Monday, November 21, 2016

Would You Like to Come for Dinner - Keeping up the (non) Tradition

       The primary had their program yesterday and only one practice.  I didn't understand as it feels so late in the year.  I don't recall there being a primary program this late in the year - not with any of the wards I've been in - including this one.  Last year we had more practice and performed on October 18. 

       This is the first year that Jenna wasn't on the stage as she is no longer in primary.  But as I looked out in the audience, I could see her singing along, and it really made me smile.  I'd have to honestly say that it was my favorite part about having the primary program.  I think the children did quite well for only one practice.

       Growing up, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was spending it with a different group of people than the year prior as I mentioned here The smallest Thanksgivings I can remember included only 5 or 6 people.  Those were: one year with just my family.  My second Thanksgiving in the mission field: our landlady, her son and his wife, and my companion and me.  And my last Thanksgiving with mom mentioned here

       Three of mom's children and their families were able to meet on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  There were just over 20 of us gathered in a room between the kitchen and the cultural hall of my brother's ward.  My mom felt overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of people that were gathered there.  Roland, Jaime and I had only played one game one game and could sense mom's desire to leave.  The theater may not have been as crowded.  We had taken her to see the movie: Brave.  She seemed to enjoy herself as she no longer reacted to a possible crowd of people, but had lost herself in the movie. She said she liked it.

       The most people that I've ever had Thanksgiving with was just over 30.  Peggy Bird lived across the street from my mom.  Her Thanksgiving philosophy was the more people, the better.  It was held in a room by the kitchen of the ward building where her son attended Church.  That was a lot of people.   Several years later, Peggy invited my mom and her children to spend Thanksgiving at her house.  That year all of her married children had committed to spending the holidays with the in-laws, which would have made for a much smaller table otherwise. 

       Last year we drove to McMinnville to spend the holidays with Beth and Graham.  It was a nice to see them again, and of course, the meal was superb.  But the drive was long - not as long as if we'd gone back to Utah.  I think my oldest daughter-in-law was quite miffed that we didn't.  It just hasn't been practical or realistic for us to go back for just a few hours and then have to turn around and return as Roland works on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  I suppose he could ask for it off, but still.

       We had invited Annett's family to break bread with us this year, but as we never got a commitment and Nora is upset with us and doesn't even want Annett talking to Jenna at school, it was down to just Jenna, Roland and I. Jenna suggested we go to Home Town Buffet and would be okay with that, though I suspect she would like to have the association of others.  She missed her brothers and cousins tremendously. So we thought we'd try our hand at the community dinner here  in town.

       Yesterday we had two offers for Thanksgiving.  The first one from Roland's cinema buddy.  I had his daughter in sunbeams last year and his nephew this year.  And so we will be having our Thanksgiving dinner with all of their family.  And perhaps next year we can have dinner with the other family that asked after we had already accepted the other.  It will be good to spend Thanksgiving with two of three of Young Women leaders and help Jenna to feel more comfortable about going to Young Women's rather than primary.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jenna takes a stand

I realize my mind seems to be going in several directions . . . I still have my two classes to focus on, but did want to express how pleased I am with Jenna

          The Douglas County libraries have run out of funding (or soon will be) and had proposed a 44cent per day tax increase to all property owners.  The proposal made it to the ballot that was mailed just before the election.  Unfortunately, the bill did not pass and the libraries will be gone.

          Myrtle Creek had invested in a drop box that was put in just before the election.  I suppose it will be possible to salvage some libraries that may run independently as city libraries - but it sounds as if most libraries will close down.  Two had already opted out before the election.  We do not know what's to become of the rest.

          The building that houses the books at the Myrtle Creek library was built specifically to be a library, where many others have been offered space through the city . . . the library in Canyonville, for example, is sandwiched between the police station and city hall.                  

          Scott M. Stolz gave us 15 reasons why voting third party is not a wasted vote.  It is better to vote for something you want than to vote for something you don't want.  It is better to try to do something about this given situation even though it may not work. Jenna and I have been feeling quite helpless as we certainly don't have a way of funding the library either. On her own, she has decided to start a petition and has been gathering up signatures - mostly of classmates.

