Friday, September 3, 2010

Is it Magic?

So many months have passed and I wish that I could say that I had accomplished something wonderful and that I had experienced all kinds of magical things...and in a way we did.

We all finished our semesters and it was magical that I passed statistics and then everything else I had to do when that was done.

We have actually had 2 summer vacations, the first in June to Disneyland with Kate, Cam, Rick & Sarah and Jakie and Ricky. Disneyland was fun and it was fun to see the excitement and wonder on the faces of two beautiful little boys...the meltdowns weren't so fun, but they are a part of what happens when you just have too much fun! It was good to see Jakie as always and get to know Ricky a little more. Of course we loved to be with Rick and Sarah as well. It seems so long ago that they lived just around the corner and we saw them every day.

Ricky had his first birthday while we were there. We found a large cupcake that ended up being what he got to eat all by himself. We didn't have the usual high-chair to keep him in one he squished it with his hands and between his toes...but most of all he was mad because he couldn't eat the frosting that was on his feet, on his hands and a good dose of it on his tummy...I do believe that some made it into his tummy...not sure how much. It was a great time! I always have to shed some tears when we say so-long, because it is soooo long before we get to see them all again.

Because I had to eat up some vacation hours, for the second vacation, Kate and I went out to Pittsburg in August (while Cam went to Havasupai w/friends). We overlapped a little d/t Katie's school and my work schedules, but we each got to spend about 5 days there. We had some strange travel itineraries, but we made it without incident and survived the long lay-overs and delays. Katie brought Jake his really fun back pack for his first school year (A ninja turtle looks like the real deal and the green looks great with his cute red hair) and we took him school shopping for everything he needed to put in it. He was just sure he needed a lunch box...he was pushing for staying at school for he has a lunch box, but probably will not be using it at school until next year. Rick took a couple of days off and we traveled north to Erie to see the lake's so big you think you're at the ocean...if there had been waves crashing the beach, we couldn't have differentiated. It was a pretty drive!

Another day we traveled over to Kirtland...the back way, starting at the John Johnson again was beautiful as we traveled through the rolling was a reverent place to be. By the time we got home though, the kids had had it with riding restrained in the car. Little Ricky was to the point of hysteria...he protected his car-seat space and didn't want anyone to "cross the line"...he was much happier to run around and play ball in the house....ahhh the simple things. When Grandpa came, he never worried about where to go or what to do to be entertained, Jakie was enough for him.

We have all passed the year marking the time when Dad moved on to something better. There have been ups and downs...but most of all there has been a peace in knowing that he lives., he loves us and worries of the world are not a worry to him any longer. If there is worry there, it is spent on us and what we are doing and how well we are doing it. If there is food there, he is cooking up a storm!!!!

Someone told me that the second year is harder than the first...I am beginning to see that. The first weeks and months are spent in there are specifics that I see where I am actually without my counselor, cheerleader and friend...I never was good at being my own cheerleader. And, in fact, all the things that I was never very good at are painfully clear now. Somehow they didn't magically get better in the process.

But there is magic in the way that I watch my family grow and mature. Some of it is painful to watch, and I want to push the magic button and save them, but it is all a part of their growth and experience and the bigger-than-life plan. Even though the mother in me wants to make it all better, I can't. I just hope to be there to guide a little and help where I can.

Now we need the magic of success in school, in work, in testimony building and in finding our life's path and staying the course....that's not magic, it's the test!.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time flies on wings of lightening!

It has been two months since I have written and oh have we all been busy. Busy with school, busy with work and busy with the business of life. It is interesting to have three college students in the house, with three very different styles of learning. One or the other is not wrong, but very different. We keep hoping that the efforts we put into our school work will merit us something good in the end. We are now on the downhill slope of the semester, with many things due and a lot of work yet to be is a bit scary, gut-wrenching to be exactly honest. Best of luck to us all. We miss our great advisor and editor so much!

We have also all had work challenges, difficult days with lots of chaos, but somehow we make it through and make it back home at night to find the things here that need attention. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, running the dog....doing the all adds up to a long day at times. But, we are glad to be busy...we might catch an episode of "Bones" from time to time...our new past time. We haven't had the time to spend on "American Idol" this year...again our musician expert is listening to something much better.

Often I think about what and who we are missing and try to fill in the spaces with other things, but the fact remains that we are all a bit lost at sea. Our rudder has taken a leave of absence. Now we need to pull together and not only remain strong, but grow by overcoming obstacles that lay in our path almost daily. We all handle these feelings and missings differently and our peaks and valleys come at different times, but we hope that we can come out with something good in the end. Now I am in that stage of feeling that it is unbelievable that I am here, doing what I am doing by true other half gone for a time. I heard someone say that they were a little awestruck with the concept of eternity, and almost a little frightened about what that must be like. That comes from our earthly eyes and intellect. We can't see eternity, but there are ways that we can feel it. I am clearly hoping that I can live in such a way to improve myself consistently, fitting a little glimpse of eternity all in my days. By so doing, we can come out with something good in the end....Because, in the end, we cannot call life back!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Year

What happened to December? The last of the year is gone, Christmas came and went, a visit w/Rick's family in Pittsburgh has come and gone, a new semester has started for everyone in this house and life is busy.

