Thursday, December 8, 2016

The challenge; choose 3 scriptures that represent you

The challenge; choose 3 scriptures that represent you.

The first one that I thought of is Mark 9: 23 “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Elder David A. Bednar expressed it well in October 2016 General Conference: ” I wonder if the intent of the man’s pleading was not primarily to help him believe in Jesus as our Redeemer and in His healing power. He already may have acknowledged Christ as the Son of God. But perhaps he needed help to believe the Master’s healing power indeed could be so individual and so personalized as to bless his own beloved son. He may have believed in Christ generally but not believed Christ specifically and personally.
We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps the more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know.”

Elder Bednar said,”Is it possible to exercise faith in Him, follow Him, serve Him, but not believe Him?
“I am acquainted with Church members who accept as true the doctrine and principles contained in the scriptures and proclaimed from this pulpit. And yet they have a hard time believing those gospel truths apply specifically in their lives and to their circumstances. They seem to have faith in the Savior, but they do not believe His promised blessings are available to them or can operate in their lives. I also encounter brothers and sisters who fulfill their callings dutifully but for whom the restored gospel has not yet become a living and transforming reality in their lives. We come to know the Lord as we not only believe in Him but also believe Him and His assurances.”

It is as if this apostle knows me personally.

I identify a lot with Martha. Luke 10:38 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

I often think that if Mary was  a bit more like Martha and helped, then Martha could be more like Mary and listen. I feel for Martha being left to serve alone. But Jesus didn't seem to think so. Mary probably helped before Jesus arrived. I think Martha was maybe a Martha Stewart type. It wasn't enough for the dishes to be clean, they had to be polished. Providing good, wholesome food wasn't enough, it had to be cut into shapes and look decorative. Needed tablecloths and floral arrangements. It was a way for Martha to show how much she loved and appreciated Jesus. Not bad things at all, but time consuming and eventually overwhelming for even capable Martha. Now, I am no Martha Stewart type by a long shot. I just know overwhelmed when I feel it which is a lot. I think Mary was more take care of the basics, keep it simple, and take time to BE with Jesus. I agree and identify with that, too; I just have trouble even taking care of the basics and start feeling overwhelmed and left to serve alone. Breathe, Martha. Let some of it go and feed your spirit.

Ok, the challenge might be limiting it to 3. But who say we have to? What will who do to me if I don't?

I love King Lamoni’s father. After being told about God, he prayed with great sincerity. Alma 22:18 “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.” Am I willing to give away all my sins to know God? It's a good deal, but not easy.

A scripture I wish represents me, but I really need to work on it - Alma 56:48 “And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”. I need to strengthen my own faith and testimony and to share them better with others, especially my children.

Corianton in The Book of Mormon, the woman taken in sin and brought before Jesus, Saul/Paul, and all of us - in need of forgiveness and grateful for the Atonement.

I could go on. The more I think about it, the more amazing and wonderful it seems that so many scriptures relate directly to me. But this is already unreadably long.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Elephant's Tale

Early in October I saw a Care2 Petition decrying the treatment of Packy the elephant at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.  Having spend part of my childhood in the Portland area, indeed I was there (in the Portland area, not the zoo itself) when Packy was born, and having visited the zoo since then when visiting relatives in the area, I was surprised and questioned what the petition claimed.

So I wrote to the zoo: "I grew up in the Portland area although I now live in Sacramento, CA.  I remember the excitement waiting for Packy's birth. "When is our Belle going to ring?" I have always held the Oregon Zoo in high esteem.  I was quite surprised to get a Care2 petition to save Packy from his sad life on a concrete floor without adequate exercise.  Please tell me what Packy's living conditions are and how he is doing. Thank you"

Today I received their response:

"Thank you for reaching out to the Oregon Zoo. We share your concern for Packy’s and all animals’ wellbeing, and are happy to address concerns.

"Unfortunately, some misinformation has been circulated about Packy’s condition and care. We’d like to provide you with accurate information, and we hope that it provides reassurance that animal welfare is our top priority.

"At 54, Packy is the oldest male of his species on the continent, and one of the oldest in the world. He was born at the Oregon Zoo in 1962, and lives here with his herd.

