Showing posts with label service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label service. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Service is Essential

          On Sunday we drove to the Big City of Roseburg to attend a special conference for several regions in the northwest.  Most of the meeting was televised, but we did manage to get a seat in the chapel rather than what Roland calls the “nose bleed seats”.  I also saw at least six other people from our ward seated in the chapel.

          Our stake president started off the meeting before the broadcast was aired.  I enjoy listening to our stake president.  He gave a comparison of feeding a campfire to fueling our own testimonies.  The choir sang a number and then the broadcast was shown after a long five-minute countdown. 

          It was announced that the broadcast was coming from the Conference Center – though I don’t know which part of the Conference Center – not what one normally thinks of when hearing “Conference Center” – a room off to the side used only for the purpose of televising meetings.  I doubt there was room for the camera crew and a live audience.

          I had seen the room before during another televised meeting, but I have never seen it in person.  I have been to the Conference Center before, but had never explored beyond the main meeting area.

          The conference theme overall was on service. The first speaker was Elder K. Brett Nattress from the quorum of the 70.  He started off his talk relating a situation about two brothers working together to try their hand at an athletic sport involving jumping.  The seven-year old’s plan was to jump off the balcony while his four-year-old brother stood waiting with a pillow to cushion his graceful land – which, as you can imagine, was not graceful.  It is a miracle that there were no broken bones.  The seven-year-old said he wouldn’t have done it if he had known it was going to hurt so much. 

          Elder Natress than gave three steps to finding happiness.  They are

1)           To Pray every day

2)           Read the Scriptures, especially familiarize self with the Book of Mormon

3)           Serve each day.

He gave an example of administering the sacrament and I thought of my three boys really enjoying having the opportunity of taking the sacrament to those who had health problems that prevented them from attending weekly church meetings.

The second speaker was Christina Franco who serves in the general primary.  She also counseled to “be of good cheer” and gave us four guidelines to apply to our understanding:

1)           Understand that we have a Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ who love us

2)           Understand that the commandments are there to protect us

3)           Understand gratitude

4)           Understand that service brings joy

She read some verses from Mosiah. 

When her talk was finished, the congregation was invited to stand and sing "Go Forth in Faith" (version of hymn found here).  I wasn't familiar with the hymn.

The next speaker was Patrick Kearon.  Love the accent.  He talked about being strengthened through the atonement and gave us the acronym FEMA (find every Mormon available).  He then shared some examples of service and how both the recipient and server are blessed.  My mind wandered back to a time when a former bishop (the one who had married Roland and me) was also giving a lesson on service and how sometimes the recipient may present other obstacles that may be difficult to conquer.  
His example was in doing a service project with the youth who had gone to spruce up a yard for a rather demanding “do it my way or else” old prune (he did not call her an old prune; that was my own interpretation) and how though our recipient might not have the best attitude, it is still important for us to do our best.  How do you teach the youth to love service if so many hurdles are thrown at them before they even start?  We need not let pride stand in our way of doing the right thing.

The concluding speaker was Elder Todd Christopherson who talked about a quorum of thirteen praying for inspiration and direction on New Leadership between Pres. Monson’s death and Pres. Nelson’s sustainment.  He talked about his personal experience as he had never had that opportunity between prophets.  He also talked about J. Rueben Clark and played a clip of an address that Elder Clark gave about “not where you serve but how you serve”.  Service is an offering we place upon the alter.

Overall it was a really good meeting.  Worth the drive.  Worth the front row seats.

Monday, November 20, 2017

We Need to Work Together

                I guess I could have gone into more detail about Danny's class.  As I mentioned, there were fourteen children in the Valiant class alone - four of them boys.  I have never seen more than two Valiant boys in class since I started attending the ward in Myrtle Creek.  After the opening prayer, Danny passed out scriptures to each child - part of a scripture anyway.  Seven children had the names of a book found in the scriptures.  Seven had a chapter (or section) and a verse.  Danny asked why none of the children had looked up the scriptures she had handed out, what may have been the problem - when it was decided that each of the children had only part of scripture, Danny asked that they check the paper and find a partner that had the other half.

