Monday, September 30, 2013

Look What I Made!

Jenna’s favorite princess, without a doubt, is Brave’s Merida.  Each November first she has announced what her costume will be for Halloween for the following year and each year she changes her mind – though there seem to be fewer changes. 

I know better than to plan her costume before October – although with the last two years she has only changed her mind two or three times compared to the initial eight (life was just so much easier when I was the one picking out costumes for her)

In November of 2010 she announced that she would be Big Baby from Toy Story 3.  Really?  After nine months I decided that maybe she really was going to go through with it and started looking for something she could use – though having my then seven year old running around the neighborhood in a dirty onesie did not thill me nor did I have a clue how to do her eyes so that she could still use both of hers in order to see.

.  I was grateful when she finally changed her mind and decided she would be Juliet from Gnomeo and Juliette. 

A red dress and white apron from Savers.  I really thought I would find something I could use.  But fortunately she wanted to change it again – this time to Tiger Lily.

Oh, Joy of joys!  I could do an Indian costume for really cheap!  I used two paper bags that I got from Winco and cut the fringe and allowed her to do the decorating.  She thought it the coolest costume ever!

Last year she decided to do something different.  For ten months she sounded serious about going as a teapot.  I had called Joh to get his expertise opinion on how I should do it.  He came up with a great idea.  But she changed her mind again.  She would be Velma from Scooby Doo. 

            I thought it would be less expensive and perhaps better made to purchase items from Savers – though Roland seemed gung-ho about purchaseing a costume from the Halloween store.  I don’t think it was worth the purchase.  The good news is that she can wear it again (at least for the time being)

            But this year she would like to be Merida.  The dress is from Savers, but I made the wig.  My initial thought was to make it out of about 6-8 boas – but I never got beyond the thought as the purchase for the boas themselves was over foty dollars – never mind that I had nothing to fasten the boas to.

I had purchased a pirate cap for a dollar.  I found Fun Fur  at Wal-Mart.  It was even the perfect color – unlike the boas I had found.  I wish I had thought to ask Joh if he would make time to make one, or if he had any suggestions for me – but I can honestly say that I did indeed make the wig all by myself adding one to three strands of hair at a time..  And it was for under ten dollars.

No, it is not true that I had done it all by myself..  Jenna occasionally helped to cut strands or thread the needle.    I think for the most part the work is pretty sloppy and the wig itself is obviously amature(as I really did have a hard time seeing what I was doing).  But Jenna is very excited about it.  And that is what counts.

I’ll push for another teapot again for next year.  Now that I have done the wig, perhaps I am ready for the teapot. I may miss another week or more of posting as I struggle to thread the needle and try to make it work.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Sunday

          When I was younger I remember having only two meetings on Sunday then.  There were three for priesthood holders – but for the first fifteen plus years of my life I recall there being only two meetings.

            I don’t recall the specific times or the length of time that took place between the two meetings.  I remember Sunday School being first, coming home to have dinner and returning to the church at a later time for Sacrament meeting.

            The other meetings were spread out during the week.  (e.g. Relief Society was on Tuesday nights, Mutual on Wednesday nights and Primary was on Thursdays after school.) but as the growth of the membership had taken place outside of Utah, the meetings were changed so that all meetings would take place on Sunday.

            It wasn’t until my last year of mutual (Young Men/Young Women formally called MIA – Mutual Improvement Association) that the meetings were changed to three in one block.  Relief Society (or Young Women’s – though I don’t believe we called it that then) was first followed by Sunday School and then Sacrament meeting was last. 

            So until I got married, I remember Relief Society always being first and Sacrament meeting being last.  But in Kearns in was the opposite.  Sacrament meeting was first.
            I think most wards have Sacrament meeting first – or at least that is my belief.  Currently I attend a ward in which Relief Society is taught first and Sacrament meeting is held last.  The stake President says as long as he is president that is the way it will remain.

            So here is my church experience for today:

Combined Meeting

(every fifth Sunday the RS and Priesthood meet together)

            Bishop gave the lesson.  His prepared lesson was to get us motivated for General Conference which takes place next weekend. 

            He started off by asking questions about “Why do we have general conferences?” “What are some things that can be learned?” and “What was your favorite talk from 1985?”  1985?  Is he serious?  He would have been in primary.
First I had to visualize where I was.  April 1985 was the last General Conference in which Bruce R. McConkie would give an address.  I knew when I watched him give his speech that it would be his last. 

