Thursday, August 6, 2015

No Empty Nesting in My Slider Puzzle

My life, or at least my house, is in a bit of upheaval.

Miriam went with Ruth and family to visit Sariah for a week over the 4th of July.  She did not participate in a lot of their activities - a hike, a day a the zoo.  She took it somewhat easy.  They got back Tuesday.  Miriam had dinner at Ruth's, went home, and didn't get out of bed except to use the bathroom until she called Ruth Thursday asking for help.  Ruth called me.  Miriam and her landlady that she rents a room from she would say are friends.  But they didn’t pay any attention at all to the other's comings and goings and Miriam could expect any help from her. Like knowing if she was sick in bed, bringing ice for her swollen legs,or helping her if she could not go downstairs for food.  Ruth brought her home and  mother henned Miriam a little, for almost a month. thank goodness! 

I had suspected that this time would come, but these things almost always come sooner than expected. I told Miriam long ago that she didn't have to struggle to be on her own, that she would have a home here.  The plan pretty much would be for her to live/home base here and visit her siblings when she needs to get away.

However before Miriam could move,  I needed to do some serious de-junking and shuffling, so we would have a room for her. I had thought that after Benjamin got married and moved out, that I would start working on the house. But we began to realize an urgency.  I took a family sick day one Friday early to get started.  David and Teresa came over to help the next day.  We worked at it a bit on evenings and more on Saturdays.

The plan was to clean out the "office/craft room/stow it/cat room" and paint it.  Move Joseph and Andrew in there, me and the office/craft room into the "master" bedroom which the three guys occupied, and give Miriam the corner bedroom I was.  It's a room she shared with Sariah long ago and has a door handle easier for her to use.  I feel a little guilty taking the biggest room and not giving it to her - but I do have the office and craft stuff.  And David and Teresa are pretty sure that she would feel too much of a imposition if she had the master room.

Getting things out took much longer than I figured. I am so disorganized and have so much junk that this was a major undertaking. We had to postpone plans to paint the guys' room - which would have been so much fun!  We plan to paint it camouflage and I imaged a bit of a wild painting party.  Some sorting and dejunking happened, but in reality, I have probably months of sorting to do - if I am diligent.

Benjamin and Bethany are wed and on their honeymoon, but do not have an apartment.  It took a lot of doing, but they have completed all the paperwork for one.  Last I heard, the previous tenant who was supposed to be out weeks ago, wasn't.  Hopefully the apartment will be available when they get back.  If not, what do do?  Options are:  Stay in Bethany's old room.  Nobody seems to like the idea. and it's far from anywhere or from public transportation. 2.  stay in a hotel/motel for a few days.  Hopefully a few days.  OR 3.  stay in my family room. Not much privacy, but they are welcome.

Until they get a place, Benjamin's stuff is stacked about in the front room.

Despite my boss to  the 3rd power  decreeing that no one in Accounting may have vacation in June, July, or August, I took a week of family sick leave to dig out Miriam's room. We got the room pretty nice, but the rest of the house remains a shambles.  It will take me quite awhile to attain order.  I come home from work too tired to do much of anything so it will be slow going.

Also, Miriam needs to do the same thing with the room she has been renting.  Sort, pack, and move things from a not really big, but bigger room and garage storage area to her new room.  And we need to help her, of course. She is not feeling well and needs to stay off her feet because of sores. Naturally there is a time limit.  We don't want her to have to pay rent after this month. I think we can do it. 

You may recall that I was recently released as Primary President.  I was sad about it at the time.  Now I see that the Lord knew my plate was going to be pretty full and He gave me one less set of responsibilities to worry about.  And sent a friend to do the wedding brunch as a gift to Benjamin and I.  What a blessing!  The wedding was at the end of move-in week and I simply could not have done it as I had thought before I knew Miriam needed to come home (even with the help of darling daughters).  AND He inspired another friend to call and volunteer use of his trailer to help move Miriam's furniture later this month.  We had not thought to ask these friends.  We did not know that they could help.  But the Lord knew and they listened to His promptings.  Tender Mercies!

Why did the Lord bless Saul with the converting vision?

