papers.  The time has gone by unrealistically, because COVID has turned life pretty different from the "olden days" a few months ago.  With no one over 65 allowed at church.  No temple open.  No church buildings open.  No school.  Masks and hand washing and sanitizing often.  No make up.  Working from home.   It was a good time for summer.  And thinking about a mission, was unreal.  

After we returned from the cabin in August, our temple recommends were soon to expire.  So we were interviewed over the phone by Brother Shimimoto.  A week or so later, the Bishop let us know he would send our mission paperwork on to the Stake President, bypassing our last interview with him.  On August 18, we had an appointment with the Stake President.  We were ready to talk about missions, but wouldn't have been surprised if this was only a temple recommend interview.  To our surprise, he kept us both in the room as he interviewed us.  He said he liked to interview couples together to feel their connections.  The recommend interview went nicely.  It was nice to sit next to Randy as we both answered those sacred questions together.  Then, smoothly the conversation drifted right into our serving a mission.  President Tinker sat securely at the helm as he listened to us express ourselves.  And he was an inspiration to listen to as he encouraged us, with no fear or doubt of the current state of the world.  Happily he explained the continued needs for serving a mission for senior missionaries.  He didn't have details, but only wholeheartedly encouraged us.  He was a pleasure and comfort for our wondering souls.  We left that night with plans to turn the paperwork in right away, without hesitation. Again, yes, yes, yes.

The drive home was when it hit.  What are we going to do about telling the kids?  When?  How?  I got a little teary, knowing they had no idea, even though our quest had started slowly about a year ago.  It seemed to have spiraled into a mission call over night.  The next morning I got a text from President Tinker.  He wanted to make sure he understood us right.  It seems that our preferred date to serve was in January.  If he turned in the paperwork now, the call usually comes in about 3 weeks and the date of service is between 130 days.  That would mean we could get called in October and leave before Christmas.  As he explained this, we reconsidered the submission date to October, making a more doable time to ease the kids into learning about this.  I was grateful President Tinker had called before he went ahead with sending the papers in.  Now we could easily get the kids together to tell them what we'd been up to.  It did startle us a little, knowing we could have had a serve date before Christmas!  

Last week a phone call came from Salt Lake.  A message was left on my phone and on our answering machine.  It was from a nurse there, who was curious about a blood work number of Randy's that didn't seem right.  She was going through our forms and came across this little discrepancy.  She was friendly enough. but needed Randy to verify the number to make the forms read reasonably.  She also had questions about my skin Dr. appointments and procedures.  We both called our different doctors and called the Salt Lake nurse right back.  It turns our Randy's blood work number was written 35.?  After checking, the right number was 6!  It was misprinted!  I told Randy that was a really good reason to serve a mission.  To have an excuse to correct the numbers now, so that when you are really in need, the faulty numbers don't kill you!  Ending the call with the nurse, she made a comment that now our papers were in order and ready.

A little voice keeps nagging us.  "You need to tell your kids".    We bought ourselves another month after President Tinker altered the date.  But now, with this nurse telling us everything was in order, it makes me wonder who is really in charge here?  We have found ourselves saying, Yes, yes, yes.   But haven't felt the reality of it until this week.

Tomorrow we tell the kids.



Alonna's Timely Call

     A couple of months ago, I messaged my friend Alonna Randall, who is serving a mission in Hawaii with her husband, Mark.  Randy suggested I connect, to see how they were doing and find out a little about their mission.  She messaged back with a good report.  On asking her potential needs for their mission, she encouraged me to visit the Senior Missionary church website.  A day or so later, we found ourselves scrolling back and forth over missions that looked doable.  We were excited to see all the needs and places to serve.  It was comforting.  We started checking the ones where we could see ourselves, just for fun.  Someday.

