Tuesday, December 29, 2009

29 December 2009
We have been having a fabulous Christmas season. We arrived home from the trip to Las Vegas for Adam’s graduation from college in the wee hours of December 17th. That left just sixty hours till our Night in Bethlehem ward activity and YES every hour counted with very few allotted to sleep. I purchased all the food and materials for all the booths and ended up submitting receipts for almost three hundred dollars for reimbursement. However loads of ward and family members chipped in their inspiration and perspiration in all the preparation and the event ended up being very successful.

Coin spray painting in NV

Finger puppet help in NV

Will & Nathan strung Christmas lights above the hall to simulate starlight. The audience sat on blankets on the floor to watch the nativity enactment as the story was told. We had an excellent turnout and heard many favorable comments afterwards. Our bishop was particularly happy with it all. Nathan arrived Friday afternoon in time to get in on assisting. Early Saturday morning he starting calling folks to turn out and help in setting things up and particularly preparing all the food. There were trays of cheese, butter and cream cheese – for the bagels and pita bread, more trays of cookies, green and black olives, dates, pineapple, bananas, grapes, and deviled eggs. There were three - twenty-four can cases of grape soda for the Bishop’s Winery. The four missionaries and two new couples, the Meyer family, and many of my committee members were there for hours before the event started. There were lots of pictures that turned out well, so posting a Kodak gallery to the Internet and then printing them up for the ward bulletin board forced me to work far into the night. But, Daddy B.J. sent me home shortly after the closing prayer and he stayed with many others to do the take down and clean up.

Adam arrived sometime late Saturday and spent the night with David and Fatima’s family. We had the Primary Children’s Sacrament meeting program that Sunday before Christmas and then wonderful special Christmas lessons in both Sunday School and Relief Society. A baptism followed that evening and they are always wonderful. Of course that Sunday was the 20th and Nathan and Nicholas’s 19th birthday. After an afternoon party for them Debbie left driving with them and T.J. and the girls and arrived about 2:00 PM Monday afternoon. I had been hustling trying to get the huge stash of costumes and props from the activity out of the front bedroom, where they were going to stay and up into the attic. As it worked out Deb’s carload ended up being part of the assembly line passing boxes and bags up to the attic.

We have enjoyed wonderful food, continual “cousin gatherings” – both here and at David and Fatima’s. Debbie didn’t bring any presents, so we had a ball searching for treasures at thrift stores and limited the expenditures at other stores. We called Gramma Toni to wish her a happy birthday on the 24th and went to a small party for Fatima’s birthday on the 26th. Needless to say Christmas included special fruit platters, cookies, candy, a turkey and the trimmings, and unwrapping of presents from under the tree. We had special Christmas greeting from Ruth and Tim’s and Joseph and Kathryn’ families and Daddy B.J. heard the message that Benjamin also tried to call.
Our ward bishopric were the speakers at Sacrament meeting on the 27th and Daddy did a fabulous job encouraging everyone to hope for the future of all and change for the better during the coming year – through reliance on the atonement of Jesus Christ. He included some readings from Charles Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” and the season’s favorite old movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. He really put some dynamics into his voice and he kept us all awake and listening. At family home evening last night Debbie’s compliment to him was for the enthusiastic talk he gave. He said that was the first feedback he had received and how wonderful it was to know he did OK.
Jay has used points, which they earned from past hotel stays, to reserve two rooms at a nice hotel for the family for the 31st, 1st, and 2nd so Debbie will start the drive home tomorrow. Nathan and Nicholas left us the afternoon of Christmas day to spend time with their birth mom and family in Seattle. They will fly home a couple of days later. Debbie will drop Nathan at SeaTac airport on her way through tomorrow so he can make his flight home. Adam rode back to Bellingham with Michael and Jenna last Saturday evening as his roundtrip was into and out of the airport up there. That means that tomorrow only the special people we love, who live here all the time, will be left in Bremerton. It also means I can get down to the business of finalizing end of year records needed to prepare for tax season after the first of the year. Fortunately, it does get easier with experience and I do enjoy fooling around with my computer and spreadsheets and seeing the big picture it all reveals.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28, 2009
Big News Item: Jenna is pregnant and will have a baby within a week of Kathryn’s baby if the little ones hold to their due-dates.
I had planned to bake all day the day before Thanksgiving, but the sun was shinning and we had heaps of leaves down, so I went outside instead. Daddy B.J. joined me toward the end of the day. Our home teachers arrived and that ended our task since it was dark before we finished our visit. A late start in the kitchen allowed time for four crusts, which were to be filled the next day with banana cream (2), coconut, and yogurt pie. I stirred up four pumpkin and cut up two apple pies. They kept the oven busy for a few hours. Then Daddy B.J. helped me get our twenty-one pound turkey in the oven. Mr. Tom came out the first thing the next morning and after time to cool his meat slipped right off the bones – just the way I like it.
Returning from a break from raking, I saw Mr. Rostad’s car driving away the day before Thanksgiving. That evening we couldn’t find the cat. The next morning when I went to the freezer I heard her and realized she had seen the door to Mr. Rostad’s garage open and went inside while he was here. She is a climber and in her eagerness to get closer to me when she heard me, she jumped up to the window just above the freezer. I heard something fall that she knocked down in her efforts. I don’t know what else she may have done. Daddy B.J. removed a previously cracked pane of glass from the windows beside the door and she came out immediately.
While Daddy B.J. rescued Abby, I worked on two pans of jello, home made turkey stuffing with walnuts in it - just like my mother made it, giblet gravy and potato salad. Matt Larsen asked over a month ago if he could prepare Thanksgiving dinner and bring it and serve it here. We agreed so my efforts were just our contribution to a potluck Thanksgiving feast. Matt set the start time as 12:30, so we told the others, whom we invited, to arrive then. Matt called and let us know he would be late, so when our other guests arrived I put them to work on the potato pearl mashed potatoes and crème pies. Others filled dishes with cranberry sauce, olives, and pickles. We actually gathered to each tell one blessing from the past year and have the blessing on the food about 1:30.
Our only true family guest was Brian Ross, who is the son of Tena, who is Uncle Buck’s daughter. Brian is stationed at Ft. Lewis. He is between a nine-month tour in Iraq and a year-tour in Afghanistan, which starts next October. He is a heavy equipment operator and helps build roads, airstrips, etc. Matt Larsen had his two little boys and his roommate Sidi with him. Israel, who is five particularly enjoyed playing with Joey Hohnholz, who is four. Joey’s parents are Sara and Ray and his ten-year-old sister Jillian particularly played with Tigey, who is seven and the son of Gayle and Ken Timmons. Gayle’s father was with them. The missionaries have been teaching the Timmons family for about six months – off and on. Two of our ward’s four missionaries joined us for the first hour-or- so of our celebration just to fellowship the Timmons. The Walkers, who are a young new couple in our ward, came with their baby. That totaled twenty.
After eating to full capacity, casual conversation for a couple of hours and naps, Daddy B.J. and Brian Ross and I headed up to David and Fatima’s where yet more food was offered to us. They had our old friends Michael and Michele Dill and a new five-person family in their ward as their guests. We played a couple of games and then David shared a movie he had just purchased
“The Lost Battalion”. It was very patriotic and inspiring and also true. The military action it was based on took place in World War I and the three officers who led the group of 500 soldiers, which was reduced to 300 during their action, were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor. The saddest things about all the deaths were (1) friendly mortar fire were responsible for many and (2) it was only a couple of months before the end of the war.
Friday was the memorial service for Crystal Sutton’s father, Bill Sensenbaugh – who lived in our ward the last couple of years. I helped set up, serve, and clear away the family luncheon, which followed. Daddy B.J. presided as a bishop does at funerals and gave the closing remarks. It was the best talk he has ever given. It was both inspired and inspiring. He referred to President Monson’s talk in the last priesthood meeting as well as the remarks and songs just shared. It was great to see Jeanie, Levi, David, Robbie, Jim, and Joe as well as Crystal’s brother Hank and sister Kaye. P.J. and Penny will be flying to the funeral service to be held in San Diego next week. Since Brother Sensenbaugh lived there over fifty years the extra service made sense. This is especially true since not all the family who live here including his second wife and Phil and Crystal can make the trip to California.
We have had some bazaar medical illnesses within our ward lately. Phil Sutton has cancer in both kidneys. The doctors and priesthood blessings assure him that one kidney will need to be removed, but the other can be treated and saved. Shirley McDonald was yellow and her doctors found she had an autoimmune disease attaching her liver. They hope to cure that through medication.
Sister Judy Bresch, who is one of my visiting teaching companions, got sick quite suddenly last Sunday and went into the hospital in terrible pain. She had inflammation or infection of the pancreas. She was allowed nothing by mouth since eating or drinking stimulates the pancreas to pump enzymes to help digestion. When I visited her she was still in vast pain and desperately wanted a drink of water. Judy’s son-in-law David Welch is one of Daddy B.J.’s counselors. Judy’s daughter Christie Welch is keeping me posted on how things are going. Riche Greene,who is a nurse at the hospital and also lives in our ward, checked on her through the night Tuesday night and determined that the level of pain was unacceptable when in delirium she talked about “having the baby”. She thought she was in labor! They put her on a respirator and induced a coma so they could give her sufficient pain medication. One of her kidneys shut down. They said it was not damaged but simply couldn’t handle removing all the toxins in her blood. The next step was putting her on kidney dialysis. When the blood is clean, her kidneys should be able to return to natural healthy function. The next step planned is finding the best surgeon in the Seattle-Tacoma area and the best hospital so dead portions of the pancreas can be removed. She had a blessing that said her recovery would be slow but would come.
Will pulled into David and Fatima’s at 4:00 AM this morning with the art work – very heavy statues, which they purchased at an auction quite a while ago in Las Vegas. They hadn’t been able to get it home. Will agreed to haul it and also move Mindie’s washer and dryer from Pahrump to Utah at the same time. That worked out beautifully. Will spent Thanksgiving with his family and said it was wonderful.
I need to get this letter off so I can move on down my “to do” list. I am delighted with my life. Everything takes time but everything is also enjoyable. There are bright sides to almost everything. We love you!
November 17, 2009
I will not make this very chatty but simply give you some essential news.