"Packy has tuberculosis, and so to prevent transmission to the other elephants, he must be physically separated from them. However, because they’re nearby, he can still smell and communicate with his family.

"TB has been documented in elephants for more than 140 years, in the wild and at zoos. As with humans, it is usually controllable with medication and often does not manifest in visible symptoms. The zoo routinely checks the elephant herd for TB as part of a comprehensive health program.

"In September, the zoo reported that a routine trunk-wash culture for Packy came back positive, indicating the presence of active TB. This was the first positive culture since Packy’s initial diagnosis in December 2013, and is an indicator that the current regimen has not successfully treated the infection. Zoo veterinarians are working with other experts to determine next steps.

"This result has had little impact on Packy’s day-to-day life: He has not exhibited clinical signs of TB, and has continued to play outside, dip in the pool, and get lots of attention from caregivers.

"Caregivers are thrilled that he has been exploring the full run of Elephant Lands — the habitat that reflects a new era in elephant welfare, and was informed by decades of learning from Packy about what elephants need to be both mentally and physically healthy. Packy ventured into the Elephant Lands South Habitat for the first time in July; he’s already identified a favorite log for pushing and scratching. In September he took his first dip in the 160,000-gallon swimming pool, bobbing for apples and yams. During the summer he was in the habit of bringing trunkfuls of water from the pool to get the mud wallow wet enough to fit his enormous body.

"Due to his advanced age, Packy has been reluctant to lie down. Caregivers have worked to get him into the pool in order to relax his joints. Now, not only has he played in the pool, but also this month he was spotted snoozing in the pool! Caregivers say Packy appears to be more agile. When he’s in the pool, he plays like he’s a calf again.

"As you probably know, Asian elephants are highly endangered in their range countries — threatened by habitat loss, conflict with humans and disease. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 elephants remain in fragmented populations from India to Borneo. The Oregon Zoo is recognized worldwide for its Asian elephant program, and is proud to play an important role in conservation. We support a broad range of efforts to help wild elephants, and recently established a $1 million endowment fund supporting Asian elephant conservation.

"Thank you for reaching out to the zoo. Packy is a treasured member of our community, and we appreciate your concern."

I believe the Packy and his herd are well treated at the Oregon Zoo.  I also think that I need to be a little more skeptical about other Care 2 Petitions that come my way as I am, admittedly a bit of a sucker for wanting to do something to help animals in distress, especially when it is as easy as electronically signing a petiton.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


I lay awake wondering how did we manage to narrow down a wide field of potential candidates to possibly the least qualified and least “Presidential” of the lot? I bear a burden of guilt for adopting a wait and see attitude, not getting informed and involved much, much sooner. I was too tired, too busy, and not expert enough. I opted to wait until some winnowing took place before choosing my candidate.  Suddenly, to my shock and amazement, the field narrowed to one to me unacceptable man.How did this happen?! What have I done (me and so many like me) by not doing?!

 Sleepless pondering led me to realize the responsibility is not the electorate's alone.  It takes a certain amount of ego to run for any office, let alone President. However, it is easy enough to often think “I could do a better job than that guy” and often be right. In which case is not one then obligated to step forward? The ego becomes a problem when multiple candidates similarly qualified and of not widely divergent views, rather than unite in a common cause, each insists that (S)HE is the chosen one. There is no one clear choice, so intelligent, thoughtful, involved citizens are divided among them until none of them has enough support to go on. The last man standing is the one absolutely least qualified who had found some point of unity around which to rally enough supporters to out number the divided more otherwise reasonable options. Divide and be conquered and they did it to themselves. Ego.

Does this relieve me of culpability? No. Had I (and other wait-and-see-ers) become involved sooner, we might have tipped the balance for a more worthy candidate. This representative democracy thing is work.

