Monday, March 7, 2016

Celebrating You - It's All Okay, part 2

As with yesterday, I will use this font for the agenda of the activity, things taught and learned.  I will use this font for my own thoughts and (unfortunately) wandering mind   and quotes that don't have pictures

            Each of the instructors had the option to decorate their room or boards to go with the theme.  I think the next class I had gone was decorated in balloons.  I had enjoyed this class the most. It was taught by Sister Tieger, a kindergarten teacher.  The subject:  Celebrate Failure

            "Failure is not the end of the world, it is the beginning of growth"

            Nobody starts out doing something well. A child who is just learning to walk - there is a reason why we call them TODDLERS

            We don't laugh at their accomplishment.  They may take only two steps before they fall, but we praise them anyway.

       We don't say,           "You're stupid"
                                        "That was really dumb."
                                        "You're just never going to get it."
       We say,                     "Nice try!"
                                          "Good job!"
                                          "Honey, that was great!"

            We don't start out doing things well.  We start out doing them badly. 

Failure is not meeting the Intended Outcome

A picture was shown of a child frustrated with an activity -  he either couldn't stack his blocks correctly, wasn't as fast as some of the other children, or whatever.  

My mind wandered back to a time when Jenna was just a baby.  She was quite persistent at trying to twist a cap off the water bottle and replace it.  She had exceptional motor skills for her age, and was very patient.  I think she must have used up all her self-patience during before she was six.

Continue progress with baby steps.  We are all Heavenly Father's Babies.  When we fall down, He is not going to laugh or call us Stupid.  He is happy to see that we are trying and is rooting for us.

So maybe you can't do 20 sit-ups.  Start with 5 or 1.  Can't clean that entire room in twenty minutes.  Start with what you can do in twenty minute, whether it is just the desk drawer or vacuuming the carpet.

Can't pick up the clarinet for the first time and belt out the tune to "Danny Boy"?  What's wrong with you?  You have to start out with the basics.  You have to learn the notes and practice them.  You have to start out badly before you can get good at it.

            Sister Tieger gave an analogy of tobogganing down hill in fresh snow verses a well-worn path. 

            Sometimes we need to pause at the top of the hill.  Sometimes - though the well traveled path is definitely the fastest, and will give us the biggest thrill - sometimes we need to celebrate the pause before we trudge on.  Sometimes we need to start down on fresh snow to make the path for somebody else.

            I thought about our pioneer ancestors, who really made a lot of sacrifices "forging the way for those who would follow"

last quote of the class

this was her handout, and though the cut wasn't perfect, she
 kept it anyway, because wasn't that the whole point of the class

            The next class I went to was taught by Sister Glad.  I love the way she had decorated the board. 

            She passed out  these pamphlets:

            We spent the class time filling them out. 

            First question:  Think of a problem you're experiencing these days that is on your mind a lot.  Describe that problem in a sentence

2.  What feelings come up for you when you think about the problem?  List several

She read the 3 and 4 to us as we closed our eyes.  She read in a very calming voice and told us to take a few minutes (she actually had changed it to 45 seconds as we were pressed for time) to feel the power of gratitude and allow our bodies to relax.  

As a rule of thumb, I don't do well in silence when there are a number of people surrounding me and we've all got our eyes closed.  I did well while she was talking, but my mind wandered for the 45 seconds.  45 seconds is a long time when it's that quiet.

5. What are you feeling right now?

For the majority of the class, the answers given in number two were pretty much opposite of number five.  Not every sister in the class had changed.  One seemed to have even harsher answers (apparently mine is not the only mind that wanders; she may have used that 45 seconds to go back to her problem - though I don't know)

The last class I attended was taught by a sister from my ward.  Janine Super, who plays piano in the primary and had also taught the gospel essential class when we moved in.
Her theme was geared to Superheroes:

this is how she decorated her room. 

She asked questions about Anikan (who became Darth Vader) and Superman.  What were their strengths?  What were their weaknesses.  I was able to participate only because my brother, Corey, is an avid fan of Star Wars and my husband collects everything Superman related.

 She first asked the class what were some of the character's strengths and what were their weaknesses.  Some weaknesses we can repent of - like a bad decision to go to the dark side (even though there were good intentions to start out with) and others are challenges that they themselves don't require repentance (for example, Superman cannot repent for Kryptonite.  We, who are vision impaired, don't repent for needing to wear glasses;  it's how we deal with our weakness that may give us strength)

Do you allow your weakness to define who you are?  Remember Brittany from my last post?

often guilt has a  productive function - if it makes us have the desire to change.