1) Sis and Cliff are home again for this week only and returning to SLC for Thanksgiving. They plan to be here for Christmas though.
2) Benjamin’s branch president, President Brian Hardy, phoned. He said what an asset Benjamin was to their prison program since he could and did act as a missionary inviting others to services and teaching the gospel as well as he could under the circumstances. Pres. Hardy said he HOPES Benjamin remains in their jail till he is released because he is such a boon to them. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart.
3) Debbie and Jay and family have down-sized to a small home because this period of economic crunch has made life a bit harder for them. Fortunately their wise bishop said no way was he going to let them go to another ward. I am SO grateful. They are just starting into activity and making friends and a ward change might have been bad. Monica and Amy gave little spotlight talks about themselves in Primary last Sunday. Debbie helped both girls print up cute pictures of themselves and tell some things about themselves. Amy can actually repeat words that can be understood now.
4) Kathryn is PREGNANT! Yee Haw! It will be about another seven months, but another wonderful little Gent is on the way.
5) Daddy B.J. and I are making a goal of having family home evenings with David and Fatima and their girls a couple of times a month. We love it. Other Mondays we are inviting new members of our ward here to get to know them. That is wonderful too. We have met two new families so far.
6) It takes quite a lot of time to just print up a special birthday card for our children and grand-children, but so far I’m keeping up. A few years ago I made it a goal to also write an annual letter to the grandchildren after they turn eight. I just wrote to Justin. It is his third.
7) We just had our November ward activity last Friday. It was time consuming. However December’s will be the biggest I’ve ever planned for A Night in Bethlehem on the 19th. I also have same responsibilities in the stake’s Nativity Event that are demanding more time than usual. All this is on top of the annual planning for 2010 that has to take place at this time. I actually took ten minutes in ward council last Sunday talking about everything.8) Sarah Shumaker is getting married in the temple next Saturday so Ruth is flying in day after tomorrow. We are excited to have her.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A little bit about most of us - July 2009

- a little bit about most of us

Benjamin is job hunting and very excited about this new phase of his life. His email address is . He cannot send emails unless they are related to his job hunt, but he can take a peek at his inbox. His street address is 2445 S. Water Tower Way Ogden, Utah 84401.

I enjoyed talking with Benjamin this morning. He asked me to tell you that he loves you – especially you nieces and nephews! He appreciates all the support you have given and are still giving him. He knows we all pray for him. He told me that prayer has become a habit for him and that he still will sometimes put his prayer rock down on the floor beside his bed to remind him to pray when he steps on it, he truly remembers without that bumpy reminder.

He messed up his Burger King application but was able to call a representative, who kindly set it all to rights. He has had one good interview with them and was told at the end that he has two more interviews with others from the store hierarchy [is that a pun on those who hire?] before he can get the job. He actually has other places he is looking at, one of which needs someone with a forklift license. He’ll keep doing the leg-work, we’ll keep praying, and Heavenly Father will keep leading him to the job he wants him to be doing.

Several years ago when Benjamin was in Provo the Division of Rehabilitation Services was helping him get into a permanent occupation. They had to stop their help when he confessed to a counselor that he had slipped back into using drugs. He was told they could work with him again when he had been through treatment. Waa-LA! He now meets their requirements again. The lady, who was counseling with him, said they can perhaps get him bus passes but for sure they will pay for the training he needs in the barber school of his choice. She also said that each state has a similar program. He may be able to move to Washington and receive the same support. The program varies in name but is much the same in services provided from state to state.

Benjamin said a final check from prison in Draper arrived. He has to carefully budget since he doesn’t know how long it will need to last or how much he will receive when his next employment starts. He said he wants to write to everyone and will buy what stationery and stamps he can. He will phone us [on our toll-free number] and let that take the place of letters home, except for sending us letters to forward for him. He feels especially bad that his financial limits were keeping him from calling Jernon and David, but he doesn’t have the $. He asked me to let them know how very much he appreciates all they did for him.

He also asked me to tell each and every one of his nieces and nephews, “I love you,” for him. I will try to remember that as I get the chance to talk to them.

Will and Mindie’s daughter Allyssa celebrated her 5th birthday last Saturday. I think everyone here took a turn on the phone to wish her happiness. From the background sounds there was quite a family party going on.

Adam was under financial stress because his grant money hadn’t arrived. He was trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Monday morning the 20th he felt impressed to check his mailbox before going to practice. He never does that in the morning. His grant was there. He called to tell me that he knew paying his tithing produced this blessing for him. You can find a great brief biography about him on the UNLVRebels.com Football Roster website

You may remember Derek Wentz, the short attorney who was a bishopric counselor for Daddy B.J. till about a month ago. He had been out of work for five –and-a-half months. They moved to Port Orchard because they found a house for less rent. My sister met a former law school classmate of his while she was on a flight between Korb’s former home in Colorado and Salt Lake City. That classmate had a good job connected with the Social Security Administration. Lavina got his phone number and called me twice to make sure I passed the phone number on to Derek. Sunday morning there was a message on B.J. cell phone from a very happy Derek. He has a great new job from my sister’s talking with a stranger and following a prompting to gather information. Way to go, Sis!

Nathan went on vacation with Kathryn and her children to Montana. Joseph was joining his wife and children for the end of their stay there. Lucky Nathan!

David’s “girls” missed their flight on the 13th because David thought it left at 1:00 PM and it really was at 11:00 AM. They paid the hefty fee to reschedule for the next day and that worked fine. David is a bit lost without them. We are blessed to have his company more. He came to our Sacrament Meeting Sunday and took T.J. to help him teach his Primary class.

There has been one great side-effect of Lily’s theft. Since Debbie and the children stayed here longer, T.J. has been recruited to take part in the Youth TREK, which takes place this week. It is supposed to be as close to a true pioneer experience as they can make it. The youth are divided into families and push handcarts through a river, up a mountain, and cross-country for about twenty miles. There are special events planned along to way to provide the opportunity for spiritual growth. This particular activity takes place for our stake only once every four years. We are delighted that T.J. has the chance to go.

Michael talked to David yesterday and told him that Kitsap Lake had been on the news for a blue algae warning. I called the county for information this morning and it was true, but how bad can it really be when the official in charge had to search his own data banks to learn about it. He did tell me that the worst effects if any would be for small pets. He said the acceptable level had to be below .8 particles per million and they were .86 when tested. He asked if I had seen notices posted. No I haven’t. Jenna’s website has cute pictures of Anna Kate in a ballerina skirt that Jenna sewed for her. Jenna commented that before the skirt was finished she knew why commercial ones were worth the prices they charged. Since Jenna takes such cute picture of Anna Kate, you can’t blame me for yielding to the temptation of including them.

The Whole Dog Drama

Monica's 12-week-old black teacup Chihuahua was stolen but miraculously returned.

On Thursday July 16th the weather was very hot and a lot of folks came to our place to swim. Monica is a very friendly little girl, who loves the Chihuahuas and enjoys the attention she and the dogs enjoy when she carries them around and plays with them or watches them playing. We try to be generous in sharing this magnificent lake property and at the same time keep it safe for our family. A young lady was here with a friend on Thursday. We eventually learned that her full name was Alexandria Wallace, but in visiting with her Monica simply was told Alex. Since I was mowing the lawn I noticed her holding Little Lily quite a lot on a bench down on the dock. Alex asked Monica a lot of questions about the dog, like how old she was, if she had her shots and what she ate, etc.

