Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tender Mercies

This handsome face belongs to the love of my life.  He's my rock and pillar.  I depend on him for so much and I adore him.  He's a busy guy who loves to serve both the Lord and the community.

On Sunday evenings we like to take a stroll.  Sometimes everyone comes with us and sometimes it is just the two of us.  On Sunday evening it was just us holding hands and strolling along the road.  Pat mentioned as we got to the end of the road by the Ferguson's that his shoulder hurt.  He stretched it and rotated it but the ache was still there.  When we returned home we went upstairs to our bedroom where it was quieter as the children were playing Apples to Apples in the kitchen and that gets loud. We laid on our bed and watched a movie.  He said the shoulder felt better. He put in a very good night's sleep.

On Monday morning about 6am he said the pain was back and was beginning to radiate down his left arm.  No decision needed to be made.  We were headed to the ER.  Andrew was still home and we asked him and Bishop Newell to give Pat a blessing.  Andrew gave a beautiful blessing in which he told his father to seek out the proper medical specialists and that there was much yet to be accomplished by him here on earth.  Very comforting.  On a side note, Andrew had no idea why his dad was headed to the emergency room.

We thought about going straight to Green Bay because Aurora is our preferred provider.  Just coming out of the long swamp on county U, Pat said we better stop in Shawano.  I watched his agitation and knew that was the right call.  Once there, they did an EKG.  Dr. George came in and told us that it was abnormal and most likely he was having some type of heart attack.  They did a second one and it too was abnormal.  They gave him some aspirin and some nitro.  That took the discomfort away.  An ambulance ride to Green Bay and straight into the Cath lab for an angioplasty.  The stop in Shawano saved time as the Cath lab and doctor were ready as soon as we arrived at Bay Care due to the Shawano ER sending all the important information before we arrived.

Dr. Witmer came to tell me he had one artery 99% blocked which they fixed with a stent.  After he was settled in his room in the ICU, an echocardiogram was done.  It showed the lower left part of the heart with damage and it was not working properly.  The percentage of blood flowing out (ejection fraction) with each compression should be 65%.  His was 35%.  The nurse was optimistic about the heart being able to heal itself just because the quick response time.  That 35% meant two nights in the hospital.  The nursing staff and all the other medical professionals were so great and very helpful in explaining what each drug did and why it was important for his recovery.  We were told that this was a significant heart attack.  Not just a mild one.

As I drove home I talked to Erin and later with Sammi about the fact that this discomfort happened on a Sunday. It could have happened on Saturday when he was so busy with the Gresham Yes celebration.  He may not have felt the pain as different as he was busy lifting and moving things.  It happened on a Sunday when there was no physical exertion beyond getting dressing and that little stroll.  When I spoke to Jeff about this, he said he thought it was a direct result of keeping the Sabbath day holy.  I had to agree with him.  Such a tender mercy!  Who would think that having a heart attack on Sunday would be a blessing compared to another day of the week?  I am absolutely in agreement with this thinking.

I posted something on Facebook on Monday night after I had all the facts.  So many people said they were praying for him.  That was my hope.  There is power in prayer and more power in the prayers of many.  When I went this morning to get him, he was absolutely ready to leave.  We waited and waited for the doctor to come visit and he didn't.  Then we were told he needed another echo to see what the ejection fraction was.  When the doctor came back with results he said it was at 45%! He said that that was highly unusual and expected that all of the damage would repair itself and he would have no permanent damage.  I cannot tell you what a miracle that is!  I know that the power of prayer and the power of the priesthood are real!

I never let myself think that I might lose my sweetheart.  When we were reunited after the procedure, there were tears.  Tears of relief, thanksgiving and love.  Clare reported to me that when she told the children what was going on with their Papa, little 8-year-old Adam fell to his knees and said, "Let's say a prayer."  It's the faith of a child.  Sammi reported that when I told her I was taking Dad to the ER, she got out of bed and fell to her knees in prayer.  I didn't have time to fall to my knees but I plead with my Father in Heaven to bless and heal my husband as I was driving to Green Bay.

I'm so thankful for the miracle of modern medicine.  It has saved my life more than once.  Now it has saved my eternal companion.  I could never doubt that God is real and that He is in control!  Never! It feels like I've just fallen in love all over again, but at a much deeper level.  I love that man more than anything and look forward to spending many, many years together.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bay Beach 2017

My in-laws used to take the grandchildren to Bay Beach once each summer and paid for everything. My parents did it once as well.  Since Grandpa got sick and passed, we no longer do it.  Pat and I decided we would do it for our family. Everyone had a great time.  We were missing Andrew and Erin.  Sad.  Last year all of us did this activity.
Evie and Adam have a favorite ride.  It's called the Falling Star!  Cami thought this ride wasn't thrilling enough for her.  Tom discovered this ride and loved it as well.
 Butchy and Evie had a great time riding the Ladybugs.
 Most everyone got to ride the bumper cars.  I see Pat is enjoying himself.
 This was the first time got to drive and he wasn't quite sure how.  Some coaching from his Papa.
 The Scrambler was the final ride of the night for everyone.  Jeff took Evie while Sammi took Cami and Butchy.  You couldn't wipe the smile off of Butchy's face.
 Clint, on the other hand, seems to have lost his sanity riding with these two.
 Clare riding with Tom on the Falling Star.
While Cami and I were walking over to the Zippin Pippin, we could hear Tom on the Falling Star.  He was "whoo-hooing" very loudly.  Clint is in the green in the middle.