          The library's future was to be discussed at the city council meeting last night.  Jaime took her petition and faced the council as she read her plea that "most of those who signed the petition didn't get to vote.  They signed the petition so their voices might be heard" and "we are your future.  Don't take the libraries away from your future"

          She was nervous to face the council of adults, but I think they were impressed - not that it will change anything - but with the stand, she was willing to take.  She also let them know that she has written to various performers to see if they might contribute their talents to a benefit's concert. 

          I hope that Jenna may take this experience and recognize it as positive on her part regardless of what results are found.  As of now, it's just too early to say.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Now I forget which class I'm in

          For the last four weeks I have taken an accountant class - by itself - no other classes.  It was different.  Thus far it is the only set of four weeks that I have had only one class.

          This week I started two more classes - both credited.  I think I will enjoy my history but still have this lame attitude toward management and how I cringe at the very idea.  Right now I am taking a break before I return to more reading and research and explanation.

          This week we are discussing sole proprietorship, partnerships, LLC's and non-profit organizations.  Hey, thank you for throwing in the non-profit.  At least I can relate to the idea of charitable donations and financial  struggles and dependency.  Still, my passion lies more with the volunteers and managing time and tangible goods rather than monies. 

          There was a time when the accountant was sent to the back room and left alone - that's what I thought I was getting into.  Slowly (or maybe quickly?) I'm finding out that I'm not going to be as introverted at my work as I had hoped.  If I'm going to be a team player, I'm going to have to know the business ins and outs and agreements and communication and so forth.  Bah, humbug!

          Hopefully I will come to the realization that this knowledge is a good thing.  My goal right now is to have such a better understanding of the language, that in three years or less, I will actually be able to get all of the nerdy accounting jokes.

          My history instructor has informed us (the students) that we will be cramming 400 years worth of information into four weeks. (100 years per week)  thankfully I already have a background, and finally an appreciation for learning history.  It is hard to keep my emotions out of it however.  But it will be okay.  In addition to history, my instructor also seems to be a movie buff.  I will can reference movie quotes and relate them to the theme of what I'm writing.  How awesome is that?

          Guess that concludes that break.  Back to Influence in Time magazine.  I think this week will fly by rather quickly.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Finding Gratitude

I did not watch the voting reports on November 8.  I was at a Relief Society activity sharing my life story – making a plug for gratitude, because even when circumstances seem to be at their darkest, there is still a glimmer of light.  We need to focus on the light and good things that were dished out along with the bad such as mentioned in this post

        I had invited other sisters to share their stories also. 

        A few shared experiences related to failed health and how other family members were affected and the pluses that continue still.  One sister shared her testimony on faith and gratitude about contributing to the building fund raiser (back in the day when members were required to help raise monies to build temples and ward houses and such) She baked bread and collected Susan B. Anthonys.  It was really quite touching how she described how the money was raised and saved.

        We also heard an experience similar to the loaves and fishes as a sister related an experience with a ward pot luck, an extended invitation to anyone who happened to be at the park, and having leftovers when it was certain that they had started out with more people than a great amount of food.

        It turned out to be such a great – as well needed – activity.  I am so grateful for the opportunity of having shared so much spirit and joy before returning to our homes the ways of the world.  I am dumbfounded by the results of this year's election.

       To all the men and women that have served this country: Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Missionary Highlights: Roanoke

        I finished out my mission in Roanoke.   I started out with my youngest companion Sister J.  She did everything Pres. P. asked or told her to do.  She was on a mission to convert the world - preferably by herself so that she could get the credit. She was short and adorable and many of the elders lusted after her - which I guess is not so cool.

        She would make thought cards - by herself.  I didn't mind assisting, but I thought it would be more convenient to do them in an assembly line type manner - instead of both reaching for the same markers or colored pencils or what have you.  We actually got along okay, but didn't really seem to work as a team. 

        We would visit hospitals in the area and put in volunteer hours at the Ronald McDonald House.  We visited with members and formed a street directory with names and addresses of non-members that we might visit when we were on said street.  We encountered some interesting people.  We may have taught a few lessons together.  Mostly we gave references to the Elders. No baptisms.

        Every door in Roanoke had been knocked on every day by one religion or another, and thus we were told NOT to knock doors for at least a few months.  She was truly devastated by the idea as she was interested in getting more numbers but actually more interested in becoming Pres. P's golden missionary, thus we didn't knock on doors for the first two months.  Break my heart. 