Debbie and I had a Relief Society quarterly enrichment activity to attend that evening. T.J. was left in charge of Amy and Monica. The day before David arranged to come by after work and pick up all the kids for a movie night at his home. A few days earlier Debbie had been asked to present a mini-lesson based on an article in the Ensign magazine “Becoming Self-Reliant – Spiritually and Physically” by Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Debbie prepared laminated bookmarks “As a woman thinketh in her heart, so is she. Prov. 23:7 A grateful thought is the seed for change“, and a worksheet for sisters to list 5 things they are grateful for and of their strengths. She also purchased little individual plants to remind the sisters that they can grow in their self-reliance. Since we picked up one of the older sisters whom I visit teach, we left about a quarter after six. Debbie did a great job on her presentation. As soon as we left the building she checked her phone for messages and one said “Monica lost Lily.”

When she called to find out more, Debbie was told that shortly after we left Monica couldn’t find Lily. Everyone pitched in looking for her and asking everyone if they had seen her. Monica saw Alex heading up the hill and asked her about Lily. Alex opened her purse and said, “See, I don’t have her.” Learning of that later, Debbie thought that was a strange response. David actually went to the neighbors searching. In meeting them, he discovered a woman, whom he knew from Naval Ave. Elementary School. During the hunt a couple with their son came down the driveway. They instructed their son to tell our family what he had told them. He said when he was walking home he saw a lady with the black puppy’s head showing out of her handbag. This was the first indication that Lily was stolen. Alex was the only one carrying a bag. David said Monica couldn’t stop crying once she realized Lily was really gone. Everyone was upset.

Debbie had a plan by bedtime. Debbie phoned the police and reported the disappearance and suspected theft. Naturally we all started a safe return in all our family, couple, mealtime and personal prayers. Early the next morning we created a reward poster. 1) Will insisted that since Monica knew the girl’s name was Alex, that her name be included on the poster. Amy and Monica helped mount them on construction paper and then Debbie and the girls posted them. They started with one at the corner of our house by the breezeway, where anyone coming to swim would see it. They mounted a couple at the top of our street sign, one at the stop sign up the road, one at the Red Apple grocery. They took one to each of the pet stores in town. They told extended family members and requested they all add their prayers.

Debbie had planned on leaving Friday in order to be in Pahrump Saturday for Allyssa’s birthday. They changed plans to remain through Monica’s birthday on Monday the 20th.

We had heard nothing concerning Lily’s possible return by the end of Sunday. At 11:20 PM we received a phone call from a woman, who said her daughter knew where Lily was. The woman said she would get the dog and bring her to us. I got up, took a book, turned on our yard light and went to sit and watch and wait. At 1:10 AM I gave up and went to bed again. About a half hour later the woman phoned again. Since Daddy B.J. was slow to pick-up, most of the 2) conversation went to the answering machine and was recorded. Margaret gave us this report. Her daughter Laura, who is engaged and living with her boyfriend, told her that evening that her friend Alex had a new puppy – a teacup chihauhau. Margaret got to thinking about being at our place on Friday, seeing the poster which asked for information about a girl named Alex, and talking to Monica, who shared all about having her puppy stolen. Margaret asked her daughter what color the dog was and when she replied that it was black and there were pictures of it on Alex’s “MySpace” website, Margaret felt sure it was the missing dog. She made her first call to us then.

Margaret went to the website and 3) printed out five pages of the entry about Alex’s new dog. There were several pictures taken at our place the day she was here with the lake in the background! Alex’s final comment was, ”I stole the dog from a little girl Ha!” Margaret then called Alex and told her she was giving her five minutes to bring the dog to her or she would be calling the police. Alex hung up on her. Margaret waited. Nothing happened so she called the police and explained about discovering the stolen “Gent” puppy. The officer checked and couldn’t find any such theft reported and said if the Gents didn’t care enough to make it report there was nothing he could do. She made her second call to us.

Margaret explained more of her story. She said last Friday she wanted to take her sons and their friends, Jesse and Jacob Fry, swimming. The drove to Belfair and found it clouded over though the sun was shinning when they left Bremerton. She decided to cancel the outing, but the Fry boys said they knew just the place to go swimming – at the Gent’s. Margaret was hesitant. She doesn’t like meeting strangers and didn’t want to be a bother. The Frys insisted it would be just fine with us. So they came and played for a couple for a couple of hours. Margaret enjoyed helping Monica blow up balloons. She felt sad for the lilttle girl’s loss.

Margaret told us about calling the police and that fizzling. Margaret said that she would be heading to work in Gig Harbor within a few hours and could come by our place with the printout from Alex’s “MySpace” about 6:30 AM. Daddy B.J. and I decided not to bother Debbie about it until there was something positive to share. I waited by the door at 6:30 and met Margaret on the driveway. I realized while I waited why the police couldn’t find the report. It was made by Debbie Gordon, not Debbie Gent and I explained that to Margaret. I was open-mouth amazed at the pictures and heartless comments. I had Margaret write down her name and address and her daughter’s name and phone number. I thanked her profusely and she said she really felt it was miraculous how it had all come about – a change of plans bringing her here Friday, her daughter happening to know Alex, Laura’s passing on the news about Alex’s new puppy.

Daddy B.J. was also dumb-founded by the printout and told me to get Debbie right on it. I woke her up, but not the kids. I went straight to my computer and tried to find it on the web, but Alex had closed her website! Debbie called the police and explained what had been happening. The officer on duty found her report quickly. Debbie asked what to do next and the he replied that 4) the policeman, who took her report was just coming on duty and it would be turned over to him. Shortly there was a return call from the police, then the officer came and picked up Margaret’s printout and the information she wrote out for me. I wished I had made copies! He also listened to the answering machine recording.
About two hours later as I was headed out to run errands, a truck pulled in. It was Margaret and Laura with Lily! I got all teary eyed and ran to bring Debbie out. The officer made it all happen. So Monica woke up to the best birthday present possible. Lily was back. Truly our prayers were answered.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coming visits, special events, and good hard work

