What A Year It’s Been!

With 2014 coming to a close, I feel like I need to take the time to express my gratitude for such an amazing year.  It’s been a year of MANY firsts for me and my family.  Not all of them necessarily pleasant, but the majority of them were wonderful.

Our first first of the year was finding out we were going to finally be grandparents!  Such exciting and thrilling news.  We have waited for so long to be able to claim that title…. we were thrilled!  In fact, I was so excited, I had to blog about it.

The next exciting first came when we moved into our brand new home in February.  There were plenty of hoops we had to jump through to make it happen, but thanks to generous in-laws and their help, we were able to make that move before we closed on our condo.  Though moving is stressful…. it was a thrill to move into a brand new home.  As I said…. a first for us.  Though we had moved several times prior to that, it was always into an existing home.  It was so fun to be able to pick and design the interior of our home.  Though stressful in many ways…. it was worth the struggle.  I’m so grateful to be here and to be in such a great area with great neighbors.

I also celebrated a few 1 year anniversaries.  Some good and some sad.  In January, I was 1 year clean from cancer (I’m approaching that second anniversary very soon!), which was an exciting one to celebrate.   2014 was also the one year anniversary of losing my Mom.  That year of firsts after losing a loved one is hard.  Still miss her.

gram and gramp with benOn July 29, we were blessed with the best first we could ever ask for!  Our little grandson Benedict was born!  I can’t even describe the joy this little boy has brought into my life.  I cried tears of joy when I first met him.  It’s a feeling I can’t even explain.  I know I felt the same kind of joy when my own children were born…. but having posterity born is a joy that is unexplainable.  He is so adorable.  He’s five months old now and I could just eat him up!  What a darling sweet personality.  He certainly has his Grandma wrapped around his little finger.  I’m as SO grateful for this gift and grateful my son and his wife brought him into our lives.  Joy beyond measure.jon and ben

In August, I finally gave in and had knee replacement surgery.  Another first, and I’m hoping my last.  My recovery for that has been a little harder than I’d hoped for…. but my physical therapist insures me that it will get better!  Though I’m still struggling with rehab on the knee…. I’m still grateful I had the surgery.

At the end of September, we were thrilled when our youngest son Nate popped the question to his British sweetheart Savannah.  We are so excited to add her to our family.  She is a very talented young lady and her talent is what will have Nate moving to London when they get married in the Spring since she has a contract to continue as Glinda in “Wicked” on the West End.  I will miss him terribly, but I’m so excited for this part of his life to finally start.

Nathan and SavannahIn October, we went on an impromptu cruise to the Bahamas.  It was a lot of fun, and though I was only 2 months out from knee surgery, I survived fine!  We had a great time with friends and got to hear some great music from our past.  I wouldn’t mind cruising at least once a year.  🙂  Though it wasn’t our first cruise, it felt like it since we hadn’t cruised in years.

And finally….. we get to announce that we are going to be Grandparents once again!  This time with my daughter as Momma and now we know she is having a girl!  We are so excited to add a sweet little princess to our family!  Since we will become full time baby sitters for this one, our daughter will be moving in with us as soon as we can get our basement finished.  It will be fun to have a little one here all the time.  We’ve had the opportunity of tending our cute little Benny a couple of days a week…. so tending everyday will definitely be a new experience.

It’s interesting to look back and see where this year has led us.  The fact that we felt a need to sell our condo and get into a home again, as crazy as that seemed to many people….. to go from having no yard work, etc., to having 1/3 an acre to now care for is kind of nutty at our age…. but the condo just wasn’t a good fit for us in many ways.  Now that our daughter needs to move in with us, it’s a good thing we did move, because she wouldn’t have been able to live with us in our condo due to ‘rules’ about having grandchildren living with you.  It obvious to me now that we were being guided to where we needed to be for many reasons.

So, as this year ends, I look back with an immense amount of gratitude for where we are and what we have and what we get to look forward to.  Here’s to 2015 being an even better year!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?


Serving in the Temple

I love serving in the temple!  I’ve always known that, but yesterday was really a reminder of just how much.

John and I have found a home we want to buy.  It’s being built so we won’t be able to move into it till the first of the year.  While we are very excited to make the move back into a house, we are saddened that we will be moving out of the Jordan River Temple district and therefore will need to be released as Ordinance Workers there.

John is having his knee replaced today, so yesterday was his last day.  With the Temple closing in a couple of weeks for cleaning and the Holidays coming up, it worked out to be his last day.  Depending on how things go with him, it may have been my last day too.  Knowing that, I was very melancholy as I performed my duties serving the Patrons.

It hit me the most as I was sitting in the front of the room for the Endowment session.  We had several older Sisters in wheel chairs on that session.  When that happens, it’s usually an opportunity for us to serve them even more than we would a healthier Patron because we are often needed to help them put on their Priesthood robes during the session.  I was lucky enough yesterday to have a Sister to help.  I love doing that.  It endears me to them so much.

As I observed those Sisters during the session, I was touched by what many of them are enduring in their old age.  One of the Sisters had Arthritis so bad in her hands its hard for her to hold her hands straight, which makes part of the ceremony a little more difficult.  Another of the Sisters feet are so twisted that taking off her shoes and putting them back on was a little difficult.  She is stuck in a wheel chair for the remainder of her life.  You could see that the muscles in her legs are disappearing as she is unable to use them.  It broke my heart for her, yet it made me so grateful that I had the chance to help her.