I also remember the opening prayer being the absolute longest prayer I’d ever heard in my entire life.  No, I did not time it, but it felt like it had been somewhere between eight minutes and an eternity.

            I was on my mission.  It was a hard area.  Neither my companion nor I were in the right frame of mind to even receive instruction.  I don’t think a lot of the elders were overly thrilled with the area either.  I looked around to see how many had the same attitude as my companion and I shared.

            Bishop had asked for participation by asking us to share what Conference talks had made an impact on each of us.  I must admit that I do not retain things very well.  I remember last night’s session was quite beautiful and I remember thinking, “This is a great talk.”  Sadly I can’t tell you anything about what was said without referring to it again.  And I’m so grateful that we have ample opportunity to do so.

            So as I was trying to think of an example in which I could actually name the speaker and come up with enough words to paraphrase my mind wandered to General Conference October 1992.  That was the longest weekend of my life.  That was the last weekend that dad was upon the earth.  The TV was turned on to Conference but I don’t think I got anything out of it.  And even if so, I can’t remember any of it.

            General Conference April 2004.  My water broke on Friday.  My mom and my sister and my husband were all in the birthing room with me.  The TV was turned on to Conference on Saturday.  Jenna still hadn’t come and I KNOW I don’t think I got anything out of it.  I was exhausted Sunday.

            I’ve had some really nice Conference weekends – unfortunately those are not the ones I thought about.

Sunday School

            The classroom was full!  First time ever we had run out of chairs.  Six youth and four leaders.  I love it when the Young Men leaders sit in.  They participate and add thought provoking ideas and wisdom.  There’s one youth who will participate by answering questions.  I love the participation.

            The theme this month has been on commandments.  Some people have left the Church because they have found that the commandments are too restricting – which they’re not.  But sometimes freedoms aren’t understood until the restrictions have been removed and then there’s that “a-ha” moment.

            Wade shared his upbringing with family rules in addition to the commandments – restrictions that he didn’t understand as a youth but certainly appreciates right now.  One of those restrictions was that he couldn’t hang out at the mall.  Everybody hung out at the mall.  Was this for real?  It was mortifying.  But now he understands.  Two of his “mall friends” are now in prison.  And he just recently attended the funeral of another.

            I shared an experience that happened to me when I was fairly young.  The weather had turned from warm summer to breezy fall and mom said that if I wanted to play outdoors I had to wear a sweater.  Well that was humiliating.  None of my friends wore sweaters!  I had a sweater on when I left the house.  I intended on removing it before I played with my friends.

            One friend, who had heard my mom’s “command”, said that she was “lucky” because her mom didn’t care if she wore a sweater or not.  I don’t know how old I was, but her words hit me hard – “My mom doesn’t care . . .” and I thought myself the lucky one, the blessed one.  I had a sweater on because my mom cared about me.  And it stayed on.  And I tried not to question her commands because I knew that she did it out of love.

            James talked about the Word of Wisdom – which is a commandment for LDS members.  James reminded each of us that we all have the freedom to choose.  Each of us could smoke if we wanted to.  But the smoker doesn’t necessarily have the option of NOT smoking – it has become an addiction.  The smoker has become a slave to his or her habits and although they think they have freedom – for most it’s a long painful road to finally quit and remain smoke free.  (That is just one example) 

            Participation usually always makes for a very great lesson

Testimony Meeting

            The second counselor made the announcement that the bishop’s wife would be released from teaching Sunday School.  A chorus of groans could be heard by many members who attend her class and are not anxious to see her leave her teaching position. I for one am excited as she has accepted the position of activity’s day leader and that will be helpful to Jenna.

            After the counselor bore his testimony, he opened up the meeting for the rest of us who would like to bear our testimonies. I felt impressed to bear my thoughts of gratitude – to my family and friends and Heavenly Father, for the support, for the celebration of mom’s life, for goodly parents – for the bishop’s wife’s new position.  I went up to the stand.  But Brother Cole beat me to the pulpit.
            I think every ward has a Bother Cole – the one who drones on and on endlessly and the Spirit seems to have left the room.  His talk did start off as testimony but after two minutes he started rambling the same words over and over – even after the bishop told him to sit down.  He just doesn’t get it.