     Saul went about persecuting the early Christians, sending them to prison and to death. 
Acts 9: 3 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
 And heafell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
      Saul, now blind, was taken to Damascus.  After 3 days of fasting, he was visited by a disciple whom the Lord sent to restore his sight.  Saul was baptized and became as fervent a follower and preacher of Christ as he had previously been a persecuter of Christ's followers.
      Why was a man who sought to destroy the church given a vision and brought to the Lord?  Why did he get special attention and special treatment?  Why isn't everyone given a vision to bring them to the Lord?   Wouldn't anyone be converted if they had an experience like Saul's?
      No, others have had heavenly manifestations and not been converted.  I think of Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon. They had been taught by their father and by their brother but they chose not to believe. An angel rebuked them for beating their brother and not doing the errand their father had been commanded to set them.  No sooner had the angel left, then they started complaining that they could not do the task.   Many times they were shaken or shocked by the power of God when they tried to harm their brother, Nephi.  Each time they seemed quite impressed but quickly forgot and were never truly converted to following the commandments.  So, one can have heavenly manifestations and still reject the Lord.
     I think the difference was that Saul was sincere in his actions and intent.  He was true to the light as he understood it.  He rigorously defended what he thought was true religion.  He acted zealously out of love for God, but was misguided.  Once the Lord pointed out his error, he did a complete turn around and just as rigorously sought to live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
     Secondly, Saul was causing havoc amongst the followers of Christ.  His conversion brought peace to the church making it easier for the gospel to spread.  But I think the main thing is that Saul's intent was always to serve God which made him convert-able, although maybe a little hard of hearing so he got the big show. 
     Do we need a major heavenly manifestation to believe?  The Lord whispers to us constantly, but do we listen?  We have the scriptures, the testimonies of others, and even the evidence of the wonders of the earth and the universe. 
Alma 30: 44 "But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."
     If we learn to listen, we can be converted as thoroughly as Saul.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Released

When I woke up Sunday morning, July 5, I did not know I was going to be released as ward (congregation) Primary President. (Primary is the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints organization for children 18 months to 11 years old) Oh, I had been told the day was coming, but did not know this was the day. 

Last I had heard, they had a president (I did not know who) but not the counselors.  We were quite late to church Sunday so I stayed out in the foyer.  Pretty soon I am hearing a testimony that sounded so much like me two years ago and I realized that a new president had been called.  Cristina Huckabay!  She wll be awesome! Her counselors are Nia Saafi and April Cantillo. None of them has ever been in a presidency before, but they will be good.  

Although I had been told, it was a surprise and a loss.  A week later, I am still a bit in mourning. Primary president has been one of my favorite callings. Although, it's really great to be a counselor under a good president.  I think I best enjoyed serving with President Clarice Bird when my children were small. She was an awesome president.

My first counselor, Debbie, had needed to be released because of family needs.  I had been trying to come up with a name to request for weeks.  I had one I really wanted, but was unequivocally shot down.  I could not get a name and felt pretty small spiritually.  When Bishop told me that they were going to release me, I realized that was probably at least partly why I could not choose a counselor. 

The sweetest thing.  My second counselor, Pam was angry when they told her we were being released.  I thought that as she is so much more organized than I am and better prepared for Share Time and more orderly and responsible, that I irritated her a lot.  But no, She was upset! I was touched. I got a good hug Sunday. 

The new president is not looking forward to the loss of her lazy lay-a-bed Sunday morning to go to Ward Council each week.  I, on the other hand, will miss Ward Council Meeting.  Ward Council Leadership visits (usually to less active or new members) not so much, although they were almost always pleasant despite my dread.  (And one, at least, resulted in a sister getting a much needed blessing and her family starting to come to church)

And of course, there is a little anxiety about what calling will be extended next.  I really doubt that I will get a less demanding calling. Primary President, while it has several responsibilities is not all that bad)  Primary teacher and Cub Scout leader take more time and energy.  I cannot see myself in leadership in Young Women (I have served as YW president, but not extremely successfully) or in Relief Society both of which are well-filled, anyway.   RS teacher would be nice, they only teach once a month, but there are plenty of candidates for that!  Actually I hope they call Debbie to one of those. It would, I think, suit her family circumstances 

I hope the Bishopric is inspired to give me a calling that I have time and energy to do well and can enjoy! (Hard to imagine just what that would be, though)  Although there is usually the tendency to give us "opportunities to grow."  a little worrisome, but I will try to accept and fulfil what the Lord calls me to.  I do believe that the major qualification for any calling  is to love the Lord.  And that if He calls and you answer, He will help.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

about the Holy Ghost

     This Sunday, I will be teaching the Perkins Ward Primary children that the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead.  To me, He is something of a mystery member.  There is a scripture that says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. " John 17:3  No mention of the Holy Ghost.  That's rather interesting, as we seek the constant companionship and influence of the Holy Ghost.  We know a good bit about the attributes of God the Father and of Jesus Christ, but only know that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit without flesh and bones so that He can dwell in us.  We know about how he can speak to us and help us.  What kind of name is "the Holy Ghost," anyway?  I wonder, is He shy?  

