Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Distribution Map

It's a wonder I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb sometimes. I found this map this morning on the internet while looking for something else. It is a distribution map of Italian-Americans in the US based off the numbers from the 2000 Census. The red dots/areas represent Italian-American descendent distribution. I don't see even one red dot in the state of Utah on this map although I know there are certainly more people of Italian-American descent here than just me and my children. Did they not get my 2000 Census submission?? But it also shows why it is that I feel like I blend in real well when I go back and visit the northeast from time to time. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I thought Memorial Day was supposed to be the start of summer.
But we woke up to snow AGAIN!
And I just planted my tomato plants on Saturday. 
Our ward forged ahead anyway with the
annual Memorial Day breakfast.
There was a great turnout and it was enjoyable.

Ian's e-mail was also a treat today. He sounds good:

Dear family,

I have quite a bit to tell you, and very little time to do it, so my letter will be short. So you already know that I am in Maringá now and that I am senior companion. I am in the area Parque dos pioneiros, or in English, park of the pioneers. Cool huh. My area is a center area, and it is BIG. GIGANTIC. It is as big as three or four other areas in the city combined. So this comes with its good parts and bad parts. Good part: we have a lot of work to do, which I am loving. The bad part: a lot of walking, but it isn’t so bad really. This area is great; it has been well taken care of. We have quite a few progressing investigators, we had a baptism this Sunday, and we should have another baptism next Sunday. The lunches here are awesome...Our house is HUGE. There a two floors, 3 bathrooms, 3 or 4 bedroom, and some other rooms. It is so big because we have 6 elders living here, we live with the zone leaders and the district leader and a brand new American who is being trained. The best part about our house, it’s clean! I don´t know what I did to deserve such a good situation right now, it seems too good to be true, but I am very, very grateful...Just a little bit about my companion, he is from Rio Grande do Sul, the most southern state in Brazil. He is in his second transfer now and he is great. He is quite obedient, and he works hard. He still has a lot of things to improve, but just because he is new. He is a great missionary... I love you all and I hope that you have a great week."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Missionary Work

My Chinese friend from mainland China who has come to church a few times with me came to church again today. Her husband came to America about two weeks ago to join her here for a few weeks. Earlier this week I e-mailed her and invited her to bring her husband to church and also invited them to the Memorial Day breakfast tomorrow morning. They are only here for a few more weeks and then they will return to China. She has become a wonderful friend.

I was deeply touched to meet my friend's husband. He looks like a wonderful, wonderful man. I was also deeply touched to see my friend teaching her husband how to sing the hymns and how to take the Sacrament bread and water. This was his very first time ever being in a church and having any experiences about religion. Interesting to me, was that his wife became his missionary. I watched her teach him what she has learned. I felt such humbled gratitude to see those exchanges. She looks so happy. Another member who sat next to him during the service said he intently read the words to the hymn "Families Can Be Together Forever" during the meeting and seemed quite moved.

I learned a long time ago to be grateful for opportunities to share the gospel. The gospel message is sweet. The message has eternal, important implications. This was the first time for this man to learn that indeed, families can be together forever.

"Families Can Be Together Forever"
Ruth Muir Gardner

“I have a family here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them
Through all eternity.
Families can be together forever
Though Heavenly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can.”

While I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully,
So I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.
Families can be together forever
Through Heavenly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Relationship Advice

Tonight I saw a posting on a local news website about successful, happy couples.


It was thought provoking. The last sentence made me laugh though:

"So when planning your date nights, think about three simple words:
New, Exciting and Together." 

The last thing Jim and I would be known as by anyone is "exciting," but that made me think of tonight's date. We were at the Home Depot again. Yes, again. Jim's favorite place is the Home Depot. He spends many hours there multiplied of course by many years. I think it's a place that he goes to to relieve his stress. Some men watch sports, Jim goes to the Home Depot. Consequently, I too have spent many hours and many years at the Home Depot...with him. I can't say how many Friday night dates we have had at the Home depot, but let me tell you, it puts a whole new spin on the word "exciting."

