Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween Dude!

"Eat, drink, and be scary."
~Author Unknown


Friday, October 23, 2009

Comfort Care

I have a theme running through my life for some time now. It's called "Caring for Aging Parents". I'm due to blog about it.  We (my family) and Teresa Kelly, our caregiver, are in and out of my parent's home everyday. Teresa does most of the work while the rest of us "senior-sit". My dad has Alzheimer's and my mother lays in a hospital bed declining from the aliments of diabetes, congestive heart failure, and more.  She has an infection in her foot which she has been fighting for a very long time and currently has a urinary track infection.  She has been on antibiotics for over a year.

This summer my mother was in the hospital, to the skilled care facility (nursing home), and then back to the hospital many times. My sister, Beth, visited this summer and before she left we were able to orchestrate the situation and brought my mother back home.  I wish I could say she is happy to be home. Her care is certainly better, but my parents have no quality of life. It is my father's and mother's wishes to be home, but they don't know where they are most of the time.

A few weeks ago my mother was in the hospital again.  She received a pacemaker and we were hopeful she'd be feeling better, but it was only days and she was back in the hospital again for the ninth time.  I knew my mother didn't want to be there.  We've contemplated my parents situations and wondered about the next decisions that would need to be made.

Monday we (my mom, brother Mark, and myself) met with a hospice team from Kaiser. We assumed she would be coming home and be under the hospice umbrella, but that was not what initially happened.  After a few days of drama she's now home and officially on hospice as of yesterday.  We're feeling relieved and grateful for their help. Life in this world is coming to a close for my mother.

“Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land
which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Bill Reynders - 82

Dorothy Reynders - 80

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Testament

I saw that Mark Mabry has come out with another book titled Another Testament.  I have his Reflections of Christ site listed on my sidebar under Art Links.  I visited there today and invite you to do the same.  He has a link to Another Testament, but I also added one myself.  I thought it was inspiring.  Check it out.

"The Book of Mormon is a book that testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Great prophets throughout the Book of Mormon have borne solemn witness that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the earth (see Mosiah 3:8), the Redeemer of mankind (see Helaman 5:9-12), the Only Begotten of the Father (see 1 Nephi 11:18-21; Jacob 4:11). These Book of Mormon prophets knew Him, as Abraham and Moses did, and received and taught His everlasting gospel. As we read and study their words, we gain a deeper understanding of the Savior's matchless love, His perfect life and example, and the blessings of His great atoning sacrifice."

Craig C. Christensen,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

She Quietly Went to the Temple

“It is the deepest desire of my heart
to have every member of the Church
worthy to enter the temple.”
President Howard W. Hunter
“Exceeding Great and Precious Promises, ” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8

Becky came to Hugh and I earlier in the year informing us that she thought she was ready to go to the temple.  She's 26 now.  She met with our bishop and found that there wasn't anyone else in the ward ready to take the temple prep class.  Hughie offered to teach the lessons to Becky in our home.

When our children were preparing for baptism Hugh had a set of lessons he gave before one of them was baptised.  We sat through those lessons during family home evening many times, 7 to be exact or I should say 8.  He also presented them to our friend Zoe before she was baptised.  Anyway, our family home evening lessons were the temple preparation lessons for a period of time.  Hugh also asked Becky to  read "The House of the Lord" by James Talmage and "The Holy Temple" by Boyd K. Packer.

Well the day finally arrived.  Becky went to the temple today.  It wasn't the same pomp and circumstance like our other children who had gone before.  They were either going on missions or getting married or in Cassie's case having her family sealed together.  Because of the added events there were gatherings with family and friends in addition to the paramount temple experience.  Back then all our children that could go went with us to the temple.  Even the kids that couldn't go inside were outside waiting.  But today, Becky quietly went to the temple joined by her sister, Cassie, and her parents.

I was very pleased for Becky and grateful for her committed preparation.  She was very thoughtful and ready.  It was a great day!  Now when we make temple trips Becky will be able to go with us.

Look to the temple of the Lord
as the great symbol of your membership.”
Presient Howard W. Hunter,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Class Nobody Wanted

"My dear sisters,
do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities,
but pray for abilities equal to your tasks.
Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle,
but you will be the miracle."
Thomas S. Monson

It has been quite an experience as I have tackled the task of being a "real" teacher.  A real teacher for the class nobody wanted.  I talked about my little 4th and 5th graders last month.  It was my first encounter with them and on that day as I evaluated the situation, I said a silent prayer, "Heavenly Father, if there is anything I can do here, then  PLEASE let me do it."  I had such a desire to help those kids. I wanted to be there teacher.

A week later I was back again for two days, but this time the principal met with me and asked me to take the class on a week to week basis. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I knew I had to do something to help and I knew I could at least be there on a consistent basis.  I had such a confirmation that taking this on was the right thing to do.  I needed to remember that feeling when things got hard.  It wasn't my usual subbing situation.  I'm usually a one day production and then I'm out.  But now to fulfill my responsibilities, I was coming in an hour early and leaving two hours late trying to keep up with all that I had to do.

