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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Papa's Birthday Lunch

The last birthday that my dad had prior to his passing, he asked me to provide lunch to the guys at the mill.  I made Indian Tacos and it was a hit.  He came over to my home a day or two later and expressed his gratitude for my contribution to his special day.  He said he loved it and the guys loved it and it was so delicious.  I was glad to have a part of making him happy.
I've continued that tradition in the years since he's gone.  Yesterday would've been his 79th birthday. I made a mountain of fry bread as well as German chocolate cake (his favorite).  The guys appreciate my efforts as well and it makes me feel good that I'm continuing something small that he was so grateful for.  I don't do much as an owner of that company, but I can boost morale.

I miss my daddy at times.  As a little girl I didn't think there was anyone more wonderful than he. Even as a teenager, I didn't think there would ever be any guy who I would love more than my dad. Amazingly I found a man just as kind, gentle and genuine as my dad.

I was sad to let him go from this life but knew that he wasn't happy in the body he was left with. Who would ever choose to have constant headaches and a body that you couldn't control?  That wasn't him.  I'm ever grateful for the time I had him and even more grateful that eternally he will still be my daddy.  I smile when I think of him.  Just a twinge of sadness that I can't see his smile and feel his touch, but so much gratefulness that he's free of the burdens of this life and can be with his eternal sweetheart, my mom.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I'm a Temple Ordinance Worker

Back in October my husband and I were set apart as temple ordinance workers in the St. Paul temple. I wasn't sure I could ever memorize and learn all that needed to be done.  After being there two months in a row, I felt that I could learn everything necessary.  I was looking forward to being back in December and then we had a blizzard come through that kept us home.  I was disappointed.

We were back this past Friday night and Saturday morning.  I love the women that I work with on my shifts.  I still feel like the newbie but not like I did in the first two months.  My coordinators have such faith in me and believe I can do whatever they assign me to do.

I had a very tender moment while working in an endowment session.  As I was performing my duties, I felt that my hands were indeed the Savior's hands.  I was doing what He would do.  It was so tender. I loved having that feeling.  I cannot express wholely just what I felt.  I just know it was amazing.

I am blessed once again to be able to do what the Lord asks me to do.  I will forever be grateful to be His hands in this work.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Another year makes 34

On January 11th we were able to celebrate 34 years of marriage.  It was a rather uneventful day as I had to work and Pat was just getting over a bout with the flu so he spent part of his day working from home.  We did, however, go out to dinner at Perkins.  It was perfect!

My parents celebrated 35 years of marriage just a few months prior to my mother's untimely passing.  I always thought they didn't get enough time together.  Thirty-five years seemed like such a long time to be married and yet I'm right here next to that number.  I always wanted a marriage similar to what I saw modeled by my parents.

My dad was such a loving man and they always greeted one another with a kiss when he came home from work.  I'll admit, we don't do that, but I do have a very affectionate husband who likes to hold my hand and sit close to me.  I think I got a guy very much like my dad.  Very tender, compassionate and generous.

There are lots of things I love about this husband of mine and I think I'll list 34 things to show my appreciation for him.
  1.  He tells me he loves me everyday.
  2.  He rubs my back almost every day.
  3.  He brings me flowers randomly.  It doesn't even need to be a special occasion.
  4.  He calls me during the day to hear my voice.
  5.  He randomly gives me a foot massage. 
  6.  He helps others with whatever they need.
  7.  He serves the Lord in any way he is asked and then some.
  8.  He submitted our names to work in the temple.  We both love it!
  9.  He genuinely wants to be with me, work with me, be around me.
10.  He routinely tells me that he's glad I married him.
11.  He LOVES our house/home.  It was mine first, but now it's ours.
12.  He corrects me when I need correcting. I know that isn't easy to do.
13.  He asks the hard questions.
14.  He buys me beautiful clothing and now jewelry.
15.  He loves to go on vacation with me. 
16.  He supports me in all that I do.  Even when I'm crazy.
17.  He provides for us.  We have never gone without the basic needs.
18.  He plans for our future.  Both financially and otherwise.
19.  He likes to take walks with me.
20.  He enjoys the grandchildren and takes an interest in them.
21.  He is a Mr. Fix It for me and our children.
22.  He trusts me to take care of our financial situation. 
23.  He scratches my head.  Some people don't like that but I do!
24.  He refers to Clint and Jeff as his sons.  No in-laws around here.
25.  He guides our children when they need it and gives the best council he has.
26.  He is worthy to exercise the priesthood that he's been given.
27.  He loves our Heavenly Father and Christ.
28.  He listens to the Spirit when he feels guided either by thought or feeling.
29.  He is slow to anger.  I think I've seen him angry once or twice in our married life.
30.  He sleeps out in the tent with me when we have our grandchildren camping night.
31.  He keeps the snow removed from our driveway so I don't have to do it.
32.  He treats others with kindness.  Even when officiating.
33.  He lets me have my own interests and encourages me in them.
34.  He takes me to the temple every month.

