Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Erratic Weather and Patience!

The other day I went over to my daughter's house (she lives one block from me). As I was opening her gate, I noticed a few little crocus's proudly displaying their little heads! I was amazed that these little flowers finally popped through the frozen ground to stand as witnesses that Spring is really here! However, just as I start to get excited for good weather, we have yet another snow storm!

I have been hearing people around town saying things like, "I am SO over winter" or "I am so sick of this erratic weather"...I have even been caught muttering the very same things. It has really gotten me down until this morning when I read one of my favorite blogs. She posted this:

"It's a rainy, snowy, cold day here in North Carolina. After an 85 degree day a week ago, that's a tough one. But, two people within an hour this morning had a different outlook on this weather. At the Y this morning I saw a UPS man that works out every morning. I said "It's not a good week for a UPS man." He said "Why?" I replied "It's suppose to rain every day but one this week." You know what he said? "Well, we'll just dance in the rain." Then, an older man came into the office to pay his bill. I asked him how he liked this snow and cold. He said "We don't mess with God's work." You know what? They are both right. And they are good examples to me. We don't mess with God's work. But Jesus, will you bring on the sunshine? Thank you. Amen. :)"

After reading her sweet post, I quickly changed my perspective on things. I LOVE that these two people have learned to embrace things out of their control and look for the joy in it. It inspired me and it reminded me that:

1. I have NO control over the weather so it will be what it is no matter what I think or feel about it!

2. There is still beauty in all things, even rain and snow...it's finding that beauty that sometimes seems to be the challenge.

3. Just because I am "over" something, doesn't mean that the Lord is over it. Maybe I need to look for the lessons in it (I'm thinking...um, "Patience" is a good lesson...)

4. With beautiful weather one day, stormy weather the next, then back to beautiful weather, it is a reminder that that is exactly how life is! Things go good one day but can fall apart the next...as long as we endure and more importantly, survive, the good always comes back!

5. Patience is NOT easy. I can be so patient in some areas, but others, well let's just say that I am still a work in progress. I personally feel that it is a virtue that needs to be perfected in order to really become effective in one's life!

6. And finally, I am not in charge! One of my very favorite sayings is:
"Don't try to force anything. Let life be a deep let go. See God opening millions of flowers everyday without forcing the buds." ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

So a HUGE "Thank You" to Miss Angela from North Carolina for posting such and inspirational message and reminding me that I'm not in charge! Now I think I can muster up the strength to endure the upcoming erratic weather patterns and when the great weather hits, just maybe I'll appreciate it even more!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Boys Will Be...?

I was watching Dr. Phil a few weeks ago and saw a show about "Out of Control Teens". There was a 21 year old girl who was totally into drugs, alcohol and sex. She stated that she started all of this behavior around the age of 14. Her mother was distraught and truly feared for her daughter's life. I was heartbroken for this mother.

During Dr. Phil's interview with the daughter, several times she made the comment that "all kids experiment!" This seemed to be a valid justification for her ridiculous behavior. I was so frustrated watching that show because I truly know teens who have chosen to make wise decisions and to stay away from promiscuity, alcohol and drugs. I know kids who actually go to church every Sunday and stay for 3 hours to learn more about values. I know kids who listen to their parents and try to obey their counsel. And I know kids who strive for excellence, not only in school, but in life in general.
Here are 5 young men who are all teenagers. They range in age from 13-18. All 5 of them received their "Eagle Scout" at a Court of Honor two weeks ago. Each of them is active in their church, stay away from the temptations of substance abuse and are morally chaste. One of them has just received a mission call to serve the Lord for 2 years without dating...and he's completely excited to embark on his new journey. The other 4 boys will follow in his footsteps. I have seen each one offer unsolicited service to widows in our neighborhood who need their driveways shoveled. I've seen them sweat as they volunteer to load or unload a moving van for a family. And I have watched them work hard on each other's Eagle projects while encouraging each other to keep working. They joke, they laugh and the kid each other unmercifully, but I've also seen them fast, pray and comfort those in need. These are NOT outcasts...they are all popular and well respected by their peers. They are remarkable young men.
So I believe that ALL teens have choices and are not victims. They can choose to make a good decision or a bad decision...it's up to them. I marvel when kids cry about consequences. As parents we all try to teach our kids good values and hopefully we teach them about consequences. I can say that I had teenagers who have made great choices and sometimes they made really stupid choices but they never could use the excuse that "everyone's doing it" because they knew plenty of good kids who opted NOT to try those things. They were all taught to choose the right and let the consequence follow...sometimes they chose the "wrong" and the consequesnce was not what they wanted...sometimes they even complained that "it's not fair!"...