On the other hand, it was only in the almost too late desperate last moment the less egotistical candidate of my now enthusiastic choice came forward. Evan McMullen

Friday, September 23, 2016

the best laid plans of Mice and woman

    In planning and preparing for a vacation, it is a good idea to prepare to roll with the unexpected.  Things do not always go as planned.
    As the time approached for my youngest to return from his LDS mission to South Korea, I began dreaming of going to Disneyland with my singles - the new RM Benjamin, Joseph, Andrew, and Miriam.  I tried scheduling several times but something was always wrong - like Soarin and Splash Mountain both scheduled to be closed!  Soon Benjamin was married and went to Disneyland with his bride!  Joseph, a true homebody, just didn't want to go.  He hates packing and being in the car for hours.
     Finally, Miriam, Andrew and I were set to go for a vacation the likes of which we have never had before.   The plan - drive Monday (with possibly a stop at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on the way).  Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Tuesday, then go to Disneyland Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and drive home Saturday.
       Andrew arranged with his professors to be out of school this week.  EXCEPT a you cannot miss it 23% of your grade exam that started at 3pm (or was it 3:30?)  Anyway, instead of leaving Monday morning, we now had to leave around 5:30pm or so.  That eliminated the state park stop and would get us to the hotel around midnight. 
       Sunday afternoon the day before departure, we were rear-ended and Gracie, my Honda CR-V, was no longer able to make the drive.  Fortunately we have AAA.  Gracie went to the shop and I got a rental Monday.  Good thing we had already altered our plans to leave late in the day!  Besides, Miriam and I had not finished packing.
        Andrew feels his exam went well.  So did our drive down.  Andrew had to take over for me the last few hours, but he was fine with that and at that time of night the famous LA traffic had gone to bed.
         We stayed at the Hilton Universal which was very nice. A little more than I am at home with  but with fewer amenities that we want and had later at the Best Western.  We booked for 3 people but they gave us things in 2s until we asked- like bottled water and keys. No breakfast included. The wifi was free for 3 devices only - while we each had a phone and a computer.  But we were only there for the night, so it didn't matter much.  I think only Andrew and I actually used our computers.   And, nicely,  the parking we paid for lasted until 6pm Tuesday, so we could leave the car there and take the shuttle to Universal Studios.  Everyone was polite and pleasant, but not really friendly.
           For those who have trouble walking, it was a very long walk from shuttle drop off through City Walk through security and the park entrance to the wheelchair and scooter rental.  Miriam rented a regular wheelchair while I chose to limp along.   We enjoyed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter very much.  We delighted in a delicious breakfast in The Three Broomsticks (awesome place), visited most of the shops in Hogsmeade (resisting many expensive temptations), walked through the castle - very cool, but a bit too dark- and declined the ride which we heard made even the non-queasy prone sick, and rode the Hippogriff rollercoast.  Fun! and as our cars pulled in, for some reason the helpers asked "Do you want to ride again?!"  I thought they meant to come back again, but no, they sent us around for a second time.  This was Andrew's first roller coaster.  It was fun the first time, but both of us enjoyed it more the second time around.
           The Universal Studios Tour was fun and exciting.  From there Andrew and Miriam barely made it to the Special Effects Show.  I was too slow but I didn't care as much either.  I relaxed and did some people watching by a cooling station.  Lots of matching-shirted groups led by a guide carrying a small flag and taking selfies.   One group of red-shirted Things.  Dad of Things, Uncle of Things, Things of various numbers.   It seems that Asians of all ages and young women of all colors are most comfortable being  photographed and taking selfies.
            We admired wands of the well-known witches and wizards.  With some slight difficulty resisted purchasing one.  Cost was a factor and my favorite wands are from Griffindor while I am Hufflepuff.  Besides, what would I really do with it?
         I wanted to have the Great Feast for dinner at The Three Broomsticks, but the Feast is a platterful of food enough for 4 very hungry people – some people say it will feed 5 or 6 – roast chicken, spareribs, roast potatoes, corn on the cob, salad and veggies (maybe more?) and there were only 3 of us.  Miriam had roast chicken, Andrew had a chicken salad, I had the spare rib platter which had much of the Feast foods, but not chicken, salad, or seasonal vegetables.  Delicious!  I particularly liked the spare ribs and corn on the cob.
          We all agreed it was a great place to visit, but except for The Three Broomsticks and maybe the Universal Tour, we don't feel a big need to return soon or often.  But very glad we went.
        Best Western provides free wifi without restrictions and a very good buffet breakfast at Captain Kidd's restaurant.  It also has an in-room microwave (which Hilton did not) as well as a small fridge (which Hilton did).  Although the room was slightly smaller, it was clean and quite comfortable.  Overall, I personally prefer Best Western.  I think the busy, slightly harried staff was friendlier.
          We had booked scooters to be delivered at 8 in the morning and picked up Saturday at noon.  Before our trip, the driver texted me to say he started work at 9 and the delivery would be some time thereafter.  I told him the Park opened at 10, we wanted to be there by then, and to text me when he was on the way or when he arrived.  He agreed.   I went to the lobby at nine and waited, not entirely patiently.  At 9:30 I texted that I was getting anxious.  He responded “It's there”  “It's” is not a good word in this case.   There is an in house scooter rental with a different company, so I had ignored the scooters next to it. Oh, ONE of them had my name (misspelled) on it. The hotel called the company and we waited for the scooter.  I must say the driver was not very interested in showing us how they worked.  But at last! We were going to Disneyland!! Well, California Adventure, actually.  We enjoyed exploring Grizzly Peak Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.  Loved it.