            I was impressed how each of them actually worked together and didn't try to trade scripture pieces in order to sit with those they had sat with initially.  After the seven scriptures were read, Danny asked what they all had in common.  They all had to do with service.  We then watched a short video about some of the things the members had to do to establish winter quarters.  Danny asked what some of the things were and made a list on the chalk board: plant food, chop wood, build cabins, tend children and animals, prepare food, make clothing, blankets, shoes, etc.  There were eleven answers given - including the fort itself.  Danny then passed out paper and told the children they would have a minute to draw all of the things listed on the chalk board.  Ready, GO!

            Now not only am I NOT artistic, but I am such a smart aleck, I would have attempted to draw the fort and tell my instructor that all else listed on the board was behind the fenced area. 

            Most of the children attempted to draw everything in the order it had been written.  One girl said she managed to draw seven and one said she got all eleven of them - but they weren't very good.  Danny then asked the children what would make it easier for them to draw all of the pictures.  Most were in agreement that more time would do it, but Danny reminded them of the scriptures they had read on service and how each could contribute his or her part but that nobody was expected to do all of it.  She then assigned each of the children to draw only one thing from the list - assigning the fort to the last three (as there were more children than suggestions) and that made it easier.

            Her last activity (or object lesson) was quite similar to the one I had mentioned here only instead of kisses she had passed out dumdums and larger rocks. 

            Two of the girls were wearing sandals - as though it is still summer outside.  They had more complications of just trying to keep the rock in their shoe rather than walk on it.  Only half the children were aware of the pain the rock had caused.  Most enjoyed their dumdums and were able to tune out the discomfort.  It was a good lesson.  Danny always gives good lessons.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Not Often My Favorite Day of the Week

                I don't know for certain how many children Raone had, but suspect there were at least eight.  Leisel was among the eldest.  Roane was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was diligent in her callings and offering service.  Leisel did not recognize her mother's great efforts.  Instead, she grew up resenting her mother's choices with neglecting her own family and blamed the church.  When she was eighteen, Leisel moved out of the house, she never had her name removed from the records of the church, but had stopped attending meetings and I believe disconnected herself from the family that she had helped raise. 

          I remember meeting her only once.  She was nice enough and seemed to have her act together - perhaps not financially.  She remained positive so long as church or family were not the topic of conversation - otherwise she would disappear. 

          I don't recall how Raone and her husband ended up living in the house that Leisel and her husband had purchased in Kearns.  I think they must have been paying Leisel and her husband rent.  I'm aware of the tension that Leisel felt growing up - especially on Sundays when the family members were given instructions on how to act, dress, behave, and so forth.  I don't know if the same tension existed for her when she was an adult.

          Raone was not in the best of health, but continued serving as best as she could and Leisel continued to stay away from the church.  As a teenager, I hadn't particularly liked Sundays either.  There was always so much tension particularly with my mom and one of my younger sibs. I had thought it was her and Corey that had a squabbling fest each week, but he says that her verbal arrows were aimed towards Kayla - which surprises me. 

          I do remember Kayla being independent and wearing some outlandish outfits as she always insisted she could dress herself - but Kayla didn't talk much.  For the most part I remember different family members taking advantage of her willingness to become our personal slave.  In my mind Corey was the opinionated know-it-all who didn't always agree.  It really doesn't matter which one - the point is that there was always tension in the house on Sunday.  For the most part I would choose to stay in my room and try to avoid any confrontation.  I hated Sundays, but not as much as mom appeared to as we'd get into the car and she had the look of an angry person ready to kill; not someone who was even close to eager to go to Church. 