I am proud of these 5 boys and so honored to have been invited to their Court of Honor. I sat proud to even know them and it gave me hope in a brighter future. They are on the right path...no, they're not perfect and yes they will make mistakes, but they are moving in the right direction and I am honored to call them my friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kidney Stones, Career & Japan

See that pretty little crystal up above? First of all, it has been magnified and is, in all actuality, about the size of a grain of sand...Don't be fooled. That little sucker is a most painful little demon called a K.I.D.N.E.Y S.T.O.N.E...and it is E.V.I.L...!!

I know I have been away for quite a long time...life has been so busy for me lately and on top of that, my body decided to try to pass one of those little beasts! Let me tell you, I passed one about 10 years ago, on a flight as the lead Flight Attendant...not one of my best moments...this time, it has taken me just over a week and it STILL HASN'T PASSED!! But, it is much better. My friend, Julie, told me to drink 1/2 Cup of Lemon Juice, mixed with a little water and sugar, each day in hopes that the stone begins to dissolve. I'm not sure what exactly has happened, but I do know that my pain is significantly less, almost gone. Thanks Julie!!

With that said, I spent 6 days in bed on a heating pad. I had a difficult time even reading because at times I was so naseaus from the whole ordeal. So I spent a lot of the time pondering life in general. I watched some T.V. and just tried to work through it. When all was said and done, I gained a greater compassion for people who are chronically ill. I caught a glimpse of the helpless feelings they often describe and even the fear that life might never be the same. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering in ANY way.

On another note, my mother turned 80 on Mar 14th. She is an amazing woman who looks great, feels great is has the most positive attitude of anyone I know. She acts at least 20 years younger. She still plays Full-Time in the Utah Symphony and is a busy, active and vital woman. I can only hope that I am as healthy as she is at that age. (I'll do another post on her Birthday festivities).

Many of you know that my hubs, Brad, changed careers this past year after 34 years. It has been a challenge, but it has been the best decision he has ever made. After working so many long and tiresome hours, he is now reaping the rewards and the new company is so proud of him. He has participated in several conference calls with top Sales people where his expertise is being utilized and put to work. He has now received two promotions and even qualified for the annual Cancun trip this June! I'm so proud of him and am so happy he is with a company who appreciates his talents and abilities.

Finally, I have to comment on the events in Japan. My heart aches for the people of that ravaged country. As I look at the wreckage and devastation from the Earthquake and Tsunami, I can't even imagine where they will even begin with the clean-up. The determination of the Japanese people is an inspiration and I can only pray that they can continue to move forward with great success. God bless them all...

I pray that all of my faithful blog followers are well and happy. I have tried to catch up on all of my favorite blogs and want to say "Thank You" for keeping me company while I was sick! I know that sounds strange, but I felt like I was visiting with friends as I read all of your posts!

The blogging world is wonderful and I am so glad to know all of you in some small way...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Emotional Band-Aids

The other day I was babysitting 2 of my *Littles* while their mommy took their sister to her first dance class. Alakina was quietly looking at some books for quite a while, while her rambucnctious 16 month old little brother was busily exploring everything breakable in my house! I have to admit that I have never really child-proofed my home, even when my kids were little. I did put away things that could hurt them and also things that may have some value to me, but other than that, I just left things out and figured that kids needed to learn to live in MY world.

This approach has always worked...for over 30 years, it has worked...that is, until the other day when I had little Tage at my house. Tage is THE MOST energetic, busy, curious little guy I have ever encountered. The child actually pants like a puppy and touches everything in sight! He is fast, strong and rough with everything he comes in contact with. He grabs, throws and chews anything he can. He reminds me of "Bam Bam" from the Flintstones:)

So after 30-40 minutes of chasing after this very high energy little guy, Alakina came up to me with the saddest little look on her face (she's VERY dramatic) and she informed me that she needed a band-aid for her finger. I inspected her little digit but saw absolutely nothing. I explained to her that band-aids were usually for cuts and since I didn't see any cuts on her finger, she really didn't need one. Well, that was NOT the right thing to say to her at that very moment. She turned on the tears and insisted that she needed a band-aid and would not let up. I was still trying to chase after Tage and was so terribly distracted that I just kind of brushed her off. Again, NOT the right thing to do!