            The ironic thing was that his focus seemed to be on sharing testimonies and not wasting one’s time.  How about following your own advice and stop wasting the time that belongs to all of us?

            I should have stayed seated when I saw him walking up to the stand.  I don’t know how long he was at the pulpit – his head was in the way of the clock.  By the time I stood up there was only thirty minutes left and I had lost my train of thought.  If I hadn’t already been on the stand, I would not have gotten up.  I think my heart must have hardened when Brother Cole rattled on endlessly, wondering if I would even get a turn.

            I’m not the only one who lost my train of thought.  The sister who’d come up behind me said only one sentence before she returned to her seat.  I think the 11 to 14 people behind us eventually returned the Spirit back to us.  Still I was a bit upset about the way I had handled the situation and wished I could have a do over.

            Actually I will have an opportunity to bear my testimony after Conference – provided that the weather is drivable and I actually have a working car.  I plan on returning to mom’s ward where my testimony will be more meaningful (to me at least) as I still have a connection with so many of the members of that ward – the ward I still consider family.  For that I am grateful.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two Weeks

Two weeks after I started my blog I became part of a search party who went out looking for mom who had dementia and had wandered from home.  She could not be left alone.  Each of us worked out a schedule so that someone would always be with her.

Two weeks after this year started mom was released from the hospital and spent her last night at the house she’d lived in for over fifty years. It had been on a Sunday when Ellen found my mom passed out and called for Nate to assist.  Patrick ended up taking her to the hospital.  He and Nate were both dressed for church but stayed at the hospital all day. They did not go to Church that day. Patrick had chosen to stay with mom. On Monday mom’s four children worked together to fill out the paperwork to move mom into assisted living. On Wednesday Kayla took mom to her new home at the assisted living facility – the last place she would live. And Corey came from Las Vegas to assist and say good-bye to the house. 

Two weeks ago we lay mom to rest - buried beside my dad.  She’d been rushed to the hospital two weeks prior to that.  It was on a Sunday when she was found passed out on the floor. She'd been rushed to the hospital. Patrick met her at there.   He was dressed for church but stayed at the hospital all day.  He did not go to Church that day.  He had chosen to stay with mom. He took the next two weeks off.  And Corey drove from Las Vegas to say good-bye.  We all spent time with her for 7-10 days.  And then she finally let go.

Two weeks ago Corey and Kayla and I met Fern and Michelle at the Mortuary.  We watched Corey and the Mortician dress my mom.  Michelle applied some lipstick – that’s all that was needed.  Mom looked like she always does when she falls asleep. She still has her purse.

Two weeks ago we talked with family and friends who had come to pay their last respects.  Sunny offered a beautiful prayer before we all went into the chapel. I tied mom’s bow and veiled her face – my final act of service for her.  The lid was closed.  I think Brian cried the hardest. His sobs just seemed louder than the rest - maybe because he's a giant.

 Two weeks ago today we paid our last respects and shared our stories and beautiful thoughts for such a marvelous woman.  Daddy’s birthday was the day after the farewell services.  It was on a Sunday. Corey had planned to spend this week with mom. Instead she's spending it with dad.  We miss you mom! (and dad)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Welcome to the 21st Century!

            I was never hospitalized as a child – except for when I was born.  But until I gave birth to Jenna, I had never been a hospital patient.  But I do remember visiting various hospital patients.  I remember that there was more than one patient to a room and only a thin curtain separated the patients from one another.  Each patient wore a plastic bracelet that would protect the descriptive paper that identified the patient’s name and medical information.  There were clip boards that hung from the foot of each bed.

Patients were asked if they preferred smoking or non-smoking rooms.  And visitation was always limited to certain hours and certain ages. 

            Today each patient has his or her own room.  They wear bands made of unrippable material somewhere between paper and plastic foam.  It contains bar codes which are scanned each time the patient is given medicine or surgery, blood and urine samples and so forth – possibly meals (that way it can all get charged to the final bill) No longer are stupid clip board kept at the foot of the bed.  Everything is done by scanners and computers. It’s so cool to see how technology has evolved.

            The hospital that mom was in is a no smoking zone – the entire hospital and property.  That’s pretty cool.  I think that’s a great revelation that has come to pass. 

            As I mentioned, at least one of my sibs was always with my mom around the clock – which meant spending the night.  I had three members of my family spend the night with me before Jenna was born.  Roland and my mom were both in chairs.  I think Kayla spent the night on the floor.