Jordan River Temple (photo by Kendall Davenport)
Jordan River Temple
(photo by Kendall Davenport)

I was choking back tears yesterday knowing that it might be my last chance to do that for sometime.  I was also choking back tears regarding everything that has happened to us in the last two weeks (both good and kind of scary)  that makes me very aware that my Heaven Father knows and loves me.  I know that he sent those Sisters to the temple yesterday to be on the session I was helping with, so I could have a reminder of just how much joy I receive doing His work there.  Not going to lie,  I’m not always in tune with the spirit when I work there.  Often I let my mind spin on worldly things and not focus on what I can feel there if I allow myself to do so.  That’s why yesterday was so special to me.  It completely made me focus and realize that it might be the last time for sometime that I will get to help perform those ordinances.  We hope to maybe work in the new Temple district once we get moved and settled, but it may be a while.

Because we work on the early shift on Wednesdays and have to get up so early, often I am tired while I’m there.  And often, I have been known to close my eyes during part of the session and doze off.  I’m not happy to admit that, but it happens more often than not.  Yesterday I was surprised at how I wasn’t tired.  Even though I had forgotten what night it was when I went to bed the night before and didn’t get to bed till 11 pm.  I was surprised at how much energy I had.  Again…. I think it was The Lords way of reminding me what joy I have had serving Him.

I’m so grateful for the blessing of working the The Lord’s House.  I have many sweet memories and have gained some wonderful friendships both with fellow workers and with Patrons who come so often.  What a blessing it is to do His work!  I guess I will have to settle for just being a Patron myself for a while.  I can always attend during the hours that we worked and hopefully be able to say “Hi” to some of those friends while we are there.  Being a Patron is a blessing too.  One I haven’t taken as much advantage of as I should.  Now I will have a chance to finish up those Family File cards a distant relative gave me to do.  And that….. will be a blessing too!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Timing Is Everything

Last Sunday our Bishop gave a talk on timing.  He started off the talk by saying that it isn’t the kind of topic that you would think to give a talk on in Sacrament meeting, but that after he related the things in his talk, we would see how it applies to gospel principles.

As he spoke… my husband and I kept glancing at each other.  I know the talk was for me/us.  I’m sure many others in the congregation gained a lot from it too, but it was very ‘timely’ for us.

I was trying to decide if the talk was to tell me to be patient, it’s coming,  or if it was a confirmation that all the things that had happened that week were happening at the right time.

Since Sunday, things have continued to happen that now makes me know it was the Lord’a way of letting me know that the ‘timing’ for our move was finally right and that where we are going is where he wants us to be.

We’ve wanted to move for quite some time.  Not because we don’t like our condo, because we do…. we just don’t like living in such a strict HOA community.  At least, too strict for our taste.  Plus, we just need more room in the garage for my hubbies stuff and he wants to be able to tinker out there.  And we wanted everything we needed on one level so we didn’t have to deal with stairs.  And a place for the dogs.timing is everything

We put our condo on the market at the end of September.  I had been frustrated all Summer long that we couldn’t seem to make the time to get it ready to list.  But again…. timing.

We had a lot of interest in our condo that first few weeks, but no one moved forward with an offer.  In the meantime, we had found a home that we wanted to buy and put in an offer contingent on the sale of our home.  Because our offer on the other home was contingent on our sale, the Seller opted to keep their home on the market, but we would have first right to continue with our offer if we could remove the contingency should they receive another offer.

Well…. after several weeks on the market, we still had not received a offer, though I had recently had people through looking at it that sounded like they might be making one.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) the Seller  on the home we had offered on received another offer on their home and we were not in a position to remove the contingency, so we lost the home to another Buyer.

I was so frustrated because I knew we were so close to getting an offer, but I wasn’t positive so we had to back out.  I had spent time in my mind dreaming about where I would put things and what we would do to make the space our own.  We were so excited about moving further North to be a little closer to our kids.  I was very disappointed when we lost the house.  Then about two hours after our deadline to remove the contingency on it, an offer DID com in on our condo.  Crazy!

We started on the hunt again for a home to put under contract.  We looked at several existing homes and even went through some new construction.  There was a home in a subdivision we had looked at earlier in the year that I wanted to see.  It had pretty much all the things on my list that I wanted other than it was a 2 story, but with the Master is on the main.   I loved the kitchen and family room area in that thing.  The pantry was to die for big.  But the thought of having to do stairs to get to the office or craft room was a little worrisome to me.  My husband and I both have knee problems and have recently been told we need knee replacements…. so stairs is becoming more of an issue.  However, we hope after knee surgery they will be just like new.

We kept looking because of the 2 story thing.  Then a couple of days later, we went back over to the same subdivision to look at a rambler that had just come up on the market.  Though we like most things about it… again… it was lacking in some areas and I wasn’t stoked about it.   The listing Agent had mentioned that they were framing another rambler right around the corner that would be available the end of December.

After walking through the finished rambler we walked down the street to see if we could find the one he was talking bout.  There were about 5 homes under construction on that street.  We started walking through all of them.  We found some we kind of liked on the East side of the street, but didn’t know which was his.   A couple buying one of the homes under construction came to see how it was going as we were walking through theirs.  They told us that they thought that most of those on the East side of the street were already sold.

