7.21.2017

From the Mission

On Tuesday, Ken came in.  He's a larger-than-life Texan and Lousianian.  Normally, he works with Sister Deck, but she was out having eye surgery, so he was sent to me to work with.

He had some names he wanted to put in his family tree.  But, what he really wanted to do was T.A.L.K.  And, talk, he did.

Since I'm a lover of human interest stories, I was captivated by all his stories....particularly this horrible, sad one.

His younger brother had 6 DUIs.  On the last one, he killed a little black boy.  He was sentenced to a year in prison.  After the trial, the judge took Ken, his father, and his brother back into his office.  And, he said, "Now, Glen, I'm gonna give you a year, but let you out in 6 months.  But, I'm telling you this, if that had been a white boy you killed, you'd be in for twenty or thirty years!"

I was HORROR STRICKEN!  I still am.

I expressed my shock and disgust and Ken said, "Ma'am, that's just how it was in the deepest South in the 60's!"

Ken's mother beat him on a regular basis for any infraction she deemed worthy of a beating.  Often he would have to get his own switch.  But, sometimes it was a heavy rope, a belt, whatever she could find.  When she started to beat Ken, his father got in his truck and drove away for awhile.  On her deathbed, she called Ken to her side, and said, "If I had it to do over again, I would treat you better, and I would learn about that church of yours."

One dark late night, as a Senior in high school, Ken went out to the football field, fell on his knees, and cried out, "I don't even know if there is a God, but if there is, HELP ME, FIND ME!"

A couple of years later, a co-worker introduced Ken and his wife to the church and he has been in the church for many many years.

I just love hearing stories like these of wonderful people trying to find God and the right church.

I'm so thankful for this mission.

7.17.2017

From the Mission

Deborah was working late on Tuesday night.  She needed my help with the scanner.

She explained that she was working on a project for her children for Christmas....using all the old photos from their scrapbooks, she was making each of her five children a book with the photos from their growing-up years.  It was going to be a mammoth project.

We talked a little; I was impressed with her cheerful and pleasant nature.

On Wednesday, she was back again working on another child for the project.  I asked how many children she had; five was her response.  She then added, "But, I am the legal guardian for another child."

Then Deborah told me about Jody, her child of guardianship.  She had taken Jody in at age 6.  Jody is blind, has cerebral palsy, can't talk, feed herself, use the bathroom, dress herself or function older than a very young child.

Jody is now 40!  And Deborah has been her care-giver all that time.  Smiling, cheerful Deborah.  Happy, pleasant Deborah, who has been the sole source of income since about 1997 when her husband became unable to work.  She owned a day-care facility, went to night school full-time to become a teacher, cared for her own family and for Jody.

Deborah is my new uncomplaining and inspiring hero.

For me, serving this mission is all about meeting people like Deborah.  Each has a story.  Each is inspiring.  Each brings something for me to learn every Tuesday and Wednesday.



And, I feel grateful for this brief period of time to work at the family search center.

7.10.2017

I Have Never Wanted.....

a second home.

I know people love them.  People like having a place where family can come, a getaway from regular patterns and lifestyles, etc.

But, to me, they have always represented a lot of WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few years ago, RAH wanted to spend the summers fishing in Manila, Utah, so he - (well, I guess WE) - bought a little camper trailer.  It was small and it was fine.

But RAH said it was much too small.  So, we found one quite a bit larger with a tip out.  It was perfect for what we needed.  There was actually quite a bit of room and our family has visited us, friends also.  And all was good.  We spent a couple of summers enjoying the trailer.

Too much STUFF now; time to downsize.


So, why would I not like that situation?

Because I knew that - eventually - everything would have to come out of that trailer...

And, because it would be used - we had to fill it with essentials; towels, dishes, cleaning stuff, clothes, food, spices, canned goods, paper products, soaps; anything that goes in a house.  All that stuff stayed stored through the winter and summers.

But, now, the trailer is for sale, so ALL the STUFF comes out...it ALL has to be cleaned out.

I'll be doing laundry for a week with all the items that need washing!

Such a lot of work.

Now, I have piles of clothes, socks with no place to stash them, cupboards with lots of out-date spices, towels that won't fit in the linen closet, dishes and bowls and pans that need a home.  Medicine cabinets over run with aspirin, cold medicines, asthma sprayers, shampoos, toothbrushes, dental floss, soaps, etc.

Stuff that really won't fit in our regular home.

The irony is that for the last year, RAH and I have been trying so hard to GET RID OF STUFF.

And, now, we are loading back up again.  It makes no sense.

But, there you have it.

And, that is why I never wanted an extra home, trailer, camper, etc.

WE ARE OVERLOADED WITH STUFF.  And, it's MY JOB to put it all away.

SAVE ME!

7.08.2017

The Addict

Recently I told my daughter I had not purchased any chips since we had returned from Canada; there were none in our home.

I was going to cut the chip habit.

"Mom," she said, "That's good.  But, honestly, I'd rather have you cut out sugar."

