Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Flood

Last Tuesday when I returned home from Pilates I noticed that our sprinklers had turned off a half an hour early.  I wondered about it, I even called Jeff and asked him if he turned them off and he said no, then rationalizing that the timer must have changed I entered the house.  As I was busy getting ready to leave for a hair appointment I had the thought to go downstairs and check to see if I could find out what happened to the sprinklers.  Unfortunately I dismissed the idea a couple of times and left.
Fast forward about 5 hours.  I'm now at the grocery store shopping when I get a frantic phone call from Jessi telling me that she had walked down the steps and there was water every where.  As I quickly went to check out she called to inform me that she and Amy had called Jeff and they had got the water shut off.  I felt much better about the situation, not even beginning to understand the extent of the water in our home.
As soon as I arrived home I noticed Jessi running from one neighbor to the next to get help to get our belongings out of the basement.  That is when reality began to set in.  I carried in the groceries and walked down the stairs.  To my utter amazement the water covered my feet as I stepped off the landing.
The girls said that it had gone down drastically since the water had been turned off.
My dear sweet neighbors, the priest quorum from our ward, and many others just driving by stopped to help.  We totally removed everything from our basement.  Every couch, table, bed, book, blanket, junk and more junk was carried out.  It is remarkable the amount of STUFF we had in that basement.  The water had spread so completely that there was not a room, closet or corner that had not been soaked.
The disaster team was called and responded so quickly.  They began removing the water as we were still removing furniture and items from our house.  They worked for hours and hours ripping up carpet pad, base boards, and vacuuming up water.  They have been remarkable.  Each day they come back to destroy more of the house as they find more water damage.  They cut 24 inches high of sheetrock around  the bottom of all the outside walls and removed wet insulation.  Another day they came and removed built in cupboards because there was water under them that they could not reach.  It has been overwhelming, but how grateful I am that they are thorough.  They have had giant fans running non stop in our basement for one week now.  The rebuilding of our basement will take lots of time but the damage has now stopped.  We can finally move forward.
 Unfortunately I didn't think to take pics during the flood.  I would love to document the amount of water we had and the number of people who came to help.  I was totally humbled by the willingness of others and I need to repent of having bad feelings about returning to our family ward.  The Lord needed to remind my of what an incredible place we do live.
These pictures are of the fans in our basement.  This is after they had removed 18 of them.  Notice in this first picture that the sheetrock has been cut away.

 We had to store most of our belongings in the garage while they were working in the basement.  Trying to empty the rooms quickly didn't make for nice packing.  Things were thrown into what ever container we could find.  We look like "one of those people"  you know- those hoarders that people whisper about.  We try to keep the garage door closed as much as possible.

So many times since the flood I have regretted that I didn't listen to those promptings to go and check out the sprinklers and see what was going on with them.  It turned out that one of the valves burst which is why my sprinklers stopped and the water began running into our home.  It is so difficult for me to determine whether thoughts are of my own or of the spirit.  I sometimes feel like when I think it is the spirit telling me something it is not and at times like this that I think I am just coming up with a thought  and it is the spirit talking to me.  Will I ever get it right?
Here is a great article on learning to listen to the spirit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get Off the Railroad Tracks!!