With everyone's warning we approached the Holidays with a little trepidation; wondering how we would fare without our Dad. My new realization for this month was understanding more fully how quietly he went about supporting me and helping me to get to all the things I needed to and helping out with the small stuff....I didn't sweat the small stuff because of Rick's care and keeping of his wife. Now, just having to remember to do all the small stuff is enough to make me a little nuts with trying to keep all the balls in the air, and air in my balloon.

We tried to do most of our traditions during the holidays, although somewhat altered...our Chinese dinner ended up on New Year's Eve in Pittsburgh after I tried to burn up Rick's kitchen when a pyrex pan exploded and started a "butter fire" Ask Rick which direction you point a fire extinguisher and then ask me about pyrex on the top of the stove....a comedy of errors.

So we started our new year traveling home...and again, we appreciated home, the wide expanse of our valley, the majesty of our mountains and our secure home. Blessings we often take for granted as we see and experience them all every day.

Sometime early in the Fall, I attended a conference where participants were encouraged to write 5 Life's Goals...not exactly a "bucket list" but attributes we always want to have. I started to write those things a few months ago...but didn't finish. It is now my goal to make sure that I get them recorded, although I believe that one of them will be to ALWAYS look for the blessings sent to me through the people who pass through my life and then to be a blessing to someone else as I pass through theirs.

So as I start another year of "firsts"....I continue to be grateful for the love offered to me and to my family in so many ways and I am committed to help make a difference for others this year and to improve myself by determining what my 5 Life's Goals should certainly be...what are yours?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving and gone so quickly, but I find that there are still many things to be thankful and even better, grateful for.

In the last few weeks we have had Rick(y)'s, Katie's and Cam's birthdays, remembered Rick's birthday, remembered my parent's birthdays, remembered the passing of my Mom and Rick's Dad and had Thanksgiving. All of which keeps us focused on family and the gratitude we all have for each other.

We are missing a major part of our family this year with Rick's passing...oh how we all miss him. I am glad that we feel at ease enough in our home and association with family to be open with all the things we remember and associate him with in our every day activities. It keeps him close to us and appreciating all of his great characteristics. Sometimes it makes me feel pretty small in comparison and hoping that I can in some small way and some day, measure up.

We are grateful for those who spent their lives leading, guiding and supporting us through all of our life's experiences. Our parents. What an indelible impression they have left on us. Our children revere their grandparents as great and have a deep abiding love for each of them that they knew and are looking forward to a day when they meet those we speak of that went on before.

We are grateful for the abilities we have to provide for ourselves and to find enjoyment in the things we do. I am grateful for children who are goal-oriented, who want to serve and to make a difference in the world.

I am grateful for children who love me, through my imperfections and are patient with my learning, as I move into a different phase of my life. I am grateful for grandchildren who love me no matter what and are sensitive to the need for "I love you's" and give them freely.

I am grateful for friends, co-workers and family who sincerely care and on whom I could call if there is a need to do so.

I am eternally grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for His atonement, which I have learned first hand, is for us all. I heard someone talking of a book regarding the every day application of the atonement and how it had made them see that the atonement is more than a pathway to repentance.....I thought to myself that I was happy that they had found that knowledge, but I bore testimony to myself that I had felt it, and although it was a difficult set of experiences that brought me to that point, that feeling of a loving brother...caring enough about all of us, to atone for us, to experience all in our a gift beyond words on a page. Gratitude seems not enough to in any way repay that gift.

It is fitting that Thanksgiving precedes the celebration of the birth of our is a time to reflect upon those things that are most important. Our gratitude is strong as a family for this influence in our lives. As we reflect on our blessings, we hope to keep remembering and have a spirit about us of Thanksgiving...and GRATITUDE.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gifts of Joy

It has been a most beautiful fall season. There have been some surprises that are not often seen. I have been entertained by nature, which in turn has made me more aware and appreciative of the gifts of God.

One evening about a month ago, I was leaving work after a rainy day. It had been a little dark and a lot wet all day. As I was walking to my car, I looked to the east at the mountains and saw a most brilliant rainbow, then as I watched it, it became even more bright and clear and then a second rainbow arched above the first. It's span was the "Y" mountain and it seemed to begin and end in the foothills of that mountain range that frames our valley, our home.