Jim is putting in a bathroom downstairs. He can build anything and fix anything and do it really well. Granted, this bathroom has taken seven years so far but that means there have been many, many happy dates to the Home Depot during that time. Sometimes we just SAY he's working on the bathroom when in reality, six months have gone by without him even opening that bathroom door. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But he really is close this time. Close enough that tonight we were looking at faucets, beadboard, and it was time to buy the paint. While I was picking out the paint, Jim was off looking at something "new and exciting" in one of the aisles. He likes the Home Depot so much that for his last birthday, everybody got him Home Depot cards.

I picked out a great color for the bathroom, deep garnet. It will look great over the off white beadboard. I want it to look like Old New England. It should be fabulous. I ordered the paint and as I was waiting at the counter, my cell phone rang. It was Elisa. One never talks softly to Elisa, every conversation is exciting and dramatic.  I talked to her for a minute and then not paying attention to who was around me listening to me, I said, "I'm on a hot date with your Dad at the Home Depot." Now my kids know that I always classify a date to the Home Depot as a "hot date." It's how I have looked on the bright side of a hardware store all these years. I distinctly remember that on our honeymoon even, we wound up in a hardware store. A faucet was leaking I think and Jim wanted to fix it. Sometimes you just got to love what your spouse loves....you know what I mean?

At any rate, the guy at the paint counter overheard me because it was Elisa on the other end and as I stated, it was a dramatic call because that's how one speaks to Elisa and he looked at me pretty funny like. Maybe that's the first time he ever heard a woman animatedly describe a trip to the Home Depot and to his paint counter with such enthusiasm. He looked pretty interested when I said, "hot date." I was slightly chagrined as I realized he overheard me and I had put the emphasis on the word "hot," as only my children can truly appreciate and understand. It's kind of a code word for "Can you believe we're at the Home Depot...AGAIN...?!"

About five minutes passed and the paint guy finally got a look at my "hot date." I'm not sure just who he was expecting but he looked a little disappointed to see Jim walking along, shirt untucked,  with two 2X4's strung over his shoulder. Oh well, he just doesn't get it and can't appreciate a true "hot date" I think. :)

The article said, "So when planning your date nights, think about three simple words: New, Exciting and Together." At least we got the words right:
  1. New: OK, the paint was new. 
  2. Exciting: Jim never knows what new and exciting thing he'll find at the Home Depot.
  3. Together: 27 years of dates to the Home Depot...don't be jealous....
And the bathroom will look fabulous!
He even took pictures...
I'm pretty sure he took pictures of the faucets too but I can't seem to find them on the camera.

I told you not to be jealous...   :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Thrill Of Victory

So after one entire year of having his permit...

Seth finally managed to get his license this afternoon.

One whole year to get his license...




 who shall remain unnamed...

was perhaps dragging their feet a bit...

Otherwise known as
...the agony of defeat.

Five kids down...none to go. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rob's Son

Jonathan, My brother Rob's son,  was here yesterday. He was only in town for one day. He and I spent the day and evening downtown visiting all of the sights. I kept telling people yesterday that he was my nephew but by looking at this picture, he surely could have passed as my son. We had a lovely day. Rob would be very proud of the way he has turned out.

As for Ian, he's on a bus today to a new area. This is from yesterday's e-mail:

"That’s right, it is transfers again, and, as you have probably discerned to the late email, I am being transferred! Right now I am in Londrina, we got here at about 11:00 and we will sleep here tonight, and then tomorrow at 5 I will leave to go to my next area which will be....... in the city of........ Maringá! I don´t know which area yet or who will be my companion, I wont know those things until I get there, but, Maringá is in between Foz and Londrina. Just about the only things that I know about Maringá is that there are a lot of trees there and there is a super huge cathedral.