Can you pray your weakness away?

            I was reminded of a comment my brother Corey had made when he was being interviewed by Mormon Expressions.  There was a time in his life that he saw his same sexual urges as a weakness that he just could not change.  Over the course of many many years, he realized it was a desire that just has not gone away. 

          After decades of struggling and praying for his "gayness to be gone" and starting his own blog and finally realizing that his sexual preference was never going to change, he finally accepted and eventually embraced what some might call weakness, and he has made it his strength. 

          Sadly, he lost his membership as far as Church records go, but at the same time it was a necessary event that had to take place.  And although he did not choose to become a pioneer in assisting to bridge the LDS Community and the Gay Community,  he has really helped a lot of people through his blog.  Kudos to you, Corey.  May you start posting again! (LOL)

For her last four classes, Janine displayed this picture on the table she had set up

Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf, Harrison Ford, Col. Gail Halvarsen aka the candy bomber

I was also reminded of Sandra Bullock's line in "While You Were Sleeping" when Peter (the character) wakes up, and her character (Lucy) says to him that he is a hero because he gives his seat up every day on the train. 

When he comes back with a line that he doesn't see as heroic, she reminds him that he is to the person he gives it up for.  Also another post I created here

Weaknesses turned strength makes us more than we can make on our own.

Ask a child who his or her hero are.  You may be surprised at some of their answers:

George Washington Carver

Jason Silva

Harriett Tubman

Langston Hughes


Mother Teresa


a nurse

Elenor Roosevelt

Helen Keller



Wendy Ulrich

In conclusion, Janine encouraged us to take a minute to read over the lyrics to Superwoman by Alicia Keys found here.

The candy was not included, but the colors used  on Janine's
handouts reminded me of confectionery hearts

Celebrating You - It's All Okay, Part 1

I will use this font for the agenda of the activity, things taught and learned
I will use this font for my own thoughts and (unfortunately) wandering mind
and quotes that don't have pictures

I so wish I had the memory to make sense of my notes so that I can remember all the details of what was said.  Of course I don't have the all the details.  I may have most of the highlights however.  It was a great conference . . . .

           On Saturday there was a Relief Society activity for the stake.  I'd forgotten that the dress was casual and wore my Church clothes.  Before we entered the chapel, we were each given a schedule and a colored bracelet to wear.

      I enjoyed how the RS president started out the meeting by telling us not to compare our "behind the scenes" moment to somebody else's "highlighted" reel.  I like that quote.  I don't know whether it was hers or not, but I really like it. 

            She told us about a blog called Drops of Awesomeness and gave us some suggestions from the blog.  She showed us a large jar full of pompoms - only she didn't call them pom-poms. (I didn't write down the name she used) It is to be used reward system. 

             Only good things go in. Nothing comes out.

            We were all encouraged to fill our buckets and do something great.  So often we measure ourselves by how we are seen by others.  But we need to stop and look at ourselves and view ourselves through God's eyes.

            Our RS president confessed that she is not good at keeping lists. Some people create lists of things to do, things to purchase, things to make . . . . many will cross off those things they've accomplished, purchased or made.  And if we don't do the things on the list and cross them out, perhaps we feel like failures.

            We were encouraged not to focus on the list of things we failed to do but rather the accomplishments that were crossed off.  Instead of being upset that the entire house didn't get clean, focus on that one drawer you were able to clean up.  Perhaps you aren't in shape enough to do more than two push-ups.  But hey, you did two push-ups!  Embrace that!  Focus on your accomplishments.  How many lists do we need to keep ourselves going anyway?  Recognize the good that you do and give yourselves credit! Give yourself credit for those accomplishments you have made.

            You may start out walking to the mailbox each day, and perhaps after a while you'll be motivated to walk even further down the street.  Perhaps after that you can go around the block. 

As you make routine a part of your day, you will find joy.

We then broke up into classes.  Each instructor was given 15 minutes to teach a habit of happiness found in this book by Wendy Ulrich

            The first class that I attended was taught by Sister Fitt.  Her room had been set up with a bunch of cleaning products, and she had a monitor for us to view quotes

            Again, we need to celebrate our accomplishments:

            I did do two push-ups
            I walked to the mailbox
            I can now see the two shelves that are in my closet
            I got out of bed

She then showed us a calorie chart to prove to us that we can celebrate our accomplishments.

