Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 "annual" (ha ha ha) Chrismas letter

Every year I think I should do a nice Christmas letter like so many others do.  Every year I am overwhelmed and behind and think, well, wouldn’t it be nice to start the New Year with a keep in touch letter.  Or a nice Valentine to loved friends.  … Next thing you know it’s Christmas time again and if the mail box had to rely on me, it would have starved to death.  

There are problems with me and the annual letter
      1. As you know, I have time/energy management problems.   
2    2.   To write an interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring letter it really helps if you and/or your life are interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring.
3.       3.When you get so far behind, it’s hard to know where to start.

However, never-say-die – let’s give it a whirl –

I am still living in the same house I have lived in for the last 38 years.  Both of us are showing signs of age.  Most of our time together, I wanted my house to have a name, but nothing seemed to suit.  About 10 years ago, it came to me.  I live at The Patch.  

The Patch is indeed a work in progress.  Many repairs need doing, but she still stands and shelters.  With the 5 year California drought, we let the rough weed patch that we laughingly called a lawn die.  Andrew tore out the sod.  We are slowly, very slowly and, hopefully, surely replacing it with rockscaping.   We do not really know what we are doing and are making it up as we go along, slowly in our spare time.  Ha ha.  Fortunately, neighbors are extremely patient. 

Currently also at The Patch are 3 of my children.  Miriam returned home a little over 2 years ago when we finally all realized that her Lupus was making it impossible for her to work and maintain her independence.  Joseph and Andrew have simply never left as we all find it mutually beneficial to be together.  The guys are especially good at helping Miriam.  

Miriam is now on disability.  She is active on her computer when energy allows.   She helps coordinate family plans by email, researches questions, and is studying art.

Joseph works for Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair, is interested in guns, and mildly in local politics.

Andrew takes classes and works as a writing tutor at Sacramento Community College.

Andrew and I teach Primary children at church.  He has 8 or 9 year olds.  I have 3-4 year olds.  Hard to say which are the least orderly.  

I have been working at California State Parks, Accounting Services, Travel and Revolving Fund for about 10 years.  Most of the time I have liked it well.  We are going through a rough spot now as the department transitions from CalSTARS (California State Accounting & Reporting System) to Fi$Cal  and also my unit has a new supervisor.   Work is less joy than it once was.  Surely, this too shall pass.  But I do have great co-workers.

Some fun stuff. 
This last spring, Andrew and I went on a road trip visiting up north.  Quick visits with my sister Lainee in Klamath Falls, Oregon on the way up and my aunt Robin in Florence, Oregon on the way down.  Visiting lay overs with Sariah and family both ways.  And a few short days with my friend Pam up in Oak Harbor in Puget Sound, Washington.  We went on a whale watching cruise which was quite cool in more ways than one.  Saw gray whales and lots of other lovely wildlife, but, alas, no orcas.  I think Pam has yet to see orcas, but we know they are there.   We saw also lots of tulips (but not while on the cruise).  Washington is major tulip growing country.  Who knew?  

In July we enjoyed the Elk Grove Strauss Festival made all the better because my daughter Ruth, her husband Tom, and their 3 oldest children Esther, Jared, and Naomi all danced in it.  In return, for helping watch the little guys Samuel and Peter, we got premium blanket seating at the Festival.  Beautiful music, costumes and dance.  A wonderful summer tradition.

My ex-husband passed away in September.  To my great surprise, he had left me as beneficiary on his life insurance!  This enabled me to pay off my mortgage at long last.  I am grateful that he did right by me financially at the end.  Now, I can use former mortgage money to do some repairs. 
My daughter-in-law, Bethany, graduated from college, became a qualified aircraft mechanic, and got her pilot’s license this year.  This girl loves airplanes almost as she loves Benjamin and almost as much as Dieter Uchtdort  loves planes. 

We enjoy many Sunday dinners with David and Teresa, not a few with Benjamin and Bethany, far too few with Ruth, Tom and the kids,  and Debi, Lucas and Molly.  To say nothing of my daughter of the north, Sariah and her family whom we don’t see nearly enough.  I really need to learn to Skype and to give up on me or the background looking good.  Then we have to coordinate schedules! Argh.  Speaking of Sariah, her oldest, my oldest grandchild Acadia went away to college – BYU Idaho.  

I am getting old.  In fact, that was part of of the reason for our Disneyland trip.  I had dreamed of driving on at least part of Route 66 for my 66th birthday, but that was not reasonable.  So, I thought I would spend time on Route 66 in Carsland in California Adventure, sister park to Disneyland instead.  The timing didn’t work for my birthday, so the week after Thanksgiving Miriam, Andrew and I spent 4 fun-filled days at Disneyland!  Sariah flew down to join us, so we had our own personal guide.  She knows her way around!  With her skilled use of Fast Passes, knowledge of what and where and how long, and Miriam and I on scooters getting a little bit of special treatment, we spent very little time in line.  We got to play and see and ride pretty much everything we wanted to.  Miriam likes the thrill rides.  Andrew gamely rode them all with her (whether he wanted to or not).  I rode a couple, but I don’t love being terrified nor feeling ill for hours afterwards, so I like to stick to mild roller coasters and other less wild rides.  We had great fun.  Two of our favorite rides were Radiator Spring Racers in California Adventure Park and Big Thunder Railroad in Disneyland (as wild as I like roller coasters to get – Andrew, too, I think).   It was great fun seeing characters out and about among the people and meeting the Mouse in his house.  And eating a Mickey Bar every day. 

