Monday, March 28, 2011

Three Temple Trips

Last week was definitely temple week for our family.  Wednesday, after our little over nighter, Brian and I went to the temple together.  It was wonderful to be with my husband in the House of the Lord.  Then that night, we found out that our nephew and his wife were going through the temple to recieve their endowments on Friday and then going again on Saturday to be sealed.  We we excited to be able to attend  both times.  Miriam, Katrina and Thomas watched my nephew's kids while we were at the temple.  I'm glad they got a chance to serve in this way.  Going to the temple three times in a week is a wonderful way to spend the time.

Its All About the Food

It is Monday again already.  I think we had a nice week last week.  On Tuesday after the kids got out of school and Brian got off work, he and I went out of town for a short getaway.  We stayed over at our favorite hotel.  Highlights of our Tuesday evening  were free hot chocolate and cheesy popcorn, delicious cream of mushroom soup for dinner along with incredible dinner rolls (we at at the hotel's restaurant), dessert ordered in later while watching Independence day, and of course and most especially being with Brian.  Wednesday we enjoyed a cooked-to-order breakfast and for lunch we had the Grandpa special--Taco Bell.  Sure, we did other things besides eat, but this post is all about the food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blessings Page

This was going to be a worry page and believe me, I have tons of them, but I am convinced that writing my worries won’t help me as much as writing my blessings will.  They aren't in any order, and the list certainly isn't comprehensive.
My Blessings:
Cassandra and Emerson are having a baby girl.  My grand daughter!
Brian has been exercising regularly.
We have a nice house with room enough for everyone.
Miriam and Katrina have been exercising.
I have been interacting with my siblings more.
We have a pantry upstairs and downstairs full of food.
We have many copies of the Book of Mormon.   Most of the kids read it daily.  Almost all of the kids, if not all, pray daily.
Brian has a good job with good pay and good hours.
We’ve been having  fhe, family prayer, family scriptures.
We are safe. 
Spring is almost here. 
One of my kids is reading the New Era as I write.
We have a nice yard.
Our house isn’t always clean, but it rarely gets out of hand.
We have family close by to visit.
We are going to the temple this week.
My husband loves me.  My children love us.
We have good schools to send our kids to.
Jon is attending a good college.
The kids know how to cook.
We play hymns on Sunday and at night.
We have good cars.
Our kids don’t mind doing things with us.
The kids have good Young Men’s and Young Women’s leaders.
Brian and I have nice church callings.
We have the gospel
I can fast when I need strength, comfort, guidance.
My kids like to read.
I have a budget for the things I need.
We have warm water, soft beds, warmth in winter and cool In summer.
We have each other.
We have work to keep us busy.
We have information at our fingertips. 
We can contact loved ones whenever we want.
We have the freedom to worship, speak, and act according to the dictates of our own consciences.
I have nice neighbors and friends.
My kids are trying to do good.
Brian is smart and healthy.
My kids are smart and healthy.
We can rest on the Sabbath day.
We have clean water and fresh air.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grandpa's Funeral

Last Friday, Brian, our four youngest kids, and I made the long road trip to pay our respects to my Grandpa who died earlier that week.  He was ninety two and had lived a full and happy life, passing  away in his sleep.

Sunday night, many of Grandpa's posterity gathered together for a visit.  It’s wonderful to think that Grandpa was up in paradise having a sweet reunion with parents and loved ones at the same time we were down here having a reunion of our own with Grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We had the visit in Grandma’s front yard.  When we got there, my Uncle Wallace and some of his many posterity had arrived.   I tried to hug and visit with every one who came.  Grandpa and Grandma had ten kids and nine of them were there that night along with an impressive number of children and grandchildren so there were a lot of people to hug.  Most of all I enjoyed talking to all the little second cousins (once removed?) they were all so cute!  Also my parents and my siblings, Tom, Julie, Rick, Sarah, and Elizabeth with some of thier families were there.   It was so nice to see everyone!  Brian made sure he took our kids around and had them meet everyone.  He said it was a great way to meet people, himself.

Poor Grandma, earlier that day, she had fallen and hit her head on the heater.  We were very worried about her and wondered if we should even get together, but we got the word that the gathering was on.  We were all very happy when Grandma came out.  She had a big bandage on her head.  She sat and visited a bit.  Grandma has got to be one of the sweetest ladies in the whole world.  Her presence was welcome and needed.

Then the story telling began!  My dad and Uncle Wallace were the self proclaimed story tellers.  It was great!  They swapped yarns complete with actions, gestures, and even background music on the guitar.  Ed and Milt added a bit.  We sang  some songs, too.  Wallace and Edith had set up a quilt.  I heard it was the last one my grandpa worked on and that we were finishing it for him.  A wonderful, wonderful get together!

Monday was the funeral.  Grandpa’s brother’s, Dan and Jim were at the viewing with their wives.  It was so nice to see them!   Grandpa had five brothers in all I think and two sisters?  Anyway, as we filed past the casket, I told my kids to look at Grandpa’s hands.  Fingers bent, a bit of them maybe missing, I told the kids that those hands epitomized the life of their hard-working grandpa who moved his family 23 times-- from the time he was discharged after WWII to the time my dad left home—all in order to find work to feed his family.  Hands like that are a fast disappearing sign of the slowly dwindling "greatest generation."