There was one under construction on the west side so we walked across the street and walked through it.  We really liked what we saw, so I called the Realtor back to ask him which one they were building and that was the one!  I told him we were very interested in the home.  He got my email info and said he would email me the floor plan and we could talk on Monday.  Yesterday we signed the papers and are now Under Contract on it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….  we had more people interested in seeing our condo.  Since the offer we accepted on it was an offer contingent on the sale of their home (sound familiar?), we had opted to keep it on the market also.  I had three more showings after we went under contract with this Buyer.  One of them is very interested and her Realtor said she was probably going to make an offer on it without contingencies.  Though we have not seen one yet.  Perhaps because the Realtor asked me what the chances would be of our current Buyer being able to remove the contingency on ours.  I told her I wasn’t sure, but that she could possibly do it.  She had two homes on the market she was trying to sell and only needs one of them to sell to close our deal.  So she could possibly take out an Equity line if necessary to close on ours if she had too.  I think that may be why we haven’t received another offer.  She didn’t want to get her clients hopes up.  But you just never know!

So it’s been a CRAZY couple of weeks with things going in directions that I never thought they would!  And it’s all because the timing was right.  Had we not been Under Contract on the first home to keep us occupied till this other home under construction became available, we wouldn’t have been over there looking at the right time.  And why didn’t a Buyer for my condo come along sooner?  After all, we had had over 17.000 hits on the listing!  You’d think ONE person would come from that, right?  It’s just a confirmation to me that the Lord knew what needed to happen in order for all the ducks to be in a row.  TIMING!

The best part about the timing of finding this house, is that we caught it in time to make some of the decisions on colors and such.  I was too late for the kitchen cabinet color, but it was the color I wanted anyway, so that worked out great!  But now I can choose flooring and paint and countertops, and a few other upgrades, etc.  Plus, we got in in time that I am having the laundry room expanded a little into the garage (which is MUCH bigger than what we have).  I know I will like it much better.  I’m pretty excited about it.  So not only are we getting a nicer more updated home than we would have…. but I also have a say in the choices and we won’t have to go in and remodel anything in an older home!  NEVER owned a brand new home.  This is exciting.

Although we are moving even further South from where we are, which puts us further away from the kids…. the access to the neighborhood is quite convenient, and time wise not a lot different for our kids to get to us.

I just keep thinking that there’s a reason we are headed over there.  I’m sure we will figure out why someday.  In the meantime…. I’m grateful the timing has worked out for us and for the Bishop’s talk to be a reminder that things happen in the Lord’s time, not ours.  And, in most cases, it’s always the best for us.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

UPDATE — December 16, 2014

As a continuation of the above story….. the Buyer that I mentioned above backed out of the contract with us about 3 weeks later leaving us with NO BUYER! By that time, we were well underway on making changes to this new home we we under contract for and had put lots of money down on, but we needed a Buyer to be able to purchase the new house.

Again…. timing….. We just had faith it would all work out the way it was suppose to. It took until the first part of January to find another Buyer but they couldn’t close on the purchase of our condo till March and our Builder wanted to finish and close on our home in February. Luckily, my husbands Dad was in a position that he could temporally loan us the money we needed in order to purchase our home and we paid him back as soon as we closed on selling the condo. So…. the timing was amazing on all of it. We’ve been in our new home since February 23, 2014. We love it here and have already found reasons why we should be here. Too many to name here… but we feel that Heavenly Father knew where we were needed more than we did!

I Am Still Grateful! How Are You?

A Spiritual Feast Day

I am so grateful that I can go to church on Sunday a be Spiritually fed.  Some Sunday’s I must be hungrier than others (or should I say more in tune….?).  Today was such a day.

In all three meetings today I was touched by the Spirit and felt that the Lord was speaking to me through his servants.  Right to me in some cases.  This has been an interesting week of things happening in a way that I didn’t expect…. but as our Bishop talked about today in Sacrament meeting… “Timing is everything”.  That is…. the Lord’s timing.

mormon-church2This has been a week of trying to feel good about the way things have gone in respect to us purchasing a home.  Even amidst the disappointment we had at the first of the week… the week has ended with an affirmation that what he has in store for us is even better than I imagined.  Though it’s not in an area that I at first thought I wanted to be, we have decided that it’s not so bad after all.  In fact, we quite like it.

Then there was more spiritual feasting with the lesson in Sunday school. It was such a beautiful testament of what Joseph Smith did to help bring forth the fullness of the gospel and the benefits and blessings we now have because of that.  Great lesson.

Then Relief Society.  Again, another great important message about loving and strengthening others, no matter who they are.  It’s been a very fulfilling day.  I’m so grateful that my ‘cup runneth over’ with spiritual fulfillment.  I truly don’t know how people make it from week to week without feeding their spirit .  No matter what your religion…. our spirits starve to be fed good up lifting things.  Things that bring us joy!

Today I am joyful and full.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Tender Mercies

It’s been 11 days since we buried Mom.  Though I wasn’t getting out there to see her as much as I wanted to because of my health, it’s still an adjustment without her.  I find myself every once and a while wanting to call and check on her.  I’ve been amazed at all the little tender mercies that have occurred during this whole process of laying her to rest and in the days following.

Sometimes before people die, they make arrangements for things they want at their funeral.  That happened with my Dad.  We were in the process of trying to plan his service and not agreeing on who the speakers should be, etc.  I happened to be glancing through what he referred to as his ‘bible’ (the place where he kept all his important documents and records of things that were important to him), when I came across a small piece of note paper that was in his handwriting.  It just happened to be an exact list of what he wanted done for his funeral service.  Well…. that ended all disagreements and made things much easier from then on out.