          It's so weird to think about it now.  I'm happy that we outgrew whatever it was that made us so uptight on Sundays.  If Leisel's memories of Sunday were anything like that memory, I understand why she would stay away from Church - especially if it continued her whole existence - whereas my situation was not the same every year.  It fortunately did get better and I had actually forgotten all about the tension or Leisel and Raone until the last three Sundays after Roland's gotten on Jenna's case based upon her appearance.  It's true that Jenna is quite casual about her appearance and should probably put more thought into it but I am not going to harp on it the way that Roland does.  She's a rebel like I was and may start doing it out of spite and stubbornness.  I don't wish for her to feel bad about who she is or stop being who she is because of criticism.   By the time we get to Church, none of us want to be there. 

          There was an impromptu choir (because that's all we can seem to manage with this ward) and Jenna and I both went up.  I smiled as I would playing a part on stage.  That's all I was doing - playing a part.  Roland is not one to hold grudges.  He is always the first to apologize, but it took him longer on Sunday.  A lot longer.  And Jenna and I both cried about it.

          The theme has been on self-reliance - which really is an important topic - but I don't generally feel the Spirit anymore.  I feel more like I am at a rally or seminar and not church.  Missionaries have been working with many who need to hear the words that are spoken.  It is their turn, not mine.  I feel like I am going through the motions every week.  Sunday really isn't my favorite day of the week.  I guess Satan's probably happy about that.

          Unlike Leisel, I did not fill neglected by the service and compassion mom had shown others.  She was a great example for me and I loved to assist.  Mom taught me many values.  Thanks, Mom.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I'm Grateful That My Plans Didn't Work Out

                I had made contact with different family members about my plans of sending Jenna to Utah by herself to visit family and we would pick her up in August.  It had been a thought is all.  It's not that I was trying to get rid of her during the summer.  I just know that she's been homesick for her brothers and cousins and probably a week would not be enough for her.
         She did want to march in the parade at the end of last month and this month - only this month didn't work out for anybody in the group except for Jenna.  We manned the booth instead.  Jenna and I had been assigned for the very first shift, and then she got recruited to stay (see here).  Her actions certainly helped with funds but even better (in my opinion) was that it gave her  a confidence that she has somehow kept hidden for many years.  She enjoyed doing it, and she enjoyed being needed.

          She did taper off that last day however, palling around with a group of kids - which was also good for her.  In addition, we assist at the library every Monday (at least for the summer) with the summer reading program, and she enjoys that.  She enjoys the children - which surprised me.  Other than her cousins (and sometimes even the boys have been exceptions) she has never shown an interest in children - especially really little ones.  But she has often told me how much she misses Devin and Ally - and she didn't even get to spend that much time with them.  I'm happy to hear that she misses them.  I really would have liked to spend more time with them myself.  But it doesn't feel like it was meant to be.

          Uncle Ted will be buried on Tuesday.  I wished I could be with the family again.  But I knew before we left to move out here than it would be highly doubtful for us to go back. I didn't know the return back to Utah would be so hard on me.

          I miss seeing my family.  At the same time I am truly excited to watch Jenna grow and gain new confidences.  I'm glad this summer has been working out to be a positive experience.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's a Slow Process but We're Getting There

            There was a magic show last night in Riddle but I missed it as I had told one of the girls that I would fill in for her at the library.  She hadn't been feeling well for a few days and my schooling is not as demanding when I have only one class.

            Last night I worked my first shift at the library.  I felt bad for not having received proper training or retaining those few things which I had learned.  I really think we ought to have a training session and will mention at our next meeting.  As of now, we are using cards and pockets as was done before computers.  Everything is filed by date - which presents a challenge when the book is returned without a date - or a pocket for that matter.  I think some books just get put in the drop when users have finished looking at them in the library, but had never been checked out, just returned.

            Somebody decided it would be a good idea to transfer the information to excel and look the information up that way - still we are finding that there are more steps involved than I think are necessary.  I know how to alphabetize excel so that it will work for me rather by date, title, client, or whatever . . . I'm just afraid it may be too overwhelming for some of those that I work with who may not even be familiar with how to turn a computer on - let alone be familiar with the programs.

            Starting tomorrow through Saturday is the Myrtle Creek Festival.  They have it every year about this time.  I think their official holiday is either the 24th or the 25th.  Jenna and I will be working two or three shifts this weekend.  The library will offer a game and rock painting - I'm thinking in two different booths.  I suppose I will learn more about it tomorrow.