      But while there, not more than an hour into our park experience, I noticed that my power indicator showed 1 red and 3,no 2, no 3, no 2 yellow lights instead of a lovely spectrum of 1 red, 3 yellow, and a whole bunch of greens.  We called the scooter company who told us to stay in the park and do what we were doing and a new one would be brought to us.  Of course, that didn't happen.  The driver started calling us, telling us that of course he could not enter the ticketed area and asking us where to meet him.  How would we know? It was our first time here. We worked our way out to the big plaza between security and park entrances. And waited and waited.  He could not find us based on what we described near by. Andrew figured out where he was and went to get him.  The scooter guy put new batteries in my scooter.  It showed full power and we were off again.  Not an hour later, I was out of power.  I called again and they agreed to bring me another scooter.  This time I really ran out of power and Andrew pushed the scooter from the far end of Cars Land to outside the entrance. Now it was after noon and we have lost half of an expensive day in Disneyland.  A bit disappointing, but this time the scooter lasted the rest of the day although I was a bit nervous about it and it did run down faster than Miriam's scooter (because she weighs less?).  Having scooters made a huge difference for our gimpy bodies!  The rest of the day was great! until the end.
      After all the upset over the scooters (I spent some time crying in the Happiest Place on Earth), we knew it was time for our first Mickey Bars.  Delicious and refreshing!  After hearng me talk about them since Sariah took me to Disney World three years ago, I was afraid that Andrew and Miriam would be less than impressed, but they agreed that they are very, very good ice cream bars.  We looked forward to more later.
      We had fun in both parks. Although at first we thought it might be kid stuff, Luigi's Rockin Roadsters was great fun. I would gladly ride again!  Can't miss the classic Small World, Soaring Over the World was awesomely great (but I still miss Soaring over California which I had enjoyed at DW with Sariah). 
        Dinner at Goofy's Kitchen was delicious, plentiful and great fun!  Pluto, Minnie, Chip, and Dale all visited our table and interacted several times.   At a table near us, a couple separated their 50th anniversary.  We asked Minnie how long she and Mickey have been together.  She said 87 years.  Then pointed to her ring-less left hand and looked sad. She is a very patient mouse. (Mickey-and-Minnie-Mouse-facts-that-will-make-you-believe-in-love-forever)
        Finally it was time to use our Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers – which we had picked up very early in the afternoon.  Great ride! We loved it. No wonder it is so popular.  However when Miriam went to get up out of the car, something snapped in her leg and she could not raise herself.  With some effort, Andrew and the ride worker helped her out and into a wheelchair which Andrew pushed back to our scooters.  The World of Color had started by the time we got there.  Andrew could see part of it, but Miriam and I could only listen to the music and see the tops of the water fountains.  But there's still two more days.
      Back at the hotel, we realized that Miriam was going to have trouble without aids.  We were able to upgrade to a handicap accessible room so she could use the bathroom on her own.  She needs help (or handicap bars) getting up, then she can stand and walk a little (per normal for her). 
      I don't know what we thought.  I thought maybe after resting the night, she would be better.  I think she knew otherwise, but one can always hope.  Thursday morning instead of enjoying early park admission, we faced the big decision.  Lots of tears on my part and the other two were sad, too, but we knew that plans with Miram's body are always subject to change. We pretty much felt that Miriam should be checked sooner rather than later.  She doesn't think this is one, but some things get seriously worse if not seen too immediately. We have had incidents that could have killed her and leg problems that could have resulted in permanent loss of use if we hadn't gone in right away.  Even if not, Miriam was not going to be able to go on rides or feel comfortable and happy sitting on a scooter waiting for us to ride all day. And we would not have fully enjoyed them either.  We realized our time was up. Miriam contacted various medical and Medi-Cal people.  Medi-Cal will not cover her seeing a doctor outside of her county unless it is life threatening.  She got an appointment for today (Friday) and we cancelled our room, our scooters, our Saturday morning Character Breakfast.   I will get partial refunds and what is not refunded will be partially covered by my credit card travel insurance. 
      I read on-line that one can get Mickey Bars at Downtown Disney (after Security but before ticketed entrances).  So we went.  But I was wrong.  We could not find Mickey Bars.  Miriam decided to buy us Haagan Dazs, but Andrew got his card out faster.  I appreciated their treating us/me.  Chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate coating.  Very Good.  Not a Mickey Bar, but very good.  And then we headed home.
      I emailed my boss.  Thursday and today are now family sick leave not vacation. But I am being slow and lazy today so far.  I should make good use of this time before time to go to Miriam's appointment – she will definitely need help getting out of the car.  Maybe in.
      I had fantasized about driving Route 66 for my 66th birthday next year.  But that would take weeks and be somewhat costly.  Maybe I will go back and visit Route 66 in Cars Land instead – as well as the rest California Adventure and Disneyland. 
      We didn't do Space Mountain or Splash Mountain or the Matterhorn or lots of other things we were looking forward to.  Maybe next year. It should be partially covered by the refunds.
Universal Studios and Disneyland vacation