I am doing quite well, I am very grateful for the time that I was with my last companion...This week was especially difficult, we work very hard all week but the results were dismal, we taught very, very little. We saw early on in the week that things were not going well so we started to change things around and make sacrifices but nothing worked out right, but, at least I can be satisfied with the fact that we worked hard...I am so grateful for my wonderful family, and I love you all very, very much. I hope you have a great week."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Part Three: Summary Thoughts

It has been a long day today but I have a few thoughts I want to write before I go to bed.

Our Sunday School lesson today was about the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son from the book of Luke in the New Testament. I was thinking about the excellent discussion we had about these parables as we went into Sacrament Meeting after Sunday School. I started to think about the value of finding lost things. Then I remembered how I thought Ian was lost once. He was somewhere between 8-10 years old I think. It was summertime and it was at night. Ian was nowhere to be found. I was unaware that he went somewhere with the neighbors. He was fine the whole time and he returned safely. I'm not sure how I didn't know about this, it must have been a miscommunication of some sort. When I realized he was gone and after I had scoured the neighborhood looking for him, I did what most people would have done-I called the police. I remember being quite upset as I called them. The person on the other end of the phone asked for identifying information and then asked me if Ian had any scars that might identify him. It took me a few seconds to think because I was upset and then I started to cry. I told them he had a very large scar on his left arm from the skin graft surgery. As I told this to the person asking me the question, a peace came over me. If something was really wrong I thought, I knew that Ian could be easily identified by his scar. The scar went the length of the left arm from the shoulder to the wrist. I knew in that moment that one way or another, Ian would be found and knowing he had that identifying scar somehow gave me comfort. He came home shortly after that and of course, all was well .

I thought about Ian's identifying scar during church today. Scars are usually ugly blights of some sort. Scars usually come because there has been some sort of accident, problem, or surgery. People usually try to cover them up, get them excised out, reduce their appearance with scar minimizing ointments, or other treatments but generally a scar is a reminder that there has been a problem.

As I thought about this, I thought about the scars I have had. I wasn't thinking about visible scars although I certainly have my share of those. Rather, I was thinking about my invisible scars known only to me and the Lord. Nobody makes it through life without a scar or two or in some cases, many scars of one kind or another. Emotional scars come because of some sort of trauma or problem. Sometimes we wear them on our sleeve for all to see but many times, we simply carry them around silently. They are known to the Lord however and really are our identifying scars. Just like I had peace that once I understood that Ian's very large identifying scar would be a help to the police and he would be OK; my personal scars are one of the ways the Lord identifies me and because of that, I too am OK and I will be OK. I hope that in most if not all cases, those scars had been the result of something that hurt me enough that they required healing. For the ultimate healing, I have turned to the Lord. He has healed me many times over. He knows my scars and I know He healed them. They are one very personal way I am known to the Lord.

Jesus had scars too. He had scars from wounds in his hands...scars from wounds in his feet...and a large scar from a wound in His side. He knows all about wounds and scars, broken hearts, physical and emotional pain, and certainly all about rejection. The scriptures tell us that when Christ comes again, He will stand on the Mount of Olives "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Zechariah 13:6 

Those are the deepest scars of all I suppose.

Christ understands the significance of wounds and scars. His scars however are there as peaceful reminders to us that no matter what, all will be OK in the end BECAUSE of his wounds and scars, the results of the manner in which He suffered for us.

Sometimes pain and hurt and scars are OK if they inevitably lead us to the Savior. 

"Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God." Doctrine and Covenants 45:52

I am grateful the Lord died for me and I'm sorry about His wounds and scars on my behalf. Just my Sunday thoughts for today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Part Two: The Surgery

I almost wish I hadn't started this story 
but because I did, I need to finish it.

The burn unit gave us strict instructions how to care for Ian's face, neck, and arms. This picture was taken within two weeks of the burn. We had to vigorously wash Ian's arm three times a day with a special antibacterial solution. This caused Ian an enormous amount of pain because we had to hold him down in the bathtub and scrub his wound a special way so it wouldn't get infected. It took two people to do it properly. He screamed and screamed and screamed every time we did it even though we gave him pain medication before the procedures. As soon as it was wrapped back up, he would be OK. This was extremely difficult for me to do because I knew I was causing him pain every time I washed his wounds. That was heart breaking for me and Ian had an extreme fear of any kind of pain for many, many years. He especially did not like doctors.

