Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31, 2017

Well, this is the last entry for 2017. It surely has been quite the year. I have been thinking about what I thought this year was going to be, and what ended up being this year. I guess it was a year of needs and wants taking priority over plans, and being able to stay strong in the face of change.

We raised all you six kids with the pretty much same system. We always have been equal when it comes to gift giving. Dollars are pretty easy to equal. The rest of the time, we always try to be fair. That meant when our children were younger that some played baseball, some went to dancing lessons, some played the piano, some played golf, some got French horn lessons. We tried our best to let each child choose their talents and hobbies to pursue and then we did what we could to support. That meant that in fairness, some needed at one time, and some needed at another. As adults, we have tried to do that. Emergencies always come first. If someone needs help, whether time or finances, that is what we prioritize. Then needs and finally wants. This year, while I thought I would get a job to increase the money equally given to all at birthdays and at Christmas, there were 'needs' that came as the highest priority. Ethan's work hours in early 2017 were dreadful and Cameo absolutely could not work and care for a new baby and Kaylee without some help. She came out to Phoenix for a month and three grandparents took turns caring for Kaylee so Cameo could work and Ethan could get through the months of 20 hour days. As Cameo prepared to return, Nathan and Jessica needed help with Annalee while they moved here to work internships required for college graduation. That was needed till they returned home in August. Then, Nano fell ill with what was later diagnosed as Alzheimers, so she needs a lot more help running errands and shopping weekly. Thus, no job for me this year. I think birthdays and Christmas were still wonderful for all, so all worked out.

I looked back at my 2017 goals and saw that these needs for help also influenced other things. While I had a goal to attend the temple 30 times, and ended up attending 32 times, it got more and more difficult. Our temple is not open all the time: weekday afternoons it is closed. My early morning session had to stop because Kayty's glucose lows seemed to come right then, and dad had to be away in the morning more often. I still am trying to get into a routine on that but I made the same goal for next year. I didn't read the Doctrine and Covenants, nor my patriarchal blessing monthly. I did get through the Book of Mormon more than twice. My prayers have improved. As for the bathroom project, it was way more difficult than first glance. We are still working on it and hope to finish early next year. I wanted to tile the playroom and get a bed, but after Ethan and Cam stayed here, I decided that the inflatable air bed was just as good an option (I slept on one at Nathan's and it was great) so maybe we will tile sometime, but after this bathroom is done, I will be pretty tiled out. We did get more insulation and that helped on our electric bills last Summer. I wanted to visit Allison, Ethan and Nathan this year. Allison's visit was barely a few hours, Ethan's was provided by him, but he was gone a whole lot of the time working. Nathan's was a week which helped them with Annalee and was good. However, no traveling for me next year. We only have a trip to Idaho next December scheduled for Nathan's college graduation. I did make rolls for Thanksgiving. I did make bread more, but it was too busy to do with kids.

So, a look at 2018. I had contacted a vlogger I watch. Their mother/grandmother choose a theme every year and focus all the family activities on that theme. The theme for 2017 was "Stand A Little Taller" . They incorporated many things and activities and it seemed to create great unity. I asked how she did it, and they said she prayed. So I fasted and prayed, came upon a theme, and set out to create things that I could send to all of you to bring our far apart family just a bit closer. I had a notebook, files, copies of things made, even my Christmas ornament all planned. Then something happened on Christmas night and I realized that this was not going to be...that I was just taking on a task too gargantuan for now. (Don't worry...not a one of you, husband and kids, said anything) I cried and felt pretty awful for a couple of days. I was doing my morning Conference Talk listening when I heard a talk centering on when things don't go as you plan. I listened to that one two mornings in a row. I finally accepted things as they are and just decided, as with things all of my life, I would just plow on through. No more complaints. So, the book and the stuff is no more, though I do think I will paint my ornament the way I found. I am setting goals to continue my Book of Mormon reading and my Ensign reading, and to memorize The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I will still work on my bread baking skills. We need to fix up the playground stuff and then let dad get back to working on that truck of his. It is still a work in progress...just like me.

