Friday, August 3, 2012

Thoughts of the week...

    I guess after a few years it is time to say something!!!   If you notice I updated our family pictures! Yeah! Also, we have entered the grandparent world and its so fun! On to more serious thoughts though as I have a lot on my mind as of late.
      There seems to be such a dilemma in our culture these days. As I have observed people trying to express themselves it seems we have lost what it means to be respectful and kind. We are all in this life as humans trying to make our way, hopefully making the world a better place on this journey. We have groups that are trying desperately to be heard, however they can. Even if it means being hateful, desperate and just downright ugly. I really don't think this is useful.
I have always thought that we can disagree agreeably, but can we?  I just have some thoughts I need to express and hope that it will be taken the way it is intended. I have observed that there are strong emotions tied in to some of the views that are trying to be expressed. I can understand that. Our beliefs become part of us and we feel threatened if they are challenged. Emotions can get the best of us to behave poorly at times.
     I try and look at people who are great communicators, people like....Steven Covey who recently passed away. He was  rated as one of the 25 most influential people in the world. He worked with countless companies in training managers to communicate and value each employee, he wrote best-sellers that will be his legacy to the world and his posterity(which includes over 50 grandchildren!wow!) In his book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People he states, "Seek first to understand, then be understood". This is very useful but so hard to do, we all want to have everyone understand us first and may want them to just agree with us. I have found though, when I do this it is more effective...(.mmm.... imagine that!)  Not that I always do, sometimes my emotions overcome me too.
     I have been trying to be a better listener, and as I do that I have a better chance of seeking to understand first, instead of jumping right in about what I want to say.
       Another great man said, "Civility, I submit, is what gives savor to our lives. It is the salt that speaks of good manners, good breeding. It becomes an expression of the Golden Rule. Civility covers a host of matters in how one human being relates to another with basic human kindness and goodness. Civility requires us to restrain and control ourselves, and at the same time to act with respect toward others. -Gordon B. Hinckley Smart and inspired man.
      Think of someone in your life that was a great communicator, whether it was a trusted friend, family member, leader, or a spouse. You really felt valued in their company, you felt they heard you. They respected and valued your view.  I really do believe this is possible in today's world. Am I wrong, is it possible?  For some reason we love bad news and sensationalize all the negative things that happen. Does true journalism even exist anymore? Where the news media is unbiased and reports all sides and doesn't favor just one?
         I am really glad I am blessed to have a strong foundation of beliefs that ground me. These are based on the gospel of Jesus Christ. His truths are eternal. I know if I follow Him I will be better off. The world has such changing views based on political agendas and popularity. It can be so confusing at times!   Sometimes we become so open-minded our brains could fall out!!
We all have to stand for something, don't we, or we will fall for anything!
So....I really do hope as a society we can reflect upon what is happening. Its a literal  war of words. Sometimes downright hurtful. We need to ask ourselves, did I really have to say or write that? Will it hurt someone? I guess that is why we all love "Pride and Prejudice", the way they communicate is so elegant and almost an art of words! Even when they are angry it is respectful.
Just some observations from a city girl turned country and loving it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life of a Caregiver....
It occurred to me this week that it will be 8 years since taking in 2 of my family members to live with us. What have I learned, and is it what I expected? Well, amazingly enough, through this experience I realize that I have changed quite a bit. The first 2 years were very difficult because I was so emotional and took things too personal. With the loving support of my husband and a lot of prayer I have realized that these 2 people I am caring for are not going to change, I had to change how I dealt with it all. Unlike raising children, which you hope you can influence and help to become who they are suppose to be, care taking is dealing with who they have already become. Plus, the fact that growing up with these people is quite different than the current situation. I think what all caregivers face is dealing with the responsibility of making the decisions for 2 grown adults that is in their best interest even though they may rebel. There are many character flaws I have discovered in myself and have tried to work on these throughout this experience. A lack of appreciation is hard to deal with as well. You begin to feel devalued as you are dealing with constant disrespect and stubbornness. The way that works for me is I have to disassociate myself with the task at hand. The only way I can cope with the situation is to look at it as a business arrangement. This takes the emotion out of it because instead of family members they become...... clients. Of course I still love them and want the best care for them but it takes it to a controllable level for me. Despite what happens and what they may think I can view this as a valued service I am providing for them. Even though they seem to not appreciate it I know it is of value. So, I have created a business called "Senior Resource" in which I am the manager. I have associates that help and support but I manage the care and delegate as needed. We do require "time off" occasionally and that is where the "associates" come in.
I have called other business's in the area to see what they charge to provide this service so I know what the cost is. I really do understand how doing this impacts a family and their lives. It is overwhelming at times to think of this responsibility and how it affects you on a daily basis. There are not the rewards like parenting brings, but just knowing in your heart that you are providing the best care that they could get right now... just has to be enough. I know there will come a time when I will not be able to provide this service for them anymore. It will be difficult to make that decision, but I see it approaching all too soon. I hope at that moment I can be assured of the work I have done has been in their best interest.
I became a caregiver after my mother passed away. Before she died I promised her I would take good care of her husband & oldest son. I really feel I have honored that promise because I know that is what she would want me to do. That has carried me through this experience. She was a woman who had the patience of a saint and the tolerance of a warrior in my eyes. I see that now more than ever as this last year has been especially difficult. I feel her spirit at times when it seems I can't go on. She is whispering, "You can do it, its the right thing to do"....A promise is important to me. I hope and pray I have and can continue honoring this promise the best way possible.
A Promise Kept
A promise can be made, what kind of person keeps them?
“I will be there”, says one, “I will do it”, says another.
“I will”, says the daughter” as her mother asks, “Can you take care of them?”
“Will you be able to? I can no longer do it, but concern and worry keeps me hanging on….My aging husband, your father, my disabled son, your brother.
“I promise”, says the daughter. Her mother slips away...The daughter heart-broken sits weeping, her mother gone, leaving her a lifetime of memories, sweetened by her mother’s love and devotion to her family.
Eight years later……..caretaking has taken its toll..daughter exhausted. Doctor appointments, medical emergencies, difficult decisions, time, worry, concern…
“How can I do this?” she asks.
Please give me strength,
Please give me hope,
Please give me purpose.
Her thoughts reflect. upon the day her mother passed,
“Yes, I promise”..
The value of that promise runs deep within her soul.
Her hope- regained.
Her strength-renewed
Her purpose-redefined
Yes mother, you kept your promises and I will keep mine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine and Birthday Getaway 2010

