Friday, August 31, 2012

Bird Paradise

One of my favorite summertime activities is watching the birds in our backyard.  I love to fill my bird feeders and watch as so many different varieties swoop in for dinner.  It's like they have a communication line because as soon as they have been filled the birds seem to fly in from all directions.  I have several placed in different areas and they can empty them in just a matter of a few days.  This year I have even attracted many hummingbirds.  If I sit quietly on my deck they will flit around closely and be totally content with eating and playing while I enjoy them.
 I have been criticized by some by the quality of bird food I choose, but I certainly have no problem attracting birds.  These birds have expert taste and they want the best.  I am willing to oblige them as payment for the enjoyment they bring to my day.

My children keep wishing we would move out to the farm and be closer to the horses.  I don't know if I could leave my birds.   So for now, I will take a few minutes out of each day to relax and enjoy nature in my very own private bird refuge.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Graduation That Didn't Happen

A year ago as I was contemplating starting this blog I had the vision that I could share some thoughts that would help other mothers of wayward children realize that they were not in this battle alone.  As the blog has evolved it really has taken on another  role which I believe is where it should of gone at the time.  There are days that I have felt truly inspired to write about our struggles with addictions and blatant disregard for our values that we have taught in our home, and I have had comments that they have been helpful to some for which I am truly grateful.  Today I feel inspired once again to share a part of our story.
Yesterday our son was re-incarcerated.  The ironic thing about this was that we had gathered as a family at the courthouse because he was supposed to be graduating from his program.  This was a big day for him.  Because of supposed good behavior he would no longer be on probation, no more mandatory drug tests or counseling sessions.  He could have the opportunity to have his felonies dropped to misdemeanors and be able to start with a fairly clean slate.  It sounds great, but deep down we knew he was not ready for this lack of accountability.  I wondered about the stupidity( sorry for the blatantness) of the judge, parol officer and his counselor that they believed that he was clean and ready to be set free.  His stories about what he was doing with his time and money were just not making any sense.  He was coughing and hoarse which is a sure sign of spice use, but they just kept telling him he was ready to graduate.  I realize it is easier just to get them out of the system than to deal with them and he does have a gift for manipulation.
We tried to be so thrilled for him as he prepared for graduation.  Jeff took him shopping the night before to buy new clothes for this important occasion and we planned a family dinner after to celebrate.  I even thought to take his picture before we went in the courthouse, just in case he wasn't with us when we came out of the courthouse.

He is such a cute kid and has such a great heart when he is thinking clearly.  He had made so much progress this time in his life.  He really tried at times to be kind and helpful at home.  It just wasn't enough though.  For some reason, he can't let go of those friends that bring him down to their level, that influence him to participate in destructive behaviors.  He had attended our YSA ward frequently and those wonderful kids reached out to him, embraced and loved him, and invited him to activities.  They were totally non judgmental, but he just couldn't do it.  He returned again and again to those he felt most comfortable.
As we convened in the courtroom, Kevin spoke with his parole officer and came in and told us he would not be graduating that day.  He had tested positive for Spice.  It is such an ugly and destructive drug with long term destructive side effects and unfortunately because of the cost they do not test for it often.  They just do random testing and lucky for him they found out before he was let free.  I say lucky because now in jail it won't be available for him to ruin his life further.  He will be stopped for a short time from self destructing in the world.
We were relieved that he was caught.  It is easier to sleep at night knowing he is being controlled instead of out making foolish choices with his so called friends.  We feel we made some great progress this time with him.  Jeff had spent hours and hours of time mentoring him at work and providing every opportunity for him to succeed.  Kevin will remember that.  We do love that boy so deeply and want the best for him, but for now he is where he needs to be.
Though I always knew he was participating in these destructive behaviors, deep down in a mother's heart there is always that tiny place that hopes she is wrong.  I hoped I was just panicking because of past experiences, not wanting to get too excited that he was doing well.  I wanted so much to believe in him.  So yes it hurt yesterday, it hurt deeply that I was right.  I wanted to be wrong.  I wanted to know that he was doing great and life was going to be easier and better for him.  My heart breaks when I think of all the joy and happiness he has missed in his life because of his poor choices.
Maybe this time as he has lots of time to  ponder and think about his life, he will have the desire and strength to turn it around.  I know that without the help of his Savior it is impossible to do.  The atonement is real and all encompassing.  It is big enough for Kevin,  it is big enough for all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weber Wildcat!!