This is not the actual chart she showed us, nor were the
posters the actual quotes.  But you get the jest, I'm sure

            The next class that I went to was taught by Sister Friend. She asked several questions about what each of us can do to "bid" on friendship.  I looked around the room and noticed that I was the only one in the group of us that attends a certain ward.  I had been putting in "bids" with each class by introducing myself - which she had asked us to do by the end of class.  She had also passed out this handout

           We were supposed to rate each area 1-7 seven being the highest number.  We were told to pick one or two with lower scores to work on.

 We then took a break from our classes to have lunch. 

            I've had Hawaiian Haystacks before, but always with chicken gravy or soup - never a ginger or teriyaki sauce.  While the chicken itself was really good, I thought the sauce was a little strong. 
            There was actually a lot of food and "birthday" cake for dessert (the Relief Society Organization will be 174 years as of March 17)    

            After lunch, I went to a class taught by Sister Bond. 
            We watched a video about a girl named Brittany who was diagnosed with a rare disease that paralyzed her digestive system.  And certainly it was a downer to learn that she could no longer eat or enjoy food as she had before. But Brittany did not let that bring her down.  Instead she allowed herself to focus on her talents of making sock monkeys and creating coloring books and finding comfort in working with others at the hospital and teaching others to make sock monkeys  (Brittany's story is found here and here)

We are told not to feel sorry for ourselves, but to reach out to others.  As our instructor was running out of time, she briefly summed up this story as told by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Just before we left for the next class, she passed out this thought:

Friday, March 4, 2016

A letter to Roland's eldest daughter

Dear Frances,

            I am posting this letter to my blog as we don't have a current address for you - not that we ever did.  Your mom didn't (and probably still doesn't) want us to have any contact with you - even when we were living in the same state and it was court ordered.

            Even if you should come across this blog and read this post, I don't know if you'll know that you are Frances - as that is not your actual name, but rather one I have assigned to you through this blog.  But I feel impressed to write this.

            The last time we saw you was just over eight years ago - just before Tony left on his mission.  Jenna was only four at the time.  Unfortunately she does not have many memories of you or your other sister.  I have several pictures that I have shared with her, and I have always tried to speak positively of you and Pamprin. 

            I've been thinking a lot about you - mainly because of Jenna.  Not only do you two share a physical appearance, but personality traits as well.  At least the person we did have opportunity knowing about you before you moved away. 

            Like you, Jenna likes art.  She prefers drawing to painting though.  She loves crafts.  Last year she received an easel for Christmas.  Dad had sketched a picture of her in blue crayon.  I was impressed enough to frame it and hang it on the wall.  Every time I see it, I see you.  Or I remember the girl that you were, rather.  I realize you're an adult now and may not look so youthful as does the sketch.  Actually, Jenna looks older than the face in the sketch.  And taller.  Tall like you were at that age - perhaps not as tall as you are currently.

            This morning I was watching a National Geographic series called, "Unlikely Animal Friends"  I remember how much you loved Animal Planet and how much you enjoyed learning.
              There was one story that focused on a dog named Sunshade and her guinea pig friends named Meatball, Sesame, Squeaky, Ketchup and Dumpling, and I remembered how you were always naming stuffed animals after food. 

            You created a bear that you named "Jelly Bean" and Jenna had a dog that you named "Graham Crackers" which she still has and still calls "Crackers".  Jenna has other stuffed dogs which she has named "Fudge" and "Brownie" and has given other food names to various stuffed animals.  And so you share that in common.

            I remember when Jenna was born, how excited you were to have a baby sister.  The first time you saw her you said, "She looks like me."

            "No she doesn't,"  I thought.  "She looks like me."

            I was wrong and you were right.  Both of you look a lot like your Dad's sister, Aunt Linda, who has passed.  We tried to give you a bit of family history (as you had asked for it) before you returned to the island.  I think dad has found more information on his side.  Not much on your mom's side.  I, personally, haven't been looking.

            I'd like to send you pictures, but again, I don't know where to send them.  But if you look at the photos that I've taken of Jenna, I'm certain that you will see the resemblance.  I wish she would like vegetables as much as you did.  She seems to have acquired the same sweet tooth that was always present whenever we saw Pamprin.