Paul and I were able to get away for a Valentine celebration in Eureka Springs, Ark. Its about an hour from Carthage and a beautiful drive. We were so looking forward to having some time together. The roads are hilly and narrow and we ended up on a pretty steep road right before the hotel. We decided to back up and whoops ended up in a ditch.....good thing for AAA they were there in no time and got us out!

We stayed at the Crescent Hotel and Spa. It was built in 1886 and is just gorgeous. They have renovated it over the years but have managed to keep its original beauty and majesty. Eureka Springs reminds us of Lake Tahoe, with all the wonderful views. (They even have a lake nearby.) Our room was comfy and looking out the window we felt so very far away and in a different world. We explored, shopped, ate wonderful food and relaxed.
View from our table at breakfast.

The hotel sits up at the top of the hill.
They have a restaurant called the Crystal Dining room, its very elegant and the atmosphere is fine dining. The tables are far apart so it feels so private. We were served a 5 course meal that was well....incredible. Beautifully presented as well.

One of the many surprises I enjoyed! We came home renewed and refreshed!
Its so hard to get away but so worth it!

Winter 2009-2010

This has been a very beautiful winter. Like many of the other states we have had many snow storms. This is still exciting to me especially when it snowed on Christmas Eve and we had a white Christmas! Yeah! Growing up on the west coast I always wanted to live where the seasons change. Soo... here I am in the Midwest and loving that part of it. Several hawks have come into the backyard, we think they are eyeing the bird feeder but have not ventured down to it yet.
Our Christmas season was a little different, Kevin had to work, Derrick and Ashley were not able to be with us. Christmas with family changes over the years and we do the best we can! We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and program and the Nugents were able to join us for that. We had some sickness and mishaps but in all we love that time of year!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wedding Trip to California

We had such a wonderful time in California! We flew out New Year's Eve with Brad and Kevin. (Vanessa flew several days later.) We had no delays no problems, so glad for that! Sheila picked us up at the airport and we stayed at their place for a while. It took a while to get on California time, we were so tired the first few days! It was fun spending time with the Johnson's. We all went out to BJ's the first night. Great food and what a cute waiter we had....Mark works there and he just kept bringing out the food!

Sheila and I were able to spend some "sister time".... so overdue! We had so much fun! We went to the Galleria Mall trying to find shoes for the wedding. That is such a huge place! Everything was still decorated for Christmas....

We enjoyed our time together!