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Saturday was a little rocky

David and Teresa began their Saturday by helping clean the church building. Then they joined Andrew, Joseph, and I rock hunting. We went to SGL Materials and hand picked about 50 rocks to decorate and “hide” for Sacramento Rocks. We chatted a bit about rocks for my yard and I ordered some to be delivered this coming Saturday. Just for fun, I took them across the road to see the wall and paver rocks there. My interest is wall for raised garden beds.  In the bargain center we found a pallet of some free standing wall rock that we all like. (project clean up) Discussion began. John named his price and I agreed. Cash only. And they charge too much to deliver. So we went home to fetch trailer and cash. Teresa stayed at the house to fix lunch while the guys and I made 3 trips to get our stone. We didn't think our trailer could carry more weight safely. David, Andrew and Joseph were amazing stone movers! Teresa is an amazing lunch organizer!

So now I have about 90 Highland stone stacked along the driveway. We will use them to make raised garden boxes – size, shape, and exact site to be determined. They won't be enough, however. I want the walls to be 3 stone high. (sitting height) But we can start. I seem unable to draw my plan out, so I may just drag stones around and then draw what I end up with so we can move the stones back out and prepare the base.  I think I will try checking back with the stone yard for more project clean up Highland Stone.

Saturday we get 5 yards of rock dumped on the driveway (I hope we can still get in and out of the house) – cobble to outline and gravel for the base of the main walkway. We plan to make the walkway from pallet wood, gravel, and cobble. I have a source for pallet wood, unfortunately only available when I am at work. Some kinks to be worked out yet. But we can dig out the pathway, line it with landscape fabric, and lay down some gravel. Hopefully before the rains (hopefully) come. 

The yard project is less organized, a little more involved, and not as far along at the end of summer as I had hoped, but it is progressing. 

Little did David and Teresa or Joseph and Andrew suspect when they agreed to go rock hunting with me that they would spend most of the day shifting rock.  