            A lot of family growth has taken place since we last saw you.  You know that Tony got married and had a daughter.  She (Ester) just turned four yesterday.  And so you share the same birth month.  And just in case you don't remember - you and Jenna are ten years apart with ten days between your birthdays.

            Your brothers Randy and Biff also got married.  And so you have three sisters-in-law and now three nieces.  Randy's daughter, Devin, will be 7 months old in less than two weeks.  And Biff's daughter, Ali , just turned six months.   They all live in different cities in Utah.  Dad, Jenna, and I, in the meantime, have moved to Oregon.

            Dad decided to move us here to improve my health - similar to your reasons to moving, I think.  I can certainly breathe a lot better here than in Salt Lake.  That's for sure.
            We'll be going on our ninth month since we moved.

            Besides leaving family, one of the drawbacks in moving to Oregon, has been with Jenna's education.  For the last five years we had her in a dual immersion program where she was learning Spanish.  She doesn't have that opportunity anymore, but is playing the clarinet and going to middle school currently.

            When you first moved, your mom told us that you were learning Japanese.  Is that true?  Can you and Pamprin communicate in Japanese?

            Your brothers, Tony and Randy could communicate in Portuguese - though different dialects.  You may remember that Tony went on his mission to Brazil, but I bet you didn't know that Randy served a mission in Portugal. 

            I remember you once expressing a desire to go on a mission.  I didn't know if you were serious, but have wondered if you actually did take that opportunity.  Or if your mother would have even allowed you to go. 

            I'd like to reconnect through Facebook if possible.  I am so grateful to have this form of social media.  Through it I am able to watch my grandchildren grow.  I think I would miss out on most of it otherwise.  Life gets busy.  People don't correspond with one another the way they used to.

            That's all I have for you right now.  I'm sorry for any misconduct which I may have displayed whenever you were around. I'm sorry that I hadn't allowed myself to deal better with the situation at hand.  I'm sorry that you didn't get all the correspondence (if any) that dad and I tried to send. We really did try.  We have not forgotten you.

             I hope things are going better for you.

                                             Sincerely,   LaTiesha

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ted and Trudy Will Outlive Us All

          I have mentioned my Aunt Gertrude (Trudy) in at least five posts before.  She will be 95 at the end of this year.  Her brother, Ted, just turned 99.  Both are hard of hearing, but very sharp and knowledgeable.  Their bodies have weakened over the years, especially Trudy's.

          Aunt Trudy was always doing for other people.  For many years she drove a friend to the grocery store.  Up until a year ago, Aunt Trudy was still driving - even in her overly bent shape.  I don't know that she ever had an accident, but I still felt a sense of relief to know she wasn't able to renew her license again.  If she just hadn't taken that spill on Easter Sunday in 2013, she probably would have her driver's license.  For she wasn't so frail until after that.

          My cousin, Michelle, sent out a facebook message to the family to give us an update on the status of Aunt Trudy.  I read "St. Mark's" and "pneumonia" and thought of each of my parents.  Mom, who died only ten days after being admitted to St. Mark's hospital, and dad, who had pneumonia when he passed.  But as it turns out, Aunt Trudy is still in great health - aside from her hearing and now her weak legs.

          It is now Aunt Trudy's time to be served rather than serve everybody else's needs.  She obviously can't drive Ted anywhere. Thus several family members have been rallying around Ted and Trudy to get them to appointments. I think taking them to an attorney would be a great appointment to make and keep.

          Aunt Trudy had taken another fall and was taken to the hospital.  She was in the hospital for even less time than she had been in 2013.  Back to rehab.  Even closer to the assisted living where my mom was staying.   Michelle encouraged family members to put in so many hours a week so that Ted and Trudy's welfare may be attended to. 

          I feel helpless not being able to contribute my time as I am in another state.  At the same time, I know that if I were in Utah right now, I would have a sinus infection that would put me out of the loop for a while - not as long as Ted and Trudy will be around.  They say the secret to living such a long and healthy life is to eat sardines.  Apparently I will not live near as long as the thought of eating sardines makes me nauseous. 

          Ted and Trudy have outlived their two older brothers by 40 and 50 plus years.  They've outlived two sisters-in law, 2 nephews, 1 niece, a niece-in-law as I'm certain many others.  I had heard they had three aunts who had lived to be over 100.  As of now, I don't see any truth to that if the records are accurate.  It appears that Ted and Trudy have more years on earth than even they did.