I was instructed to wash his face and neck and apply Bacitracin and keep Bacitracin applied to it so it wouldn't get infected. I received a book for a wedding gift called "Let's Have Healthy Children." That book was a great gift. There was one entire chapter on burns and Vitamin E treatment. I read that chapter long before Ian was burned but I never forgot it. Uncharacteristically for me, I did not follow doctor's orders. I only applied the Bacitracin for about a day. From then on, I slathered Ian's face and neck as often as I could with Vitamin E oil. That stuff was amazing. Really and truly, it worked. His face and neck began to improve immediately and the effects of the Vitamin E oil was worth defying the doctor's order.

The burn unit doctors were very concerned about the burns on Ian's arms however. They were deep second degree burns and they said he might have to have skin graft surgery. We hauled Ian to the hospital every other day for two weeks. They debrided his wounds and checked the progress every time. This was an awful time for Ian and an awful time for me. The stress of not knowing if he would have surgery or not and the daily cleansing/scrubbing of the wound were a nightmare for all. After seventeen long days, they decided that Ian needed the skin graft surgery. Thus began the new nightmare.
Ian had the surgery and was in the burn unit for five days.
He was not a happy camper and it was very hard on me.
This normally happy toddler was 
not much into smiling anymore. 
The red port on the far right was for the administration
of antibiotics directly to the skin graft.
In this picture, Ian had an IV in the right arm tied to a board and his left arm immobilized on the other side where the skin graft was. They took the skin graft from his bottom on the left side. The first pass they took was too small so they had to make a new second pass to get enough skin. His arm was then covered with the new skin but his bottom became as if it was a brand new burn. It had to be treated the same way as the arm did prior to the surgery.

Three times a day for two more weeks we had to put him in the tub and cleanse his bottom wound the same way we had to cleanse his arm wound prior to the surgery. Two more weeks of intensive screaming. God bless that child.

Finally, finally, finally we could stop the cleansings after about 33 days total. Ian had to wear a special tight burn stocking on his arm and leg for about 2 1/2 more years so the skin grafts and skin graft site would heal well and lay flat.

He never liked having to have the stockings
put on but they were part of life.
This isn't a great picture but it shows that the burn and skin graft went from the top of the left arm to the elbow with about an inch at the bend of the elbow not affected and then from the top of the lower arm to the wrist. As he grew bigger, the spaces between the areas lengthened. Those areas always tan really darkly compared to the other parts of his arm. I'm sure he's somewhere in Brazil telling stories about those skin grafts. 
 As bad as everything was, life went on. 
I love this picture of Ian here smiling and laughing. 
We all adjusted, but I never forgot.
This is a picture of Ian's third birthday. 
His face had healed beautifully as well as his neck.
I have been forever grateful that he
didn't need skin grafts to his face or neck.
He has a beautiful face.
The Vitamin E was extremely effective.
And he grew into a very, very handsome young man 
with a very handsome face. 
This was his senior high school picture.
And somewhere in Brazil is this very good looking missionary.

When we left the burn unit for the last time after about 2 1/2 years of treatment, I told Dr. Morris that if he ever saw me walk in the burn unit again that he should shoot me on the spot. That was a very, very hard time for me. I learned a great deal of things I never wanted to learn. I learned you can't let a toddler out of your sight. I always put pots on the back burners from then on out and always with the handles facing to the back. I was told that you have 30 seconds to make a difference in a burn, that's all. Those 30 seconds have to be used to the best of one's ability. 

