Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Thank Heaven for Little Boys!

Today is Jeff's birthday.  He reminded me that since it's an even year, he has an even numbered birthday. He is 34.  Funny, that's how I remember too.  That makes me feel good.

Since it's also a space of time where we have been clearing out Mom and Dad's house, our childhood home; I have been thinking a lot about them lately.

I remember the day Jeff was born, at Mesa Lutheran Hospital in Mesa. This was a big deal to be presented with a little boy, after having two sisters before him.  I was in love.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of him.  A blue blanket; imagine that!  He was perfect and handsome, and brand new.  I knew I needed to call Mom, since she had been home with the girls, anxiously awaiting the news.  She wanted to know all about him, and I tried my best to describe everything.  Then, in between my words, she interrupted me.  "Is that him I can hear?" she said.  We both were silent.  I realized that as I was speaking, so was Jeff.  He was just minutes old, and had never heard his own little voice before (at least in stereo).  He chose Grandma's telephone call to experiment with all he could make it do.  Softly humming high and low, loud enough to catch Mom's ears.  It was magic.  I acknowledged it was indeed him, and I put the phone closer to Jeff's little mouth.  We listened and giggled for a long while, enraptured over our new little gifted baby boy.  It was heavenly!

Mom had me.  After that, she had three boys.  Each one, such a prize!  I know she loved me, but no one could compare to her boys.  Jeff fit right in.  I'm so thankful for the connection of that day, sharing Jeff's real birthday with Mom, and feeling heaven over him, with her. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

. . . and waffles

One year ago, tomorrow.  Christmas Day.  Mom is heavy on all of our minds.  She seems to need more and more care and thought.  Some days are like a blur to her, I'm sure.  I know she enjoys  us being around, but drifts shortly after.   Not quite the same.  Hence, we watch and are around her a lot. . . .

I got up, as usual this Christmas.  With family all here, our morning was delightfully busy.  The traditional waffle brunch out at Mom and Dads was what we anticipated next. This was Moms first Christmas without Dad.  He had been gone for 10 months, which was part of her distraction.  At about 10 AM, we met in Gilbert.  I walked in to a peaceful atmosphere  (unlike other busy years)  No noise.  Tabernacle Choir Christmas music in the background.  I went straight into Moms bedroom.  There she lay quietly.  I knew Richelle had been over earlier, since she was wearing her Christmas sweater and her hair was nicely done.  When I walked closer, I knew she was anticipating family togetherness, too.  Excitement filled her eyes when she saw me.   She was quite like a little girl, ready to clap for joy  And we both happily said "Merry Christmas!" together.  Our arms reached out for a sweet hug, and I helped her up to put her shoes on, that were ready by her bed.  She was happy it was Christmas.  She knew she would be surrounded by love.  As much as she missed Dad, we were part of what held her together.  And more important, she knew what Christmas is all about. Her knowledge of Jesus Christ, and his being born and dying for us, is also what held her together.  Dad might not have been too far away either. 

I won't ever forget that morning.  Heaven must feel like that.  The hugs were longer and stronger.  All our eyes were bright as we considered our dear Mother and Grandmother. She was an angel.

Tomorrow morning we will gather around again..  In their sweet home.  Eating sweet waffles.  Making sweet memories. Life goes on and on into eternity.  If you listen with your heart, you will feel Mom and Dad there too.  Their love and testimonies are what holds us together. 

. . . and waffles 

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Overhaul

Today was our last day to spend the night with my Mom, since February, when Dad passed away.  It has been an adventure for all of us (my brothers and I).  We decided from the first night without him we would rotate nights to be spent with her.  It's been 4 months.  Randy and I took Wednesday and Thursday nights, with a rotating Friday night that we split up every 3 weeks between the 3 of us.  Mom loved it; at least she said she did.  She became anxious to see us and was delighted whenever any of us walked through the door.  Even though we all knew it was an adjustment, it was small, compared to her peace.  So we carried on.

A month ago my niece and her law school bound husband expressed a desire to move in with her.  The back bedrooms and bathroom would be perfect for their bank account, and Mom would have company, at night until he finished school in a year or so.