We weren’t so lucky with Mom.  The only thing that we were aware of is that she had informed me several years before that the great grand kids were to sing, “In My Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Garden”, which was a song she had taught in Primary years ago.  I remembered most of the melody, but the music was scarce.  She happened to find it one day a long time ago and made me a copy and informed me it was to be sung.  That was several years ago.  Do you think I could find that copy when the time came for needing it?  Of course not!  Thanks Heavens for the internet and social media.

I went on Youtube to see if I could find anyone singing the song we had chosen for the older Grand kids to sing so they could start listening and learning.  Luckily I did find something.  Then I thought, just for the heck of it, I’m going to look for Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Garden.  I was amazed when I found a video of some Primary children in a ward here in the Salt Lake area singing it!  What were the chances of me finding that old song being sung on Youtube?  I think it was one of those tender mercies!  Then I noticed in the comments that the lady who had posted the video mentioned where you could find the music.  It was in an old Primary song book from the 1950’s.  The cover was very familiar to me, but I had no idea what had happened to my Mom’s copy of it.  The lady’s comments also said that if you couldn’t find it, to let her know and she would email it to you.

I didn’t know how fast her response would be, because sometimes people don’t see it when a comment is made on things for quite sometime.  I decided to give it a try and I mentioned that it was urgent that I get a copy.  In the meantime, I went to Facebook to put the troops to work in helping me find the music.  I was amazed at the immediate response I got on Facebook.  Many friends were familiar with the old song or the book it was in and went on a hunt to find their copy.

However, I was even more surprised when I received a phone call from the lady that had put it on Youtube.  I wasn’t able to take the call at the time, but she left me a message saying she would call me later that night.  I never heard from her that night, but I did find a copy of it from her in my email that night!  I also received messages from several friends on Facebook that they had found the song book and were happy to loan it to me.  Again….. tender mercies!  After getting a copy of the music, I was going through some newer Primary songs and played through “I Often Go Walking”.  I started to cry as I was singing through it and knew that we needed to add it to the other song for the great grand kids to sing.  I knew Mom would like that.

Not only were we able to find the music to the one song she had requested, but in the process of discussing who we thought should speak, we had been throwing a few names around of some of the grand kids and a dear neighbor that Mom loved.  My one niece, whose name we had mentioned, had been out of town when my Mom had taken her fall and she hadn’t had a chance to come visit her since the fall.  She finally was able to make it on her way home from her trip on Sunday night.  By that time, Mom was pretty much in a comatose state, so Shellie wasn’t really able to visit with her as much as just know she had come to see her and give her her love.  As we were sitting around talking, I mentioned to Shellie that her name had come up as a possible speaker.  She just kind of smiled and didn’t really say anything.  Her husband, on the other hand, piped right up and said, “You know Grandma told Shellie she was speaking at her funeral about a year ago.”  Shellie didn’t seem too happy with him for sharing that information, because, let’s be honest…. who really wants to speak at someones’ funeral?  Especially someone you love so much.  Well…. as far as I was concerned, that was a sign that we had been inspired when bringing up her name as a possibility to speak.

Then, my sister was at her daughter’s house and mentioned to her that we had been discussing her as a possible speaker too.  Well…  Jenny confessed that Grandma had told her she was to speak also.  But neither of them really wanted to share that info.  But, there you have it!  Proof once again we had been inspired.  The other name was of a nephew that my sister was aware of that my Mom had asked also.  Well…. three speakers was probably a little long, so we assigned my nephew the opportunity of reading the eulogy and had the two nieces speak.  One did her life sketch, and the other talked about memories and the great lady she was.  Tender mercies.

As far as the music goes…..  once we found the one song she had requested, we needed to figure out the other music.  Music was a big part of my Mother’s life.  At one point in time, she had said that was all she wanted for her funeral….. just music.  We informed her that that wasn’t possible to do for an LDS service.  The guidelines stated that you need to have some doctrinal things taught at the service.  Besides…. I think she really knew she would want her grand kids to speak, but we knew she would still want several musical numbers.

I knew Mom would want me to sing.  She used to do solos for funerals all the time when she was younger.  I’ve sung for several funerals before, but it’s very different when it’s your own Mother.  I couldn’t do it for my Dad’s.  I don’t know why… but I just knew I would never make it through a song.  The only reason I agreed to do it for Mom was because I knew she would haunt me if I didn’t.  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  I’ve been performing with a couple of my close friends for a long time.  We used to perform a lot.  The last few years, they only ‘gig’ we’ve had has been coming to my Mom’s rest home and performing for all the people there at Christmas time.  It always meant a lot to Mom when we did that.  So…. I figured I would enlist my friends help to sing with me at her funeral.  I knew she would like that.  Now…. we’ve been singing together for years but mostly fun entertaining stuff.  We have done a few religious programs over the years and there were a couple of songs I was considering that we had sung in those programs before.  I figured that would be the easiest.  However, my mind kept coming to a women’s arrangement of “The Lord Is My Shepherd” that was in our hymn book.  I had sung it before many years ago with some friends in high school and then of course during church meetings as a congregation at women’s meetings, but I had never sung it with these particular friends.  Still… that’s the song that kept coming to me, so that’s what we went with.  Luckily, a friend volunteered her husband to be the pianist for all the music and he is able to ‘flourish’ the music on his own.  That made singing the arrangement in the hymn book a little nicer.