When Ian had his surgery, he was in the hospital for five days. I stayed with him but asked for no visitors. The guilt I had over his burn and not protecting him well enough consumed me. I didn't want to talk to anyone. The Sunday morning I was there, I went to the chapel for an LDS service. I was so depressed, it was really tough. The speaker that morning talked about the card game UNO. He said that sometimes when bad things happened, it was like a game of UNO. He said, "You have to play the hand you were dealt, you can't give the cards back." I have never forgotten that. I had wished Ian was never burned. I had wished I had gotten to him sooner. I had wished a hundred different things, but that speaker helped me. From that moment on, I knew I could not "undo" the burn. I had to live with it. Ian had to live with it for the rest of his life. I had to play the hand I was dealt on poor Ian's behalf and learn from it and learn to forgive myself.

The Lord helped me through that time. I learned that He loves mothers very much. I was grateful for priesthood blessings and kind people who helped me. I was and am grateful to a good husband who was a great strength to me during that time. And I am grateful that this wonderful son has healed. He didn't heal the way I thought he would or the way I wanted him to, but he healed and is well and is happy and always, always has my heart.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This One Is A Hard One To Blog About

When Ian was 15 months old, he was burned pretty badly. It was one of the toughest times for me in my life. Granted, there have been even tougher times believe it or not, but this one was a heart breaker. For Ian, it was a nightmare that seemed to never end.

One Monday afternoon I was in the kitchen putting some food scraps down the garbage disposal. I was cooking spaghetti sauce on the stove. Ian grabbed a ladle and started banging on the pot on the stove. Before you knew it he had caught the ladle on the edge of the pot and tipped the sauce pot over on top of him.

The boiling spaghetti sauce spilled on him.
Boiling spaghetti sauce.

I rushed him to the sink and rinsed the sauce off his face as fast as I could. He was wearing a turtleneck and a sweater because it was October and it was cold. It was the week before Halloween I remember. I quickly pulled off his shirts because I could see that sauce had covered his left arm. I will never forget as long as I live how the skin from his left arm just fell onto the floor in a heap. It just melted off in one fell swoop.  Even worse than that was how I will never forget when the pain hit him. It took a few seconds and then he started to shake violently. His little left arm just shook and he screamed a scream that I can still hear. He kept on screaming and kept on screaming.

I put him in the tub right away and turned on the cold water to get cold water on his arm. There was much, much screaming from then on. I called Jim on the phone and told him we were headed to the ER. A neighbor quickly drove us to the children's hospital. The sauce lay on the kitchen floor in one place and Ian's skin in another.

Then began the hospital nightmare. A male nurse came in to the emergency room and started to peel off the remaining burned skin from Ian's face. He picked and peeled the skin off, one by one by one as Ian screamed. I looked at my baby's face being picked apart and couldn't believe what I was seeing. The children's hospital called the burn unit at the hospital right next door to the children's hospital. They had some sort of conference going on and it took them a long, long time to come get Ian, it seemed like 45 minutes to an hour I think. Meanwhile, the nurse just kept picking.

We all walked over to the other hospital via a tunnel with Ian crying and crying and crying and me relating to the doctor what had happened. It was a very long, very somber walk.

They admitted Ian to the burn unit of course and had to give him several shots of morphine on top of what he had already had to finally get his pain under control. That took almost a half an hour I think, maybe longer. Finally, he settled down and started to rest in the hospital crib. His little eyes were the eyes of a person very drugged out. He moved his head as if he was drunk, very slowly. I could see he had reached his limit of morphine. He finally succumbed to the effects of the morphine and fitfully fell asleep . That's when it hit me. I had done reasonably well until that time because of my nurse instincts but then I just sat there and wept and wept. This was my child. Dr. Morris came in to tell me it would be OK. He sat down by me and in the gentlest way possible looked me in the eyes said that Ian would be OK. The nurse in the ER told me "Ian would never remember, but I would never forget. "No truer words have ever been spoken.