Along with this trip was our first ever family camping trip.  The Gourleys and Fillmores camped on Wednesday and we joined them on Thursday evening.  Wednesday was very hot and humid while Thursday was very seasonable.  We had rain overnight which made our campfire a washout for the most part.  Of course everything was wet in the morning and had to be set up again once we got home.  Still, a very relaxing fun time together.  This is where I missed Erin and Andrew the most.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Coaching Again

Tom has been involved in Special Olympics for quite a few years.  We've always had great volunteer/parent coaches.  The athletes favorite sport is Bocce Ball.  They all participate and love it! I've wanted to be a coach for some time but the opportunity to be trained was never convenient.  It was an in person all day kind of thing that was always somewhere far away.  

Our Bocce coaches hung up their coaching duties last Fall.  I decided I needed to get trained.  These days it is a lot easier to get trained.  Just go online and take a test.  It's the kind of test that if you get a question wrong, you go back and find the right one.  You can't move on until you have the correct answer.  Do the test and voila, you are now a coach!

Pat and I have taken over coaching the 2 Bocce teams.  We split them up by gender this year rather than by scores.  The male team is Lightning and the female team is Girl Power!  Last week we had our scrimmage and both teams did fantastic!  They both won both of their games.  

So here I am, back coaching again.  This time the practices are once a week and very fun compared to making the athletes work hard like in high school.  I'm having a good time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Memorial Scholarship

Twenty-three years ago after my mother passed, her boss, Frederic Eberlein set up an outstanding 8th grader award along with a scholarship.  He put enough money in the fund to last for 20 years. It's been given out for 23 years with enough left for one more year.

The criteria are as follows:
1. Student has displayed and demonstated a positive attitude, cooperative, considerate, courteous.
2. Character:  willingness to follow rules, dependable, truthful, punctual.
3.  Outstanding within their own dimensions regardless of ability or disability.
4.  Academic achievement commensurate to one's ability.
5.  Involement in extra-curricular activities.

This is voted on by the staff.

Mr. Klopke always presented the award when he was still working at school.  Since his retirement, I have been asked if I would like to present this award.  Over the past several years I  have taken this responsibility with great joy.  The funds in the account are low and my husband and I are considering funding it for many more years.  In fact, if we do that, I'd like to add my dad's name to the scholarship as he was a local hard-working businessman.

It fills my heart to know that someone thought enough of my mother's work ethic to name an award and a scholarship for her.  I think that is a testament to her character.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Excitement!

 Back in December when we were interviewed by Elder Scott, our area Seventy, to be extended the calling as Area Temple and Family History Advisors, I will admit I had my reservations.  I sat and listened to him describe the calling (He wasn't too sure what it all involved, or so it seemed.)  I knew it was something I had no desire to do and didn't know how I could tell a Seventy "no."  Since my husband had alread accepted, I didn't feel I had much choice.  Besides, I have covenanted to do whatever I can to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.

In the past 6-8 weeks, I have discovered that I can add memories to my family search page and those of my relatives.  I've gone crazy!  I've uploaded more than 150 photos and stories and documents.  I started with obituaries since they tell a story.  Then I started with photos and finally stories.
I feel that finding these people's names is really important.  But just as important is finding out who they were.  Pictures tell a lot of stories.
 Cards and letters tell an even greater story.  I spent several hours typing people's words from their condolence cards into my parents' memories.
 Anyone who takes the time to look and read will find out that my dad was a kind, gentle, generous man with a heart as big as all outdoors.
 You'll find out that my mother was a woman of great testimony and who loved to serve.  Mostly anonymously.  She loved and cherished others.
 You will find out that others looked up to and wanted to be like them.  This is a marvelous legacy they have left for their posterity.  Now the grandchildren will have place to get to know these wonderful people.
 Once I feel I'm finished with them, I will go on to my grandparents.  I've actually started a little there as well.
 I wrote my own conversion story after I typed one of my mother.  I I researched her conversion by speaking with my dad and my uncle as well as the missionaries who taught her.  I wish it were her own words instead of mine but I don't have them.  What's worse is that I know nothing of my own father's conversion.  He was here and I never asked him.
As we meet with the stake presidencies and high counselors over family history, I am inviting them to write their conversion stories as well as the courtship with their wife and about their missions.  The Lord has commanded that we keep records and this is one way of doing it.