Not all hospitals have joined this century, I suppose.  When my granddaughter was born, Tony wasn’t allowed to watch the birth.  Talk about old-school.  That’s the way it was when I was born.  Dad’s had to wait in another room.

            I’m not quite certain if I remember from real life or if it was just from the television that I remember the dorky hats that the nurses were required to wear, and the crisp white uniforms – often wondering if they had spare uniforms in their cars or their lockers in order to remain clean and white - as it was never obvious that they had been around barf or blood.    Today they wear colorful scrubs or sometimes nice street clothes.

            Perhaps it’s not the same in all hospitals, but those are some of the observations that I made while my mom was dying at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.  That was actually the same hospital where Patrick and I were born.

Friday, September 20, 2013


I hear the clouds crashing
I think it's going to rain
I look outside above me
The skies are blue and
There is sunshine

Later I go outside to see
Raindrops on my driveway and
The sun is shining still.
I am lightly kissed by
a few drops
The breeze feels nice but
the sun melts away all the
drops as well as myself

Where are the rainbows?


Thursday, September 19, 2013

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Concent and yet . . .

fund raisers seem necessary
for raising money for
different causes
one may go from door to door
seeking collections
usually with product that
no one wants or
can afford  or
doesnt like     

parties at both ends
feel emotion   
the recipient fells bad that
he cant contribute     
or feels anger towards
the very idea of
having walked across
the room to open
the door to something he
may not even believe in         
or resentment because he
has purchased the product
when he knows it could
have been used more wisely              

the seller (or cause promoter)
either gives up because
she is discouraged that
no one wants to buy  
or else she continues
but with an attitude full
of regret and resentment and
eventually cries because
not being able to raise funds
has made her feel like a failure
Fund Raisers Should Not Stir
Up Emotion in Such a Negative Way

missionary work seems necessary
for the benefit of
saving souls 
one may go from
door to door preaching
the gospel and
sharing a message that
others may not know 

those individuals on
each side of the door
feel emotions  
the one inside
of the house
feels anger towards
the very idea of
having waked across
the room to open
the door to something he or
she may not believe in
or resentment because she
doesnt feel the need to
change and feels that she is
being told to
change her ways         

the missionary often feels
like giving up because
he is discouraged that
no one seems to want
to hear the gospel or
else the missionary may
continue with diligence and
prayer sometimes feeling
regret and may eventually
come to resent the church
Sacrifice and Service
Should Not Stir Such
Negative Emotion

we are told that
we must be sealed
in the temple and
we are taught that
families are forever and
we are taught to live a
certain way so that
we may enter into
the temple but sometimes
there are those who
enter by themselves
because the family members
dont always lead the same values
or maybe they do but
there is one part that
doesnt seem in
harmony with the gospel

Our loved ones stand
outside feeling emotions
of anger
or respect
or admiration
or exclusion
wondering why a church
that promotes families
dont allow the family members
see their loved ones get married

and those inside
wish that their
loved ones could share
in their happy moment
and may one day
resent having excluded
certain family members and
may one day be
outside the walls
We Should Never Feel
Discrimination.  God
Doesnt Discriminate.
Man Does.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Thin Coat of Paint

I wouldn’t say that I’m a “friend” of scouting

I think Hannah is the one who made the announcement that “you are not an acquaintance of scouting, but a “friend” of scouting” 

“No I’m not,” I thought.  I have truly never been a friend.  I’ve actually had regrets about it.

I think the scouting program is a great program for those who truly want to be involved.  I guess the thing that has always bothered me the most about scouting is all the hoopla and fuss that seems to go with it.  It would be fine if there was an equal amount of hoopla given to those not even associated with scouts – if that is what’s desired. (Some of us don’t like hoopla and fuss; my brother Patrick and his oldest son truly loved scouting and were heavily involved.  My brother Corey and nephew Brian appear to have reached a point where they almost loathed it)

The boy scout program was adaptedby the LDS church in 1913 and cub scouts were adopted as a part of the primary in 1952. None of the other Church organizations require a uniform or guidelines from outside of the Church.