June 23, 2009
Once again I have let other things take my time but at 6 PM I’m finally getting around to writing. This morning I put the new “1408 Gent” sign up by the mailbox. It started as the top of a round coffee table and is definitely real wood. We had to replace the former sign because it was particle board with a veneer cover. It was very convincing. I truly through it was solid. However it had reached a sad state of deterioration. The proof is in how well it endures. There must be some moral to this story – like “you can’t always believe your eyes”. It certainly seems that genuine wood furnishings are part of a former generation.
Once the sign was up, I started mowing. We felt a quick sprinkle of rain here Wednesday, but since no rain fell at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the official reporting station, Seattle matched the 29-day record for consecutive rainless spring days. That stretch of really warm weather ended with plenty of good earth soaking rain. We were delighted because Daddy B.J. threw out grass seed a couple of weeks ago. We have been watering morning and night to give it a chance to grow. A sheen of green is now visible over most of the area and it looks wonderful. Yesterday I took the van to Mike’s auto to see if there was a brake fluid leak. They didn’t find any problems. While I was driving it, the radio was tuned in to golden oldies. A weather forecast said clear weather for today with a return to rain for tomorrow. So I had to mow today.
We are getting excited to pick up Joseph & Kathryn’s family and Ruth and her children Day after tomorrow. At the end of 2008 David and Fatima bought the house next to theirs when it came up for sale. They have volunteered the use of it for all our guests to sleep. Fatima went through her own home and furnished “the blue house” remarkably well. She said the amazing thing is that her own home doesn’t look at all diminished.
Ruth said it will be nice to have plenty of space to sleep but she still plans to spend most of her waking time here. Daddy B.J. and I will be driving both my Chevy and the van to Bellingham to meet their flight. Mike has arranged to borrow a moving van sized truck from a friend and he and Daddy B.J. and Joe will load it with Brooks manufacturing free firewood. Daddy B.J. will drive the truck down and Michael will take it back after Adryann and Brynneé’s baptism Saturday. Saturday also happens to be another Bremerton ward activity, for which I have been getting everything ready.
We are all equally excited about Adryann and Brynneé’s baptism. They turned eight last Thursday. Daddy B.J. and I were there when they came down the first thing that morning. I got some good pictures.
They were getting ready for the birthday party. Adryann and Brynneé invited the children from their school class and a few from church too. Daddy B.J. and I had a ward high priest’s group social that we needed to attend that evening at the Brownsville Marina. While we were away to that David brought nine girls here to enjoy playing in the water.
Daddy B.J. had a wonderful Father’s Day Sunday with a card from Benjamin and phone calls from everyone else. The four missionaries joined us fro dinner and so did Sis and Cliff, who just arrived home from Salt Lake City the night before. David and Fatima and the girls ate a sort of second session of dinner. They arrived just as Sis and Cliff were leaving. Then Daddy B.J. celebrated by taking the rest of the night off and simply going to sleep.
Ken and Gail Timmons have been helping Daddy B.J. in a variety of ways working at Will and Mindie’s house on Vena, cutting up firewood here, doing some landscape cleaning at the office, etc. Gail’s father has been here for a couple of weeks visiting and last weekend they made a trip to Oregon to pick up their seven-year-old son Atiji. Daddy B.J. told them he wanted them to put a roof on the tool shed that he built on at the back of the garage. They were here this morning to talk to him about that. But, Daddy B.J. is a hard man to catch in the morning. He was long gone when they arrived. While they were here Gail said, “Look!” and pointed up the driveway. A momma deer and her fawn were standing by the split rail fence. They watched us watching them. We haven’t had visits in daylight from deer in our own yard. Even more surprising about three hours later, while I was mowing the back yard I looked up to see three deer tripping lightly over Daddy B.J. new grass toward the Monkey Puzzle tree. I was more dedicated to mowing than watching and when I started up the hill with the mower they skidaddled.
Adam is coming to visit too. He doesn’t have the same itinerary but we are eager to see him. Nathan called Friday with a most unusual experience to relate. Since he had been volunteering in the prosecuting attorney’s office, he was allowed to ride along with policemen when they went to serve papers on people. Nathan said that at one place there were several officers and they broke the screen door to get in and then by the time Nathan reached that door, they were breaking down a bedroom door. A dog that Nathan thought was a pitbull came charging toward him or perhaps the office that was next to Nathan. Nathan said it all happened so fast and was so scary that he wasn’t really sure exacting what happened. Anyway Nathan was afraid that the dog might have wanted a chunk of his arm. The office shot him in the head. The dog went flying backward but was not killed. Then because a shot was fired, a report had to be made. Nathan was questioned and was surprised at how little he could say for certain. He said it gave him a different perspective of witness testimony. He was sure that it got his adrenalin pumping.
Debbie and her kids went to visit in Pahrump and the whole bunch of family had a wonderful time together. Jay called Sunday to wish Daddy B.J. a happy Father’s Day. He said this family was on their way home to spend the rest of the day with him and that they were bringing not one but two new Chihauhau puppies with them.
Last Wednesday the Manette Ward missionaries picked up Patrick and he has been with them ever since. They were a companionship of three and having him with them made it possible for them to split up and get a lot more done. I actually bumped into them yesterday at a thrift store and he looked as much like an elder as they did. He is supposed to be home tonight because he is leaving early tomorrow for Helaman’s camp, a missionary training event that the stake puts on every year. Actually I will be driving him and the other two young men from our ward out to Zion’s Camp (our church recreational property not Ruth’s daughter’s place) because Daddy B.J. finally has an appointment with Dr. Redd to have a mold made to make his top denture. Hurrah!
Ruth’s big excitement last week was getting a big yard toy. It was in Las Vegas and had originally sold for $4000, but she paid $250. Her brothers helped her take it apart and the whole family got together in her back yard to re-assemble it. Will even arranged it and their trampoline so that the back yard looked larger than before. Both cousins and neighborhood kids have joined Ruth and Tim’s kids in playing on it.
One other item of note - I have been picking strawberries from our little patch about every other morning. There is only a cup of two or three, but it is plenty when eaten over cottage cheese or yogurt . They are delicious and well worth all the weeding I did to give them a chance to grow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Great Busy Week mid-June 2009

June 16, 2009
Benjamin sent me a copy of a general conference address in German and asked if I could read it.No, I do not read German. Yes, I did study it in high school and college, but that was long ago and I was never very good at it, because I never was immersed in it. To learn a language well, you need to live in the country or at least live in a situation where you are forced to speak it exclusively for several months. I know that over the Internet a person can select from about a hundred languages to listen or have printouts of general conference talks, but how did he get a copy of one in German?
Last weekend was fast Sunday and the family joined in fasting for Joseph and a swift recovery from his Bell’s Palsy. He phoned me a couple of days later and thanked me for inviting the family to fast for him. He said that after Sunday he did begin to see real improvement. He acknowledged our prayers as being key to that. How grateful I am for family prayer!
Speaking of family prayer, David and Fatima’s primary class were assigned the sharing time for last Sunday. They were given the theme of “Family Payer and How It Strengthens The Family”. Fatima asked for my suggestions and I printed up some for them. Unfortunately Fatima and Adryann and Brynneé were very sick with what appeared to be a 24-hour flu, so David had to do it alone. He phoned me that evening and said it worked out wonderfully well for him. He had his class members do exercises and lift some weights he brought. He explained that exercise builds muscle. Then he told them about another exercise and had them fold their arms, bow their heads, and knees. He then explained and asked questions of them and the rest of the primary children about prayer and how it could strengthen faith, trust in Heavenly Father, humility, family members understanding each other better, etc. Since his children are only 5-6 years old and don’t read yet, he had them wad up the printout of the various items and let them toss them to try to make “baskets”. His own class loved all of it and some of the other kids actually stood and clapped at the end, which of course is not very reverent behavior. So the primary leaders explained that in primary we don’t clap we just hold up a hand and “give them a hand” of appreciation that way. Remember when we used to do that in Cub Scouts?
Nathan called me with an interesting report. A few years back I purchased a small MP3 player for Daddy B.J., which he used and enjoyed till he bought an I-Pod. He gave the MP3 player to Nathan, who enjoyed it for quite a while and he made the same upgrade as his father. Nathan passed the MP3 player to Jordan, who enjoyed it for quite a while. Now he also has moved on and passed the little MP3 down to Travis, who is enjoying it in turn. We Gents certainly are good about sharing and/or recycling to get all the good we can from our earthly possessions!
Nathan also shared what I found to be very interesting information. Pahrump is in Nye County, which is the 3rd largest county in the United States roughly 18,150 sq. miles. Only Coconino County, Arizona, with about 18,600 sq. miles and San Bernardino County, California, with about 20,000 sq. miles are bigger. Nathan drove to the county seat in Tonopah for a task from the prosecuting attorney’s office where he is volunteering this month. It took him three hours each way! I asked him if he had his spray bottle along to keep cool. He said that Joseph had told him about a mechanic in his ward who was out of work and could fix his car’s air conditioning at a great price. So for the first time in the three years since he has had the car, he need not be embarrassed about asking girls on dates in his “hot car”.
David and Fatima asked me to volunteer at Adryann and Brynneé’s school’s field day. So I spent Wednesday morning with a group of twelve K-3rd graders, which included the girls as they moved from event to event running, throwing, relay racing, etc. One of the girl’s classmates asked if I knew about their upcoming birthday party and I said yes. Adryann and Brynneé together said that I made the invitations for the party. The other child looked very impressed, which made me feel great.
I finally accomplished a missionary effort I had been thinking about for months. Two of the postal workers where I check our mailbox almost daily have been extra nice to me. They greet me by my name whenever I go to the window. Since the man has an accent, I asked Mr. Hun where he was from. He said Korea. He told me that the other clerk that day was his sister. If I get to the post office in the morning, they are usually the clerks on duty. His sister has been the one to help me on Saturdays when I have a notice in our box to pick-up anything too large to fit. Though the windows aren’t open on Saturday, patrons can knock on a door and someone will fetch their parcel. A couple of weeks ago I ordered two Book of Mormons in Korean. Thursday morning I was surprised that no one but me was in the main foyer. Mr. Hun’s sister was checking keys to see that they worked in un-rented boxes. There was a notice to pick-up in my box and Mr. Hun was at the window. He brought out our package and from the return address I knew it had to be the Book of Mormons. I said, “I know what’s in there,” and started to try to cut open the tape with my keys. Mr. Hun immediately picked up a pair of scissors and opened the box for me. I lifted out the books and told him that since he and his sister had always been so nice to me, I wanted to give them the books. He asked if I could read them and I said no, but that I knew they were Book of Mormons. Now, you have got to know that at least two or three people and sometimes a dozen are in that foyer when I pick up our mail. Heavenly Father prepared the perfect opportunity for me to present the books. I would have been too shy and/or felt guilty about delaying other customers, if anyone else had been present.
I spent many hours on several days last week using David and Fatima’s pressure washer to clean the pavement, stepping-stones and play equipment around our house. We are very excited about Joseph & Kathryn’s family and Ruth and her children coming next week on vacation.
We want everything to be as nice as it can be. Daddy B.J. finally got the ground filled and smoothed in a consistent grade to his satisfaction and sowed grass seed. He has been watering every morning and night and we are praying it will sprout and grow. We have a 26-day dry spell going and we know it isn’t the best time to be trying to plant a lawn. With luck a bit of green sheen will be visible by the time our company arrives.
Friday night the missionaries held a baptism here and then a new-member barbeque. Guests brought picnic side dishes. I made a batch of chocolate and yellow cupcakes. Daddy B.J. was miserable with the pain of the gum surgery he had Monday, so he actually laid down and I truly ended up being the hostess. There were about thirty folks here and the children loved the water, paddle boats, canoes, rope swing, etc. It was a very warm day and perfect for playing. Daddy B.J. had asked the missionaries earlier to build a fire in our fire pit and I brought down marshmallows. Michael and Anna Kate phoned us on June 13th, which was Anna Kate’s 2nd birthday. Michael said she loved the birthday card we made and sent her and kept saying and pointing to “dinosaur”, “daddy”, “mommy” and “Anna Kate” herself. Over the phone she actually said, “Thank you, Gramma.” Michael said the family was heading to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to celebrate her birthday.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Washing galore