            We had planned to walk in the parade on Saturday morning, but don't feel like we have enough support as we did on June 17th.   There is only 30 minutes between the time the parade ends to have the booth set up and ready to go.  It's a good walk from the school to the park.  Can't drive while the parade is going on.  Since we won't be in it, I don't know if we'll even make the parade this year or not.  We didn't go last year.

            It felt busy to me with book returns and patrons dropping by to either check out books or inquire about our existence.  There were a few who didn't seem to know that the library had ever existed in this town - some who were not aware that the library had ever closed and some who are not aware that everything is now volunteer run and we are still learning and trying to work out the bugs.

            Yesterday the pool area was decorated for Christmas in July -- which has nothing to do with the library. The pool is located near the library and some of our patrons had stopped in on their way to the pool or on their return.  I took these yesterday morning.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'm Out Of A Job, But Hey, I've Got a Cool Shirt

After we arrived her over two years ago, we learned that Myrtle Creek has a celebration very close to the time when Salt Lake City celebrates Days of '47.  The ward in Myrtle Creek offers a service project the week prior to the community.

The first year we had gone to Riddle Cemetery and used power washers to clean the stones.  There were several who brought weed whackers to  spruce up the grounds.
Last year we went to the high school.  We brought weed whackers and power washers and paint brushes.  This year our service project was at the VWF.  We cleaned up the outside as well as the inside (at least some members did;  I was bothered by all the cleaning chemicals and chose to stay outside) This year we continued to build upon the equipment of weed whackers, power washers and paint brushes - carpentry was also added to the agenda.  So here are some pictures of what we did:


We returned home long enough to unload the car of the equipment we took and to run in and get a shopping list of needed supplies.  K-Marts have been closing throughout the country.  I remember my sister saying that about a K-Mart that was not far from where we had lived in West Valley.  We had also seen a K-Mart close before we left Kearns.  It is now time for the Roseburg K-Mart to fold.

Several workers have been hired to move merchandise and to serve the public for the next month and a half.  We took advantage of the clearance items to fill our cart.  I think it's sad seeing companies forced to fold - mostly because of the increased number of the unemployed - not that I believe retail is the greatest job - but it's something. 

We had left the house at 7:30 that morning and did not return home until 7:30 that night.  I was exhausted.  It has taken a couple of days for me to recuperate. Meanwhile I have only one class on my agenda right now.  For some odd reason I seem to prioritize my time better when I have two.  But I like having just one class in order to spend more time with Jenna.

Young Women's has been cancelled for tonight and she is quite bummed about it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Picking Pears in Medford

While living in Salt Lake, Roland and I had several opportunities to assist with the welfare program.  When Jenna was in first and second grade, I tried going to the cannery at least one a month. For the most part, the items were actually in bottles and not in cans - at least at the one I went to.

I have been to another location that does actual cans - food like chili, beans, tomato sauce - mostly messy stuff.  Roland and I would work as a team at the pasta plant - or I would team with one of our boys.  We'd assist at the dairy, storehouse, and DI.  All of these locations could be driven to in 20 minutes or less. 

In Oregon we don't seem to have as much opportunity to assist with the Church's welfare program due to our location.  Even to be recipient of the welfare program is a lot different from driving oneself to the storehouse to pick up an order.  From what we are told, orders are shipped from a city larger than Roseburg.

We have not had the need to be recipients of the welfare program in Oregon - and hopefully will not have to rely on that. We had been recipients in Utah probably at least half of Jenna's life (different years off and on). There isn't anything wrong with being recipients - except that it indicates to me tha we are financially disabled.  At the same time I LOVE church cheese and BYU creamery chocolate milk and many products that we get at the bishops storehouse.

The bishops storehouse offers a lot in the way of fresh produce as well as canned goods.  We have had many canned good put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Beans, spaghetti sauce, soup, assorted canned vegetables, jellies, honey, peanut butter, fruit.  Of the fruit, we mostly liked the canned peaches and pears and applesauce.