On Monday morning Jessi went kicking and screaming to Weber State.  She was so adamant that she had no desire to grow up and she just wasn't going to do it!!
Luckily a few hours later when she returned home she realized that it wasn't as terrifying as she had imagined, she didn't get kidnapped by some evil person on campus and Yes this could be a fun and even enjoyable experience.  Maybe growing up isn't so bad after all.
What a beautiful Freshman from Weber State  
We have been overwhelmed with the concern and prayers that have been offered in Jessi's behalf.  Just a little update.  She has finished her antibiotics and is feeling better than she has in a very long time, but she is still a ways from cured.  She is scheduled to go in for some follow up lab work to see if the C. Diff has been killed!!  Thank you to all who have inquired about her health.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Over

Yesterday was the end of a legacy in our lives.  Jeff was released as Bishop of the Farmington YSA Ward.  He has served for 4 years with the young adults.  He was a counselor in a Bishopric for almost a year and a Bishop for three years.  His tenure is unique as a Bishop though because he has served in 3 totally different wards.  Two of the wards were at the University of Utah and his last one was in Farmington.
Because of the vastness of his service we have been acquainted with hundreds and hundreds of Young Adults and we love each and every one of them.  I can't even begin to put words to how they have blessed and enriched our lives.  They have opened their hearts and lives to us.  We have been embraced as friends, respected as leaders, and they have mentored Jessi with all of their hearts.  We will be eternally grateful for each minute we were able to spend with them.
As we were at Wicked a couple of weeks ago Jeff mentioned that a particular song in the musical reminded him of his (and I will add my) relationship with these awesome people.  Here are some of the lyrics.

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made from what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good

We have certainly been "Changed for Good" because of those we love in these wards.

Our lives have also been blessed my the great men and their wives that have served in bishoprics with Jeff.  We have had four different ones and they each and every one have been incredible.
Jeff's first Bishopric where Jeff served as Counselor to Pepper Murray.  Kevin Peay is the other counselor.

 Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of Jeff's Bishopric from his first ward as Bishop so we are missing a picture of Rock Winegar and Eric Lindsey, who served faithfully commuting from Kamas.
Jeff with Rock Winegar and Bart Hill--Bishopric # 2
Jeff with Bart Hill and Randy Rigby--Bishopric #3

The journey over the last few years has been heartbreaking as we have wept with some and awe inspiring as we have rejoiced with many.  Jeff has been MIA in many family activities and trials, but I wouldn't trade one minute of the inconvenience in our lives for the numerous moments we have shared with these wonderful young adults.  We love them now and We will love them forever.  Our home and lives will always be open to welcome them in.  Please stay in touch.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

100% Cowboy

 Jeff just returned from 4 days of "TREK".  This is the 5th one our home stake has done and Jeff is one of four men who have been on all 5 of them so they insisted he come even though he is serving in the YSA Ward and we don't even attend our home stake.  He is a good Man.  He is so over worked and over booked as it is and he willingly and with a great attitude went to serve some more.  This year they called the support staff "Wranglers"  and that is what he truly is--a Wrangler.  100% Cowboy--That is my man.
Jeff loves pioneer legends and stories.  At times I think he believes he was born in the wrong century.  We have been to Martin's Cove numerous times with these youth Treks as well as Young Adult Conferences.  Jeff and Ty rode the 35 miles from the 6th crossing across Rocky Ridge into Rock Hollow on horse back before Ty left on his mission.  Jeff has ridden it on horse back another time since then.  It is truly sacred ground.  I missed this year as I was needed more at home than I was on the trail.
I think Jeff likes the old western clothes as much as he likes the experience.  Here he is showing off his new "Duds" for this years trek.

                                           Here he is on the day he returned.  Dirty, unshaven, exhausted, but pleased knowing his work was well done.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Plague of Addiction

"Addiction doesn't seem to care about socioeconomics, political persuasion, the religious or ungodly, whether you're rich or poor, famous or unknown, educated or illiterate, prince or pauper."
                       Vai Sikahema is the Sports Director and Anchor for NBC10 Philadelphia. He is a two-time All-Pro, two-time Emmy Award winner and was a member of BYU's 1984 National Championship team.

After reading this quote in an article recently and having lived with an addict for several years I'm once again astounded by the power of addiction.  There are so many in this world who fight addictions, some more obvious than others, but all as equally destructive.  The amazing aspect of addictions is it seems to be the only real thing that can take away someone's "Agency."  
I have had a long learning curve dealing with agency, but I'm beginning to understand more and more about it.  I always wanted to be able to pray and have the Lord make someone change their ways.  I had Faith and it seemed simple enough to me that after much fasting and prayer our righteous desires should be answered.   I have finally been taught that the Lord WILL NOT take away someone's agency.  He can provide experiences and we can pray that these experiences will cause someone to have a desire to change, but He will not make them change.  That was Satan's plan to force people to obey and that is not the Plan we voted for, fought for, and are living today.  
Isn't that interesting that Addictions can and will take away that Agency.  People lose the ability to choose when the addictions take over their lives.  Obviously this must be Satan's new plan since the last one failed.
The Lord will be there when addicts desire to change-- to support them and love them continually, but those afflicted have to be the one to ask for that help.  He loves them just as we love them and He is patiently waiting for them to turn to Him.  He is stronger than the addiction!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We Hate C. Diff