June 7, 2009
It was a week for washing. Monday Michael Pierson helped me and we washed all the house windows. Just washing wouldn’t have taken so long, but I noticed quite a bit of paint on the edges of the panes and took a notion to scrape it off before washing. I will credit that with causing the job to run over onto Tuesday. With the magnificent view we have, it is a delight to be able to enjoy it through clean windows.
Tuesday was one of the most important days of the year. It was Daddy B.J.’s and my 43rd wedding anniversary. We celebrated it by telling each other frequently how much we loved each other and reading “Fanny’s Dream” together at the close of the day. I found a copy of this children’s book after Daddy B.J. was so impressed with the talk “Choosing a Marriage Partner” by Brent A Barlow. His talk included a reading of that book. Daddy B.J. might not be a prince and I might not be a princess but we certainly agree that in each other’s eyes we are “close enough”.
I think I mentioned months ago about Todd Hilton’s going to the Philippines to bring home a bride, whom he met on the Internet. It fell through and he is terribly discouraged. He went to the Manila temple to talk to the Lord about his situation. After completing a session and praying and thinking in the celestial room he went outside to sit by the fountain and think some more. A lovely young woman there asked him what he was doing and he replied that he was looking for his wife. She was there for precisely the same purpose and had been praying mightily about finding her own mate. She was twenty-seven and a returned missionary and wanted a temple marriage. Todd had a week-and-a-half left of his vacation time and they spent as much of that time as possible getting to know each other. Then they corresponded by e-mail for seven months. Mila bore her testimony in our testimony meeting today. She speaks fairly good English. At least you can figure out what she means. She said she had prayed throughout the past months to have circumstances or Heavenly Father intervene if Todd were not the man she should marry. She didn’t expect to get her visa when she applied. She had friends, who had been waiting between eighteen months and two years without approval. Hers went right through and she arrived on the 25th of May. Todd had previously been married in the temple so they are awaiting a temple cancellation so he and Mila can be sealed. Our stake president said he thinks it will come through soon, since they had all the requested letters. Mila’s testimony was beautiful. Her faith is strong and she delights in seeking to follow Heavenly Father’s plan for her.
Now the reason I bring this up is because Mila stayed in Seattle with Todd’s former wife and his two children and their step-father till Tuesday. Then she started sleeping nights in the small bedroom directly downstairs from ours. With Michael here for the week and Patrick’s stay of undetermined duration that gave us a full house.
Wednesday I picked up David and Fatima’s pressure washer, which we took into Roy’s appliance two weeks ago. I spent all day Thursday working on steps outside the living room and the walkway leading to it from the circle drive. It seemed pitifully weak, which I complained to Daddy B.J. about. He told me to ask Roy’s about it. I did and they said they hadn’t checked it for pressure at all, just did whatever was necessary to make it start readily. So I took it in again and within the hour they called Daddy B.J.’s cell phone with the news that it needed a pressure valve. That being the case we figured I had slaved away with just the force of a garden hose! I can hardly wait to try it again with the new part.
My stint of washing on Friday was simply the windows of my car inside and out. That went along with vacuuming and dusting it to prepare it for our temple trip that evening. We participated with our ward sealing team. It was wonderful to think of the individualss we served as being able to be together with their sweethearts for eternity. Daddy B.J. and I are grateful for the eons ahead of us to go on enjoying each other’s company. It was also touching to think of each child being reunited with his/her parents as they were sealed to them. Christ-like parents love their children so dearly. What a joy to be able to share that association eternally.
Saturday evening Daddy B.J. was the bishop asked to welcome the children, who had been baptized at the stake’s child of record baptism. There were four children. Arynne Geier from our ward was baptized. She was in the class of Ctr 7-8, which I taught in Primary the next morning. David (who one of my seminary students) and Monique Steven’s daughter Zoe was one of the others. Her grandmother, Mitzy Stevens, whom I hadn’t seen in years was there to accompany Zoe’s older sister Torri as she sang a solo. Since baptism is the Savior’s requirement for washing sins away – though children younger than eight are sinless – I guess you could say we finished the week with that special kind of washing.
We had some fun phone calls this past week. One was from Fatima’s mother in Brazil. She called to thank us for the birthday card we sent her. What a sweetheart she is. She apologized in English for not speaking English so well. Ha! – as if I would even consider trying to talk to her in Portuguese. I also enjoyed talking to Debbie, Ruth, Michael, Kathryn, and Nathan. Best of all I had a letter from Benjamin. He, by the way, mentioned receiving several letters from many loved ones and caring friends – Gramma Toni in particular.
I have been reading a chapter from the New Testament along with a chapter from the Book of Mormon each morning. I started Matthew after finishing the Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Last week I read:
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:4-40) [My emphsis added.]
Well that passage alone tells us where Toni will be after this life.
I had a fun encounter last week. When I went to get a gas can to pick up fuel for the pressure washer, a frog about 1 ½ inches long was asleep on the handle or at least pretending to. He didn’t move as I picked up the can and carried it to the ferns, which Daddy B.J. has planted along the cement bulkhead on the south side of the backyard. The frog almost exactly matched the color of the fern frond where I left him. Now when I listen to them in the evening as I water the berries, grapes, and flowers I smile to think I have met one of the tiny croakers.

Hey it is Monday the 8th and I need to take Daddy B.J. to the oral surgeon so the doctor can cut open B.J.’s upper gums and grind down the bumps on the bone, which Dr. Redd said needs to be smoothed. That will make and upper denture seat better so that natural suction will hold it in place and it will be more comfortable too. Things really do often get worse before they get better. Farewell for now.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Memorial Day and Rounding the Corner Into June 2009

