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.