I hope you all feel like you are important to us. I try so hard to spread myself around to everyone, and I do my best to be fair, but sometimes there is just no way to make it equal. Kayty could die...literally. Someone we know had a niece that lived on her own and a few months ago, they found her unconscious due to low glucose. They thought she would end up brain damaged, but she has recovered some, though the apartment, her job and driving are gone till sometime later next year. Not gonna let her die while on my watch.

Please know I love you all so much. More than I can even say...and I pray for each and every single one of you by name every morning and every night and in between as needed. There is a scripture, Psalms 147:4 that refers to Heavenly Father knowing each and every star by name. I know your name and you are all stars to me.

Happy 2018!

PS...Index total for year: 37844

PPS...saw this on Pinterest and found it interesting:

Looking Back at 2017

Greatest lesson learned: Don't set your plans in stone. Its a good to have an idea of what you want to do, but this year has taught me that plans can change. They can change over and over. Just be flexible.

Hardest thing this year: It involved health. Nano's health. Kayty's health. Lots of adjusting was required.

My biggest accomplishment: There were some smaller ones: got to the temple many times, survived another year of cub scouts, but the biggest one was Thanksgiving. I had planned for weeks, got a schedule down to days and hours. I had tested recipes. I wanted Nano to participate one more time and that took a lot of helping her to achieve that. As many family members as could be here were here. The weather was beautiful. I am so thankful for Thanksgiving and my family!!

How I was really helpful: I hope I helped a lot. Besides temple ordinances for the dead, I substituted a primary class or took in a meal or lead Sacrament Meeting music or served a funeral luncheon 27 times. I hoped that I helped Ethan and Cameo with Kaylee, and Nathan and Jessica with Annalee when they worked. I did my visiting teaching every month, though I only had an active companion for two months. I wrote at least two letters a month to my inmate friend Jessica too. Those are prayerfully done and I hope I give her encouragement to overcome the past and create new habits for the future.

Favorite memory: Oh, there are so many! Meeting little Wade, meeting little Elisabeth, Kelsie's baptism, Josh's baptism, all the First Day of School pics, taking a name to the temple and in one week performing the ordinances of baptism, confirmation, initiatory, endowment and the next week sealing to parents, FaceTime with grandkids, Marco Polo. My family is my favorite!

My favorite book continues to be the Book of Mormon. I read it and then re read it when I finish. I learn something new every time.

My favorite movie: I don't think we saw a movie theater movie this year. Dad watches John Wayne westerns which I don't really like. My favorite movie ever is "The Sound of Music" and I did watch that one this year.

Looking Ahead at 2018

One thing I want to be better at: Bread making. My loaves always have holes in them, no matter how many times I try, how may YouTube Videos I watch. Jelly always leaks out. Working for better in 2018

I want to try: Yoga.

I want to change how I: am critical of others. Worry about myself and banish any ill thought. I also want to improve my Sabbath Day observance and devote my day more to Honoring Heavenly Father.

Some goals for next year:  Still choosing

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Week of December 24 - 30, 2017


Sunday this year was Christmas Eve. Now, I will be honest with you, since moving Nano's Christmas dinner away from Christmas Eve, it has been hard for us to figure out what to do with ourselves. Dinner's have been odd. What to do has been even more odd. We did a little better this year. Our day began like a normal Sunday. We read, study, I index, we get ready and off to church. Today was Sacrament Meeting only, and ours included a short message from the Bishop and then I was part of the ward choir that sang a Silent Night Christmas Cantata. I love the music, since it all centered on the hymn Silent Night, by far my favorite Christmas song. As we were practicing, I knew I would have a difficulty holding in the tears on the third verse, but as I sang through all the songs and began to close with all the congregation, the choir, the organ, piano and flute with Silent Night, I began to look out in the congregation. There was Audrey, who is fighting cancer, there with us with a beautiful purple knit hat covering her head, there was April sitting with her children after months of fighting cancer, there we all were. Singing. I couldn't hold back the tears. The Spirit was very strong and it just made the rest of my day better. We planned to each Chinese food, so throughout we cut up veggies, dad read, Kayty talked to friends, I FaceTimed with Kaylee, Wade, Cameo and Ethan as they made cookies and shared their day, talked to Nathan as he took the little girls on a drive to give sick Jessica a little quiet rest time, talked to Doran and Morgan about the horrible car accident Morgan was a part of - someone rear ended the car he was stopped in at 45 mph and he is hurting,  FaceTimed as Nathan, Jessica, Anna and Ellie opened their stocking gifts, were visited by the Blakes, ate yummy Chinese, sat in the living room listening to quiet Christmas music, went for a small drive to see the luminarios north of us, looked one more time at the beautiful light display East of us put up by some elderly people who were actually sitting outside with music playing and handing out candy canes (we thanked them for their lovely display and all the hard work) and then came home to a MarcoPolo message from Adam, Grace, Josh and Sam. All in all, it was a day that I could worship my Heavenly Father, witness the love from all my children and grandchildren, and think of the many blessings in my life. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son, for the Plan of Happiness, and for the blessings of my beloved family.