The final song that the older grand kids sang actually came as an inspiration to my sister.  She happened to text me one day and said she thought it would be nice to have it sung at the funeral.  The minute she mentioned the title I felt very good about it.  It was a song I was familiar with and had sung several years before.  Once again, we were able to easily find the music and with the Youtube video for them to listen to, they could learn it on there own and just get together to go over it the night before and the day of the service.  They sounded wonderful on it.  We have some musical talent in the family that has been passed on down from my Mom.  Again…. I felt tender mercies were sent for all the music choices.

The service was beautiful.  It was a very fitting tribute to my Mother.  I know she was happy with it.

This is me and by siblings at the cemetery in behind Mom's casket.  I'm in the middle.  Aren't the flowers beautiful?
This is me and by siblings at the cemetery behind Mom’s casket. I’m in the middle. Aren’t the flowers beautiful?

The most profound tender mercy we received as at the cemetery.  As we gathered around her grave site for the dedicatory prayer, my sisters and I all sat on the front row of seats they had set up under the canopy directly in front of her resting place.  It was a cloudy and chilly day.  It wasn’t freezing, but we all had a coat on to keep us warm.  My brothers we all standing in other places and were not sitting with us on the front row.  The very minute my brother in law started the dedicatory prayer, there was a wave of warmth that overcame us.  I felt it mostly on my legs and wondered if the clouds had broken for a moment and the sun was coming through.  Or I wondered if maybe they had set up heaters under the canopy like they do on occasion when the weather is really cold and that they just had forgotten to turn them on.  Well…. when the prayer ended… so did the warmth and my sisters and I all looked at each other.  Sherrie said, “Did you feel that?”  All three of us agreed that we had felt a surge of warmth, but no clouds had departed, no heaters were in place and the three of us were the only ones who had experienced it.  We all agreed immediately that it was a sign from Mom of her love for us and that she was happy and thrilled with what had gone on at the service.  Perhaps a sign from both Mom and Dad letting us know they were together again and happy.  It was a sweet and tender moment.  One I will not forget.  Thanks, Mom and Dad for sending us that love.

In the time since her service, I have had many dear friends send cards and gifts.  A couple of them have deeply touched me.  One, a figurine given to me by my friends I sing with is of a mother and a daughter hugging.  Maybe you’re familiar with Willow Tree figurines.  This one is called ‘Close to Me’.  It is beautiful and I will think of Mom every time I look at it.

Another gift was brought to me by a dear neighbor and friend.  It is a beautiful picture that she put in a frame of Christ with open arms to a woman coming through the veil.  The most wonderful part of the picture is that the woman on the earthly side of the veil is old and frail using a cane.  The woman that passes through the veil is young and vibrate as she runs toward Christ.  It’s so beautiful and a testimony of what we believe as Latter Day Saints.  Though the picture would only represent what her spirit is like…. young and full of life….  we believe that after the resurrection, we will be restored to our former healthy and whole (and young) bodies. (Alma 40:23)

Another tender mercy that came my way just this week happened at the temple on Wednesday.  Not only have I received comfort while in the temple the last couple of weeks, this one happened while I was waiting outside in the car for my husband.  Since I haven’t been working regularly at the temple the last several months because of my health, my Coordinator had assigned me a fairly easy schedule that actually ended a good hour or more before my husbands assignment would be done.  For some reason, I decided that day that I would go take care of some errands while John finished his assignments instead of waiting in the temple for him like I did the week before.  After going to the bank and the grocery store, I was just sitting in my car in front of the temple waiting for John.  Because of the business that I have, I have my name on the back of my car as well as the name of the product I represent.  For this reason….. a distant cousin (whom I’ve only met once in the temple) stopped to see if it was me.  I had met this cousin while working in the temple many months before.  I had learned that her last name was Bangerter, my maiden name, and so we began talking.  I discovered that she and her husband had been carrying on the genealogy research that his father Neslen and been doing for the Bangerter family for years.  She had many family names that she could give me so that I could do some temple work for them myself.  I was so excited about this prospect!  I love doing work for family members.

I hadn’t heard from her (she had misplaced my name and information) and had completely forgotten about it when she saw my car with my name and had her husband stop.  Once she reminded me who she was, she wanted to know if I wanted some family names to do the work for.  Of course!  I was so thrilled to get family names to do!  That will give me motivation to get to the temple more often than I do so I can be a patron instead of just a worker.  Again…. timing?  Coincidence that I should be there in my car?  Yes…. all of the above, but to me, it was just one more tender mercy from Heavenly Father reaffirming all that I believe in the after life.  And perhaps…. Mom and Dad had a hand in it.

I’m grateful for all the tender mercies that have happened.  I’m grateful too that I am able to recognize them as such.  I’m sure they will continue.  I will miss Mom… it’s hard to imagine life without her.  Thankfully I still have a message from her on my phone so I can hear her voice on occasion asking me how I’m doing.  Another tender mercy?  I think so.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Goodbye Mom! Heaven Is a Little More Sassy Now

Mom took a bad fall on Thursday.  The worst one she’s had since her stroke 6 years ago.  This one was about all she could take.  She just knew she was going this time.