Last weekend was a 3-day celebration of Memorial Day. I got into the spirit of things by getting a new (to me) American flag ready to post outside. It was one with the embroidered stars and the stripes of red and white sewn together. It replaced a badly faded one that was only printed on a single piece of fabric. It is considerably heavier, which means the blessing of it not wrapping around its pole so easily. Before I would feel guilty about it’s rolling itself up and leaving it or take the required time to unroll it several times each day. I have assigned Patrick the job of putting it up and taking it down.
Saturday evening May 23rd David dropped by in the evening with Adryann and Brynneé and the dogs, Barbie and Deja. The instant Deja saw the cat, he took out after Abby like an arrow sailing to the target. We called the dog and she returned and we didn’t think anything more about it. Sunday morning Patrick could hear Abby and discovered that her meowing was coming from up in the monkey puzzle tree. We took out one extension ladder and it’s sixteen feet proved too short. We thought that perhaps the other one we had here was longer, but were wrong. Patrick suggested calling the fire department, which idea I vehemently rejected. Thank goodness I was here to say, “No.” We had to leave her to go to church. When Daddy B.J. returned after a long day of meetings, which is typical for a bishop any Sunday, we asked him to see if he could get her down. His first fatigued answer was, “When she gets hungry enough, she’ll climb down.” I wasn’t sure of that. Since he will do anything for me that I really want, he started thinking. He remembered having one longer extension ladder. I was inspired to suggest that it must be at David and Fatima’s. He didn’t know if that was possible but called David, who said we could look over what he had. On the way I asked Daddy B.J. if he would recognize his ladder. He laughed and said that after the hours he had spent on it painting, he would unquestionably know it. David showed him one that wasn’t it and then said that he had a couple more in the garages not adjoining the house. They disappeared into the thicket of storage and came out carrying the twenty-four footer. Reaching up much closer to the lowest branches, it allowed my tall husband to extend a hand and words of encouragement that enticed Abby to him. Well, perhaps after almost twenty-four hours, she was willing to sacrifice some of her proud standoffish -ness.
Sunday for sacrament meeting Daddy B.J. called A.J. Portune, who was home on leave and in his US Marine dress uniform, to come to the stand as a visual aid. Daddy B.J. asked to remember that first and foremost Jesus Christ gave his life for us, but that also many others sacrificed for our freedoms and beliefs. He invited the audience to come forward and suggest a hymn that had particular meaning for them in that connection and to say the verse they wanted to sing. My eyes started brimming immediately and a Kleenex soaked up a lot of overflow. Ivy Greene talked about our ward’s cub scouts going to Miller-Woodlawn cemetery to place small American flags by the graves of all with records of military service. The Cemetery also posts full-sized flags along its driveways. Ivy said how impressive the whole hillside dotted with flags looked. She mentioned that she had served in the Navy and how Memorial Day and being part of the flag brigade touched her. You can see some of the pictures she took. Copy and paste: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebeegrn/sets/72157618595792841/with/3556965221/
Chad Teasley was dressed in his Naval officer’s uniform and told us about an email he had received that morning. His best friend from submarine training and through their first duty assignment sent a message. They drifted apart for about fifteen years but found each other again a few years ago. Seeing that Chad was still active duty inspired him to join the National Guard and he is now in Iraq and commands escorts for convoys. The night before a vehicle packed with explosives drove into his convey and he didn’t even know the death toll yet. Chad’s sharing made the meaning of Memorial Day clearer.
Dale Magneson shared about living in a barracks during his duty time in Germany. The building was named after a pilot who died flying his plane in the Berlin Airlift when United States Air Force, Royal Air Force, and other Commonwealth nations flew over 200,000 flights that provided 13,000 tons of food daily for a year to the blockaded Berlin. Dale requested verse three of America the Beautiful, the one about “for heros proved in liberating strive, who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!” For the closing song Daddy B.J. asked A.J. to tell what his favorite song was and Daddy instructed us to sing all verses. A.J. chose “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”
After sacrament meeting I drove Rita Kerner home. Upon returning one of our missionaries asked if I could take Amber Hardee home. I was eager to chat for bit with this recent convert, who was a friend of Benjamin’s about ten years ago. She is bi-polar and suffers from depression. She said she had been getting things put together quite well a couple years ago with a job as a receptionist with potential for advancement and Section 8 Houseing for herself and five children when someone introduced her to Methamphetamine, which for her led to immediate and un-preventable addiction. She lost everything including her children, who were placed with her parents. She said she has been clean for nine months and is working toward getting her children back. I asked if she was job hunting but she said “No, I have SSI and that’s enough.” She said her big problem was being lonely but that an old friend had recently returned to the area and it was good having his company.
The Relief Society book club selected “The Untamed Land” by Lauraine Snelling for next month’s discussion. I took that Sunday evening to start rereading it and found it wonderful again. I think I will slowly reread the whole series. It was announced this morning at church that Phil and Crystal Sutton had accepted the call as service missionaries for the next two years to run the Bremerton Home Storage Center, otherwise known as the dry-pack cannery. Consequently she will be released as the book club leader. I enjoyed the book so much. I’m glad I read it before learning about the change.
Monday I spent about five hours working in the back yard again, cutting or pulling weeds, raking the area around our canoes and boats and bridge and hauling the debris away. Looking forward to a ward father/son overnighter the following Friday inspired quite a lot of cleaning for both Daddy B.J. and me. He emptied out the breezeway and used the weed-eater all around the house, circle driveway, and garden. I took care of rock-removal to make mowing better up at the street, and then mowed everywhere Friday morning.
Tuesday I went to the zoo with Fatima, Adryann and Brynneé.
The girls rode in the bus to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma but parents were to drive, so I went with Fatima. I really enjoyed out visit. At one point we were both enjoying the roadside painted with the gold of Scotch Broom in full blossom. She said that when he first moved here, she thought it was so lovely that she picked a bunch and took it to David’s office. She said she didn’t understand why staff and patients headed for all the doors. She was laughing as she recalled it, but many folks viewed it as a demon, blaming it for the misery of allergies.
Fatima mentioned that she had talked to Mama Cida on her birthday Sunday. As soon as she said that the light went on in my head. My father and Fatima’s mom did share the same date. Ouch. I love her mom and repented as fast as I could. I had my camera with me and took pictures at the zoo.
When I got homeI worked on those along with cell phone pictures Daddy B.J. took when we took the Adryann and Brynneé to meet their parents at the Seattle Temple (on May 1st). I chose the best ones from both series, added a letter I created with the help of the Yahoo Babel Fish website, which translates from English to Portugueese, and made a birthday card that evening.
Wednesday I ran some one-time-only errands and picked up Adryann and Brynneé after school till their mother finished with an appointment. All three were excited because they were leaving the next day for Las Vegas and a visit with relatives while David attended a seminar there. Thursday I took the whole day to be with Daddy B.J. I was his chauffeur. He had appointments in Lakewood south of Tacoma and then up in Seattle. Both were with clients he sold insurance to several years ago. The second was in the building where he taped his radio ads when he first started working with the “Building Your own Bank” ideas.
Then we went to the wet-pack cannery in Kent and worked for about three hours canning tomato sauce for the church welfare program. Our ward had been given the assignment to provide at least four volunteers and B.J. mentioned that morning that since we were driving right by we could stop and help. Two others from our ward did go, so we helped us save face.
For the father/son overnighter Friday I counted there were seven tents set up in our backyard. Saturday morning the elder’s quorum prepared a great breakfast for all the participants and at 9:00 we startedour ward yard clean-up activity service project at the homes of eight ward member’s. Daddy B.J. picked up a rental truck and worked on the move of Jadi and Todd Hoisington to her mother’s home in Belfair. I as always didn’t actually work at one place but went from site to site taking pictures. Then I returned to our house to set-up a small picnic of hot dogs, chili, potato salad, and ice cream for our volunteeers. The beehive leader, who is moving next weekend brought her class of girls out for a swimming activity and we invited them to join in our picnic.
Leah brought Michael and Joshua to us about 6:30 PM. She will be in California as a paid representative of the union for home-health care-givers till May 8th. Joshua will spend the most of the time with a less active LDS family, who have a boy in his school class. Michael will be with us. He will be in the bedroom beside my office.Tonight the fiancé of Todd Hilton will come to stay in the bedroom beneath ours. She arrived from the Philpinnes Saturday morning and has a three month visa. If they don’t marry within that time, she will return to her homeland. We met her at church this morning and look forward to getting to know her.
The big news for the week is the Ruth and her children and Joseph & Kathryn and their children have their plane tickets and will arrive in Bellingham on June 25th. Tim won’t be able to come because he will be studying to retake the bar exam at the end of July. It will be an eventful visit for all because Saturday 27th Adryann and Brynneé will be baptized. Mike and Jenna said they would be here for that too. It will be interesting to see how Heavenly Father goes about helping us have our bedrooms back for our own family by their arrival time.
Saturday the 30th I was up till midnight printing up pictures from the activity for our church bulletin board and posting the photos to a Kodak gallery on the Internet. At least the following day was an easy Sunday, one without a committee meeting or ward council for me to attend. Our choir has a new director and a new practice time – right after church. When one of the choir members said how hard it was to learn her part without a piano, I mentioned The Church’s music website and that parts for all the hymns can be listened to separately. No one else seemed to know about it so when I returned home I prepared an e-mail. Here it is for you:
Fellow choir members,
Here is the website for the Interactive Church Music Player. Copy and paste it into the address line of your browser. It goes to the page for selecting a hymn from an alphabetical listing of all the hymns. Select a hymn by clicking on its name. Give it time to load, which will vary according the speed of your Internet provider. Then scroll down the options in the left-hand column. From the Music Parts/ Volume choose the part you want to hear. It should be the only box with an “x” in front of it. Scroll to the top and click on the circle in front of Music with Parts. Then click on the play button, which is a large gray circle with a white arrow in it. The part you chose will play.
Just remember that I have it saved on my computer and ask me for it whenever you are interested.