My dad spoke at the funeral and gave a brief life-sketch of grandpa.  I’d hate to have been in his shoes and have to condense the wonderful 92 years of my grandpa’s life into a 40 minute talk.  But he did a wonderful job and told my favorite story, the one about Grandpa discovering and dislodging an armed bomb where it was caught in the bomb bay doors.   He pretty much saved everyone on the bomber.   Uncle Milt also spoke about the resurrection and the fact that, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we know we will see Grandpa again.  He did an excellent job and I know that what he said is true.  The music was also beautiful.  The grandkids 18 and younger sang “I am a Child of God.”  It was beautiful.   My brother, Tom also sang with my niece, Celeste Black accompanying him.   They sang “Blessed are They,” the beatitudes set to music.  The beatitudes are my favorite passage of scripture and I love that song which I haven’t heard for decades.  Tom and Celeste couldn’t have done a better job.

At the cemetery, grandpa’s loving sons filed around the casket.  Most touching of all the day was the haunting and beautiful sound of taps being played as these righteous priesthood bearers bore their beloved father to his final resting place.  Grandpa was old, and had lived a wonderful life, and I have a strong testimony of where he is going and that I’ll see him again, so I didn't shed any tears of sorrow that day.  I did cry tears of joy, however, at that touching sight.  The grave was dedicated by Uncle George so that Grandpa’s earthly body will rest in peace until he comes forth in glory on the morning of the first resurrection.  We sang “God be with you till we meet again.” We all hope to be worthy to rise with him on that day.

After the graveside service, we took pictures of all the family groups including my Dad’s and then left that sacred spot and drove back to the church for a luncheon.  The luncheon, provided by the Relief Society sisters of my grandpa’s ward, was absolutely delicious.  It was a simple meal, which suits us all just fine—soups and salads.  The desert was brownies and ice cream.  Grandpa and his descendants love ice cream, in fact, according to my brother, Tom, ice cream was the last thing Grandpa ate on this earth.  Grandpa’s bishop dished it out to us, a humble and loving man whom I could tell loved my grandpa very much. 

We ate and visited and my little family admired the roses Emerson and Cassandra had sent.  They were beautiful and we took a picture.  We sent them with Donna to take to Grandma’s house.  Grandma was there at the luncheon which comforted  all of us and made us grateful.  I didn’t know until Milt spoke that grandma had internal bleeding from Sunday’s fall and was leaving right then to the doctor.  I haven’t heard anything about her condition since. 

Of course, there were stories.  Before Grandma left, Milt talked about what a wonderful mother she was.  We were all impressed by grandma’s patience and understanding when Milt told about some of the dangerous things he’d do with his brothers and described how Grandma would come out, ask if anyone was hurt, and after being reassured, go back to what she had been doing. 

Some of Grandpa's other kids spoke, which I loved.  I was also happy when Grandpa’s younger brother’s stood up to speak.  They are such great guys, and I’ve missed being around them.  I liked how Uncle Dan called Grandpa a “straight shooter” and said he always tried to do what was right.   What he said was true and I will be eternally grateful to my grandpa for leaving that legacy.  I am so glad that my dad told the bishop that if he could find a microphone, they could probably use it, and that so many people did use it.  Then we put away the tables and chairs, Gordon’s boy vacuumed the floor, and we all went “home” which was, for us, my parent’s house.

In order to explain dinner, I have to give the history of Grandpa and Taco bell.  Apparently Grandpa loved taco bell.  He was eating there once a week up to the week he died.  In fact, his last real meal was reportedly at Taco Bell (although he did eat a bit of ice cream after that as previously mentioned.)  Well, he went there so much, that all the Taco Bell employees knew him and would start cooking up his usual order the minute they saw him out in the parking lot.  In fact, one day, he decided to change the old routine, parking in the same lot, but heading for the KFC next door.  Apparently the manager ran out and stopped him, telling him he was going to the wrong place for lunch!  Not only that, but a few of the Taco Bell employees were at Grandpa’s funeral for which we are grateful.  By now it should be obvious where ninety some-odd descendants of Grandpa went to eat the night of his funeral—you guessed it—Taco Bell.  Don’t worry, Aunt Martha called way ahead of time to warn them.  They said they’d be ready and they were.  We started showing up at 5:30 and kept coming steadily for more than an hour.  We had an absolute blast.  Taco Bell has never tasted so good.  The other Taco Bell customers didn’t know what to think.  I actually went up to explain about us and Grandpa to two men who were standing there looking a bit confused.  I saw someone walk up to them later and do the same thing.  I have to wonder how many times that night they heard Grandpa’s story!  Eating at Taco Bell was the perfect way to end a wonderful  day.

Our trip home consisted of more reading of “To the Rescue," the biography of President Monson.  So we in essence celebrated the lives of two great men on that trip—our grandpa and our prophet.