That's all I can write today.
Too hard.
I'll try and finish tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Of My All Time Favorite Pictures

This is a picture of Elisa (L) and Sarah (R) walking and holding Seth's hands. It was taken on a beautiful early October morning in 1999. We had all just left the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. This picture was taken from the gate leading out of the grove on the path to the Joseph Smith farmhouse straight ahead. I love the way they are holding his hands. This picture has always represented the joy felt because of the sacred events which occurred in that grove in 1820.  I well remember what a wonderful time we had that morning collecting fall leaves for a Primary project. The air was crisp, the fall colors were beautiful and the grove itself was so lovely. "Oh how lovely was the morning" indeed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taking A Chance

Several months ago I mentioned that I had been considering whether or not to  pursue a masters degree in the health field. I had this question on my mind as a matter of prayer pondering it quite deeply one Sunday in January when I went to church . My stake president happened to be giving a talk on something quite good during one meeting but I suppose unknown to him, he would speak about something that was actually the answer to my prayer. I went home that day and pondered one significant phrase he said over and over again. It was as if that phrase was said just for me. It struck me with such force. By the end of that day, I decided not to pursue further schooling at this time. Rather, my mind took a 180 degree turn. I settled on a different course of action and I felt a great deal of peace about it.

For about fifteen years or so, I have said many times that I would write a book someday. I even have a piece of paper, albeit a rather tattered piece of paper,  where I have written down the titles to six different books over the years. I always felt in my heart that I would write a book someday and so I kept a list of titles that just somehow struck me. How does one explain that? It's hard to explain except that it has been in my heart as a "someday" kind of thing.

I guess "someday" has come. I must have been thinking about it a lot after that experience in January because within two or three days, I woke up from sleep one morning with the first sentence of my book running clearly through my head. It was so clear as a matter of fact, that I got up right away and wrote it down. I also sat down and wrote the chapter headings for the ten chapters of the book. I have been working on this book ever since. I have written seven chapters so far. Chapter eight is the most significant chapter in the book and I have taken a few weeks to think about it. I might be ready to tackle it today.

What do I hope to do with this book? I don't think that's the question. I think the question is really, "Am I doing something I said I always wanted to do?" It has been an interesting experience in many ways. I am finding that I really enjoy writing. I also find that I really enjoy editing what I write and I think the editing process could be an endless task because there is always more to edit. I find that my mind gets lost in what I am writing and time passes differently somehow because I concentrate so much on what I am writing. I also find that wearing hearing aids is really a blessing in disguise. When I write, I have the luxury of taking them out and there are simply no distractions to bother me and I have the ability to concentrate completely.

I don't know when I'll finish this book. I have never done this before. I don't know what the process is once I am finished. I don't know if anyone will ever read it or if it will be published one day. I do know however that I am finding a great deal of joy and satisfaction in the process. I am learning a lot and my mind is challenged a lot and I am learning while I am writing. I am happy that I started something I always said I was going to do. "Someday" was just always out there "somewhere," and then "one day," I just started.

I have read a little bit from a few of the chapters to my husband. He has encouraged me to continue. I think he is as surprised as I am that it seems to be right and we have both felt good about it. The only other person I have told is Emma because she is an English major and I wanted her opinion. Many months ago, she jokingly encouraged me to write a book not knowing that that was something I might actually do one day.

I am not ready to share about the content of my book yet. I am a religious person, anybody that knows me knows that. I have always been spiritually minded. If you asked me what subject is closest to me heart, anyone who knows me would be able to tell you how deeply I value the things of God. I always have and this is now just an outcropping of that.

At first I said I would not tell anyone about this until I was done but that no longer seems relevant for some reason. So there, I just spilled the beans. Thoughts anyone?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weather Changes

So I find it interesting that Ian is beginning to experience the change into winter on his mission. I suspected it was getting cold by this point on his mission and so I asked him to comment on it. He said he's wearing his thermals when he sleeps and thought it was interesting that there was no heat where he was. I tried to tell him that before he left because my mission was the very same latitude as his was and I well remember how COLD we were in December and January. We had no heat where we lived and I remember being chilled to the bone sometimes without relief. I also remember that I had a cold that wouldn't go away and I asked the mission president to transfer me to somewhere warm so I could get well. I remember my companion and I taking turns standing in one spot of sunshine one day just to get a little warmth. The mission president granted my request in early February and sent me to the furthest southern point in the mission. It was wonderful and I remember I got well quickly. Seeing that it is only the equivalent of mid-November where Ian is now, I suspect we will be hearing tales of much colder experiences. That makes me a little sad for him but next summer he'll be telling us how hot he is again.