Organizing the room was a necessity, so that was first on the agenda.  My class cleanup helped make things better, but it certainly wasn't the ideal setup.  I would have liked to have done more, but my hands were somewhat tied as a sub.  In many ways I was handicapped like my students.  I couldn't do everything I wanted.  I struggled  everyday putting together a program on a wing and a prayer. Thankfully I did have help from the school psychologist and my dear mentor teacher.  I also had four para-eductors in the classroom that I couldn't have done without.  We were a team.  I was so grateful for everyone's assistance.

I held parent-teacher conferences that first week.  It helped build confidence in the hearts of concerned parents.  The following week I participated in an IEP (Individual Education Program).  Happily it helped bring one student back into our classroom that had left because of not having a consistent teacher.  I also got scratched, bit, hit, and spit on.  That was all part of the learning curve.  There were also the comforting moments when I knew I was an influence in the life of a child.

I could have definitely been overwhelmed and let it cripple my ability to function, but one thing came to my mind that pushed me forward.  It's something I have recognized about myself over the years.  Time and time again throughout my life I have been put in situations - situations that need fixing.  I'm talking desperate situations where something is ready to fall apart.  For some reason I have been put in these positions and God helps me see what I need to do.  I know I can make a bad situation better. I use to think when I was younger, "Why do I have to do this?!"  Now, knowing full well that God will help me, I jump in and do my part.  Heavenly Father guides me and I can make decisions to put things back in order, back on track.  I've said at times, "I'm better than nothing."  But in these situations I'm definitely what the doctor ordered.  I can patch a situation up, put a band aid on it so to speak and start the healing process and begin the repair.  It seems like I'm there just for that and then someone else steps in and takes over.  My job is done and the once bad circumstance is turned around and on the mend.  The crisis is over and someone else takes over where I left off and begins to build.  It's been my lot to deal with such things.  I'm accepting of it now, but I use to be somewhat grudging of giving up my post.  I'd think, "Why can't I carry on and build on this better situation now?!"  Instead I'm off to the next disaster, like SUPER MARTHA, there to intervene momentarily and then I'm off again to where I'm needed.  I'm glad to say I'm happy to be of service and I'll serve where and while I can.

Well, I had the class nearly three weeks.  I was emotional in my departure, but I knew my lot from the beginning.  I was to try and stabilize and prepare the class for a permanent teacher.

"Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is."

I might have been the teacher, but I learned so much from the children and the other adults who helped me.

"I believe that every human soul
is teaching something to someone
nearly every minute here in mortality."

My one great advantage through it all is that I love these children, every single one of them.  My heart aches for them.  I wish they knew how much God loves them.  How special they are to Him.  It was a rough start having their teacher resign and then endure weeks of different substitutes. Again, it was the class nobody wanted.  School should be better for them.  School can be a happy place.  It would have been nice to have had more time, but we patched things up and moved forward and now they have a permanent teacher. (I HOPE!) I'm so grateful I had this opportunity. The Spirit whispered, "You'll be an influence."  And with God's help I was.

"When love and skill work together,
expect a masterpiece."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm OUT!

I've gotten all sorts of emails from people wondering why I'm not on FACEBOOK anymore. I had just barely started with FACEBOOK and all its networking wonder when my daughter informed me the other day that someone was using my name and sending out comments on FACEBOOK. Weirdness comments I might add that included weirdness links. She said, "Just write and tell everyone it wasn't you."  According to her it happens all the time, people hacking and using your name, etc. And I just made contact with so many dear friends, but sorry you all I've deleted my account. I can't take the weirdness and I don't want to be affiliated with weirdness.  No, I'm just going to sit here with my quiet unassuming blog and hope for the best. 


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Only in Texas

Elder Blair and a longhorn truck.

If you hadn't noticed already, Tommy's new address is posted on my sidebar.  He's serving in Pearland and has a new companion and a new assignment as district leader.  He loves being a missionary.  He loves the people of Texas.  And we love getting his weekly email report.  We're so grateful for his happy service.

"I believe that every Latter-day Saint who has received a testimony of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged has [the] same feeling that Alma had—a desire that all the world might hear the testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ [see Alma 29:1–9]. When men and women receive a testimony of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, they are anxious that all the world should have that same knowledge and faith. They are anxious that the gospel should go to every honest soul. And there is no other labor in all the world that brings to a human heart, judging from my own personal experience, more joy, peace and serenity than proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"In no part of the work of God here upon the earth at the present time is there such a band of happy, contented, peaceful people as those who are engaged in missionary service. Service is the real key to joy. When one is giving service for the advancement of humanity, when one is working without money and without price, with no hope of earthly reward, there comes a real, genuine joy into the human heart."

Heber J. Grant, The Teachings of Heber J. Grant, Chapter 9:  "The Joy of Missionary Work"

You might find longhorn trucks ONLY in Texas, but the joy of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ is everywhere.