Tuesday June 2nd – Today Daddy B.J. and I have been married for forty-three years.
I had it at the top of my list to finish a letter to Benjamin yesterday but here I am still typing away. Yesterday I thought it necessary to get Michael involved in some work, so I decided to wash windows. Well I finished the major part at 7:00 PM last night and we gathered for Family Home Evening. Daddy B.J. had each of us share a story from an Ensign or New Era. There was ice cream left over from Saturday’s activity for refreshments.
I had the chance to talk to both Debbie and Michael yesterday. Debbie said this was the final week for her boys to be juniors. In the fall they will be seniors. Debbie said now that T.J. has a girlfriend, he is consumed. She offered that excuse because I asked if T.J. had received his birthday card. That card caused a small problem. Daddy B.J. insisted we mail it along with a copy of The Church’s new Gospel Art Book. Jay was concerned that favoratism was being shown to T.J. since the cards for the other children arrive in smaller envelopes without presents. Oh, my! I do try so hard to be impartial. The book had just been published and it’s cost is nominal – a case of twenty for $30 or only $1.50 each. Daddy B.J. didn’t think T.J. would think of it as being exclusively his – but more for the whole family. Hear ye! Hear ye! We LOVE all our grandchildren equally and almost as much as we love their parents.
Debbie said T.J. is taking his girlfriend to the junior prom and Debbie has helped him buy a tuxedo – piece by piece over the Internet. He is amazed at how expensive such functions are from clothes and admission tickets to going in with friends to rent a limo for the evening. In a high-income real estate and school area the currency departs in large demoninations in flocks of bills. I’m grateful my children were so relatively afordable. Debbie said her family had Mike and Jenna with Anna Kate and Jenna’s sister Brianna join them one evening last week and how wonderful it was to be with family. That as always was music to my ears. Daddy B.J. and I are thrilled to have such loving children, who enjoy each other so much.
Michael told me that he and Jenna, Anna Kate and Brianna flew to Los Angeles the Monday of Memorial Day and returned to Bellingham last Saturday. Alligiant Airlines had a “Tax Day Special” on April 15th with tickets to L.A. for $15. They snapped those up and enjoyed the Disneyland fantasy world as well as seeing Debbie’s family.
Michael said he had a good long phone chat with Joseph and that Joseph shared about the misery he is going through. Joseph doesn’t ever complain so this was news to Daddy B.J. and me. Joseph has Bell’s Palsy. http://www.bellspalsy.ws/cause.htm is an excellent website for learning about the malady. Joseph went to his doctor because of his symptoms and he doctor said he had a bacterial infection and prescribed antibiotics. Joseph reasoned that since he had never heard of an infection creating pain, the doctor wasn’t right. He went to the Internet, described his symptoms, and discovered they matched up well to Bell’s Palsy. He returned to his doctor with that assumption. The doctor did some tests and agreed. Since the problem originates with a virus, there is limited help in actually fighting the source. However the doctor was able to prescribe pain-relief meds. Joseph confessed his problem to Michael only because they had been talking for about twenty minutes - talking brings on the pain. Joseph said he didn’t think his case was very noticeable to others. Michael heard Kathryn from the background say, “Yes it is!”
Anyway, next Sunday is fast Sunday. Please keep Joseph in your prayers. We will put his name on the prayer roll at the temple Friday. We’ll be going with our ward temple trip, but since Daddy B.J. has a seminar-workshop tonight, we won’t be celebrating our anniversary till the 5th.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Beautiful Time of year

Last Saturday the scouts had a fund raiser in our back yard. There were over 60 people here for the chili/dessert dinner and scout program. We put in a lot of time getting the yard neat and clean from the mailbox to the dock. Though it rained lots earlier in the week it was beautiful that day and everyone had a grand time. My biggest challenge for the day was putting the step 2 yard toy that Will and Mindie gave us back together. The slide was detached from the tower base. Jeff Fry had all his boys here during the afternoon and they tried to help me but couldn’t figure it out. Left alone with the puzzle I succeeded with the help of inspiration from Heavenly Father and some extra muscle from Steve and Brady Geier, who arrived early to set up the Dutch oven cook site, which they used to heat the chili. David and Fatima came with their girls and twin boys from their school class. The boys looked as different as Adryann and Brynneé. David took Brynneé, the boy twins and a couple of other children out in the rowboat, while Adryann was content to swim and glide around on the surfboard.
Sunday was ward council and Daddy B.J. encouraged everyone there to take a tour of the building with their families. So I went home and invited David and Fatima to bring their girls and join us on a tour Monday evening for family home evening. Since Adryann and Brynneé are preparing now for their baptisms next month we spent most of our time by the font and talking about our conversions. One of Fatima’s neighbors when she was growing up in Brazil was Mormon. When the missionaries in Florida tracked her out they gave her a Book of Mormon in Portuguese. They are having the girls baptized in the font in our building where David and I and my parents were baptized, which makes four generations.
Speaking of generations, Daddy B.J. and I met with Sister Hendrickson Sunday morning during Relief Society time. She took us to the family history center on the top floor and we hooked up to the Internet and new.familysearch.com. We were able to get one more name, Ralph Korb, ready for temple work. I learned lots about Sister Hendrickson I never knew before. She joined the church when she was sixteen and started doing family history when she was nineteen. She took all the genealogy classes she could at BYU and became a certified genealogist. She even had her own business helping other people to research on their family lines. Wow. What a resource she is for our ward!
It was our Sunday to have speakers from the High Council. Brother Herbold and Katz spoke. Whoever used to murmur about high councilors being boring certainly would have had that opinion trashed. Brother Katz joined The Church when he was a young adult and went on a mission about a year later. He said he was comfortable just following and doing whatever his companion asked. Then about half way through his mission a pregnant sister phoned the missionaries because she couldn’t reach any of her leaders and she felt she needed a blessing for her baby. They went and Brother Katz’ companion asked him to seal the anointing and pronounce the blessing. Elder Katz froze, prayed fervently, and proceeded. He had no idea what he said. Later the woman called and reported that she had been to her doctor, who said the baby had been dead for three days and that it was a miracle she hadn’t been poisoned herself from that. Elder Katz apologized. She asked if he remembered the blessing. He felt terrible but didn’t remember anything. She said, “You didn’t mention the baby once. You told me that I would blessed with health.” Gratefully Elder Katz realized that in fact he had not given the blessing at all. It was from Heavenly Father just as it should have been and said just the right things because Heavenly Father knew everything about the situation. Brother Katz said his testimony of the genuine power of the priesthood originated then and there. I got goose-bumps from the story. You do know that goose-bumps can be another way of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to the truth of something, right?
We have spent a little more time at Will and Mindie’s Vena place. Tami Mann phoned Daddy B.J. and told him that they were getting rid of things they had stored for her father-in-law including a working washing machine and dryer. We picked them up and took them to Vena. The washer hoses were there but we needed a piece of dryer vent ducting. I was blessed to find one
at builders bargains for $1.69. In case you wondered, yes, that was another little blessing from Heavenly Father.
This week I am doing ¾ of my visiting teaching but squeezed in some yard work too. I really enjoyed the camellia bushes this year and seeing their blooms through the living room windows. They had grown so that they were about ten inches higher than the back of the couch when viewed from inside. You couldn’t see anything between the bushes or anything but the top of the chimney from the yard. That was just too much. So I pruned them extremely.
Did I ever mention that Daddy B.J. accepted the Hohnholz’s cat when the mom’s doctor said she had to get rid of their pets because of allergies. Well we have had Abby for a few weeks. We say that she is Patrick’s and he takes car of her the most but she really is quite shy and will only come to him if she chooses. She is quite a climber. In the basement we saw her on top of the bookshelves and heard her on top of the furnace. Outside she climbs up to the rafters in the breezeway and then out onto the roof where she walks around freely. Now that the weather is getting nicer, she spent the night outside and didn’t cry at all last night. Patrick in his childlike way loves her when she is nice to him and says he hates her when she runs from him. Since he is very forgiving his spells of rejection are short-lived.
Things are blooming.

Hope you have a great week. We love you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Wonderful Mother's Day

May 15, 2009
I had a splendid Mother’s Day. All our children greeted me with loving wishes. At church the ward gave every sister over the age of eighteen a copy of the new Gospel Art Book. It is the best present imaginable. “This book contains 137 pictures that are organized into 6 sections: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Church History, Gospel in Action, and Latter-day Prophets. These pictures can be used for learning and teaching at home or at church. Descriptive titles as well as references to scriptures and other sources for learning about and discussing the pictures are available in the Gospel Art Book index.”
Besides the book and the greetings I received a pot of six tulips from Ruth and Tim’s family and an apron and the softest, cushiest socks imaginable from David and Fatima’s family. They also invited us out to dinner and Fatima made a delectable chicken casserole.
We are still working on filling the area above where the culvert was repaired. Daddy B.J. would like to have the ground level raised so there won’t be quite the valley. It will look better and be easier to mow. Last Saturday a man from our ward and Patrick were both out assisting him. Sidi is from an African country and studying English as a second language. In his country French is the national language. They made progress but it is slow. Yesterday evening I weeded in the area around the picnic tables and back yard swing set and noticed a lot of loose soil that could rather easily be moved to provide more fill. Daddy B.J. looked at it this morning and agreed. Monday he said it was time to put in some flowers, so I picked up marigolds. There are many different varieties and I chose some of each that were offered. It will be interesting to watch them grow and see how they look mixed together in the flowerbeds.
It's a good thing I read my calendar early this morning. At 10:00 it was time for the monthly book club meeting led by Crystal Sutton at her home. I started going because a sister, who is elderly and frail, on my visiting teaching route said she would like to get out of her home more. She wasn’t able to go this morning but I enjoyed it a lot. Crystal and her sister Carol, who is visiting from California, and their stepmother Jenny, and I were the only ones there. We laughed a lot and enjoyed our discussion of “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. Crystal asked for Benjamin's address. She said he sent her a mother’s day card that she appreciated. I gave her the addess byt told her it would only be good till the end of June.
Then I came home and started work on T.J.’s and Ashton’s birthday cards. It takes me a long time to put cards together and print them up but I feel the time it takes is a present too. Now I am writing Benjamin and blogging.
I have talked to my sister a couple of times this week. She reported that Grace and Dorian did well in the play they were in last Saturday and that Justine was one of the eight soloists chosen for the Salt Lake Valley pageant for the two temple dedications. Yee Haw! Sis flew to Colorado yesterday to stay with Korb’s family during his first trip to England. I suppose he is renting a house for them there and getting familiar with his new work responsibilities. During her flight she sat next to a man and as they talked she learned he went to law school with the 2nd Counselor in our bishopric. He asked that Lavina get his phone number to Brother Wentz and let him know about a job opening up within the year here in Washington with his firm and the Department of Social Security.
A couple of mornings ago I was awake in the wee hours and came down and got two names – my Aunt Margaret's and my father’s cousin Anna Mae's – ready to take to the temple. I was pleased to see that so many deceased family members are having their work done for them. My sons and daughters have been anxiously engaged in a very good work indeed!
Yesterday I went to Will and Mindie’s Vena house, while workers installed a hot water tank. Then I went to Lowe’s and bought the adapter to hook up the water for the icemaker in the refrigerator that Leah gave us for the house. It is only two years old and very nice. It was a blessing that we were there when a man from the electric company came by or he would have turned the electricity off. We are grateful that a re-connection fee won’t be charged.
Adam and Nathan drove to Utah and visited with Uncle Buck. It was wonderful for all of them. Nathan is officially two-thirds finished with law school. He finished out his year as president of the J. Reuben Clark law club and passed the torch to a young woman, with whom he had classes at BYU a few years ago. He called us last night and is at peace with turning so old “28” next Monday. Adam will be taking a couple of quickie classes during summer school.
I love to look at the blogs my kids put together. This past week in Pahrump it was warm enough to run through a sprinkler; but, cool enough to need to ward up on the pavement afterwards.