All of a sudden, Alakina spoke up and firmly said, "Nana, you need to pay attention to me for a minute...I NEED a band-aid!" In that instant, I realized that she was not really asking for a band-aid for her perfectly-fine-finger, she needed one because it was a way to gain reassurance that I loved her and cared for her every bit as much as her little, out-of-control brother. She was feeling ignored and less important. So I knew what I had to do...

I promptly put Tage in the high chair (totally for confinement purposes) and took her by the hand into the bathroom to select just the perfect band-aid. I have a box just for the kids that holds several different colors so I pulled out a selection of each color and let her choose. I held her on my lap and let her peruse each individually wrapped bandage until she had just the right one that would make her feel so much better.  I was certain she would pick a purple one, as she usually does, because it's her favorite color, but she surprised me and chose a bright yellow bandage. She then said to me with the sweetest look in her eyes, "I picked yellow because it's YOUR favorite color and I love you!"

I realized that day that life comes at us so quickly at times and we get so caught up in the heat of the moment that sometimes we overlook or forget the sweet things in life that calm us and bring us the simple joys that keep us motivated to keep living life with pure love. This little girl was reminding me that she mattered. Because she was being so sweet and well-behaved, she was unintentionally being overlooked and just needed a moment of my attention.

I grabbed her up in my arms and held her tight inhaling her sweet innocence. Each of my *Littles* has their own unique qualities and brings something special to my heart. One is not more important than the other. Each is precious and deserves as much attention from me as I can possibly give to them. It's impossible to divide your love because with each child it just multiplies!

I'm so thankful for a precious little girl who reminded me of that on a crazy, hectic day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Opposition In All Things

I woke up this morning at 3:30 AM  bright eyed and busy-tailed (not sure what bushy-tailed really means...) Anyway, my mind was racing so I decided not to fight it and just get up, read and hang out on the computer.

Normally, I am an early riser and find that some of my best moments are in the wee hours of the morning, but this 3:30 thing is ridiculous...5:30 is do-able. My mind seems to be clearer and I retain what I read. Sometimes I get caught up on my TiVo'd shows. But to be so wide awake at 3:30 is unusual and worries me because I have a full day ahead.

I am teaching my adorable 10 year olds today at church. They are amazing little people who are well versed in gospel principles and truly, I learn from them each week. They are strong little souls who have thriving testimonies of Jesus Christ, His teachings and the Plan of Salvation...I'm ALWAYS amazed at their insights. I've prepared my lesson, complete with a plethora of hand-outs, posters and pictures. My lesson is on the Sermon on the Mount so there's LOTS to talk about! Now if I can just stay awake!!

I guess my mind is racing because of the events of the past few weeks. You all know about my precious *Littles* who were struggling with pneumonia, RSV and that wicked kidney infection, but what you don't know is that at the very same time that we were dealing with that, a lovely man in our ward was struggling with his very life as he lay in the hospital stricken with Septic Shock.

Chad was a 37 year old cancer survivor with a lovely wife and two beautiful children, ages 8 & 9. After 12 years of struggling with the hideous big "C", his wife, Michelle, awoke in the wee hours of Valentine's Day morning to find him in the bathtub. He was literally purple. She was terrified and ran to the basement apartment where her in-laws lived, grabbed her father-in-law and called 911. Chad was life-flighted to a hospital in SLC where he stayed for nearly 2 weeks. His kidneys had failed and he was diagnosed with the Septic Shock.

His parents live in the basement of his house and his sister, Colleen and her family live next door. Colleen is our Relief Society president and took time out from her family crisis to come to our hospital and visit with Aja and the girls, bringing them treats and kind articles of hope and faith. She spent precious moments with our family because she is a caring, compassionate woman who thinks of others first. I was so touched and will never forget her selfless concern for our well-being.

Our ward is amazing! We held a ward fast for Chad and we all prayed for a miracle, knowing that that was the ONLY way he could pull through this ordeal. We received our miracle, but it wasn't the one that WE wanted. Chad was released from his pain and suffering on Feb 25th. His funeral was yesterday and it was beautiful. The words of comfort and hope were awe inspiring. The masses of family and friends was overwhelming and the spirit of peace was evident as it permeated throughout the entire spirit of the meeting. His wife and children are devastated and numb. But they are strong and have so much support with so many other family members in close proximity. They are a good family with strong ties. They will survive!