        There was a quite damaging flood that occurred November of 1985.  We weren't even supposed to leave the apartment that particular day. I scanned had scanned pictures that had been printed in the newspaper which I shared in this post. We were together at Christmas. 

        I don't remember there being snow or cold when we were knocking doors.  I had thought I had been with her only two months and Sister S. for three, but it could have been the other way around.  I know there was snow when Sister S. and I were together, because we had built a snowman.   I know Sister J had gone out door-knocking a few times when the weather wasn't bad.  I think it had been a nice day from what I can remember from this post.

        I was in Roanoke when the Challenger blew up and devastated the nation.  I felt grateful that we had stopped by the home of one of the members shortly after the explosion so that we wouldn't appear so ignorant when we knocked on doors and someone would ask, "Oh, isn't what happened today so devastating?" and otherwise have had no clue.

        Roanoke has a historic star, which at the time was always lit up in white, except for two weeks that followed the explosion.  It was lit up red to honor those astronauts and teacher that had lost their lives.  

        My last companion was a senior sister.  She had a mighty big and humble heart.  I think she is around the same age as my mom.  I recently found her on facebook and I put in a friendship request though it doesn’t appear that she has been on fb for almost a year.  I wonder if she has failing health.  I wonder if she may have gotten dementia like my mom did.  I really enjoyed her company.

        I had pictures.  I had lots of them.  But many were disfigured as mentioned in here   The memories are almost as faded as the photos.  I know I scanned some of the pages – but I didn’t save a lot.  I think they are all on my personal drive that I still need to get an extention for as I am unable to view them at present.  I suppose it doesn't really matter.  

       I've lost so much of family photos and albums due to technology and updates and moving.  We no longer have a VCR and therefore all our VHS's seem outdated.  Dang.  But perhaps it is time to forget about the past and just move on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Missionary Highlights: VA Beach, Martinsville

        My next area was Virginal Beach.  I was there for two months and had served with two different companions.  Sister P. and Sister U. - but not at the same time. I was supposedly the senior companion to each of them.

        More government and military personal.  Several navy widows.  Several missing priesthood members.         
        Sister P. knew the area.  She knew the members.  She was very positive and very giving.  She was my tallest companion.  Sadly, I don't remember any specifics about our being together.

        Sister U. was something else.  Aside from her trainer, I don't think she ever served with another sister for more than a month - often less.

        Whenever there had been an odd number of sisters in the field, Pres. P. would make me a part of a tri-panionship.  I would guess it was because I was easy going and could get along with most anybody.  Sister U., on the other hand, ended up in more tri-panionships and more partners than any other sister - for the opposite reason.
        Tension between us was thick. For the most part, I was able to dismiss our ignorance toward one another.  We would set up appointments with members to show them "It's Up to You" but then actually end up showing something different when a non-member was present.

        Matt Street had been at least two of the film sessions.  He was already attending church as he'd been dating a member. He is the one who came to us and asked, "So when are you going to start teaching me?"

        Well . . . we couldn't teach him in the girlfriend's home - too many psychological issues within the household.  We couldn't teach him at that other home because the Spirit had been chased away after their endless talking.  We needed to find a suitable environment, and we definitely needed to have harmony between Sister U. and me.

        Matt was what many would refer to as "golden" and we found the ideal home - but I think the tension between Sister H. and I had increased - and everybody knew it.  It's a wonder that Tates would actually allow us to continue to teach in their home - and yet Matt could still feel the Spirit.  His recognition to the truth was stronger than our tension.

        He asked me if I thought he ought to be baptized.  I think Sister U. was jealous that he had asked me instead of her.

        Matt was in the navy.  The military isn't known for convenience.  Matt had been assigned to travel.  Sister U and I had both been transferred before his return.  I think Elders had been assigned to work that area.  But I don't know.  I know that for the next two Tri-panionships I was in, there were two more - because Sister U. and her original companion had to be split apart.  

        Thus onto Martinsville.  I had two senior sister companions.  Sister B. and Sister L. lived by a different set of rules than I'd been accustomed to.  We lived in the same house as our landlady who had one spare room.  Sister L. and Sister B. slept on the twin beds in the room.  Elsie  (our landlady) hung up a sheet or a curtain or something to give me privacy as I slept on the couch in her front room.  That was different.