Jessi has had a rough, very rough week dealing with her C. Diff illness.  She has been battling this since last December and she has been so patient and enduring with it.  I'm impressed for anybody to handle it that well, but especially an 18 year old.  She deserves a "Gold Medal" for perseverance.
Unfortunately though this week it came back with a vengeance.  She has run a very high temp, which she has never had before, severe diarrhea, nausea and just total "Yuck."  After running lab tests at the hospital it was confirmed that yes the C. Diff was still there (which we all knew only the medical profession likes proof)  After conversing with an infectious disease doctor, her GI doctor told us that they are finding more and more that C. Diff is becoming resistant to antibiotics and since it has the potential to be fatal this is very disheartening news.  She has completed 4 rounds of antibiotics for this and it helps but it is never totally eradicated.  So there is one last antibiotic that they have not tried because it is extremely expensive, like $150.00 a pill expensive, but they informed us this is our last hope.  So we began that on Friday and we are praying diligently that this time it will totally destroy this bacteria.  We would love to have you join us by praying for her for the next 10 days to see if we can beat this because the next step necessary would be very unpleasant and we won't discuss it for now because we have faith that this medication will work.
Jessi has been on our couch for most of the week watching the Olympics, but on Friday she declared she was done with being confined to our house so she moved to the back deck where she set up her throne.  She pushed chairs together to make a bed, brought out my laptop to watch movies and found a small fan to keep the warm air moving.  She was quite comfortable and content for the day.  She is amazing to try to keep a smile on her face at all times.  We do love that girl!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Love My Man!!

Yesterday we celebrated Jeff's Birthday.  Oh how I love that man!!!!  What an incredible feeling it is to know that you are married to your soul mate and best friend.  We are so different yet our spirits seem to speak to each other and be eternally and completely connected.  In worldly ways we couldn't be more opposite.  We enjoy totally different activities, food and lifestyles.  It is a joke between us that if I really love some food or drink I can know that Jeff will hate it.  Yet there is no person on earth that I enjoy being with more.  We can sit together, visit and be perfectly content.  As we work hard to overcome differences, to learn about and enjoy each others passions, and strive to understand one another and compromise on our desires and dreams we are becoming ONE.
That is what marriage is all about---becoming ONE.  It's work, sometimes hard work, and it takes patience, lots of patience.  There are ups and downs and that is okay because it is a process of growing, growing together.  Becoming ONE takes time but oh how enjoyable is the journey!!
                                                                         100% Cowboy
                           Being an Incredible Good Sport in Europe.  (Not his favorite place to travel)
This is a terrible pic of me and the shadows are horrible, but Jeff is smiling which is rare in pictures.  
While looking for cute pictures of us together for this post I realized we need to do much better about getting some with both of us in it.  New Goal.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Very Large To-Do List

I've been inspired by one of my dear friends who is turning 25 this month.  (Most of my friends are under the age of 30)  She made a list of 25 things she wanted to do before she turned 25.  She shared it with me and it seemed like such fun that I wanted to do the same thing.  Since I just turned 55 I decided I could do "55 things I wanted to do while I was 55".
When I began making the list I had no idea how daunting coming up with 55 items could be.  Wow I must be old because 55 is a lot!!!  It has taken me a couple of weeks, but I finally finished the list and while I was making it I actually accomplished some that were at the beginning of my list.
I started with some I knew I was already planning to do such as visit North Dakota and Oregon because I definitely will be going to see grandkids during the year.
Every time I  had a thought pass through my mind like "I need new kitchen towels because these are so grungy" I would write on my list "Buy kitchen towels".
I am the greatest procrastinator in the world so I had lots of items like "Fill our 55 gallon water barrels"  I bought them for our storage 2 years ago and they are still empty.  Awesome, aren't I?  I have several of those type on my list.
Also, I recall as last summer drifted away feeling so sad that I hadn't even taken the time to get a shaved ice, ride my bike or go to a farmers market so those are on my agenda.
Things I know I should be doing but I'm not such as learning to Index or doing personal and family history are written down so I can be motivated to start.
Skills I've wanted to master such as learning to use our SLR camera and growing indoor plants have been added to my list.
What a great project this has become and I can already see some great personal growth that will be gained as I undertake this goal.  My family and I will all be blessed as I focus on the things that need to be done as well as those that I want to do.  I see the end result as a happier me and that always results in a happier family.  The old adage is true that the Mother Sets the Tone for the Family.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Today Matters

On Monday night we attended a Young Single Adult Stake Family Home Evening where a world renowned Inspirational Speaker, Dan Clark, gave a presentation.  (He said he didn't like being called a "Motivational Speaker" he wanted to be known as an "Inspirational Speaker")  Go here to see more. He was incredibly entertaining and easy to listen to and had some interesting thoughts that I have spent a great deal of time  pondering since then.  He really said nothing new or profound, but what he mentioned was what I needed to hear.
"Right now you are as old as you ever have been and you will never be as young again as you are right now.  Today matters."
Give it some time and think about it.  The longer I ponder it the more it means.  I realize I need to stop procrastinating, wasting time on things that don't matter and focus on those that do.  There are important things I need to accomplish today and every day, I just need to figure out what they are.  More importantly, I need to find out what the Lord wants me to do.
Another thought he shared:  "You would make a lousy someone else."
We all need to be the person the Lord created and use the talents and gifts that we have been blessed with and not try to replicate anyone else.