I got a call from my sister at about 7:30 am Thursday morning.  She said Mom had fallen and she wanted all her kids around her NOW.  Unfortunately, my husband was subbing for someone in the temple that morning and he had taken my car.  I told my sister I would get there as quick as I could.  I would call the temple and have them track him down and come out as quickly as he got home.

We made it out here just after 9 am.  By that time, they had moved her off the floor and into her chair.  They didn’t want to move her without Paramedics just in case she had injured her back this time.  She was in a lot of pain when I got there.  I was the last one of the siblings to arrive since I live the farthest away of the local ones.  We have a brother in Oregon.

Mom relishing that they made such a fuss over here at the Festival of Trees in 2010
Mom relishing that they made such a fuss over her at the Festival of Trees in 2010

Mom’s had some pretty challenging times the last couple of years.  Every time she took a fall, her dementia seemed to get a little worse and she would sometimes be very ornery with the aides at her Assisted Living facilities.  In fact…. we’ve had to move her…. 3 times, since we put her in Assisted Living.  This last time was the hardest move because it was to a memory unit, and yet it has proven to be the biggest blessing we could have asked for.  We were able to still surround her with the things she loves to look at and she got a Mountain view back out of her window.  She seemed very happy.  In fact… she’s only been here two weeks.  The staff was just getting to know her and most of them have said that they really liked her.

What can I say about Jen?  ….Also lovingly known as “Grandma Shit” by her grand kids.  She was a character.  Always kind and accepting of everyone, but she did love to cuss.  It really was just a part of her.  The last few years, as her dementia got worse…. the aides took more of it than some of them could handle.  She could be very mean some days, which comes with aging and dementia.  But that wasn’t my Mom.  My ‘real’ Mom?  Well…. that’s a different story!

I remember being embarrassed as a teenager that my Mom swore.  It was something we were taught in our church that we shouldn’t do.  Though I was embarrassed…. my friends thought it was funny.  They actually loved her for it.  It became easier for me to accept it because of that.  They thought she was a hoot.  Though I became accepting of it….. I did NOT want to become one who would cuss myself.  I pride myself that I didn’t….. at least till I started having kids!   It’s funny how being frustrated with your kids can bring it out of you!  For some reason…. it’s not as ‘funny’ when I do it.  It’s something I really do need to bring under control.

Despite her cursing…. she was a jewel.  As I reflect upon her life and all the things she has done over the years, she was a pretty amazing lady.  She was always busy doing something, or volunteering for things.  She was blessed to be able to be a stay at home Mom, but she was always involved in something.  I’ll mention the things that I remember….but I may miss a few.  After all…. I AM the baby in the family!

As a kid, I remember Mom always taking care of Dad for lunch.  Dad had his own business as a Brick Mason.  Whenever he was working locally (within a couple of miles or so) Mom would often bring him a fresh lunch.  I remember her packing his lunch box to take on the job.  Many times I would ride with her to take Daddy his lunch.

My Dad loved to garden.  He was raised on a farm, so gardening was  passion of his.  We had several fruit trees in our back yard as well as a large vegetable garden he grew.  And guess who got to take care of the harvest?  Mom of course.  I remember her spending hours canning fruit and vegetables and even freezing some.  She also made freezer jam for us.  Our ‘fruit room’, as it was called, (under the porch where it was all stored) was always full of bottled goods.  Of course, she made sure all of us girls knew how to can fruit and vegetables. Every year they insisted that we all share in their harvest for our own families.  After all…. Dad was producing the same amount of food but with no children left at home to consume it!

I remember Mom giving service at the local hospital as a “Pink Lady”.  I don’t know if they even call them that anymore.  She would sit there close to the entrance and help people as they came in the hospital looking for patients.  I believe they also circulated around to the patients to see if there was something they could help them with or bring them.  It was a good way for her to spend her days while Dad was at work.

Mom was always involved in music.  Even from a very small age.  She was involved in what would be considered her High School musicals.  Though they were called Operettas back then.  She was able to play the leading lady her Senior year.  I remember her always telling us about the big seminary choir she directed. She was very proud of that.  I think I was too young at the time to really remember, but she said it was very big.  The high school kids loved it and gave her great support.

Since music meant so much to her and singing herself was something she loved to do, she finally got involved in the Bountiful Sweet Adeline’s.    Oh, how she loved her Barbershop music!  It was there she met her friends, Ann Schow, Eulala Butters and Thelma Robinson.  They formed a quartet which they called “The Classics”.  They were together for many years and did a lot of traveling and competing.  The won the Region 12 title champs one year.  They really were great and it was a big part of her life.  It became a big part of mine too.  I have great memories of attending Sweet Adeline concerts and performances.  In fact…. I got to meet the Osmond Brothers before they became big!

Taken on Mother's Day 2012.  They insisted we all wear a hat.  Mom loved this picture.  It's my two sisters and I with her.  How come they don't do this with the men?  My brothers missed out!
Taken on Mother’s Day 2012. They insisted we all wear a hat. Mom loved this picture. It’s my two sisters and I with her. How come they don’t do this with the men? My brothers missed out!

Unfortunately, my Mom started having some health challenges pretty early on.  She had some issues with her lungs and felt she was never really able to sing after that.  That pretty much ended her Sweet Adeline’s and quartet career.