       What I figure is that, despite my curiosity, it  is not important that we know about Him, but it is important that we learn to know how He communicates with us and for us to act on His promptings. If I become more in tune with Him, will I learn more about Him as an individual?  Isn't it strange to have the potential of a best friend who can be with you all the time, and not really know Him as Himself, but only as His function? I know He is real.  I have been blessed by His help and guidance from time to time.  I do need to work on our relationship.
        
        I think I may describe the members of the Godhead as like being on a team.  Each of them distinct individuals working in different ways for the same purpose. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tomorrow is the last day of May Is Bike Month 2015

    The Rolling Robarts are finishing off happily and well. 
    Today David​, Teresa​, Andrew​, Joseph, and I biked together to the Farmers Market at Oak Park, City Bicycle Works​, Midtown Farmer's Market, the ward picnic at McKinley Park and home again for a total of a little over 14 miles. 
    With our plans to bike to church tomorrow, that put me within 5 miles and Andrew within 15 miles of our latest goal of 350 miles in May is Bike Month​. So we rode to the library with David and Teresa and then on to their home and back.   That did it for me.  Tomorrow when I bike home from church, I anticipate reaching 351 miles.  Andrew is currently plotting a 10 mile evening ride for the same result. 
     Joseph has 144 miles and is heading out the door on a 16 mile errand.  His goal is to double his original goal of 80 miles.  I don't think Teresa rode much before this month but she has 83 miles now and David has 244.9 (I think that includes today for both of them, but I am not sure).  Their bike to church will be at least 5.8 miles each way.  Does Teresa realize that means she has at least 94 miles....?! A little tempting, don't you think. (Her original goal was 76)
     Honestly I am quite impressed with all of us.  And we have had fun.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Fool’s Day 2015 was not a particularly good day.



April Fool’s Day 2015  was not a good day, but it could have been much worse.

I discovered a(nother) flat tire when I went to bike up for work.  (at least I didn't have it go out somewhere in the middle)

Ok, I have the option of driving to light rail and taking light rail to work.  My son, Benjamin,  however wanted to use the car, so he offered to drop me off and leave the car for me at the light rail station later.  

That was fine.  Except he called in the afternoon saying there were no parking spaces at my usual light rail station, plus he had another errand he was trying to figure out.  Well, he works on Bradshaw, so I told him he could leave the car at the light rail station at Bradshaw. That would give him a little more time to do what he needed to do and would only take me a few extra minutes.  As I rode light rail out and found myself at the Sunrise station quite a bit past Bradshaw, I realized that there had been no Bradshaw station.  WHERE was my car?  I called his work and was glad they actually put him on.  But I could hardly hear him because of the background noise at the restaurant.  Plus, I had asked my phone GPS for directions to Bradshaw and Folsom and the phone decided to start giving me audio directions in the middle of the phone call.  I barely heard “Butterfield” station.  I missed the train going back and had to wait for the next one.  Once at the Butterfield station, I had a little trouble finding my car, but (whew!) I did.  

 Naturally, I was late getting home.  Almost time to leave to drive for Andrew to do 11 Year Old Scouts.   Only because the car was not home when he got there, he thought Benjamin (who gets home LATE) still had it, so he cancelled Scouts.  Which made me feel a little like a failure.  

But hey!  That means maybe I could work on my bike (remember the flat tire) AND get a shower. 
Except we were completely out of milk.  Andrew started some potatoes for mashing and I went to the store.   When I am stressed / depressed, I want protein, particularly beef, and dream of steak.  Usually I resist, of course, and eat hamburger if I can.  But rib eye steak was “only” $5/lb, so I abandoned plans for hamburger patties and bought some steak and some asparagus.  It was going to be a good evening, after all.  

Well, naturally cooking dinner, even a simple one, took me longer than it should.  Finally we sat down to enjoy our meal.  Within minutes, Andrew was in trouble –a piece of meat stuck in his esophagus.  Fortunately, lower enough down that he could breathe and talk.  But he could not swallow or cough it up.  He struggled with it for quite a long time.  I was helpless to assist him, but had to stay in the same room just in case the situation changed dramatically.  When Joseph got home, I put him on Andrew watch and I took a shower.  By this time, Andrew was ready to admit that the situation was not going to resolve itself.  He called Kaiser and was instructed to come in to ER.  