     Last Friday night, we noticed a message on our machine from Alonna, leaving her phone number and encouraging us to call her.  We waited until Saturday morning, since the time change was uncertain.  We left a message back.  Saturday afternoon, after the phone tag, she called again.  This time we were able to visit.  The conversation was surprising.  She wanted to know if we had been  thinking more about serving a mission.  Their mission would be through in April.  They were going to need to be replaced.  Were we interested?  How long would it take to be ready?  Could we be ready by June?  Every answer I gave was affirmative.  If we were interested, she would gladly pass our information along to her Mission supervisor.  And she would gladly share his info with us, so we could speak with him personally.  The conversation ended with me encouraging her to pass our names along to him.  An hour later, a text was sent that appeared on my phone.  It was Brother Orams number along with another one for his wife, Sister Oram.
     The Buehner Family orange juicing party had just wrapped up and Randy hadn't returned home yet.  Somehow I had to find a perfect time to tell him about this call.  When he walked in and had to make a Costco run.  I knew the timing was right.  Just he and I.  We drove along and I explained the call.  He was interested.  But then he wanted me to get Brother Oram's number, thinking that would buy him some time.  I showed him my phone with both numbers.  He was surprised.  The urgency was clear.
     We let Sunday go by smoothly for all.  But Monday morning I left for DUP (my history lesson ready), and I made him promise to call Brother Oram.  When I returned, a few hours later, he and Brother Oram had had a good talk.  They do indeed need replacements and if we are interested, we need to get the ball rolling.  ("No guarantees"  he said).  The first thing we needed to do was make an appointment with the Bishop.  Tuesday evening we sat in the Bishops office and explained our interest.  He sent for the paperwork we would need.  Wednesday we made Dr. appointments to be complete in April.
     ......Thursday was a crazy day.  The coronavirus was getting the best of the world.  Conference gatherings were cancelled.  Schools were closed, stores were mad with panicky customers (no TP), and our cruise to Hawaii with the Browns and Caffels was cancelled.  No telling for how long.  So, our focus became worldly, instead of spiritual, although there hasn't been a day in the week we haven't been sure we are still doing the right thing by turning in our mission papers.
      We leave in a few minutes for a Plan B venture (it's Saturday), to still get away with friends, only to northern AZ.  My head is buzzing with uncertainty and I'll be glad to be back home in a week, but hopefully we will get away from the worry and uncertainty of the shape the world is in.  I know we are meant to NOT FEAR.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Silently Screaming

It's May 22, 2020.   Corona virus is all around us.  The world has made a giant change from the social life we thought was so common, since March. Masks, sanitizer, stalking for T.P, washing hands while singing "Happy Birthday" twice, social distancing (six ft. apart), schools out (last three months online), no church in our buildings, no Temple, no traveling, no Dr. or hair appts. (until this last week, only with a mask and an invitation from the parking lot to come in), television from commentators at their homes. . .

It's been odd.  And the longer it lasts, I have to ask myself if I can live with it getting worse.
I have done my own little share of silently screaming, while noticing others' wrestling with it, too.

I noticed from the beginning that my many colored sets of silky polka dot or striped pajama tops and bottoms could just as easily be worn mismatched.  In fact, I purposely look for a mismatch anymore; somehow it makes me feel victorious!

I haven't worn make up for months, except on Sundays.  And I think about the ritzy name brand stuff I used to only buy if there was a gift offered with a purchase.  Fry's grocery store has been sufficient for all my quick make up needs.  I have seriously ask myself if I could get by with one tube of Maybelline water proof mascara every three years; I don't care the color, they never had what I was looking for anyway.  I look like a palomino pony without something.  I told myself years ago I would never go without makeup.  (That was after not recognizing a beautiful friend without hers at girls camp one year.)  Could I really run around with no eyes?

And my hair.  I prided myself on being a pure bred red head.  I couldn't let people call me "blond" could I?  Could I really let my hair go natural?  People do it every day, but not if their coloring is fair, like mine.  Without make up or hair color, I would look headless!

I just realized yesterday that the favorite lipstick I can't live without gets covered up every day with a mask!  Why all the bother?

And another silent scream comes daily when I put on yet another pair of earrings.  I've worn pairs I haven't worn in years.  Oh, the colors, the shapes, the dangles.  Everyday is a new ear adventure!

Henry made me feel good last week as he stepped in the door.  His hair was perfectly combed.  His smile and eyes were as bright as ever.  His plaid collared shirt was buttoned up like he would be winning an award.  I made a fuss over him as he confidently walked in.  But as my eyes followed, I realized that under that dapper plaid shirt, was a beautiful pair of giant plaid flannel pajama pants and a pair of flip flops.  All of a sudden I hoped this could be the new normal.

We received a darling photo from our elementary music teacher daughter in Utah.  She and the other teachers were proudly waving on their former students as the parade of cars cruised past the school at the end of the year.  I'm sure it was a little sad.  But there she was, wearing a big smile, her pajama pants, and comfy t shirt; the new norm.

And yesterday, the day after online school got out, I had to cheer for Maddie and Eliza, proudly sporting their new purple tipped hair that was a family project earlier that day.