She was asked to serve on the very first committee for the Festival of Trees here in Salt Lake.  She was one of the 13 original board members.  It was fun to watch that thing grow from just a very small event to becoming one of the biggest fund raisers for Primary Children’s Medical Center.  We watched it go from one small armory building to two armory buildings within the first few years.  Then they moved to the Salt Palace and just had to keep expanding using more of the conference center space every year as it continued to grow.  Now I believe it’s the largest festival of it’s kind in the nation.  (I might add that it was also the FIRST!)  What those women created became a popular idea to copy for many other areas of the country, including a couple more here in Utah.

I think she served about 15 years on that committee.  Still to this day, they are honored to see her when she attends.  I took her for a couple of years and they loved to bring her back to the board room area and introduce her to all the current board members.  She loved it!  In fact…. I think it was the 2011 Festival that was a 40 year celebration of it’s beginning.  They had made pins for all the board members that year and she was thrilled when they gave her one.  Who knew the Festival would last 40 years…. and it’s still going.  I doubt it will ever stop.  It’s one of the most loved events for the public to attend at the beginning of the Christmas holidays.

This year… I will be crocheting and donating several hats in my Mom’s honor.  I promised her I would.  I’m kind of excited to do it!

As I mentioned earlier… Mom’s health challenges started at an early age.  She had the trouble with her lungs that pretty much ended her singing career.  Though she had had several incidences prior to being diagnosed, it took several years for them to discover that she was diabetic.  Just that alone has brought on many problems over the years.  It’s amazing how well she has done though.  She’s was one tough cookie.  Unfortunately, many years ago she had to have a false eye front put in because her corneal transplants rejected two times, so they had to make a false eye front for her.  It was kind of eery to walk in the room when she was sleeping and have that one eye be open and staring at you!  We all got used to it and actually kind of loved it.

Mom and Dad did a lot of traveling.  They loved it.  They bought themselves a small place in St. George so they could escape for the winter.  They loved being Snow Birds and made many friends in the community.  It was a heart breaking year when Dad decided they were through going down for the winter.  If he couldn’t drive them anymore…. then he was through!  It was only a few months later my Dad passed away.

Mom was truly friendly to everyone.  I remember how lost she was when Dad first died.  She would just sit at home most of the day and stare at the TV.  Most of the time it wasn’t even on.  After her stroke, she needed more care.  It was a tough decision to move her to Assisted Living.  After she got out of rehab for her stroke we had to move her for better care.  She was going to need help 24/7.  We did promise her however, that if she hated it after three months, we would figure out how to take care of her in her home.

She loved it!  She gracefully accepted her condition and made new friends immediately.  In fact, she discovered a few friends from her high school were there.  She didn’t have any trouble with the idea of us selling that big house.  In fact, after she had fully rehabbed from her stroke…. she became a little mother hen.  She was always concerned about the other residents.  She’d check in on them and make sure they got down to dinner, etc.  It was wonderful to see her feeling like she was needed.  Even though she couldn’t do it to the extent she did in those earlier years, she still always seemed to be concerned about other residents, right to the end.  If they weren’t eating their meals or something, she was concerned.  Always the mother hen.

Even though we only moved her two weeks ago, the staff at her current place quickly fell in love with her.  Once they saw her sassy and fun side, it was much easier to tolerate the harder days when she wasn’t as pleasant.  I’ve been amazed at how many of them commented on how much they loved her and were sad that they didn’t get much time with her.  The people from hospice that have worked with her for the last year particularly loved her.  It was so nice to see that others could still see our ‘real’ Mom and love her for it.

Her grandchildren loved her.  She always made us laugh and made us realize how important family is.  The more family gatherings we had, the happier she was.  Unfortunately, those became harder as the family got bigger and began to grow up.  Our yearly Christmas parties were very important to her.  Even amongst all the chaos and noise, she still loved to see the family.

Mom passed away peacefully today, March 4th at around 7 pm.  I’m so grateful for the testimony I have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m so grateful for the knowledge of knowing that we will all be together again.  I’m so glad she is now reunited with my Dad and is happy.  I know Heavenly Father was there to greet her with a big smile on his face.   I’m sure she is running and laughing and so grateful that she is mobile and no longer needs help.  I’m pretty sure Heaven will be a little more fun with her there!

Thanks for all you did for us Mom.  Thanks for being such a wonderful influence on me and on all the family.  Thank you for passing on your musical talent to me and my children as well as many others.  Thank you for all your support over the years.  I know you’ve been so concerned about me lately.  Now you know I’m going to be fine…… and you and Dad will both be there to watch over me and make sure I am!  Thank you for that!

I love you will all my heart.  You will be sorely missed by us all.  I’m not sure what life will be like without you!  We will carry on and your legacy will live on forever.  I hope I can have half as much influence on my posterity as you’ve had on yours.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

I just remembered I did a blog post about my Mom on her birthday two years ago.  Here’s the link.  It even adds a little more I didn’t talk about here.

The Journey To Be “Me”!

I have discovered the last few weeks that I am embarking on a journey to be me.  With the recent challenges I have been faced with…. it has been a real awakening to what’s really down deep inside of me.  A me that has always been there and longed to come out but maybe hasn’t known how!

With my recent diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I have done some real soul searching and praying.  There’s always those questions running through your mind…. “Why me?”  “Why now?”  “Why NOT me?” and many others that really start you to thinking.  Luckily, this is a disease that can be cured.  So I know I have a long life ahead of me.

This is me! I’m on a journey to find what’s deep inside me so I can share it with the world!