My husband has been bitten by the research bug and I have been bitten by the memory bug.  It is truly exciting!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stake President Wrap Up

Who knew that when a person gets released from being the Stake President that an area historian would contact them and ask for you and your wife to do an oral history?  Certainly not us!  This wonderful woman, Sister Rosemary Palmer along with her husband are area historians.  The best part of their calling is that they live in Nauvoo kitty corner from the temple.  A beautiful home built to look like it fit in the Nauvoo era.  This oral history could easily have been done via the phone but they live in NAUVOO so we made the trip.
We left on a Thursday afternoon and stopped for the night in Poplar Grove to spend some time with Jack and Sharmon Ward.  We love those two people.  We met them while he served as an area seventy.  They have been called to serve as President of the Roseville, California Mission.  We asked some questions about their receiving this call.  They talked about a lot of things and concerns they hadn't spoken to anyone else about.  I guess we are far enough removed that they didn't have a problem voicing the things they are feeling.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening meal and another wonderful meal for breakfast with them.  It was just so great being with them again.  They are truly kindred spirits to us.  Our entire visit consisted of talking about the gospel.  We didn't worry about the things of the world and barely discussed anything like that.  Just a good-for-the-soul kind of visit.

We traveled to Nauvoo on Friday and stayed at "Nauvoo Neil's" home on the flats.  We took the Community of Christ tour.  I can imagine what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would do to those homes if they owned them.  Still, a nice tour.

We attended the temple in the evening.  It was the first time in months that I have gone through an endowment session as a patron.  I believe October was the last time.  As I sit through it, I image what I need to do as the follower.  I did help an elderly woman with dressing as much as I could.  It was a very nice evening and we went home and to bed early after finding out how the boy's basketball team fared.

The next morning was our traditional meal at Grandpa John's and then over to the Palmer's for the purpose of our trip.  We spent 3+ hours with them talking about the history of the church in our area as well as our time growing up and what our families were like.  We spoke of our important callings through the years.  By the time we were finished, we hadn't even begun talking about the stake president calling.  We agreed to finish the interview on Tuesday evening via phone due to our need to get on the way to Wausau for stake conference.

The time we spent at the Palmer's was very interesting spiritually.  Pat shed quite a few tears and I only a few.  It was basically us talking about our lives and adding our viewpoints or other details when each of us took our turn.  It was quite spiritual reliving those time and experiences.

On Tuesday we finished the history.  This was most exclusively about the calling as stake president. This time Pat did the bulk of the talking and I added a few details here and there.  It was much more spiritual for me this time.  I could barely speak without shedding a tear.  At the conclusion we were able to bear our testimonies.  It was a sacred experience for me/us.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Struggle is Real

When I was younger I thought that perhaps, just maybe, I would have to assist one of my parents in their old age.  In reality, my mom.  Of course, she passed from this life far too young and I never had that thought again.  I never thought I would have to care for my dad because he was always so full of life and vigor.  As it turned out, I cared for him for a few weeks prior to his hospitalization and eventual demise.  It wasn't difficult as he slept a lot and really didn't need any help except that he was no longer driving so he needed someone to take him where he wanted to go.  Usually just to the mill.

I never dreamed that it would be one of my siblings that would need care.  With the sham of a marriage that Bonny was in coming to an end, she moved here.  I didn't recognize how much help she needed and just how much she was incapable of doing until she was living in my home.  She literally did nothing.  I gave her a few odd jobs now and then but even with my assistance she couldn't really do them.  It was a huge relief when she moved into Brett and Sue's home.

We needed to get some health coverage in place prior to her divorce.  I was the one to do the paperwork.  I've never applied for Badgercare before.  It seemed that everything that could go wrong for her did.  We hired an attorney specializing in trusts to help us out.  After Dad's passing and Bonny receiving her divorce settlement, we had to put the money somewhere so she would qualify for aid.  The amount she had in cash and assets seems like a large number until you realize that it will need to last the rest of her life.  Now it isn't so much.

Fast forward.  She has HUD sponsored housing.  Its a nice apartment.  She has health benefits and meals on wheels as well as food benefits.  Here's the big problem.  She doesn't take care of her personal hygiene.  I shouldn't have to go to her place and tell her that she smells bad and take a shower.  I shouldn't have to figure out how she acquired a credit card and what she's been spending and how it will get paid.  She's living off of a trust which is funded by her spousal support.  That trust will NOT pay a credit card balance.  All these things have been put into place for her support and protection and yet she doesn't comprehend them.  It's a constant battle to remind her of them.

I spent my day cleaning her apartment, unsubscribing and deleting emails and getting rid of 1-800 phone numbers from her contact list.  I took her to return some merchandise and get a haircut.  I got the most foul smelling of her laundry in the washer.  There's more to do but it doesn't smell like the bedding did.  I shouldn't have to be the "bad guy" or her mother and yet between Sue and I, we have to in order to keep her safe and healthy.

I love my sister and I feel horrible that she has this disease which has robbed her of her physical abilities and makes her forget and unable to focus on anything for very long.  I feel that the abuse she suffered for all those years in that horrible marriage is the cause of some of her worst behaviors.  She needs counseling and won't even consider it.  Yet she will talk to anyone who will listen about the abuse she suffered.  I can sympathize but at times my patience is very thin.

Yesterday before going to her home I prayed that I would have help.  I specifically asked that I would have patience and that I could be the Savior's hands.  I accomplished all I set out to do in the manner in which I desired.  The Lord truly will strengthen anyone who asks. The struggle is real but when I turn the matter over to the Lord, He helps me more than I can imagine.