We were pleased with how quickly he was taken from the waiting room to an ER room and everyone was very nice.  The ER doctor  (no, we did not see the relative of a future relative) called in a specialist – a Gastroenterologist – who, in due time, ran a scope down my son’s throat with the intent to either shove down or pull up the blockading meat.  Andrew’s esophagus rapidly becomes too small for the scope to go all the way down, but the doctor was able to pull out the meat.  They put Andrew under for the procedure an d he stayed under for a good long time, getting some rest while I waited and didn’t.  

It appears to be eosinophilic esophagitis.  His esophagus has ridges and  is smaller and more rigid than normal.  Threre are medications that may help.  He should mostly eat soft foods.  He should cut his (non-soft) food very, very small.



While we were in the ER we missed saying good-bye to Benjamin who left for Utah with his fiancĂ© and some friends.  I am not exactly sure when I see him next.  Sunday night? Monday?  That was a small disappointment.  No good-bye hug.

We eventually checked out sometime after 2am and were home a little after 2:30.  I had emailed my boss from the hospital saying I didn’t know when or if I would be in.  I turned off my alarm and  although I had trouble getting to sleep, I got about 3 hours before waking up to feed the dog and have family prayer.  I tried to go back to sleep, however I am not good at sleep on request (although it seems I can fall asleep almost anywhere, almost any hour when I should not and do not wish to).  Finally I came to work.

Bad news.  This throat thing is a chronic condition.  He loses Kaiser medical coverage through his dad on May 22 and he/we don’t know what we can get/afford.  I didn't fix my bike tire, either. But we should be able to work these things out. 


Good news.  Andrew lives and breathes -  with a positive and thankful attitude. 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To Give or Not to Give, That is the Question

    Outside my office building right now is an attractive, friendly looking woman with a sign around her neck "Homeless. Please help.  I (Heart) Jesus."  She greets passers by in a pleasant voice, "Hi! do you support my right to ask for help?"
     Oh, the variety of conflicting feelings!
     She is not quite two blocks from the Employment Development Department and from the Personnel Board.  I wonder if she has gone inside there.  I didn't stop to ask or advise.  What if she doesn't know?  If so, I should have.  Maybe she has and checks back repeatedly.  Governmental wheels grind slowly.
     Maybe she looks for work every day.  It can be pretty tough.  And if you are homeless, how does an interested employer contact you? 
     Curious approach: Do you support my right to ask for help?"   For some reason I found it irritating.  Although, I suppose anyone has the right to ask for help. Of course, she wants financial support, not just theoretical.
      How much of the irritation was guilt?
      Guilty feelings.
      For being irritated which is not very Christian.  For teetering on judgmental, also not Christian.  And, of course, for not giving her any money.  On the way out, I had none.  I was on my way to deposit a check at the ATM.  Which, of course, meant that had I so chosen, I could have given her $20 on my way back.  Maybe I could afford to give one person $20, but I certainly cannot afford to give every beggar I see (or would you prefer petitioner?) $20.00!  I have to manage carefully to keep myself and household going.  ok, granted,  I am saving up to take myself and some of my children (who are also not frequent visitors to say the least!) to Disneyland next year. (Is it wrong to go to Disneyland, or the movies, or to buy ice cream when there are people going hungry?)
        So I am not impoverished. But if I gave to every beggar, I would be.  Soon I would be on the street myself.
      I console myself that I donate regularly to the charity I trust most to truly help people in need.  I donate to Fast Offering which specifically helps the hungry and those who might not be able to pay their utility bill or rent, etc.  In smaller amounts I donate to Humanitarian Aid, Perpetual Education, Temple Attendance and Missionary Funds.  I know that none of that money is wasted. 
      Sometimes we carry lunch bags in the car with a cracker/tuna package,plus maybe some raisins, perhaps a bottle of water, sometimes some hard candy.  Stuff like that. It varies.  Which we give to beggars on the street.  If they have a dog, we give them two.  I hear stories of rich people who make tons of money street begging.  But I know that real need exists, too.
      I am not a total grinch, but I am not much of a philanthropist. 
      How do you handle the charity question?  I do not find it an easy one.





Monday, March 9, 2015

Journey Through...