While a picture of Anna Kate says it all for Washington lately. I just like the picture of Anna Kate in orange.
What can little girls do when moms wash windows?

Life is good for Daddy B.J. and me. We love and are loved. What more could we ask?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Begining of May 2009

Thursday May 7th
Last Sunday at the beginning of Relief Society I was walking around talking to various sisters. I saw a woman I didn’t recognize. When I started to introduce myself, she said she knew me from when she dated Benjamin. Her name was Amber Hardee and she lived on Callow. Memories slowly resurfaced. She had twin sisters, who were on a cheer squad. I guess the twin think caught my interest and forged the memory. I made a point of being at her baptism that evening.
Daddy B.J. was conducting Sacrament Meeting last Sunday and talking up our next activity. He said that he got a cornet at the last white elephant auction, but that when he tried to play it his lips weren't strong enough. He then quipped "I guess my wife should kiss me more." He said he would take the cornet back to this white elephant auction.
Speaking of conducting, Joseph phoned and said that conducting was nothing new to him but he had just had his first experience presiding. When the bishop and 1st counselor are absent, it falls to the 2nd counselor to preside. The difference is not great but Joseph was quite nervous about it. He asked the high priest group leader to sit on one side of him and a brother, who had served in a couple of stake presidencies to sit on the other side of him. Joseph told one of his siblings not to come since he felt it would make him more nervous. The extra-experienced brother beside Joseph leaned over indicating a man in congregation and asked, ”Did you know he is Robert Wells, an emeritus general authority. He was one of the of the seven presidents of the seventy?” Joseph’s stress level went up.
When Daddy B.J. and I attended BYU Ed Week in 2006 we went to a class taught by Jay Parry. His talk was about the wonderful blessings of grace provided by Jesus Christ. He used Brother Wells as an example. When Brother Wells was a pilot serving in a church calling in South America, he taught his wife to fly. Both flew plane loads of members to a conference. She crashed into a mountain on the return and he blamed himself. After suffering a lot he was blessed with the understanding that Jesus Christ suffered for our mistakes as well as our sins.
Returning to Joseph, his experience ended up being very positive. After He opened the testimony portion of the meeting by bearing his own testimony, Brother Wells bore the 2nd testimony. It was so beautiful and fervent that it brought a very special spirit that shaped the whole meeting. Joseph said it was without a doubt the best testimony meeting they ever had in his ward.
Recently a UPS driver making a delivery said he knew Joseph and Michael from high school. His name was Dennis Stoddard. He wrestled with our guys and he had a sister (I think) who graduated with Mike (I think). I love it when people tell me they knew one of my family.
I complained to Debbie and Jay about not receiving good pictures of them. There are usually plenty of the children. Anyway, they attended a party over the weekend and the hostess took pictures. Viola! –smiling Debbie and Jay without sunglasses. T.J.’s school play well very well. Debbie said as a part of the chorus he was on stage a lot. In fact she felt they saw more of him during the performance than they usually saw of him in a whole day at home. Nick loves his fire-fighting training. He recently asked if he could take donuts to class to help him “win friends and influence people.” He decided to break up with the girl he had dated for over a year. He thought he should get to know a wider range of girls. Hurrah! T.J. surprised everyone by announcing that he too had a girlfriend now.
Our son Nathan put a lot of effort into applying to participate in the mediation program at law school next year and he has been accepted. Adam is wondering about proving our Indian heritage because he hears financial aid funds are available to Indians.
Oops, I just looked at the clock. I have to get the chainsaw chain out to Silverdale to be sharpened.
Friday, May 8th - I just had a call from Jernon. One hundred and eighty auditioned for solo parts in an upcoming Youth Temple Celebration inspired by the dedications of both the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain temples. Justine is one of the eight remaining for final tryouts tonight. Jernon asked for us to remember her in our prayers. What an honor she has already achieved to make it so far.
I also had a call from Benjamin. His case-worker let him call from his office. It was good to talk. He is being moved to the Ogden Adult Probation & Parole facility on June 30th. He will be allowed privileges after they assess his capabilities and make sort of an individualized parole program for him. They will assist him in getting a job and from the wages give him a portion to cover personal needs. We will have to apply anew to visit him. We will need to wait till he is actually there to learn more.
We love you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Brand New Sunny Month of May - 2009

May 1, 2009
I was visiting with Anita Parkhill, a sister in our ward, last week when she mentioned that she had been a ward librarian. That sparked a memory for me about my mother, Ruth Korb. I told Anita that when the church first decided to have libraries in the meetinghouses, my mother was called. She worked with other sisters and they looked for pictures to help illustrate lessons. Some they found in old magazines. Some belonged to members. Some they found at stores – including thrift stores. The librarians used cardboard boxes for filing. On several occasions my mom drove to Olympia, where the Olympia beer brewing company offered free blank scrap poster board. They used it to mount pictures. The Church eventually provided numbers to categorize the pictures so that teacher manuals could refer to them by number as well as description. Then the librarians painstakingly put numbers on the top back of each picture. I hadn’t thought about that for years. Mom spent many hours as a labor of love going the second mile in a calling, which looks ordinary today.
Anita asked me if I had recorded the memory in my journal. She is a family history consultant and recognized a golden nugget to save for future generations. It reveals some of my mother’s devotion to the gospel when she found it. Now I have shared it with you and will print up a copy for my journal too.
The weather has been beautiful and I have been outside almost daily. I did more weeding. I moved three wheelbarrows of rock – it barely covered the bottom since it is a lot heavier than weeds or rakings. I moved some of the fill from under the cedar hedge to the place where our washout used to be. I also mowed the top half of the yard. Patrick did the bottom half. Boy, he was proud of himself. He commented, “You could lose weight doing that!” That is wishful thinking, but a rather nice wish.
This afternoon I will be picking up Adryann and Brynneé from school. Daddy B.J. and I are heading over to the temple and will be taking the girls along till we pass them over to their parents, who will be finishing at the temple when we arrive. On the 29th we phoned Will to wish him a happy birthday and he and Mindie were heading in to the Las Vegas temple that day. Ruth and Tim were going there later in the day and meeting Nathan and Adam to attend a session. Do you know how happy it makes me to realize that five of my children and spouses, for those who are married, have been to the temple within just a few of days of each other?
Our prophet has counseled us to seek the protection and peace that temple attendance will provide. We are striving for obedience. I am smiling.
Debbie left a message asking us to remember Jay in our prayers – at his special request because he has the “biggest deal” he has ever worked on in progress. We love to hear that he knows the power of added prayer. Besides remembering him by name in family prayers we will put his name, indeed the names of all our children and grandchildren on the prayer roll this evening. We do pray for each of you to reach the greatest possible growth in your lives.Lavina’s foot surgery went well. I saw her later the same day and she looked great. She called yesterday to ask if I could recommend a LDS realtor, since she wants to sell the property at Ollala. I gave her Kathy Olsen’s name. Kathy (Perkins) was one of my seminary students years ago. She married a sailor, Hap – whom we also knew. Ruth gave her collie dog to Kathy who later made a business of teaching dog obedience classes. Now real estate is her part-time job. Of course, Kathy is full-time at being a mother and homemaker.
Benjamin told us that he was being sent to Ogden on June 30th for sure. He and many of us have been praying that things would work out in the best possible way for him, so we feel it will.