Last Sunday during Relief Society the lesson was about staying on the Lord's Side.  The instructor had asked how we can help our children stay on the Lord's side.  One of the sister's in the room made the comment about a railroad track and if we saw one of our children playing on it we would ask them to get off.  It wouldn't be a choice, we should demand it and then they would do it.  Unfortunately this was made at a time that I was already on edge about being in that ward and the comment pushed me right over the edge.  I so wanted to raise my hand and comment on it, but I truly didn't want to offend her and I knew I would either start to raise my voice or cry or someway embarrass her and myself if I said something so I remained silent.  I'm sure when I was a mother of three young children I most likely thought the same way she did.
Needing to express my concerns about this comment, which I'm sure seemed totally benign to most people in the class I will write my comment here.
Unfortunately we are raising our families "Behind Enemy Lines" and some children have a desire to remain on the railroad tracks even though they recognize the danger of being there.  They can be threatened, physically removed,  punished, reasoned with and bribed, but they will continually return to the track and hold on tighter no matter what a parent or anyone else does.  If it were only as easy as insisting that they move off the track.
In our premortal life we fought hard for the gift of agency and sometimes as a parent I find myself hating it.  What were we thinking?  Knowing that the Lord won't take away our agency we sometimes have to resign ourselves as parents that our children have their right to agency, as difficult as that is.  It has never been described as "free agency" in the scriptures or by any of our modern day prophets.  It is not free and it's not ours to give or take away.  There are always consequences attached to the choices someone makes and unfortunately there are those who learn most from natural consequences as painful as they might be.
All of my study, counseling and prayer that I have participated in during the past few years has led me to one certain conclusion.  The best way to help our children stay on the Lord's side is to make sure that we ourselves are firmly planted there.  Example is a greater tool than all the teaching we can do.  I'm definately not saying that teaching isn't important, I know that children need to be taught and reminded daily of what is right.  I do know from experience that they are watching to see if we have daily family prayer, scripture reading and FHE.  If it is not a priority for us to do these things and to attend all of our church meetings and temple then it won't be a priority for them.
I do hope this dear sister's three boys always stay true to the gospel because the the heartbreak is almost unbearable when they choose to stray.  I do know that the answers aren't as easy and as clear cut as she believes them to be.  We, as I know many families have experienced, have our prodigal.  We love him dearly and pray daily for him, but the choice is now his.  We have taught him and warned him about the dangers of the railroad track to which he continually clings.   We have done all in our power to remove him, so now I will pray diligently for him and strive to be the greatest example of happiness so that he might realize that it is living the gospel principles that will make him happier than any other choice he can make.  I want him to have no doubt that I stand on the Lord's side.  The Lord and I both love him and always will.
I cherish a quote I read recently from Elder Boyd K Packer.  It gives me hope when a careless comment from others pierce my very soul.

It is a great challenge to raise a family in the darkening mists of our moral environment.
We emphasize that the greatest work you will do will be within the walls of your home (see Harold B. Lee, Ensign, July 1973, p. 98), and that “no other success can compensate for failure in the home” (David O. McKay,Improvement Era, June 1964, p. 445).
The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.
It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should

The rest of the article is great reading also. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

What A Week!!

Last week was one of those weeks that make you hold your breath and hold on for dear life, hoping you come out on top.   It began on Sunday when I bawled all afternoon because I missed the YSA Ward so much.  You would think it was me that had served as their Bishop instead of Jeff.  As I sat in our home ward I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to be surrounded by my young friends, who unconditionally loved and accepted me no matter what was happening in my life.  I do love them all.  I will blog more about them soon.
On Tuesday Jessi walked down into our basement after she returned home from school and our ENTIRE basement was covered in water.  This was a flood extraordinaire!!  More on that later.
I had squeezed in a trip to Oregon to see my grandkids and I was supposed to be leaving the next day.  I quickly texted them to tell them I would not be coming.  Later that night as we were still reeling from flood recovery Jeff insisted that I still go the next day.  I think his insistence on my leaving the disaster stemmed  somewhat from my emotional breakdown on Sunday.  Oh well.
After getting most things boxed up that were removed from our basement and the wet items drying, I boarded the airplane and headed to Oregon.  More on that later.
I hadn't been in Oregon 24 hours when Jeff called me to tell me that his mother's husband had passed away that morning.  I quickly changed my return flight, cutting my stay short, so that I could be home for the funeral.
Today was the funeral.  LaRae married Ed VandiVere two years after Jeff's dad passed away.  This man was a saint and heaven sent to our family.  LaRae was incredibly demanding on Jeff's time while her husband was sick and after he passed away.  Jeff is so great with her but the strain was incredible to meet her needs especially after being called as Bishop.  Just a couple of months after his call, LaRae met Ed at the assisted living center where they both lived.  They were soon married and he has been so good to her and taken such great care of her needs that it eased the burden on Jeff tremendously.  If it wouldn't of been for Ed he could of never spent the time serving that he did.
Interestingly, just weeks after Jeff was  released Ed was called home.  Jeff now has the time to care for his mother.  I truly believe that Ed was sent into her life so that Jeff could use his time with the Young Single Adults.
LaRae and Ed were at our home for Sunday Dinner two weeks ago when I mentioned to him that he got a lot more than he bargained for in this marriage.  He very lovingly replied that he enjoyed taking care of people and LaRae liked being taken care of so it worked out great for both of them.
Listening to his children speak at the funeral today I realized that is what he spent his life doing-- caring and loving other people.  He was certainly a man without guile.  His daughter mentioned that his life motto was "No Retaliations--Ever"  He lived that and because of it he was free to be happy to love and to serve.  What an incredible example he has been to my family and me and I hope to instill that motto in my life.  We would all be so much happier if we accepted and loved unconditionally and never held bad feelings for those who might offend us.
Ed,  Thank you for coming into our lives, for loving and accepting us despite all our shortcomings.  How thankful I am for the time and example you have shared with us.  Enjoy your reunion with your dear wife, Barbara.  We do love you and will miss you.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"I'm Back"