My kids rock!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jesus, Savor, Walk With Me

As I heard the song, "Jesus, Savior, Walk with Me", I thought, "That's wrong. Jesus isn't supposed to walk with us, we are supposed to walk with Him." 

Then I realized where I was wrong. 

Jesus has already walked the path and gained eternal salvation and happiness.  We are somewhere far away struggling, perhaps heading in the wrong direction.  Wherever we are, no matter how far, if we will call, Jesus will come.  Away from His place of rest and comfort into the wilderness and storms.  When He reaches us, He will hold out His hand in invitation.  He will not grab us and pull us, He will give us His hand to take.  When we are holding His hand, He will hold on tightly enough to help us when we stumble, but gently and loosely enough that if we pull away, we are free to go. If we do take our hand from His,  He will invite.  He will look at us with love and sorrow.  He will speak, often so softly we have to really want to hear. But He will not restrain us. If we decide the path He is leading on is too hard and turn to follow another, He will not follow.  He will call.  He will wait. But He will not walk with us down the wrong path. When we realize our foolishness and yearn to be with Him again, we may try to retrace our steps but find the way too hard.  What looked like a gentle easy path becomes difficult and impassable on the way back.  If we will call Him, He will come. Again. And again.  Every time.  Somehow with Him, we can climb back up.  Slowly, painfully.  He will coach, He will guide, He will give us a boost, but He will not transport us.  We must make each step.  We must want to make it.  We must trust His love, wisdom and guidance.  And He will walk with us.  He will help carry our burden.  He will put His arms around us. He whisper words of encouragement. And with His help we will climb the highest mountains and gain the grandest views.  Jesus, Savior, Walk With Me!

I have to go to work Monday

As we were out running errands, my phone rang. Andrew took the call. A man announced he was from Publishers Clearing House and we had won a prize. There was some difficulty understanding each other, but eventually we ascertained that he wanted us to meet him at Walmart. I said , "No, thank you" He mumbled something that sounded slightly rude and the call (from Jamaica, btw) was ended. Sigh. Threw away our big chance at financial independence.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dog Years

A number of sources say that Labrador Retrievers live about 10-12 years. I adopted Anna on my birthday in 2004 when she was 8 months old. You do the math. No wonder she is starting to have trouble! If I remember right, Tuesday night our vet said 13-16 years which is a bit better. Either way, time is getting short.

Anna has been having trouble with her back legs. She is a lot slower than she used to be. Sometimes, but not often, she falls. She has had times when she could not get up for several minutes. Where she used to love riding in the car, now she just looks at it and then sadly goes back to the house because she cannot climb in. (Andrew gave her a boost Tuesday to go to the vet and back). We started her on pain pills. I deceive myself or she was moving more easily and comfortably next morning.  The old girl may have a few more good years.

As a friend said, their short lives is one of the hardest things about having pets.  Although I must say, that I think the predicament of parrots is sadder.  Parrot people tend to want to get a young one but they cannot usually afford a parrot until they themselves are middle aged or older.  Parrots live 50 years or more, some even 100.  And they bond to their people.   Then they are orphaned while they still have half their lives ahead of them and no one wants them because parrot people want young parrots.  We inherited a friend’s mother’s parrot once.  He was never happy with us. Turns out I am not a particularly good parrot parent.    He didn’t like me at all.  He liked my sons somewhat.  Because of our other pets and because he was not responsive to me, he had to stay in his cage most of the time.  A dull existence for an intelligent creature.  We were fortunate to find an educational sanctuary with large cages and other parrots with whom he made friends.  School children loved to visit him and he would regale them with imitation car alarms.  But a few years later, the facility closed for lack of funding.  I don’t know what became of him or the others.  If people truly love parrots, they would adopt these older orphans and not get young ones.  But I digress.