Dad and I attended a session at the Phoenix Temple on Wednesday night.

I am in Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon. I continue to listen to a General Conference talk during my daily exercising.

I have indexed 37700  records so far this year.


The Wilkins Family
The Wilkins family had a great week. They went to parks, jumped on trampolines, played games, and we talked a lot via Marco Polo.

On Christmas Eve, they decorated cookies for Santa, had hot cocoa by the fire, ate yummy cheese fondue and opened their gift of new pajamas

 One of the gifts they got was a trampoline

I didn't hear how they liked their stocking gifts I mailed news in my book is good news however. 

Mike got this neat hammock that the kids tested to assure their dad's safety

Even their cat Elle was into Christmas this year.

The Ethan Rice Family
Busy week at this house! Kaylee celebrated her 5th birthday on Tuesday.
Happy Birthday, Kaylee! She and Wade will share a birthday party in early January.  Wade struggled with pink eye, an ear infection, lung congestion, and he shared some of those germs with Cameo. With his recently discovered penicillin allergy, he just had to wait through the illness.

The Doran Rice Family
We visited Doran and family on Christmas day.

Everyone seems to like my new Christmas stocking plan...though the only vote untallied is the ones from the Wilkins family. Postage was much cheaper with this and I stayed in the budget, and still had fun!
Doran and Amber got some new canine family members this week including this one named Tod.

Morgan was at Doran's for Christmas day so we were able to see him open his gifts.

He still is struggling with the effects of his car accident and saw both a doctor and a chiropractor this week.

Kayty spent Christmas day re enacting pictures...

The Nathan Rice Family
Our Christmas Gift from Nathan and Jessica...

We so enjoyed FaceTiming with them on Christmas Eve as they opened their stocking gifts! We talked quite a few times during the week. It's nice when Nathan isn't so busy at school and can talk a bit. He has taken advantage of the time off to fix the car thermostat and spend lots of time with his ladies. Nathan called Saturday to say the package with the Blessing Blanket arrived. I made sure to type a little history on the blanket, and then I covered it with hugs and Grammy kisses (and I even got dad to kiss it a few times too!) If I can't be there, at least my love can.

Dad's Garden
Dad prepared his garden for the new tomato starts. He also planted some purchased tomato plants. We are picking tons of snow peas every day, and the plants are taller than the fence. Lettuce had bolted to the point dad gave it to the hens. The warm weather is just not conducive to good lettuce.

Year of the House Part 2
We went out on Tuesday and purchased our floor for the shower. Dad spent days preparing the floor, the drain, etc for the tile.

Other highlights

Christmas Eve dinner was Chinese food

Christmas Day 
Christmas began like any other day for me: wake up at 3:30 am, prayers, exercise, walk or jog, laundry, index. I also took my traditional "before" pics, though there wasn't much "before" to see.

 Dad and I exchanged gifts.

 I decorated sugar cookies and got icing on the cranberry bundt cake I had made to take to Grandma's dinner.

 Grandma made a delicious Chicken Parmesan dinner, with salad, garlic bread, cauliflower and cheese, corn, some mac and cheese for the kids and snacks to enjoy.

 We opened gifts

 At home after Grandma's, we had Christmas with Kayty

Not so highlights

I had a rough couple of days early in the week. Plans I had been working on had to be cancelled due to Nano's illness and I was pretty disappointed. I was blessed with a great conference talk about things not working out as we hope or plan for. I listened to that one two mornings in a row. The first day I was pretty teary and upset. The second morning I was better. I am pretty resilient and usually put aside disappointments and changes pretty easily, but this one took just a bit longer.