Just as I was starting to see results and even get comments about how good I was looking from my months of working out last year, I stopped!  I'm not sure why, summer became unmanageable for a while, and then unfortunately I just simply lost the desire to go to the gym.  I liked sleeping in and being lazy--it worked for me UNTIL we went to Hawaii and my swimming suit didn't fit like it had earlier in the summer, I felt "Frumpy" and "Old".  I'm out of shape and I don't like that feeling -----SO
                 This week I went back.   I just wanted to burst through the door of the gym and shout

                                                                     "I'M BACK!!!

Not that anyone else there really cared.  Thats not true -- In my pilates reformer class my teacher and a couple of ladies commented on how glad they were to see me there.  I was so glad to be back..
Pilates Reformer is amazing.   I swear it works every muscle in your entire body and after two sessions this week every muscle in my body is yelling at me!!  It will all be worth it when my energy returns and I start feeling alive again.

Here is a picture of the bed we each use in the class.  In the gym I go to there are 6 beds so it is never a large class.  It is a great workout and even though it costs extra to attend these classes I've decided it is cheaper than a rest home!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No More C-Diff!!!!!!

We finally got the results back from Jess's last labs and YES!!  The C-Diff is Gone.  Hallelujah!!  "The best news ever"---as Jessi would say.  They are going to do a short round of antibiotics just to make sure it is dead dead.  She also has to take Sacchramyces Boulardii, which is a healthy yeast, twice daily for a month to build up the good flora in her stomach and intestines.  The Dr. mentioned that she might have residual symptoms up to a year because she was so sick that it takes time for everything to totally heal.  The goal now is to rebuild her health.  Hopefully she is convinced to eat HEALTHY, exercise, and get lots of sleep.

Thanks to so many of you for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.  How fortunate we feel to have so many good friends and family members that care so much.  Our relationships are what we cherish.  We have a sign in our home that says  "The Most Important Things In Life Aren't Things"  Each one of you are the most important things in our lives.  Thanks again

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Who Am I Anyway?

During the past week I have had time I could spend studying without feeling guilty or thinking I should be doing something else.  Airplane rides, Beach time present the perfect opportunity.  It was wonderful.  I used those moments to read and study a new book just published titled "The Beginning of Better Days"  'Divine Instruction to Women for the Prophet Joseph Smith'   Go here to check it out.
It contains six sermons given by the Prophet Joseph to the Relief Society in 1842.  These are his inspired thoughts presented only to the women!!  They are awesome, but equally insightful are the personal memoirs of Sheri Dew and Virginia Pearce that are included in the book.  I have read and reread them many times in the past few days.
As I studied the book it was interesting to note that Sis. Pearce was struggling with the same two questions I have been asking myself continually for the past couple of years.  "Who am I anyway?"  I mean like who am I, myself, not just as my roles as wife, mother, grandmother and friend?  The second question is always forefront in my mind.  "What should I do with my life now?"  or I guess more appropriately worded  "What do You (Obviously meaning the Lord) want me to do"
I believe that all women, whether a Young Single Adult, a mother of young children, or an empty nester like I will soon be, ask these same questions.   I have been taught and I know it to be true that there is a mission that we all individually have been sent to earth to accomplish.  Have I done it?  Will I know when it is presented to me?  Will I be prepared and willing?
At times I don't even know who I am, I'm sure thankful the Lord does.  Even as a young adult I was criticized for changing personalities to fit whom I was dating.  Thank heavens that with Jeff I felt comfortable with the real me.  Now with years of life experiences, struggles, different types of friends and acquaintances, I wonder again;  "Who am I really?"
 I have made a concerted effort in the past few weeks to be true to me, my personality, and dress and act and spend my time doing what my inner soul and spirit admonishes me to be and do.  It has been an interesting journey and one that I hope will continue for quite a while.  I need to relearn Who I Really Am?
I love how the Prophet Joseph speaks about women's desire to serve, to be charitable.  About the privileges we receive as we worship in the temple.  He touches on the sacredness of the marriage covenant and the importance of the Priesthood.  As I continue to study his words, I want to know that I am living up to all that the Lord desires of me, that I am striving daily to keep my covenants.  I want to look in the mirror each morning and like what I see and know that I am trying to be ME the woman the Lord wants ME to be, living up to the privileges He has afforded ME and developing the gifts that I am blessed to possess.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inside a Cupboard

