Friday, September 15, 2017

Door County Mid-Week Vacation

Pat and I were planning a Lake Michigan tour this summer.  The plan was to go north and then come back south and go to Mackinac Island and then back to Wisconsin via the ferry to Manitowoc.  We had such a busy summer and then he had his heart attack so that messed up those plans.  Last week would have been the time we were going but the weather was miserable and Clare was gone to Boston and Sammi went with Andrew to Salt Lake City.  I spend a bit of time watching children.  So, I proposed that we get a condo in Door County.
This week the weather was in the 70's and 80's so it was absolutely perfect for a summer vacation. We had a nice condo on the Bay side only a few miles from Potawatami State park.  We brought our bicycles along to do some riding in the parks.  We also rode in Peninsula State park.  They have actual bike trails as opposed to riding on the roads.  This lighthouse  was our one stop in Peninsula.
These cedar trees lined up perfectly so it looked like we were in jail.  This was the same site as the lighthouse.
Also in the park was a beautiful beach.  The water wasn't any too warm so there weren't any people in it.  There were, however, plenty of sun worshippers.
This boat was anchored just off the beach.  I'm not sure how I feel about boating in such a vessel.  It might be really fun yet it is on the water.
 I believe this guy wanted me to get in that cold water.  He actually did swim off the beach by our condo.
This bike ride was 9.6 miles of some up and some down.  Lots of in between.  It was a lot of fun. I would do it again.
Mostly, we just love being together.  We took walks each morning as well.  We're trying to stay heart healthy.  It was a wonderful time just being together.  We bought a couple of movies and watched them in the evening.  I have a great life with this man at my side.  We are very blessed to share our lives.

Monday, September 4, 2017

It's Never Easy

These people are my my most cherished possessions.  If they can be referred to as that.  I've never wanted to be anything more than be a mother.
These crazies gave me the cherished title of Mom.
I recall taking and leaving Clare in Provo, UT as an 18 year old college student.  It was so hard to walk out of her apartment.  I felt as though I had left a piece of my heart there.  She didn't have a cell phone and we didn't have a lot of money so we didn't talk nearly as often as I would've liked.  I recall laying in the back seat of the van and crying as we drove out of Utah.
 These guys make my heart happy.  They're a good group of priesthood holders and I can always count on any one of them to help me if I should need it.  Two of them take great care of my daughters and I love that most of all.
These beautiful women are my best and dearest friends.  I recall leaving Sammi in Rexburg and although I had already been through leaving one daughter it really wasn't any easier.  The only thing that made me feel better was that she had cousins so close by.

When Erin went off to Rexburg, she chose to ride out with her cousin, Lauren rather than have us take her.  But, to make it easier for her, Sammi went along and got her all settled before flying home. It was hard not having her near but she had a phone and we talked pretty much daily.  Again, she had cousins close which made me rest easier.
Two Christmases ago this was as close as we could get to having a picture taken together.  Andrew was still on his mission in Utah.  My heart if full when I get them all together.  We've had a few weeks of togetherness in the last year.  Erin would come for a visit and make me happy.  My heart always breaks when she leaves or when I'm visiting her and I have to leave, it brings tears to my eyes. Is this a sign of getting old or just getting soft?
This morning about 5:15am, these two left on a cross-country trip to take Andrew to Salt Lake City where he will be attending the LDS Business College.  He was quite nervous about going and driving across the country alone.  I offered to go with him but then Sammi stepped up and went.  This evening they are in Sydney, Nebraska.  Tomorrow they will be in Salt Lake City.  Andrew has some things he needs to do--like take a placement test, register for classes and get settled into his apartment.  Another piece of my heart is going to be living in Utah.  I know this is the best thing he could be doing and I'm so proud of the man he has become.  It isn't as hard as it was letting him go three years ago and not being able to see him for two of those years.  Still.....

I wonder if our Heavenly Father feels this way as he sends his children off to live on this earth.  Does He wonder what kind of choices they will make?  Is He concerned for their safety and well-being? Does His heart ache for us at times?  I'm sure all of the above.

I pray for my children always regardless of where they are.  I want their lives to be full and happy and joyful just as mine is.  I want them to succeed in whatever they try.  My role as mother has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined.  It has given me the proudest moments, the highest highs and the lowest of my lows.  I must say, I didn't have the lows that many parents get.  Thank you Pleshek children.  I'm your biggest fan!  I love all of you with all my heart with a capacity that just keeps enlarging.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.

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!