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 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.