"Dearest Family,                                                                                                                                                   
It has been a good week, rather uneventful but it has gone by very fast. We were supposed to have interviews with president this week but when we all showed up in the chapel in the center, we found out that president got in a car crash on the highway and so interviews were canceled (president is fine). I don’t know why, but this kind of thing seems rather common on the mission, something always happens last minute and everything gets changes. It is kind of annoying sometimes but at least it makes life interesting...To answer your question we are kind of entering into winter here. I say kind of, because we are starting to get some cold days. Like today. But we still have lots of hot days, they are not so, so hot, but they are still hot. Winter here it is a bit tough without a heater, I have taken to sleeping in my thermals on the cold nights, it is quite nice...Well, I think for just about the first time of my mission, I ran out of things to say before my time ran out! I bear you all my testimony that the Church is true, I am so grateful for the influence that the church and the gospel of Christ has had in my life and in our family, I know that we would be very different with out the blessings of the gospel. I know that Heavenly Father loves his children very much. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I am so grateful to live in a time when we have the fullness of the gospel of Christ on the earth. I know that we have a living prophet. I know that the gospel was restored though Joseph Smith, that he was a true prophet, and I testify that the book of Mormon is true, it will bless our lives. I love you all and I hope that you have a great week and enjoy the sun!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Sappiness

Jim and I went to a concert the other night at church. It was quite good because there was a lot of variety. A female opera singer sang "Widmung" by Robert Schumann which he wrote as a wedding gift to his wife. She sang it in German but the English translation was printed for us to read along as she sang. It was quite beautiful and very tender. This is what was written:

"You my soul, you my heart
you my joy, you my grief,
you my world, in which I live
My heaven you, into which I soar;
O you my grave in which
I bury forever my sorrows.
You are rest, you are consolation;
you are heaven given to me;
that you love me makes me worthy in my eyes
Your glance transfigures me in my own sight;
you raise me lovingly above myself,
My guardian spirit, my better self!

That is what marriage is supposed to be.

The words that stick out to me are; "my joy, my world, [my]rest, [my]consolation, [my]heaven, my guardian spirit."

I have been blessed with such a man. I cannot possibly say enough good things about him.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baptism, Babies, And A Driving Lesson

Jim and I had the wonderful privilege 
of attending our neighbor's baptism this morning.
We have known this sweet girl since she was about two.
Jim is her Bishop 
and she asked me to speak 
at her service. She is a delight.
Then I babysat Nathan all afternoon.
He might look like a mess to everyone else but
this was his first taste of my
spaghetti and meatballs.
That's a face only a grandmother can love.

Then Seth and I went driving up to Park City. He's had his permit for almost a year. We have never been able to get his 40 hours of driving in but we're on the home stretch now and he's almost there. He's doing OK but sometimes his mind wanders. I'm almost done with the driving lessons for my kids...thank goodness! I don't think I could take anymore. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Temple Square Panoramas

I found these two panoramas of spring shots on Temple Square on the internet. They are pretty cool and quite amazing. You click and drag on them and it's like being there. I love the pictures of the tulips.



This is the home site for these panoramas:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hospital Fire

Maybe it's time I write this one down too.

I used to work the evening shift when I worked as an R.N. in Connecticut ages and ages ago. That was a great shift to work. Work started at 3:00 and ended at 11:30. I picked that shift because that way I never had to miss church on a Sunday. It made for long Sundays when I did have to work, but it was a great way to make sure I didn't miss church.