I think that's enough for this time.  I am very blessed to have this wonderful man in my life.  We have created a family full of love and fun.  We understand that we have been blessed beyond measure.  Our cup truly overflows when we think about our family and our marriage relationship.  We're not perfect but we're doing what we can to remain happy.  Life is an adventure and we're doing it together!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas!  I can’t believe how fast the year has flown once again.  No major illnesses, births or deaths to report in either of our immediate families.  Yet, there was plenty to keep us busy. 
            In February, Pat and I made a long weekend trip to Utah to spend it with Erin.  It was well timed as she needed her mom and dad.  We did get to tour the Provo City Temple open house which was fantastic!  We spent a lot of time with the Dean Bohl family which is always a treat.  Thanks!  I also began a new job as a poll worker for any elections in our township.
            In April there were school board elections and Pat was the 2nd highest vote getter which puts him on the Gresham school board for three years.  He’s enjoying it and learning much.
            In May, I taught my final early morning religion class.  Eight wonderful years doing that but it was time for someone else to receive those blessings of teaching the scriptures daily! I do miss the youth but not the early mornings out in the cold.
            June brought Tom to the state Special Olympics track meet where he earned a 5th and two 7th place finishes in his events.  He also began Bocce ball practice weekly.  We were also able to go to St. Paul for nephew Evan’s wedding.  Tom’s Bocce competition was in July and his team didn’t do very well.  He was on a different team than usual and it showed.  He still had fun.
            I think this was the first summer I didn’t go to girl’s camp in about eight years.  Sammi went in my place and did an awesome job.  I played “mom” to Evelyn as Jeff was at Boy Scout camp during the same time.  August brought our son Andrew home from his two year mission! I know what heaven feels like.  It’s being able to hug your child who has been away for such a long time and only able to communicate through letters except on Mother’s Day and Christmas.  Then a phone call or FaceTime is acceptable.  He loved the time he was able to serve and we are so grateful for the man he has become.  Now it’s time to think about schooling for him.
            August brought about the biggest change for Pat.  After serving for 91/2 years as president of the Wausau Wisconsin Stake (geographical area) for our church, he was released and someone new now has the responsibility. I still think it is strange when he’s home on Thursday nights instead of at a meeting and that he is able to sit with me in church.  A few days later, he and I set off on a trip around Lake Superior.  We camped all but one night.  The weather was perfect; the scenery beautiful and the company was excellent!  On a side note, Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay on the U.S. side has the most to see.  The Canadian side isn’t so great.  I can see most of that scenery right here in Wisconsin.
            The end of September had us boarding a plane to Utah once again.  Andrew came along to see many of his new friends.  We attended our church’s General Conference and then headed south to Cedar City. We spent a full day touring Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.  Personal tour guides are the best!  Then off to St. George for the night.  Clint’s mom lives there and we were able to visit with her.  What a grand adventure we had.
            I had chief inspector training for six hours in October to prepare for the November election.  I learned a lot but those people have to learn how to speed things up.  Another nephew got married and this time in Nauvoo.  What a treat to be in Nauvoo with most of the family!  We missed Erin. Pat and I also began serving two shifts per month in the St. Paul temple.  We love it!
            Thanksgiving brought our family over with much food.  The “boys” all went out hunting.  Only Clint was successful during the hunt.  Although during the T-zone antlerless hunt last weekend, both Pat and Jeff got a deer. 
            Pat and I have a new opportunity before us.  We have been called to serve as Area Family History Advisors.  Our role is to work with the six stake presidents in Wisconsin.  There is a bit to learn but we are both excited to get started. I wish I could better explain what we are to do, but we just had training this morning and have a lot to learn. Perhaps next year we’ll have something to report.
Our children are all doing quite well.  Clare and Clint with their children Cami, Adam, Brock and Butch are a joy to have in our lives.  Clint is still a police officer for the local tribe. He’s so good at that job. Clare is an amazing mom to her little flock and each of them bring a joy to us that only grandparents can understand.
            Tom is still working with me one day a week. He’s enjoying Special Olympics and singing in the church choir. He still doesn’t like little children but as they get older he has a bit more tolerance for them. Of course, they all love him.
            Sammi and Jeff live just up the street from us and spend a lot of time at our home. We burn wood and so our home is a lot warmer than the one they’re renting. Sammi graduated from BYU-Idaho in July and is now working as much or as little as she wants as a substitute teacher.  I believe she could probably work most every day if she wanted to.  I get to have Evelyn here when both she and Jeff are working.  She’s such a good girl.
            Erin is still working in medical records at a clinic in Provo, UT. Her Mr. Right hasn’t come into her life yet.  Whoever he is, he needs to know what he’s missing out on.  Erin is such an outstanding woman!  I’m so proud to call her my daughter.
            Andrew is living at home and working for the family business.  He’s learned how to run some heavy equipment.  Some jobs he likes better than others but he really is anxious to attend school.  He will be applying at BYU-Idaho and also Salt Lake Business College.  He is officiating basketball as is his father. Not a difficult job, most of the time.
Here we are less than two weeks from the celebration of our Savior’s birth. Weren’t we just in Utah with Erin?  We have been so blessed over the last year with health and happiness as well as wonderful friends and family! I guess it doesn’t matter what you do with your life as long as your recognize your dependence on God.  When we put Him first, we can get through whatever is put before us.

May you have a wonderful Christmas with those you love.  We think of you often and wish we could cross paths more often.  We love you and we’re always grateful for your friendship!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Callings

Today Pat and I went to Neenah to meet with Elder Scott, our area seventy.  He interviewed both of us as to our worthiness and then began talking about a calling that is for both of us.  Somehow I knew this was why he wanted to see us.  We have been called as "Area Family History Advisors."  It means in short that we will be serving together to promote the "Find, Take, Teach principle of family history.  Basically we need to help people understand that they need to find an ancestor and then take the name to the temple and then teach that principle to others.  We will be working with the stake presidencies in the six Wisconsin stakes.

As of now, I don't know anything else.  I'm feeling overwhelmed not knowing what we will for sure be doing.  I do know that this in an important calling as we are to be released from any other callings we may have.  I have several.  I don't believe that my organist calling and my librarian calling won't interfere with this.  They didn't interfere with being a seminary teacher.

Elder Scott was certain that we could maintain our temple assignment but thought I may need to give up my church service missionary job.  Time will tell what I need to back off on.  

Today I'm feeling very overwhelmed!