    Tonight we played a game I got for Christmas. "Journey Through Disneyland".  You need to travel through Disneyland, discovering and visiting Adventures, earning Fast Passes, and eventually leave before the park closes/the game is over.  Some things you can accomplish by yourself; some you can on your own, but it's often easier if you help each other; some things you must help each other to do.   Music is part of the game and certain music cues you to certain actions.  I am not ready for the full experience, so we only played with the music signalling time to start and time to be out.  You need to listen to and recognize the musical messages.   You only win if you all make it out on time. The better we work together the easier it is to get out but at the very end, you have to get out pretty much on your own.
     A lot like life.  Here we are with things to learn and trials to overcome.  Some we must do on our own, some we need to help each other.  We need to listen to and recognize the promptings of the Spirit.  As much as we can and should help each other, at the end it is up to each one of us to make it as individuals by accepting the atonement of Christ and following Him.  No one can just drag us through, it has to be our own choice.   The ultimate win will be to have a forever family return to Heavenly Father together and the better we work together the easier it is for each and all of us. 
       
      
    

THE CURE FOR EXHAUSTION

THE CURE FOR EXHAUSTION
Sometimes, exhausted
with toil and endeavour,
I wish I could sleep
for ever and ever;
but then this reflection
my longing allays:
I shall be doing it
one of these days.
-    Piet Hein

I keep thinking this.  And that I really wish I could properly observe napping day (today, March 9th, but no nap in sight).  But back on topic.  I don't think we will be sleeping forever. Or perhaps at all.  And that thought makes me tired, too.  Until I realize that our perfected bodies (WHAT will that be like? Maybe neither I nor anyone else will recognize me!) anyway, our perfected bodies will not get tired.  Oh, what a happy thought.  And as a lot of my emotional exhaustion is tied in to physical weariness and always feeling like I have too much too do or at least too little me to do it (big as I am), I don't think that (emotional exhaustion) will be a problem either.  Sounds like something to look forward to!!

For now, for exhaustion, I could try to get more and better sleep. ha ha.  And to think about happy things and things I am looking forward to. (bad grammar to end with a preposition, isn't it)  Positive attitude => positive energy.  And to try to give myself credit for what I do get done, try to look at my To Do list in bite-size pieces, and listen to music or something that makes me laugh - The Satellite Sisters.

Break is over, back to the salt mines.  So glad I don't really work in salt mines!!!  I <3 br="" california="" parks.="" state="">

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Is it a Sin to Play Games When I Should Be Sleeping?

     I have "Words on Tour" on my new smart phone which I enjoy, but which can also be a little bit obsessing as enjoyable and challenging things can sometimes be.
     I awoke in the night and knowing that today is No Alarm Clock Saturday, but also knowing that I seldom manage to sleep in much past my normal alarm time and often even wake up earlier, I still picked up my phone to play "for a few minutes." 
     You know that those few minutes can go on a little longer than intended or than we realize.  Also, electronic devices can wreck havoc with sleeping because their light or something affects our melatonin.   We are told to avoid screens time for  30 minute or an hour or so before bed.   R-i-g-h-t !  like books, you know the kind with paper (non-lit) pages) are safer!  How many hours of sleep have I lost to books??!!
       But back to the question.  Is it a sin?  It might be foolish.  Ok, it probably is foolish.  Is it a sin to be foolish?  It certainly is not god-like and supposedly we are trying to become more like God.
       What is sin?
       I asked my church.  That is I went to the lds.org website and typed the search "What is sin?".  "To commit sin is to willfully disobey God's commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17)."
        I almost felt relief.  Except we are commanded to take proper care of our bodies and " retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).
         Among the other answers to the question was this article which I find encouraging (not encouraging to play games at night, though)  "Sins and Mistakes"  Mistakes, even stupid mistakes (are there smart mistakes?) are not sins. (But when we know better it's not a mistake, right?) In this article,the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr is quoted as saying, “What many people call sin is not sin.” (Don't be so hard on others.  and probably yourself.  We are not authorized to judge others, anyway.)  That same article says, "A fool is a fool, not a sinner."
         Ok, honestly, I don't know if playing games when I should be sleeping is a "sin."  Not a great idea.  Certainly not the worst sin I need to worry about having committed (wouldn't that be nice!!).  But probably not a "sin".  Should I repent of it?   I don't suppose that it would hurt and I absolutely need practice at repenting.  Why we (that is to say I) do not repent is another topic worth considering (unfortunately often).
          However we are now heading to another question which is, "Is blithering on in my blog when I have more things to do than day (and energy) to do it a sin?"
          I am now going to go get some laundry started (unless someone has beat me to it).