I have come to know deep in my heart this last week that this has lead me to the beginning of this journey of who I really am… and what I have to offer the world.  I’ve realized that I haven’t really ‘believed’ as strongly as I know I can of my divine worth, of my true magnificence and that I am truly a child of God….. and as such…. what a great inheritance I have and am and should be!

It’s amazing how the Lord puts people in our path for a reason.  I have met people just these last several months that are playing an integral part of this journey for me right now.  I had another overwhelming feeling from my Heavenly Father this morning that I am on the right path…. but it has only just begun.  I know there are many people that are and will help to lead me there, for which I am so grateful!

I have much to read and study and pray about and oh so much to dream about!  Part of what I am being counseled is to get really clear on what I want out of my life, both short term and long term.  This too has been things I have known and read about but haven’t taken the time to write and down and be clear about.  Oh…. I’ve attempted writing out goals and dreams…. but following through with a daily affirmation reading of them has not been very good.  Probably because I felt they weren’t complete so I needed to wait till they were.  I’m learning that it’s always a work in progress….. and that just getting started with it AND reading it everyday is going to make a huge difference for me.

I don’t know how long it will take me to become completely clear on what my specific personal purpose is.  I have vague ideas… but not sure they are right.  I know that by getting clear on everything I will be lead to an answer.  I truly believe the Lord is just waiting for me to ask!

In a crazy way….. I’m so grateful this challenge has come to me!  It has blessed me so much already.  I know I am taking the right steps to heal myself.  I know that my diet and supplements I am taking will help me to hyper heal.  I also know that I was lead to feel OK about taking chemo along with it.  I fought it for a long time because I also know that many people are beating the cancer fight without chemo.  But I felt I was lead to a peaceful answer for me.  Though I know I may have some tough days ahead of me…. I also know that most of them will be wonderful!

I also feel that this is a blessing in disguise to those around me.  I know that it will bring us closer in a way we’ve never been.

So…. as I embark on this journey to be me…. I hope that I can inspire many of you to do the same!  We all are so much more than we allow ourselves to believe and can give so much more to mankind than we have any idea we are capable of!  So…. join me in this journey!  I’ll try and keep you posted on what I’m doing to make that journey happen for me.  Perhaps it will inspire you to do some of the same things!

I am grateful!  How are You?

P.S.  If you are interested in hearing ALL the details of what my life has been like the last few weeks…. you can go to my page here on the blog called “When Life Hits A Wall”.  It’s right there at the top of the page you are looking at.  Clicking on that link will take you to my first journal entry where I tell everything ( and I mean everything….) about my experience.  I will also be updating those journal entries which you can look at by hovering over the “When Life Hits A Wall” tab.  It should give you options to scroll down to.  That way if you want to follow all the gory details you can.  It’s a pretty open book here.  Kind of crazy that I’m making it so public… but perhaps it will help someone else!

Daddy/Daughter Relationships

Daddy’s little girl……. why is there such a special connection between a Dad and his Daughter?  Though I believe that Fathers love their sons just as much….. it’s a special kind of love they feel for their daughters.

Today I witnessed a very sweet experience.  It brought so much joy to my heart!  I have the opportunity of serving my Heavenly Father in His house a couple of days a week.  In the process of serving there, I am able to be a helper on what we call a ‘session’.  A couple is chosen from the congregation to ‘witness’ the covenants made by those in attendance at that meeting.  Today the couple that they happen to asked was a Father and Daughter duo.  It was so cute to see how sweet he was to her and how excited he seemed to be to have that opportunity with his daughter.  I remember thinking to myself as they were chosen from the crowd…. “Ahhhh…. that is SO sweet!  I would have LOVED to have had that opportunity with my Father!”    During the whole meeting my heart was warmed every time they were asked to come forward and he would help her from her seat and graciously help her back to her seat.  Now bare in mind….. this gentleman was probably in his 70’s or 80’s while his daughter I suspect was probably in her 50’s or so.  And there HE is…..helping her up and down!  I had a chance to chat very briefly with the daughter at the end of the session.  I told her how much I enjoyed seeing them as the witness couple.  She noted that she felt that her Dad was missing her Mother a little that day.  I suspect that there’s  a little truth to that….. but I could also sense a deep love for his daughter….. something that I think she’d been blessed to be a part of probably since her birth.

I started thinking about the song “Soliloquy” from the musical CAROUSEL.   It’s interesting to see Billy’s character make a total switch in attitude once he realizes that he may have a daughter and not a son.  After singing about all the things he’ll teach his son…. he starts thinking about the possibility of having a girl and sings:  “You can have fun with a son……But you gotta be a father to a girl!”  Then his whole attitude turns from one of being rough and tough with a son to tender and sweet with a daugther…. “peaches and creme”.  I suspect that’s part of why Father’s and daughters have such a connection.  A Father feels VERY protective of his little angel!

Do you remember having a Daddy Daughter date with your Father?  I do.  I remember being very excited for that night.  It was a ‘big deal’.  A night hosted by my church for girls and their Dads.  I think I was around 10 yrs old when that happened.  I remember dressing up in the nicest clothes we had, going to a party at the church and getting to dance with my Daddy!  I don’t think our church sponsors those days anymore…. at least not in the same way if they do.  Special times.  I also have memories of my hubby spending some sweet time with our daughter too.  I know they have a special connection…. as they should.  Pretty sure she adores her Dad.   Aren’t we girls lucky to have special relationships with our Dad’s?  I am Grateful!   How are you?