        Sister L. and Sister B. didn't seem to have a specific P-day.  They could get their hair done or shop whenever.  (Sister Missionaries over forty and missionary couples - at least back then - did not have to follow the same rules and guidelines as the younger generation; they had other obligations) Sometimes Elsie would drive me around and introduce me to members.

       We lived in a very small branch.  Sister L. had been made a counselor in the Relief Society and Sister B. played piano for the primary.  The two Elders who lived next door also had callings to fulfill.  

        After Sister L. was transferred, Sister B. buckled up and became serious about missionary work.  We were together as a single companionship fro a month before we were joined by Sister O.  who was definitely my oldest companion, though I think she only had ten years on Sis. B. 
        Elsie and Sister O. had a few things in common.  While Sis. B. and I went about searching for non-members to teach, Elise would drive Sister O. to the families interested in genealogy (family history) and they would offer their assistance.

        It was in Martinsville that we met Dave from this post.  At that time he was working at a diner called Fridays.  A year and a half later, Elsie and I found him working at the Radio Shack next door. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Missionary Highlights: Woodbridge

      Before I had gone into the mission field, Sister F. had trained Sister H, who left for her second area just before I arrived.  


          Several members from my first area had some parting gifts.  Kelly Hanbriggs had some animal slippers that she wore and had given an identical pair to Sister F when she left.  They packed two pairs  for me - one to keep and one to give to Sister H - who became my next companion.


My second area, Sister H's third.  The Elders had lived there prior, but it was decided to put sisters in the area.  Washington D.C. was only 24 miles outside of Woodbridge and many ward members of that area worked for the government.  

                It turned out to be a tourist trap and Sister H. loved to shop.  We didn't knock doors.  We did some light introductions.  We could have worked a lot harder than we did.  If we indeed were inspired, I think we blew it.   When that obviously wasn't working, we decided to focus on part members or inactives.  There were three households that we visited quite regularly, and it really did make a difference, not just to us, but to them.  

       The  church had come out with a gaggy film called "It's Up to You" It was supposed to promote missionary work. Sister H. and I would set up appointments to show the film to various members, and roll our eyes each time we watched it.  Sadly, I still have the dialogue memorized. 

       Each week we would purchase stickers to go along with thoughts and use index cards to write them on and add  the sticker.  After a while, it seemed easier to try to find a thought with the stickers that seemed to be available.

                It turned out to be a tourist trap and Sister H. loved to shop.  We didn't knock doors.  We did some light introductions.  We could have worked a lot harder than we did.  If we indeed were inspired, I think we blew it.   When that obviously wasn't working, we decided to focus on part members or inactives.  There were three households that we visited quite regularly, and it really did make a difference, not just to us, but to them.  

       The  church had come out with a gaggy film called "It's Up to You" It was supposed to promote missionary work. Sister H. and I would set up appointments to show the film to various members, and roll our eyes each time we watched it.  Sadly, I still have the dialogue memorized. 

       Each week we would purchase stickers to go along with thoughts and use index cards to write them on and add  the sticker.  After a while, it seemed easier to try to find a thought with the stickers that seemed to be available.

       Sister Esque taught us how to crochet.  Elaine, who was not a member, taught us how to knit. Timmy had been to Church with his wife one time but did not return until after we had invited him to hear us speak at church.   He ended up returning - though the fellowshipping was horrible.  Though the gospel is true from ward to ward, not every testimony is strong or stable enough to continue with church each week if not spiritually fed; some  people leave the church when they don't even feel acknowledged. We could understand why many had become inactive.

       Timmy and Becky had three children at the time, a ten-year-old, an eight-year-old, and a two-year-old.  The oldest two had not been baptized, and Sister H. and I taught them the discussions.  They were baptized before we were transferred.  We were both transferred.

       We were together for four months, which seemed a bit unusual - especially our given circumstance and attitude - although it wasn't just us.  The entire district somehow seemed affected with the same attitude.  Why had Pres. left us there for so long?  We had started a rumor that the boundaries were going to change and Pres. P. had looked at his group of missionaries and thought "which two can I do without.  I know, Sister H. and Sister C."  

       A year later the boundaries changed and Woodbridge became a part of the DC mission.  I had a co-worker from Snelgroves who started her mission in Roanoke as I did.  She was serving in Woodbridge when the boundaries changed and finished in a different mission than where she started.