So as I have been celebrating the miracles of modern medicine and have two precious granddaughters home to hug, love and adore, another family, just down the street, buried a loving husband, father, son, brother & uncle. It reminds me that in all things there must needs be opposition.

So if that is really true, then the heavy sadness and grief will eventually pass and will one day be balanced out with great joy and peace. The family spoke of the immense peace they have already felt and how grateful they are for the tender mercies of the Lord! They recognize Chad's passing as a miracle because his quality of life, if he had survived, would have been minimal at best. I know that God is merciful and that He does take away our pains and agonies. I am so thankful for all of the tender mercies in my life and will forever be grateful!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Two Angels

The past few weeks have been harrowing to say the least! But I'm back and hopefully will be able to keep my posts more regular...

Let me start by saying that I am one thankful Nana and I am so so appreciative of all of the thoughts and prayers sent heavenward on behalf of two of my beautiful *Littles*. As most of you know, they have both been very sick and were in the hospital. Alakina is 4 and was the first to become ill. She was taken to the ER on Tues, Feb 22. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and SENT HOME! I was shocked. That night, Aja's pediatrician (here's a fond shout-out to Dr. Dave Larsen...) called her at home to follow up on Alakina. When he heard she had been sent home, he too was shocked and had her set up an appointment the following morning. She went and then promptly was admitted into our local hospital.
She was one very sick little girl. As an asthmatic, her pneumonia was quite severe and she suffered from high blood pressure and heart rate with her oxygen too low. She just couldn't get stabilized and we were all very concerned. During this time, this precious little girl was able to maintain her sweet innocence and ability to care for others.

I had arrived at the hospital quite early on Fri morning when little Stella (3 years old) was admitted. The doc felt that it would be best if the girls had their own rooms so Aja was in with one and I was in with the other. Later in the day, Alakina was lying in bed, watching cartoons...I was on the phone with my BFF. Ali looked over at me and asked, "Nana, do you want anything?" I told her I was fine and continued on with my phone conversation. A few moments later I heard the nurse on the intercom say, "May I help you?" to which Alakina replied, "Yes, could you please bring some chips and a bowl, my Nana's hungry!"...It was true that I hadn't eaten all day and was STARVING, but I hadn't mentioned anything to this sick little girl and to hear her concern for me just melted my heart! I heard the nurse giggle and say, "I'll be right in!"

A few minutes later, in walks the nurse with a bowl and several bags of chips! Ali chose 2 bags, opened one of them and poured them into the bowl for me...I have never been so touched by such an innocent, kind act of service. Here this little one was SO sick and she was worried about me!
by the way, those "Pop Chips" are to DIE FOR...

Stella was in the next room. Ali was released on Saturday morning and went home with oxygen. Stella was progressively getting worse and we were worried. She received several priesthood blessings and our faith in the power of prayer was strengthened, but as parents and grandparents, we were still concerned. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia, RSV and a severe kidney infection. She was miserable and you could see it in her sweet little eyes. She is usually such a sweet, gentle little girl but she was now a miserable, lethargic little angel. Her ability to maintain her oxygen was simply gone and she required massive O2 (up to 4 litres at one point). Her heart rate was way too high (up to 155) and she wasn't responding to the antibiotics being administered.
Stella has virtually no immune system and is missing her "T" chromosome. She was in the hospital until Tues, Mar 1. when she finally came home (also on oxygen) She is still not 100% but we are seeing improvement and the antibiotics have started working.

While she remained in the hospital, I spent each day at Aja's house caring for Alakina and Tage (a VERY ACTIVE 16 month old). I was EXHAUSTED, but loved having that time to spend with 2 very special *Littles*.

So I have been absent without a minute to hardly breathe! It has made me SO incredibly thankful that I had my children at a young age...my energy levels are completely different than when I was a young mother but I still managed to multi-task, cleaning, washing a continuous barage of dirty dishes and washing, drying, folding and putting away mounds and mounds of endless laundry!

I'm not complaining, just humbly admitting that I was completely wiped-out when I finally went home to my own neglected house...even though my sweet hubs was amazing and did so much for me while I was away.

Please accept my sincerest thanks and appreciation for all of your sweet, humble and sincere prayers for all of us. We all felt the sweet peace and comfort that prayer brings and owe the greatest thanks to our Heavenly Father who ultimately healed and protected these two beautiful girls. We have been so blessed!