One evening, I saw some wisps of what looked like smoke coming out along a ceiling tile right in front of the nurses station. I saw it in more than one place. I called the maintenance man who was well known to all the nurses right away to have him come take a look. He was a nice guy. He came right up to the third floor where I worked. The hospital was a community hospital and there were only three floors. He looked at it and said not to worry that it was "just a ballast" than had gone out. Being the trusting soul that I am (or was), I said "fine," and went about my work.

It wasn't too long after that, certainly within the half hour as I recall, that the blare of fire trucks were heard racing to the hospital. It wasn't just one fire truck mind you, but a whole slew of them. You guessed it, it sure wasn't a "ballast" as I had been told. It seems the unoccupied second floor directly beneath my floor was on fire. It was in the old obstetrics wing and the delivery room had somehow caught on fire. This was not a little fire, nope, this was a significant fire because it had gone on for sometime unnoticed because it was in an unoccupied wing.

I well remember how difficult it was to reassure the patients that the fire department told us that they would have it under control and that the patients were safe. I remember one man in particular who was obviously much smarter than I was who came out in the hall where I was and told me he was leaving because we were all in danger. Well being the good nurse that I was, I told him he couldn't leave. Now that was a dumb thing to say, really it was. What I should have said was, "You lead the way...I'm right behind you." But I must have looked somewhat authoritative or reassuring or calming or something in my nurses cap because I somehow convinced him to stay.

We were given frequent updates as we obviously needed to know what was happening for the safety of the patients. The firemen did a great job just as they promised us they would. They put the fire out and indeed, we were all safe. Safe... yes, calm, no... traumatized, definitely yes.

Quite a while passed and the nursing supervisor came up to our floor to report, especially to me because I was the first one to see the smoke. I can still see her face and her somewhat sooty nurses' cap. She had soot on her face and clothes and especially near her nose. She was a sight to behold. She and the maintenance man and I rehashed that story several times. The maintenance man kept saying how he was sure is was "just the ballast" and I kept saying, "you know, my Dad always told me that if you see smoke, there's always a fire." (My Dad was a volunteer fireman). The supervisor just wanted to relive the events leading to her "evening's excitement." We rehashed that story for days to come.

The maintenance man and I became good friends after that. He was an older man, probably in his 60's by then. He was good to me and I had no doubt that if I asked for anything, he would be right there.

I have never liked fires. I have experienced more than one frightening situation involving scary fires. That is the only time that the threat of harm was very real though. I just remember being grateful for all those firemen roaming the halls in their gear. They kept coming to check on us and reassure us. Brave, brave men for wimpy, wimpy people like me.

Moral of the story:

If you see smoke, it's no joke...
somewhere there's a fire. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Mother's Day Call

It is a wonderful thing that missionaries get to call home on Mother's Day and Christmas. It is good for the missionaries and it is so good for the family of missionaries. Mother's Day was a double delight yesterday because all my children came for lunch and were here for the phone call.
Ian was able to use Skype and 
we were THRILLED to SEE him!!
He looked amazingly well.
It was so much fun to talk to him.
And to be so easily connected.
He was so happy to see Nathan
who has grown so much since he left.
And to get advice...
Ian values Gregory's advice so much.
He got to see and talk to his other (new) brother-in-law.
We just all couldn't get enough.
I was touched as he talked about how
he spoke in church yesterday
about almost the same thing I spoke about.
He spoke to everyone individually
which was very nice.
It was just a great day.
 A great, great day.
Happy Mother's Day to me. :)

This was from his e-mail this morning...

"Dear Family,

This email will be extremely short as I only have about 10 minutes left, but I don’t feel too bad seeing that I got to talk to you all yesterday. It was truly wonderful to be able to see you all and talk to you all; I liked the pictures from the chat that you sent me. I felt that even though we had less time, it was more satisfactory being able to see you all. I made a short video and sent it to you all, it doesn’t say much but now I know what kind of videos I can make and send to you all, and if needs be I can just make two or three....I love you I hope you have a great week...."