Silently screaming in our inward and outward appearances.  I see it everywhere.  But somehow it relieves the anxiety of knowing that even though things are different, we are all in this together.  It's free.  It's legal.  It's creative.  It's normal.
Thank goodness for the silent screaming we have in common.  And for colorful silky pajamas, eyes to see, hair to coif, blue lipsticks to choose, ears to hear, grandchildren to cheer for.  Now where are my Miss Piggy slippers?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My New Beginning

Last Thursday, after learning our cruise to Hawaii had been cancelled because of the chaos of the corona virus, (which sadly would have made me cry in any other situation) we decided to hit Costco.  Our priorities had been suddenly switched around and we found ourselves with a list of items we might need instead of suntan lotion.

Driving up, the parking lot was jammed like it was the day before Thanksgiving.  We drove up and down, looking for a space.  Finally we spotted a very pregnant woman unloading her purchases in a small car close to the front.  We pulled close to wait, turning our blinkers on to signal our claim.  Now we could see she had two overflowing carts with everything from cases of diapers to cases of cheerios.  We patiently waited as she methodically packed her car from top to bottom and side to side.  There was no way she could see out her back windows.  She looked up long enough to catch our eye in approval as she rolled her cart to a safe place.  Then she hobbled back to her car, carefully buckled in, and pulled out.  As she passed us she did something I'll always remember. She waved in appreciation.

We could have been impatient.  She could have been flustered.  Life these days is bringing on evident stress to people we've never met.   But in that moment it seemed each of us had empathy, despite the unrest of the world.  I will always remember her quick wave of gratitude and will thoughtfully add this same gesture to my new beginnings as I face these crazy times.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Christmas 2019

Christmas, 2019.

We spent an wonderful Thanksgiving with all our children and families in and out, here in Gilbert.  Heaven truly is felt when your children are together.  We played, we laughed, we ate, we shopped, we met up with cousins, and we loved.  The ones from far away are always a light.  I am so thankful for the effort each one makes to be here when they know they'll all be together.  That is a complete blessing!  Brothers and sisters have connections that no other can share.

Last Thursday night, Kate performed in a huge Christmas choir that performed at the Mesa Center of the Arts.  She looked so grown up.  I'm so glad she appreciates singing with a choir; especially at Christmas.  When the music started and those children joined together to sing as choirs of angels, the tears popped out of nowhere.  So profound!

Then (last Friday), Randy and I flew up to Orem to be with Julianne and family.  Emmie and Peter had a piano recital, Julianne had an orchestra concert, and Emmie was in a Christmas musical in the city.  The thrill it gives a couple of Grandparents to witness their own far away kids perform at Christmas!  My eyes fill with uncontrollable tears at the sound of Christmas music anyway.  But when it's your own!  Well, let's just say, I can't wait until next year.

Julianne and Brenden were so gracious, even through rushing to get kids everywhere.  They  willingly took the time to pack us all in the car and drive to Salt Lake Saturday night (amid massive traffic and crowds), to walk on the grounds of Temple Square under the breathtaking Christmas lights.  After this year, the temple will go under a reconstruction for four years, and the lights most likely won't be as wondrous.  All with happy hearts, happy kids, and even a gelato stop in the middle of 30 degree weather!  We appreciated the trip SO much!  As Randy and I get older, simple things become more meaningful.  This was a Christmas to remember.  We got home last night in time for the beautiful Christmas Devotional from SLC.

This morning, I participated in a Light the World RS group at the nursing home.  Carianne had volunteered she and I to play a duet (Jingle Bells).  We sang and shared, wearing our Christmas colors to the hilt.  A wonderful program was given in a spontaneous style, which made for sweeter.  At the end, Maddie, Lettie, and Eliza sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" all decked in their Santa hats.  Yay for sharing Christmas with united smiles, songs, and happiness.

Tonight I am headed to the Higley Center of Performing Arts to see Henry perform with his school.  He loves to sing, too.  Thank goodness for Christmas and the chances to Falalalala!  And for children.  And for grandchildren.

It's only December 9.  I have enough Christmas in me to carry me through.
Our children will be spread apart for Christmas day.  That's OK.  We do see them a lot, which we are extremely thankful for.  We'll be fine, especially with memories implanted so far.

I'll be busy wrapping and taping myself with their joyful gifts of music, especially the carols proclaiming His Holy birth.  And drying my eyes when I think of their sweet angelic voices.