Several evenings as I have rounded the top of the hill to enter Grand Avenue and as I look to the west over the edge of the hill to catch a view of the lake with the evening sun resting on it....there have been some incredible sunsets. Just Friday, the sky had been dark off and on all day. The sky had opened exposing some sun and patches of blue sky and some increased warmth. As I made that same turn at the top of the hill...I looked out to a heavy dark cloud that weighed heavy across the entire western horizon...leaving enough sky to see orange light reflecting off the lake and about a quarter of the way up in the picture of my sky. Very different with great contrast.

Making that same turn as I go down the hill, I can look out over Provo and see the colors of the changing foliage, golden mostly, contrasted with green and a little red. Always a few sunflowers along the side of the road trying valiantly to survive early frosts to dance again for one more day. I always hope for an extension of is a balm to my soul. Katie asked me the other day if I had noticed an increase in these beautiful "gifts"...and I have. I think she was asking if Dad was "painting us a rainbow..." I hope so, because...I like to think that he knows what we need and can deliver a little joy in the journey....helping us to learn to dance again.

Switching scenes, another view I had this weekend was that of a Grandfather, sitting in his lawn chair, right in the middle of the lawn, with a patch of sun warming he and his 3-4 year old grandson who was running and playing in the yard. I saw the sun glint off the silver of the grandfather's hair to catch my attention to the moment when the child, pausing from his running and playing to stop at the side of his Grandfather and give him a huge hug! So much expressed in such a few seconds. Another gift that was bittersweet as I thought of Jakie hugging his beloved Grandpa and the wonderful bond that existed there. I hope Ricky and the other grandchildren to follow can understand how very much they are loved by this same Grandpa that Jakie loved so fiercely. I hope those to come will have been loved before and sent on their way knowing that feeling.....and remember.

So for me, I have learned that there are gifts such as these to add richness to our lives and joy to our journey, ....if we are watching...
Sometimes, if we are too busy or have too many worries that cloud our view...we'll miss them and then they may be lost to us. I am trying to adjust my view to include recognition of these and other gifts of the spirit, they are priceless and the giver is one who cares to assure us with experiences that allow that joy to be had as we travel along the course of our day to day lives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flu Season....

It is interesting how one views the world when thinking about the flu pandemic. Hand hygiene becomes more and more wellness is a top priority. Jake and Sarah and Rick have all been sick...I worry, they are in the high risk age group for H1N1 I at least tell them they should have shots and be careful around illness.

Then Rick called yesterday and the usual lusty voice of little Ricky was raspy and hoarse...and a bit wheezy. It made me worry all night and day...he has croup, but still I worry that he does not have an underlying flu or any other deep respiratory illness. I feel pretty helpless trying to give asked for advice from clear across the country. They are out of my reach and my ability to help.

So I try to focus on the things I can control, but still there are many things that I can't....above and beyond the flu. The precariousness of humans vs flu reminds me we are vulnerable to many things in this world, many of which are not in our I'll wash my hands, try not to touch my face, cough into my sleeve; try to keep all the surfaces clean temporally and spiritually and hopefully keep myself and my family away from the temporal and spiritual pandemic.

Our prayers go out to all our friends and family...stay well everyone and get better little Ricky!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Replaying the pictures in my mind....

Over many days that have turned into weeks, I keep playing pictures of Rick over and over in my mind. Days where there has been much sunshine and happiness and some where were have experienced emotional storms keep playing and replaying in my mind as if to change something that will help me understand the emotions that churn inside me and in our family.

Some that seem to stick:

When Rick and Jakie said good-bye to their Dad and wonderful Grandpa several weeks before we too said goodbye.

Rick's visits with his friends and neighbors over the last few weeks of his life, giving an experience not to be forgotten.

Family gatherings where the brothers talk for hours

Brothers and sisters at his bedside

Visiting with the young men who came as priesthood holders to bless the sacrament for him, he still taught them with his love and gratitude for them, as he had done in previous years.

The helplessness on all of our faces as we faced the reality of our place, as Rick progressed.

His strength in passing along his message to ward members on Easter Sunday...the atonement being a major theme, as it always found its way to his lessons, his gentle testimony shining through.

Jakie's innocent acceptance that Grandpa is now living with Heavenly Father...but he slips from time to time and wants to talk to Grandpa on the phone....I am sure Grandpa would love to talk to him.

The look on Rick's face when he heard the voices of Jake, Rick and Sarah for the last time...softening with his love for them.

Sitting in the recliner with Jake reading Orange Monster or If I Obey....

Playing Cub Scouts with Jakie

Pensiveness as he realized that time was getting short.

Final Priesthood blessings

And, although I was not there, in my mind's eye I see him standing in the Kirtland temple singing "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning..."

Or enjoying peaceful music as he looked toward heaven, maybe there was more to see and hear for him.

Or telling me, from his vantage point, that my face looked pretty today...

Teasing one of the little great nephews/nieces or checking in with their mom or dad..caring and loving.

And the list goes on and on and on....may the memory always be sweet and clear and comforting.

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