2.29.2012

The Vegas Visit



I was excited to go,

but even more excited to leave.

I had forgotten how:

noisy,
dirty,
depressing,
dark,
loud,
annoying,
materialistic,
gloomy,

this city is.

We actually went to take a look at Lake Mead to see if Allen had an interest in taking his fishing boat there.

But, we stayed at a motel in Vegas...


It's just incredible.  Outside was such a beautiful, lovely, sunny day; but who KNEW? 

The patrons sat at tables, glued to a loud, annoying machine stealing their money.  No one looks like they are having fun.  

It's all so incredibly strange that people will literally throw their money away hour after hour.

I was glad to get back to lovely, sunny, happy St. George.  I don't really see Vegas as Fabulous, but that is just my opinion.

Long live SUNSHINE and the great outdoors!

2.25.2012

High School Basketball Fever



It's the state tournament; emotions run high.

And, oh, what great playing goes on.

Fun, if you are winning; heartbreaking if you are losing.

RAH< RAH< RAH for high school basketball.

2.24.2012

INgratitude Stinks!

"Can you believe it?" I asked my friend T.V. lately.

"They already have all the Easter stuff up in the stores.  I just barely mailed my grandkids their Valentine treats.  And, it's so expensive to mail stuff," I added.  "What are you going to send your grandkids for Easter?"

"I have ten grandkids.  I sent them all a small treat for Valentine.  I spent money on the gifts, and a lot of money to mail them something....it wasn't big, but it was something!  NOT ONE grandchild called or wrote a letter, or even acknowledged I had given them anything.  It just makes me feel angry and sad.

"I'm not sending them anything," she said.

"You know," she continued, "I see two things at work here.  First, kids have a sense of entitlement..they think they DESERVE anything they get.  Next, a treat doesn't mean anything any more.  That so annoys me because if my grandparents had sent me something, I would have been so excited.  But, they eat treats more than they eat food.  So, it meant absolutely NOTHING to them.

"Why bother?" she concluded sadly.

And, we then talked of other things.




2.23.2012

Oh What a Beautiful Morning



"Oh, what a beautiful morning!"  

RAH sings it lots of mornings.

What a great way to start a day.


2.21.2012

The Topic was DEATH...

...or more specifically....getting your life in order so your death is easier on your loved ones.



It's not the most pleasant of topics.

But she presented it a fun, helpful, informative way that made it easy to listen to.

She made THREE points in regards to preparing for death.

1.  CLEAN IT OUT!
"Your kids don't want your STUFF," she said.

I thought about it.  After the death of my parents, we all got together to divide up the STUFF.  There were some treasures and valuables that were priceless, which we wanted.  But, there were boxes and boxes of STUFF that - sadly - held no meaning to us and we did get rid of it.  In fact, towards the end, we had no time to actually look at the STUFF, we just had to discard it...who knows what treasures we may have thrown away.

Since my parent's deaths, I have tried very hard to get rid of things.  But, it is VERY HARD!  We get so attached to THINGS.  WHY do we accumulate so much STUFF?


It was a very good point and is motivating me to continue my quest to rid myself of items that are no longer useful or used.

2.  FILL IT OUT!
"You can help your family members so much by letting them know where keys, passwords, bank accounts, savings, wills, insurance, property deeds, etc. are."


Then she gave each of the participants a very thorough booklet where we can list important items, etc.  It is thorough and will take some time. (I have started filling it out.)

But, what a help to family members!

Again, at the death of my parents, we had little clue as to how many bank accounts, CDs, savings accounts, etc. that my parents had.  Six years later, we still have a safe deposit box that is not opened.  There is likely nothing in it, but having all the information in on place would be so helpful.

3.  TALK IT OUT?
"No one wants to talk about their dying wishes, health issues, or their own funeral.  But, why not tell your loved ones just exactly what your wishes are in regards to life support and your funeral?"

I once asked my father what he wanted for his funeral and he told me he had never really thought about it.  He died at 90, and I had asked him that question in his late 80's.  I'm sure he would have loved the program that we had.  My brothers are phenomenal speakers, so they were marvelous.  So, for him, I think it all worked out.

But, my father-in-law had very specific wishes for his funeral and for his wife's.  He was very particular and he let us all know it.   His funeral was exactly what he requested......so, isn't that great?

I know I have strong feelings about end-of-lfe issues and my own memorial service, so I will let my family know.

Her presentation was inspiring, motivating, and very helpful.

Thanks, RSH, for making a difficult topic palatable and entertaining with your humor, your fun, and your beneficial insight.

WAR for Profit

It is a profound story.

And, it is painful to read.

Her words are compelling, sorrowful, yet so filled with hope for peace.


Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War 


Leymah Gbowee shared the Pulitzer Prize for Peace based on her experiences in helping Liberian African women stand up and speak for themselves in trying to bring peace to a land torn about by war and an evil, evil dictator.

But, she so vividly points out how difficult it is to stop war.  Here's one paragraph that sickened me:

"...people reported that they argued about how to use the peace talks for personal gain.  That's what the war was about for them.  Power.  Money.  One warlord, for instance, sad he wouldn't stop fighting unless he was guaranteed a lucrative job afterward.....the joking for power and wealth continued each day...."

So, thousands of innocent children go to war; thousands of innocent women are raped and slaughtered while men jokey for power and money.

How much more evil can men and women become?!?!?!??

And, what price do the beautiful innocent people in a country pay for the evils of war?

Too high a price; much too high.




2.18.2012

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Sunday evenings; I like to visit people in the neighborhood..it's so fun to hear their stories.

So, I recently visited DF and his family...here's his story:  (Before I tell you this story, I'd like to tell you about DF.  He is a very kind, soft-spoken, gentle person.  He is also a bishop and a good, good man/father/husband/person.)

At age 2,  while living in Louisiana, he saw his father murdered by his grandfather in self-defense.  His mother took DF and his two older brothers to Texas to live.  She became involved with a very abusive man.  Late one night, the man's sister came to visit.  Upon seeing DF,  now age three, who had black and blue bruises covering his entire little body, she told her brother and DF's mother that if they didn't immediately take DF to the hospital, she was calling the police.  DF was put in a box and dropped off at the hospital while the adults took off.  

DF was eventually taken by his mother's sister and husband to live with them in Louisiana.  So, he was raised by his aunt and his uncle, whom he came to call "mother and father."  He was raised in the back woods of Louisiana by humble, humble folk in very humble circumstances.  His two older brothers were raised by his grandparents.  His adoptive parents taught him to work, to go to church, to love God, and to be good.  They also encouraged him to go on a mission and to go to college, both of which he did.

For many years, DF heard nothing from his birth mother.  Then, about ten years ago, she called DF's mother/aunt and wanted to reconnect with her family.   Two years ago, DF received word that his birth mother had died.  He went immediately to be there for the service.  As he had just been made an LDS bishop, he was asked to conduct the grave-side services.  When he was standing in the cemetery, a car drove up.  Out of the car came the man who had so beaten and abused DF.  DF walked over, shook his hand, and spoke kindly to the man, who was totally taken aback by DF's forgiving, gentle nature.

As I listened to his story, I was so struck by how there was never any bitterness, anger, animosity in his heart.  One of his brothers is filled with rage, hatred, anger, hurt over his life, and has had a very hard life dealing with his childhood situations.  But, for DF, he was given a blessing that the traumatic events of his early years would not have a negative impact on his adult life.  

Recently, I heard DF give a talk in church.  It was a powerful, beautiful talk about how his father helped him restore an old go-cart that DF earned the money to buy.  In his conclusion, DF told how much he loved his father and how much he realized his father had cared about him.  

His life blesses the lives of so many people.  

Mine included.

Oh, I do love those Sunday night visits.


2.17.2012

Should We or Shouldn't We?

That is the burning question......

And, there is no definitive answer.

Each is right.

Each is important.

Each is significant.

Where's the genie when you need him to help you answer these deep philosophical questions????

2.16.2012

She's Stylin'!

Looking mighty snazzy in her red shoes and black outfit; how would it be to look this gorgeous?

Can I just add, that it's mighty fine having our oldest granddaughter live with us for one semester....

2.15.2012

How To Have A Wonderful Valentine's Day

Red roses certainly add a nice touch;


Take your lovely neighbor, Sylvia, out to lunch...her choice of venues; she picked Pizza Factory.

Bake five loaves of home-made whole wheat bread; some to eat - some to share with neighbors.

Watch Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Classics.

And, there it is; a perfect Valentine's Day.

2.12.2012

The Meeting

It was just one of those meetings where you feel so uplifted and hopeful and positive.

I loved it.

Thank you to:

Bishop Forbes;  your talk about your father and your go-cart in the parade was tender and poignant.

President Ricks: I've always loved your great sense of humor...your very short talk on HOPE was inspiring and gave me hope for so many things.

President Topham;  your talk gave me goosebumps.  You told about the 13 year old boy who died suddenly and how his parents came to see you in the hospital shortly after the funeral.  In spite of their overwhelming grief, they were thinking of you and your recovery....wow, such charity.

I am often filled with gratitude for marvelous Sabbath experiences.

2.11.2012

Making A WorkOut Do-Able

Okay, I'll admit it:

I hate working out...whether it's at home with a DVD, the Wii, or the gym, I do NOT like working out.