She had told us recently that she thinks sugar is definitely one of the deadliest poisons and its effects are very harmful over time.  Of course, drugs and tobacco are deadly, but sugar is seen as a legitimate drug and most people over use this food item.  It's acceptable to babies, toddlers, youth, teenagers, middle-aged and oldsters.  Because of this, not many - until now - talk about its adverse affects.

So, I decided to take her on.  I've given up sugar before, but always go back.  I feel like I eat it in moderation.

I've only been four days without any cookies, cakes, brownies, granola bars, hard candy, soft candy, chocolate, etc.  It's been a very miserable four days.

My sugar cravings are so intense.  I used to allow myself a piece of chocolate about 11 in the morning.  Then I would just nibble the rest of the day on some kind of sweets.  I LOVE sweets.  I'm particular about them.  I like dark chocolate - GOOD chocolate, not Hershey's.  I love Smith's mini brownies.  I love chocolate marshmallow cookies, See's chocolates, some brand of truffles, Doves dark chocolate squares.  I have candy stashed all around the house.

And, I'm suffering.  I WANT IT.



A few years ago when we were serving on our LDS Employment Mission, I met a lady who had been clean from drugs for two weeks.  I was judgmental and thought, "That's NOTHING!  You've got a long way to go!"  But, now I sing a different tune.  That's GREAT, I would say to her today.

I do not intend to give up sweets forever, just awhile, in fact.  I'm going back.  I'll control it (isn't that what they all say?)

But, I realize that I'm an addict.  It's got me by the neck.

And, my heart truly aches for anyone who is addicted to tobacco, drugs, pills, etc.  Because I have a small - just a small - inkling of how overpowering the urge to just have a taste.

I'm envious of people who don't have those strong sugar cravings...it's a sickness, almost.  And, I've got it.










6.21.2017

How to Get Organized

1.  Decide which room you wish to work on.

2.  Pick a shelf or drawer from that room.

3.  Empty out all the contents of the drawer.

4.  Look it over and realize why it is so disorganized and messy.  Most of the stuff doesn't even belong in that drawer.

5.  Take the items out that don't belong.  Carry them to the rightful drawer in another room.  This is very important to our task at hand.  It would be foolish to throw anything away.  Another way to look at this is just reshuffling items.  Move the stuff from one place to another.  It's actually quite efficient.

6.  Put everything back in the now clean drawer.

7.  Feel good because you accomplished something.

And, that is just what I did today.

I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Except that now I have another place to clean out.

HMMM, where shall I put the stuff this time?


6.10.2017

A Tale of Two Books

We just returned from an overlong stay in Canada on a home exchange.  We had LOTS of extra time, so I got quite a bit of reading and listening to books on tape done.

Among those were two books - vastly different, yet also very similar.

First, I read BORN A CRIME:



That was followed up by: Hillbilly Elegy



Their cultures were entirely different; one in Africa, one in the South.

 Each of these books was about young boys growing up and coming of age.

Both of these young men had the decks stacked against them to begin with; both were born into horrendous poverty.

Both came from backgrounds of abuse, fighting, poor education.

Both seemed destined to stay in the circumstances like their families and relatives and friends before them.

BUT, the thing that saved them both from their horrible situations was a strong-willed, caring woman.  A woman who cared, who saw the value of education, who wanted more for the boy and could see the need to get out of the ghetto and slum.

For Trevor Noah, the saving woman was his mother.  I have the greatest admiration for his mother; a feisty, strong, independent woman who never babied her child, but let him suffer the consequences of his decisions.  Yet, she was always there, teaching him he could achieve more.

Noah is now a successful late-night comedian.  He achieved the unthinkable, and it is in large measure thanks to his mother.

For J D Vance, the strong woman was his grandmother; his own mother was a drug addict and he lost count of how many times she had been in rehab.  But, his grandmother was determined to not let him fail.  She was a foul-mouthed, noisy, brash woman, but she loved her grandson.  J D Vance is a law-school graduate of Yale University.

So, each book takes place in different worlds, but the outcome was the same.

SUCCESS - due to a never-give-up WOMAN.

Oh, the power of a strong, caring woman.  It's impossible to overestimate that incredible power.




6.08.2017

The High School Graduate

He's gentle.

He's kind.

He speaks softly and smiles a lot.

His cat is so fond of him and wants to be with him and in his room.

Technology is something he loves and he spends a lot of time with gaming, phone stuff, camera stuff.

Shuffling between his mother's home and his father's home is something that he just does naturally and without stress.  They both are good to him and love him unconditionally.

He doesn't mind hanging out with his parents.  One day, we went for a walk, and he was willing to come along and to just sit by the pool with the adults.  It was sweet.

It wasn't a given that he would graduate, but he did.  Everyone was pleased and proud, as they should have been.

He has struggled with depression and self-esteem, but during his Senior year positive things happened to him, which was good.

He is a good kid.

He is gay.

And, he is my step-grandson.