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.

Monday, October 21, 2019

"Mom" Clawson

Tonight at 8:10 sweet Grandma Clawson passed away peacefully. 
This morning, hospice was scheduled to come by Jean's.  The family was anxious, knowing Grandma had become weaker and weaker in recent days.  Did we still have hope?
Randy received a phone call from Jean this morning after hospice left.  She was calling all the siblings.  Our hope was running out.  Her 94 years on this earth was close to an end.
Randy tearfully packed a bag and headed off to Safford, connecting with one last brother, Allen.

The day has been heartfelt.  I'm sure anyone close to her clung to the thought of eternal life.  It takes a time like this to ponder blessings we have all received from knowing and loving her. 

I for one have pondered today about memories of her I was privileged to have from age 26.  Randy came along about then, and I was so pleased to meet his loving mother.  He was going to ASU, but his home was in Safford.  It was a beautiful home, lovingly decorated and designed by Olive.  She had an eye for comfort, great taste, and pink.  Their home had been selected to show as a Christmas House for a charity the year before we were married.  It was the first time I had been there.  It was a Christmas fairyland, and she was tickled pink.  Olive was offered any item to keep as gesture of thanks for the use of their home.  She chose a beautiful pink satin bedspread that had made a statement on their king size bed.  It remains on their bed tonight as I reminisce.

I will always be so thankful for the fast friendship Olive and CB were to my parents.  I was the first to marry in my family, but there was instant friendship and love between them that made for a lot of harmony on both their parts. We took some fun family trips together with both our parents.  And each set of parents was always interested in how the other set was doing.  They considered each other valued friends.

There was never a Thanksgiving, or family gathering that didn't include a kitchen full of lovingly prepared food.  And oh, the heavenly smell.  Big dinners rarely catered to only their children or grandchildren.  So many meals we gathered together with strangers some of us had never met.  A home teacher, a new friend, a long lost cousin, someone in the ward without family to share with. 

I love Randy, and because I do I have always called Olive, "Mom".  I love her dearly, too.  She has shown such interest in me and our little family.  I could never walk into her home without her standing to greet me the minute she saw me.  I always felt a part. 

She had a thing for being cheerful.  She would remind us how important it was to be cheerful.  She was. 

And when we were ready to leave, she would stand again and walk us out to the car, never letting us leave without a big hug and a look of love in her eyes.

I will continue to reflect on her goodness for years to come.  But the last time I saw her was a little over a week ago.  Carianne, Vita, and all their children drove with Randy and I to Safford to visit Grandma C.  It was important to them, which I am so grateful for.  We hovered around her in the hospital bed we weren't used to.  It was placed right in front of the window of Jeans back door.  So she could see the sun and the sky she loved.  And so she could greet loved ones like us with a huge smile and a listening ear.  Her arms reached out to hug each of us with love.  It didn't matter if some of us were unfamiliar, she knew we loved her and more than that, we knew she loved us.  We laughed and talked and showed off our dolls and treasures and if we had stayed, she still would have soaked in our stories.  As we walked out the door, with waves of love, I will always remember not wanting to look away.  The smile on her face was as bright as it ever was.  And she waved until I thought her arm would ache.  I'll never forget leaving and witnessing such a sweet farewell.

I know there is a heaven where we can be together again eternally.  I know that she was greeted in a grand reunion tonight by her loving husband, CB.  And her two beautiful small children who have missed her until now, and she them.  Her parents and many others that have been cheerleading for her for a long time.  She lived a full and grateful life.  Always prayerful and obedient.  She will gain a beautiful reward.  I will miss her influence, hugs, and cheerfulness.  But I know she is in a beautiful place, with people that have saved a seat for her.  She is happy.  And like the Primary song sings, "You've served me well, my little child.  Come into my arms to stay."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A quote from our DUP meeting last Monday:

In so much as there is hardness

put it away

for it is like a seed which,

 if it be cultivated grows To maturity,

 and when it brings forth fruit

 it brings forth hardness and tyranny. 

We should Always endeavor

to plant peace and kindness.


Heber C. Kimball