I don't recall a welfare project in which the members canned fruit in Salt Lake. Today I learned that the pears are canned in Idaho.  I have also been told that the Church's only pear farm is located in Medford, Oregon. We were told that 80 volunteers from our stake (church boundary) were needed to pick pears today.

Originally we had planned on taking Jenna with us and have her pick pears with us.  We were told that the youth had to be at least twelve and Jenna just turned eleven in April.  I had tried to make other arrangements for leaving her with someone, but ended up taking her anyway. 

I set the alarm for 3:20 a.m.  We were on the road by 4:00 a.m. and arrived in Medford just before 5:30.  We signed in at 5:30 to 10:00.  We were also told to give ourselves credit for the three hour travel (or whatever other amount was given.)  We ended signing Jenna up to pick with us, no questions asked.  She was fine.  The farm was fine.  No harm. No accident.  I saw some youth there that looked to be a lot younger than her. And I saw some who were obviously in the Young Men's program that weren't working with the same effort that Jenna put in.

Jenna and I had picked pears before at my mom's house.  Picking from an orchard is a lot different than having Brian or Patrick shake the branches while the rest of us glean from the ground.  The government has placed stipulations and the Church is not allowed to use pears that have fallen to the ground.  That is so sad as the amount of pears that have fallen to the ground were many - pears that are still edible.  Pears that fell to the ground when another pear was picked. It was hard having to leave them on the ground.

In addition to her pear tree, my mom also had at least two pine trees in her backyard (they were put there before I got married and continued to grow long after I moved out)  I remember that she would offer to pay the younger grandchildren a penny a pinecone.  I think pears may have been worth more.  I know I spent more time gleaning pears from the ground than picking them off the tree.  I think that honor went to Patrick's family.

The rows of trees were long.  They seemed to get longer as the morning hours pressed forward.  The length between the last pear tree that weighed my bag to "too heavy for comfort" and the bin in which to "carefully let the pears out of the bag" seemed like miles. Their goal was to fill over 100 bins today.  Surely they met their goal before we left Myrtle Creek.  Our stake was told to work the hours between 6:00 and 12:00.  When we arrived, we were told that they wouldn't shut down until after 2:00. 

We had also been told that we'd have access to doughnuts between 8:00 and 10:00.  That's what we were told.  Fortunately we weren't there for the doughnuts as the doughnuts were non-existent.  However we were hungry and had been before our last shift. We stopped off at a McDonald's on our return.

Jenna had been invited to a party that took place at Stanton Park in Canyonville that took place at noon.  Instead of going directly home to Myrtle Creek, we stopped off at the park so that Jenna could be with her friends.  It had been such a long morning and I was so very tired - of course Jenna is the Energizer Bunny who continues to go and never wears out.

The expectations for the party were placed at a much higher value than what actually took place.  I felt bad as I know a lot of planning went into it, and I think everybody made the best of the situation at hand, but I did feel bad for Callie's mom (Callie is the birthday girl) as she had spent several hours preparing for the event -  a lot more hours preparing than what was actually spent.

Though we had arrived 90 minutes after the party supposedly started, the potato salad didn't actually arrive until after we did.  By then, almost everybody had finished eating (though some of the adults did return to get some)

Though the kids seemed to enjoy the idea of having a colored-water fight with water guns and blasters - it was very short lived.  The piñatas that were made came down after only two whacks.  No one else received a turn at whacking.

Though the piñatas themselves seemed well made, not everybody got their fair share of candy as some of the greedier children loaded their bags leaving no thoughts for the others.  Jenna managed to grab three pieces.  The birthday girl ended up with an empty bag.  So all the bags were dumped into the middle and divided up evenly.

I think the most fun that anybody had was in playing "Red Rover" which I think was just an impromptu game that was suggested while Josie and her husband set up for the water activity.