Who would of thought that opening a cupboard in someone's home to get a glass for a drink of water would reveal so much about their personality and identity?  Spending the last week in Uncle Rex's home in Kona was an eye opening experience.  This is an incredibly wonderful, generous man who is a true millionaire many times over.  He has supported all the missionaries from his ward in Hawaii, set up trust funds for the children of a family there who have befriended them.  I'm sure he has done the same for people who are in need in his home wards in Park City and Salt Lake.  The lists of his generosity are endless.  He is a true giver in every sense of the word.
On the day of our arrival I opened the door of his kitchen cupboard and this is what we found.
These were the cups that were there for us to use.  Not only are Rex and his wife not soda pop drinkers, I have never known them to go to McDonalds.  My bet is that they were purchased at a garage sale or somewhere similar.  Living in their home for a week, we noticed many extremely frugal purchases on necessities.  I LOVED it!!
No wonder my bank account doesn't look like theirs.  ( There really are many reasons, but this is a big one)  I need to learn from the Best!!!  What do your drinking glasses look like?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vacation vs Trip

On the final day of our get away Jeff looked at me and said:  "Thanks for taking me on vacation."  I was a bit puzzled by the comment since he isn't a fan of traveling, and I'm sure I looked a little confused so he continued:  "I really like vacations.  It's those trips you keep taking me on that I have a hard time with".
When we had several young children at home we defined a trip as going with children and a vacation was going away without children.  I have learned in the last couple of days that his definition of a vacation is even more refined.  A vacation is where we can totally relax, have absolutely No plans, and thoroughly enjoy being alone.  I'll take it.  I'll go on a vacation with him anytime.
We did a lot of this:

Looking at this:

Each night we would watch this:

 Every day at low tide we had a couple of turtles who came in to keep us company.

When we weren't at the pool or beach we were on the deck of our place and this was our view.

We did venture out one day fishing with Captain Bill.  Unfortunately the fish were not interested in taking our bait so it was uneventful but beautiful.
 Of course we ate well at various restaurants on the island.
It was a "Vacation" made in heaven.  We found out we are still attracted to each other, we can carry on a conversation that doesn't include children or the YSA ward, and we will both be excited to do it again.  I will always go on VACATION with Jeff and I know that occasionally he will go on a TRIP with me.  It doesn't get better than that!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Aloha Therapy

Despite the many differences that Jeff and I have we agree on one important thing and that is the ability we both have to live spontaneously.  It has served us well through out our marriage.  Our latest was a week and a half ago Jeff called and mentioned going to Hawaii and 6 days later we were sitting on an airplane headed to Kona, Hawaii.  I always tell everyone that I only need one hours notice to go any where and that is if I need to wash my underwear.  I keep my toiletries bag packed and ready, suitcases are in the basement, and my passport is in my file.  I am ready!!!
Yes we are spoiled, but this trip isn't as bad as it sounds.  Jeff's Uncle Rex (who has become a surrogate father and grandfather to our family) has a residence in Hawaii where he spends the winters.  He is always offering it to us to use anytime.  His car is available to drive and we had frequent flyer miles so we are here relaxing by the ocean and it really isn't anymore expensive than a trip to Park City.
Since we have been here many times neither of us have felt the need to do Kayak Tours, Whale Watching Expeditions, Snorkeling Excursions, or any of the varied activities offered.  This is a vacation of R&R.  We thought after our lives being so rushed and hectic for the past four years we ought to take some time to get reacquainted and literally relax, rest and unwind.  It has been awesome!!
We have spent hours at the beach reading our books with an occasional dip in the swimming pool.  We  meander upstairs for a quick nap and then leave for a while to get a bite to eat.  It is tough duty but someone has to do it.
Today our schedule varied a little as it was the Sabbath.  Sunday in Paradise--It doesn't get better than that.  Church in Hawaii is wonderful with their Aloha Spirit.  Not only do you get an Aloha Greeting at the beginning of the meeting, but today was Testimony Meeting so each person who stood to speak started with an "Aloha."  I love it!!!  After church we ventured out to do some exploring of the island and visit some areas that we have not seen before.  Great Day.
                                     Here we are overlooking the Pololu Valley.  The wind was fierce.