Most pets live much shorter lives than humans do.  Sad, but I think it serves good purpose.  We learn to love and to deal with grief.  It can help us when we have to deal with human loss.  Loss of loved ones whether human, furred, feathered, finned, or scaled can help us realize the importance of relationships.  Cherish them and treat them with love while you have them.  Don’t put off the good times too much, because the time will run out sooner than you realize.  Most of all, missing loved ones can help us think about how important it is to live so that we don’t have to miss them always but can be re-united and be with loved ones forever.  God has promised that families can be together forever (and I believe also friends of all types).  But there are conditions that must be met.  If we do not live righteously and with love, if we do not accept Christ and sacred ordinances, we have no promise.   I love my family dearly.  I want to be family forever.   The Lord has told me how I can.  Losing loved ones in this life reminds me how important it is.

In the meantime I still have my dog.  And my children and my grandchildren.  And some pretty nice friends.  I need to learn to cherish and enjoy them more.  And to live so that when I am gone, they will miss me at least a little and want to meet again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Donate a Day’s Wages to Charity Day

First, the wave of guilt.  Then the realization.  

(This is not to brag, but to remind myself and others like me that we ARE giving to charity.  We just do it so naturally and as part of our normal routine that we almost forget.  (I know, I have heard it said that if you do not feel it, increase it.  Something to think about, but not today’s topic.) We give quietly without  drives, pledges, fanfare, or in the public sector where our co-workers or others see.  (Goodness, now I do it on-line so I don’t even hand an envelope over and get a handshake.)
Sometimes we fail to give ourselves credit. 

Almost all my charitable contributions -  all my regular, routine contributions, are through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. How glad I am to have a trusted agency that will multiply my small donation, not just through the donations of others’ money, but through the donation of all the time freely give to distribute the money and to provide service.  When I receive income, I immediately pay tithing, 10% gross.  That is more like 2 days wages from my paycheck, plus any other income I might receive.  So I can rest easy about that Donate a Day’s Wages thing.  But that’s not all. Every month, I pay Fast Offering, even though I cannot fully fast for health reasons.  Gladly I contribute to feed the hungry or maybe help pay someone’s electric bill, or whatever the need.  I also make a small contribution each month to one of a few charitable causes like Perpetual Education and Humanitarian Services.  

On rare occasion, I will donate to an animal cause (I am a little sad that church contributions deal only/mainly with Heavenly Father’s children and not His creatures, but I am free to give, so why fuss) And Friends of Scouting get me every year.  And I like to carry small sack lunches in my car to give to a hungry person. 

 I am not a totally selfish person because I do not go for the Big Day of Giving or the Donate a Day’s Wages.  Those are more to help people who do not give as a regular part of daily life.  Good for them, but I don't need to join them unless I want to.

Giving blesses my life all year long.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Plumb Exciting

I have from time to time had drainage problems.  A plumber acquaintance told me that my pipes are improperly supported, bowing, and  collecting sludge which caused the  back-ups and worsened the bows.  He suggested that he fix it independently for $3000.  I thought that was high especially since those pipes were put in new only 10 years ago (just before the divorce) and supposedly had a lifetime guarantee.  Well, the guarantee is meaningless, just an unsigned, undated bit of advertising really.  I called the contractor who said they would come out for $125 and look it over.  I must say I was not delighted with their attitude, but I don't think they cared for my call, either as I was pushing the idea of a guarantee.  But they also called the guy who worked on it at the time with a company since defunct.  Dave the plumber has moved to the Bay Area and said he had no legal obligation, but felt a personal pride of work and moral obligation.  He came out yesterday.  Right off I gave him (unbidden) $50 for gas. Which he appreciated.   Anyway, he went under, took pictures, and did a little bit of banging.  He said my pipes are properly supported by straps at every floor joist. (I think it was joist).  There is slight, but normal bowing between straps.  There was one pipe from tub to the out drain (or whatever) that lacked a strap, but he strapped it (hence the banging). He said part of the problem is we have only a slight fall from kitchen to drain.  Also, we have been trying to conserve water, so we have not been flushing our pipes.  The water goes down and we are foolishly happy, but the water outruns anything it is carrying and then it builds up.  The solution?  Once a week or more, put a little cleaner - Dawn dish soap, bleach, vinegar, whatever - in the drain, fill the sink, and flush out the pipes, maybe running the water another minute or so after the sink empties.  No need to replace pipes.  It sounds right to me.  When he finished and went to leave, I paid him (again unbidden) $100.  He was very happy.  So was I.  He sounded and felt honest and he saved me potential thousands.  Yes, it cost me a little more than the other company for a look-see, but I trust him more.