Roland and I, both tired, didn't want to stay for any of it really.  By the time the cake was served, we were more than ready to leave.  But Jenna wanted to stay as Callie hadn't even opened her presents. Casey and Carley's mom said she would bring Jenna home if we wanted to leave.  I expressed my gratitude and told Jenna about our plans.  Just as we got ready to leave, Jenna expressed her desires to go with us.  And now we are home and I am ready to call it a night.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Riddle Cemetery – I’m Just There for the Ice Cream

Billion Graves is a website that encourages volunteers to take pictures at cemeteries to post online and also volunteers to transcribe information from the pictures (once they are online).  I have personally known a few genealogical nuts that have found ancestors through these gravesites – usually missing spouses or children that have been buried along side of the names they already have.

For those who are really into family history, it does seem convenient to have this site, as they are able to visit many cemeteries from around the world without the expense of actually having to physically travel.  But only the recorded sites may provide the needed information.  There are a number of graves that have yet to be photographed and transcribed.

Last night the girls and young women of my new ward had the opportunity to take pictures to load to the app. of said website. One of the leaders referred to Riddle Cemetery as a virgin cemetery – meaning it has never been photographed or documented.

When we arrived, there was a sign that announced that the cemetery was legally closed from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am.  The activity started at 7:00 pm. Some were afraid the gates might get shut on us or that we would be arrested.  I personally don't think that law is enforced.  We worked at the cemetery (undisturbed) for just over an hour.

Many headstones – especially older ones – actually don’t provide a lot of information.  Names.  Sometimes years.  Sometimes just a death but no birth.  Sometimes marked unknown.  We actually skipped over the unknowns.  I wonder how many others were overlooked.

Jenna had Roland’s phone and claimed she had downloaded app – whether she did or not is unknown at this time.  I followed her with my notebook to write down what I could see not knowing how well it would translate to film. (Actually there was a lot of information on the stones themselves that had been worn out over the decades; I had brought tracing paper to cover and shade or try rubbing information onto the paper - but did not work out to my expectations)

 Now I wonder how many of us were photographing and recording in vain as I don’t know what has actually been sent to the app and what has not.

Riddle has several graves with this kind of marker. 

This one actually had more information than most.  


I did find an entire family, or so I believe – several circles with just names.  And then finally two stood together with two names and dates.  Perhaps they were the mom and dad of those others buried beneath?  

Further down was this actual headstone.  Perhaps the grandparents?

And then there were a few with gifts placed all around the statue. 

In Salt Lake, the cemeteries are cleaned out right after they’re decorated.  It is weird to see a cemetery that seems to stay decorated.  A lot of the flowers were plastic or silk and not actual plants.  I don’t know how long things stay.  I know it is longer than Salt Lake though.

And then there was one that was facing a different direction than all others: 

At first it appeared that the backside was blank, but when I looked again I did see an inscription.  But I have no clue what it said

Many of the girls didn’t actually understand why we were there – though several of us tried to explain it to them.  Jenna was mostly just interested in the friendships that she’s made and for the ice cream treat that was promised after our hard work.  

I’m quite certain that we did not even get half of what was there.

When I tried to go to the site to see if anything had actually uploaded, I learned that volunteers that transcribe names off stones don’t necessarily do it with cemeteries where they may have been.  Or at least in my case.  I signed up to be a transcriber – but thus far all the stones have been from Wilson Cemetery or Sunset Memorial Park – both located somewhere in Oregon.  I think Sunset might be in Coos Bay, but I’m not sure.

It’s nice to know that I can assist in somebody else’s research – even if it’s only in a small way.  I don’t enjoy research myself and as I’ve stated in several blogs, family history (beyond those I actually know and have known in this earth life) just isn’t that important to me.  But I know many who thrive on it, and I don’t mind doing the transcribing.  It kind of makes me feel like I’m doing my part.  And that’s a good thing.

I’m happy that I’ve had this opportunity.  I have enjoyed living in this area.

* I didn’t mean to desecrate any that are deceased or those related.  If anyone related to those I mentioned or pictures I posted feel offended, I will gladly remove them from this post.  Just let me know *