This brought on a decision to "over hall" the back part of the home.  The 1975 brown and yellow striped carpeting and wood paneled wall would have to "go" in one bedroom.  The blue multicolored shag with the blue and white striped half way up wall paper would "go" in another.  And the dirty beige carpet and mural scene of the Jackson Hole Tetons across a complete wall, had to "go" in another. (A blessing, you say?)  Plus, there would be repainting, remolding  rebaseboarding, and doors redone in each room. along with new cupboard doors in the hall and bathroom.  That makes 40 years of life, gone.

This leads me to our last nights. . . The "over hall" began swiftly.  So fast, that when we got there, we were prepared to head back home as soon as we saw there was no place to sleep.  But nay. One lonely bed was left, with a lamp sitting on the floor.  We rolled our sleeping bags out, just like every other night, and made the best.  How hard could it be?   Things started getting tricky when we had to wear shoes to bed.  The bare floor hadn't seen the light of day for 40 years.  All that was left were glue marks scribbled back and forth in some creative designs; along with remnants of 40 year old crusty carpet fuzz.  But the funnest part? The potty in the bathroom is right next to the door.  Did I say door?  No door!  It was a strategic event if you needed  the bathroom for whatever the reason.  Every door from distances away had to be closed!  Sliding doors, laundry room doors, etc.  And whatever you were doing in there, you had to hurry, keeping your eyes only on the outside doors.  Heaven forbid, they would slide open from someone on the other side!  You had to be prepared to scream at the slightest slide. Do I have to paint a picture here?!  Don't forget, the curtains and blinds had all been taken down, and the window from the "blue room" framed that potty in the doorless bathroom.   A perfect view from Jim's house!

When we returned home from vacation, Mom had room mates and a "new house".  Thank goodness it was a beautiful overhaul.  It covers up the memory of those last nights.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


June 6, 2006.  Kayla was 6, in kindergarten, and joining her older sister in taking piano lessons from me.  We were very creative when it came to octaves, since her little hands could only cover about five keys.  But as the days and years passed along, her hands grew.  Her feet reached the floor.   Her abilities expanded.  Her tastes were enhanced by her Vietnamese background.  To day was her last lesson, after finishing up with some beautiful pieces at a recital 2 weeks ago.  She has been with me for 10 years, and is now a junior in high school.  That is an accomplishment.  It pleases me to know she is a better person, with senses that have only been provided her from consistent practicing and sharing.  This makes me happy.

Visiting Teaching Backpack

My Visiting teaching days with Katherine were filled with inspiration as we visited Sharman.   Month after month, Sharman's living room became a sacred spot.  I would listen while Katherine (who had recently lost her aging mother to cancer) and Sharman (who was in the middle of caring for her mother in another state), shared stories, ideas, and encouragement for an hour as we visited each time.  Their stories were similar, but even more alike was the, love and compassion they each shared for their mothers.  In those days, I had healthy and able parents, yet I was prompted to know that the visits would do me good in my future.  So, I collected those thoughts and feelings and put them in my back pack for future reference.

Now many years later, I find myself reaching in to my collection for assurance.  I don't remember the details of their stories, but I do remember the feelings I had when I listened in.  Compassion, love, generosity, patience, faith, on and on.  I'm so thankful for those visits, because today, I am beginning to put these sweet  pieces together.

A miracle of Visiting Teaching is that it can affect us all if we, with empathy, tune in to another's life  And the life that is benefitted most can turn out to be our own 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dear Gregg

Happy 29th Birthday!  Here is your birthday story for the 129th time:   You spent the last month before you were born laying vertical.  The Doctor figured you would naturally move.  But in those last weekly visits, you didn't budge.  A couple of weeks before your due date, the Doctor informed us that he would be out of town the same day.  By then, the likelihood of having a c section was a reality.  So, he told us when he would be in town and showed us a calendar, explaining that, because of the circumstances, we could pretty much pick a birthday.  Daddy and I considered the days.  I was born on April 26th, and Julianne was born on June 26th.  Here it was November, and the 26th seemed like a perfectly great birthday.  So we scheduled a c section when we knew the Doctor would be there.  You never decided to turn.  But we were thrilled to welcome you here to join your brother and sisters. 

Your life has been a blessing to me.  I can't begin to express my love for you, and Oh, the pride!  You are truly a treasured gift of perfection.  Happy Birthday, Gregg!  On this 26th day of November.  Have a wonderful real birthday and Thanksgiving all in one!

I love you dearly!!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Daisy Mae Duck

My new favorite cartoon character . . .

She has a genealogy story that became personal to me today.  
But she was named after someone far greater.