But, there is a way to smooth the tedious work-out routine;

Listening to Garrison Keillor's weekly podcast of THE NEWS FROM LAKE WOBEGON...

oh, I do love a good story and he's a great storyteller, to be sure.


2.09.2012

America is What I'm Grateful For

There are problems;

There are issues:

There are inequalities;

There are sleazy politicians;

There are whackos;

BUT,

and it is a huge BUT,

AMERICA is still the greatest place.

And, sometimes, when I read a book, like the one I am reading now about a small country in Africa, I say to myself:

HOW DID I GET TO BE SO BLESSED TO LIVE IN AMERICA?

2.07.2012

Aging; It's Not Pretty

We met them in college so very many years ago.

I loved to spend time with them.

She was a workaholic; he was fun, interesting, outspoken.

We each moved to different parts of the world and saw each other very rarely.

And, then, last week, we got a letter from him that he had hand written.  It was strange, disconnected, and made me feel so sad.  He said he and his wife had separated, she had kicked him out of the house, and he was in love with a girl from our college days.  He could not get her out of his mind, even though she had died.

The letter was just so bizarre.....

Then, today, I received a note from his daughter on Facebook.  She knew her father had been in contact with us.  She wrote that.....

Her father has dementia; he says and believes strange things.

He was not kicked out of his home, he and his wife are not separated, but he is enamored with his old friend from college days who is dead.

My heart is aching.

Aging; it's not pretty.


2.06.2012

The Savings Account

Each month, she faithfully put money into their savings account.

She watched it grow.

Occasionally she asked herself what they were saving for?

a new car?  they drove an older model and it worked just fine, so why get a new one.

a vacation?  they didn't want to leave their yard and family; they preferred sleeping in their own bed.

a cruise?  well, they had already done one of those, so why waste money and do it again.

So, the money accumulated, until one day....

As she sat next to her husband in the hospital, she realized - bitterly - what they had been saving for all these years:

MEDICAL BILLS.

2.05.2012

From the Past - the Internet at Home

He was probably one of the first people in our town to sign up for the

I.N.T.E.R.N.E.T.

One morning, very very early, he woke me up from a deep sleep and said excitedly,

"You won't' believe this, but I was reading a document from the University of Virginia!"

I was huddled in a warm, cozy bed and at that exact moment, I could not even imagine what was so exciting about accessing a document from the University of Virginia!

Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

Now, I find that I cannot live without the internet.



I just registered my automobile over the internet; I ordered a work-out tee shirt and pants; I ordered most of our Christmas presents from the net, and will order all my grandchildren's birthday presents from the net.

I have reconnected with long-lost friends over the internet; I do family history on the net; I now store many of my pictures via a service in the "cloud;" I use the internet for art work, lesson materials; I do a crossword puzzle many days on the internet, and of course, I love email.

So, RAH, all those many many years ago, when you woke me up to tell about finding materials in the UVA library, you were so far ahead of the neighbors, co-workers, fellow citizens.

And, I'm so glad that you very early jumped on that bandwagon.

And, now, occasionally, I tell him about some techno stuff....

It feels good.


2.03.2012

The DI Conundrum

It's good to purge the closets some time.

It's good to get rid of stuff some time.

It's good to give it to a charity where someone else will enjoy it.

BUT...

It's entirely STUPID to give it away....

And wish you had it back.

Oh, Red Purse,

What was I

T.H.I.N.K.I.N.G?!?!??!?!?!??!

2.02.2012

Family First

"My wife won't speak to her sister; they can't be in the same room together," the husband wrote to Dear Abby.

"My father cheated me out of my life savings; then my brother cheated all of us when it came to our inheritance," Dee said several years ago explaining her distrust of men.

"My parents disinherited me when I rejected their religion," wrote the columnist.

"We got in the biggest arguments when my parents died," she told me one afternoon.  "We are still not on very good terms.  I'm glad we don't live close."

"He asked us for money as he is going through his 2nd bankruptcy.  It makes the other siblings very angry at him...they don't think it's fair," she told me on the sunny Saturday afternoon.

"The relationship with my sister-in-law deteriorated after my husband's death; she wanted his inheritance, as well as the one she had received earlier," she wrote in her life story which she had asked me to read.

"The brothers won't speak to each other any more....one wife accused a brother of stealing one million dollars from the farm account," the sister-in-law told me many years ago in Idaho.

Sometimes the noisiest prayer in my head is that my children will always love us and each other; no matter what stupid mistakes we do...no matter what we say by accident...no matter how we may mess up.

WE ARE FAMILY....

AND THAT'S HOW I WANT US TO STAY!