I had taken the entire day off on vacation since I had no idea how long the plumbing thing would take.  I started feeling unwell Monday, which got progressively worse.  By the time I got home, I just went home and let my guys take over. (Bless them)  I was fairly ill Tuesday, but rallied for the plumbing episode.  I could not present as a responsible homeowner unwashed and in PJs.  So I dressed and did light make-up and tried to be grown up.  As soon as he left, it was PJs again. I expected to be back to normal by evening, but missed the deadline.  Today I was better enough to come to work.  I knew I would fret about some things if I didn't.  Although some systems are a little touchy, I feel better in other ways for the day of resting. I think I will change my time-sheet to sick leave rather than vacation.

And happy day - Miriam drove herself to a doctor appointment and then picked up And,rew when he missed a transit connection.  It's great that she can do some things now.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Adam and Eve

     When teacher repeats a message, that usually indicates that it is important. Take note. It may be on a test. Or perhaps even necessary to master whatever discipline you are studying. (Do we remember that we are taking the class to learn something, possibly to progress towards a goal not just to pass a test and get a grade?) 

     We are all involved in the greatest school and test. The Teacher has given has texts to help us master the information and skills we need to graduate and progress towards our goal of becoming like Him. Much of the information in the texts is in the form of stories of the experiences of those who have gone before. Not many stories are told more than once. The story of Jesus Christ, the Savior is related several times because it is the most important information in the world (and beyond). There is only one other story that I can remember that is told more than once in the scriptures. The Creation and the fall of Adam and Eve. (ok, you can count that as multiple stories, I suppose, but you get my drift)

      Today I am teaching a Sunday School class about the Fall of Adam and Eve.
Why is it important that we learn about and understand the fall of Adam and Eve? What difference does it make in our lives? Well yes, it makes all the difference because as a result of the fall we have our mortal lives at all. But what difference does it make in our living them now?  

     Whenever I hear the story of Adam and Eve, I am yelling inside my head, “Wait! Don't do it! Ask Heavenly Father first!” I wonder why they didn't. Here's what I think. Adam and Eve were like innocent, little children. They were open, honest and without guile. No street smarts. They had not experienced lies and deceit. When Satan told them his half-truths and lies, they didn't have reason to disbelieve him. They accepted what he said at face value. 

     I think that while they were in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had not yet learned about prayer. Not really. God may have talked to them about it, but that's just it. In the Garden, I am pretty sure that they walked and talked with God. He visited them and I think He taught them things they would need to know when everything changed. Because they were accustomed to one on one conversation face to face, they had not yet learned the power of prayer and that it can provide instant access to the source of all knowledge. (Who usually directs you and helps you find and recognize answers, but sometimes flat out tells you right away) 

      I think Adam and Eve just didn't think 1) that what Satan said could be false because they knew no falsehood, and 2) they didn't think to pray.

      Adam and Eve were the first. They had no parents or examples to show them how things work. They were most pioneering of all pioneers. Their knowledge and memory of life before earth was veiled and they were on their own. Which is why I think they had the Garden of Eden interlude. God probably gave them some basic instructions about living in the real world. But they had not had the opportunity to practice and learn from experience. 

      We have parents, teachers, books, the experiences of others, the internet to learn from. We have the scriptures. And we have prayer. We need to use our resources better.

      Satan deceived Eve by telling her partial truths and stuffing them with lies. He made a logical and compelling argument for what he wanted her to do. 

     We are faced constantly with persuasive arguments and information. Facts and logic are presented powerfully. We would have to be stupid not to agree. Except. Often false information is wrapped up in partial truths. Often the logic, while convictive, is faulty. It is easy to think we are making an informed decision, when we are actually making a mis-informed decision. “Wait! Don't do it! Ask Heavenly Father first!” We must learn and remember to consult the font of all wisdom first. We must learn to feel and hear the promptings of the Spirit either confirming or warning against the arguments presented. 

These are some of my thoughts on Adam and Eve. I need to get ready to go now.