My mom had been a den mother to the boys when Patrick was in scouts.  I was involved in many of their activities.  It didn’t seem to be a big deal for non-scout members to participate when their parents were the leaders.  I enjoyed hanging around with them and meeting with them once a week and I especially enjoyed activities such as climbing the trail to the Timpenogous Cave or visiting Pioneer Village (located in Sugarhouse at the time) and stopping off at Snelgroves for an afterward treat.  As a recall, the majority of the boys got double scoop cones with blue bubblegum and black licorice flavored ice creams. 

I don’t remember ever feeling envious that the focus on the boys seemed to outshine the focus on the girls.  I usually always had a better time with boys than girls anyhow.  I suppose I did feel left out at times when cub scouts would earn rewards and there was always a ceremony for their achievements – not that I felt the need for a badge or material satisfaction.  I just remember sometimes wondering why so many thought the boys were so great and allowed the girls to sit on the back burner or barely be mentioned.

We didn’t have activity days – which may have been created to run parallel to the scouting program.  I don’t know.  With the girls – be it Activity Days or Young Women – the leaders focus needs to be on the girls.  Leaders should be without children when serving the girls.  So why can the scouts include non-scouts in their activities but the girls cannot? So perhaps it’s okay that they hold scouts every week while the girls hold Activity Days only twice a week.

When we moved into our current ward, I would have Jenna with me while attending Relief Society.  The scout leader invited her to participate in the activities that were planned the same night as Relief Society.  And so Jenna happily believed she was a scout.

I tried enrolling Jenna into the girl scouts program as she was not of age to participate in Activity Days – but was not successful in finding a good fit.  Oh, she enjoyed the few activities we had gone to, but we have always done things as a Juliette.  I still haven’t been able to find a good troop for her. I don't believe it is ever something I had wanted for myself, but Jenna and I have our differences.

Jenna has since had the opportunity to attend activity days and would love to attend every week.  In her mind it isn’t fair that boys get to meet every week.

We had gone to the Church Museum the day before school started.  There were two exhibits featuring the boy scouts – both of which she refused to attend out of rebellion.  She’s nine years old.  She doesn’t understand that boys (in general) seem to need more structure and may be in scouting  their entire lives and still not “get it”  whereas there’s a compassion or understanding or structure that seem to come more naturally to most girls.  But still . . .

Fund Raisers with the boys scouts happen with or without the church.  The boys go from door to door trying to raise money for their organization.  And certainly the girls will have fund raisers when they get into Young Women, but it’s not going door to door collecting money with only a receipt that may or may not be a tax write-off. 

The girls work hard and may involve others to donate baked goods or other items.  They sell product.  

Recently I read a post in which permission was given to share a post from a closed blog.  The following was brought up:

• meeting frequency- scouts are advised to meet weekly, while activity day girls are directed to meet NO MORE than twice a month

• activity types- scouting is a structured program with a clear directive to have activities of many differing types, activity days has no directive whatsoever other than "work on Faith in God for girls." The boys also have this program, but just happen to have scouting as well.
• recognition and awards- cub scouting is famous for its intricate advancement and award system, AD has no such system
• budgeting- do these programs have equal budgets?
• leaders- would a couple ever be called to lead AD groups? Why do boys have access to leaders of both genders, while girls do not? Also, cub scouts have a much higher ratio of leaders to boys than AD girls do
• formal, parent-attended pack meetings- there is no similar equivalent in the AD program.
• the Church's website- there was tab after tab on the church's primary page devoted to explaining and promoting Cub Scouting, but barely a mention of the AD program. You have to click on 'leader resources' and if you scroll down to the bottom, there's a SINGLE LINK that takes you to the SINGLE PARAGRAPH from Handbook 2 that gives direction on AD programs for leaders, and there's not much in that paragraph either.

I know that boys and girls are different – and my interpretation was not that the opinions are to treat both genders as equals but allow equal time, equal budgeting, equality in organization – not in person.  We’re all individuals who hopefully support and lift one another.  “Scouting” does not “lift” me however – or at least the political aspect and blown out manner that might send the message to some girls that they are lower class and not as important.

It is said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, and yet there are some members of this church who feel discrimination because there seems to be a lack of equality. And not just with our attitude towards scouting. (I've actually mentioned the feelings of discrimination in several posts.)

These are just some of my thoughts.  I have more.  Lots more.  But I had to borrow somebody else’s words to get this post. The ideas I have (or had) are so disjointed still.  I apologize that this entry may not sound polished at all.