We headed up to Folsom to spend some time with our friends the Kroffs. They live in our old neighborhood so it was a little melancholy to be back there. The trees had grown so big!

It was so enjoyable to spend time with Derrick and Ashley. She is such a special young lady and her and Derrick look so cute together.

We had dinner in El Dorado Hills, then headed up to meet the Steeds. It was the first time our whole family had been in the car together for a long time.

They have a beautiful home in Pollock Pines and we loved the setting, right in a forest. We had fun eating pie, visiting and playing with the Wii.

Their wedding took place at the Sacramento Temple....

It was a wonderful experience and we have never seen Derrick happier.

Our new family...

After all the wedding pictures were taken we headed over for lunch at Macaroni grill. It was delicious!!!!
We headed back to the Kroffs to get ready for the reception at the Lake Natoma Inn. We arrived there early to help set things up and as we walked in the room we all gasped! It all looked so beautiful. Red and while roses. Sashes tied on the chairs. It was incredible. Elegant but simple. The Steeds sure know how to celebrate! They had a lot of different types of food to snack on and lots of drinks.

We were so glad to have our family with us, Vanessa, Brad, Kevin, The Johnsons, Pat flew in from Utah and Jaana and Krista surprised us! Crystal Willis flew in from Long Beach and it was so fun to see her!! (she was our unofficial photographer) Can't wait to see all the picures she took.It was just so good to be together for such a memorable occasion.
There are so many memories in Folsom as that is where we spent most of our time as we raised our family. We reunited with old friends that we have shared so much of our lives with. (It was so great to see the Fengels whom we have not seen in so long!!!We were so glad they came.)
I will be reflecting on this wonderous occasion and all the special times we had as we prepared for this event. We so appreciate the hospitality of the Johnsons and the Kroffs for allowing our family to stay with them. We are so grateful to the Steeds and all the time and planning that went into this to make it so memorable!!!

After the wedding we had some downtime with the Kroffs. We hiked down yes ...down to the Folsom Lake. I have never seen the lake so empty. 3/4 of the lake is gone!!!
What is interesting is that it exposes Mormon Island where pioneer's were settled before the lake was formed. We found all kinds of artifacts from that time and even discovered an olive orchard!

Don't do it Vanessa! (This is a Bella moment)

Pam and I use to hike to the lake almost every day when I lived there with our dogs Farley and Shiloh. (who have since gone to dog heaven)Now the lake is a pond!!!!
I will be reflecting on this wonderous occasion and all the special times we had as we prepared for this event and reconnected with family & friends. We so appreciate the hospitality of the Johnsons and the Kroffs for allowing our family to stay with them. We are so grateful to the Steeds and all the time and planning that went into this to make it so memorable!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

We would like to wish you all the best that can come your way this Christmas season and the year to come. We are grateful for this time of year, hectic as it may be, to reflect on the joy and hope we have in knowing that the Savior will come again and we will truly have peace on earth. His birth is very significant and a wondrous event.
We are looking forward to our oldest son Derrick’s wedding next month and will be flying out New Year’s Eve. Many of you have received announcements and apologize to those who haven’t. (We probably don’t have your address)
Derrick, Vanessa and Brad are all working part-time and in college full time. Kevin is working and living away from home. Paul’s business continues to grow and Diana works as the “Senior Resource Manager” out of her home. (smile) We enjoy having some family live close by with Shawn’s family and Mika’s family and Rick. We get together monthly for family dinners and catch up.
Who knows what 2009 will bring? Our theme for this next year is-
“Live simply, care deeply, love generously, speak kindly and leave the rest to God.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

DEC 3,1915-JUN 26,2002

Who can say for certain...maybe your still here?
I feel you all around me your memory so clear.
Deep in the stillness I can hear you speak
Your still an inspiration...can it be?

That you are mine forever and you are watching over me from up above?
Fly me up to where you are...beyond a distant star.
My wish upon tonight to see you smile if only for a while to know your there
A breath away's not far to where you are.

I can't be sleeping here inside my dream and isn't faith believing all power can't be seen
As my heart holds you just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me every day
Love will live on and never leave
I know your there a breath aways not far to where you are.

My mother would have been 93 today. I miss her terribly and think of her often. She was a wonderful, patient, incredible person. She made you feel special and tried to understand your heart. She is the mother of 7, grandmother of 17, great-grandmother of 18. I plant african voilets in her memory. If you ever visited her home she had them every where. Mine are blooming today and I am smiling and remembering my sweet mother. I know I will see her again someday.....Love you Mom!!!