I wish you a wonderful year and hope that you tell me a little bit about it (wonderful or not).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

appreciation breakfast

So, Monday is Boss's Day. Right now the work atmosphere is stressed and toxic.  Has been for months.  No improvement in sight.

Not much enthusiasm or gratitude for how management is running things. 

Someone, however, (special assistant to the Section Manager, I think) has attempted to organize a section wide Boss Appreciation Breakfast Potluck. I looked at the sign-up sheet. Little over a dozen sign-ups (20 tops, but I don't think so,  out of somewhere around 50-60 employees) (Some of that is the natural indecision about what to bring perhaps, but ...) The only one from our unit who has signed up works apart in both space and duties from rest of us.  You should see the faces when Boss Appreciation Day is mentioned.  or maybe you would rather not

What to do?

Besides not feeling especially appreciative of my boss(es), part of the problem is that we are only allowed to work on our regular work on Mondays and Wednesdays.  So we have 2 days to try to do 5 full day jobs with which I had trouble keeping up full time.  I do not want to give up any of my "real" job time.  People are counting on us and we are causing hardships because we cannot keep up.  If it was one of the 3 project days (plus some Saturdays) I would not mind so much.

Members of our team have heard the supervisor say we do not have too much work, we are lazy and too laid-back.  (to the faces of two and overheard by another)

Either management does not understand the work load or it does not care.  Or both.  My supervisor says neither, of course.   

The bosses say "make time."  Would that I had THAT skill!

I do not feel appreciative.  I do not want to spend the time.  

What would Jesus do?   I don't know.  

What would you do?

What does God say about you?

     I saw an article titled "What does God say about you?"   I started thinking and remembering some of the messages I have received.

I am a child of God.
I have inherited divine characteristics which I am to learn to recognize and develop.
I have to potential to become more like God.
He wants me to come home to Heaven.
God and Jesus Christ love me so much that Christ suffered unimaginable pain to redeem me from death and sin.

Psalms 82:6

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

Friday the 13th post a day late

On Friday the 13th I wanted to list 13 reasons I feel lucky, but I just couldn't find the time and energy.   I could easily cheat and list 8*5*8 -  my children, their spouses, and their children - which are high on any list of my blessings, but as you can see it is more than 13 and it was Friday the 13th.  No, not every day gets its number recognition, but Friday the 13th is fun.  Anyway, in no order whatsoever -

1. I am lucky that my mother was lying bored in her parents' home recovering from multiple broken bones and having read everything in the house when two young men came to the door with a new book.  Would I have been blessed to find the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints if they had not found her?  Would I have recognized and accepted the gospel?  I hope so, but I am grateful that she read that book, visited with the missionaries, and accepted the gospel.

2.  I am lucky to have been born a citizen of the United States of America.  This is the land of promise, the land I love, a land of beauty, variety, opportunity and freedom. 

3. In the midst of all the fires around the state and news of the devastation and others homeless because of natural or man caused disasters, I am lucky to have a home .

4.  I am lucky to be able to see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and move. 

5.  I am lucky to always have food to eat and to have never known the fear of going hungry.

6.  I m lucky to have an excellent credit rating after escaping a marriage where love had been strangled and starved to a man whose secret spending took us to the verge of a 2nd bankruptcy.

7.  I am lucky because we have infastructure!  Plumbing! 

8.  Good roads

9. Garbage pick up

10.  Electricity

 -  is that cheating?  Should I have left them all under infrastructure?  I am not very consistent am I?   #4 could have been #4,5,6,7,8, and 9. and my count would have been over a while back.

11. Stores near by full of so many wonderful things.  We have so many choices and opportunities.  It is sometimes fun to walk through a store and know so much is available that I don't want or need.  I know, weird, but kind of a nice antidote to envy.

12.  I am lucky to have a nice car, a good, bike, and public transportation available.    (12, 13,14? but it is supposed to be 13.  I know I seem to have problems counting consistently.  You make your list if you want it done right.)

13.  First, last, and always I am lucky to have been taught and to have received confirmation that I am a child of God and He loves me.

I could go on but this was for Friday the 13th so 13. 

What makes you feel lucky?


Friday, August 25, 2017

To Disobey a King

A couple of weeks ago, I taught the Sunbeams (the 3 year olds at church) about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Do you remember them?  

About 600 years before Jesus was born, just after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar , king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem and took captive many of Israel's finest citizens. Among those were four young men from the tribe of Judah: Daniel, Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah..  In captivity, the youths were given new names. Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah was called Shadrach, Mishael was called Meshach, and Azariah was called Abednego.
These four Hebrews excelled in wisdom and knowledge and found favor in King Nebuchadnezzar's eyes. The king put them into service among his most trusted wise men and counselors.

When Daniel proved to be the only man capable of interpreting one of Nebuchadnezzar's troubling dreams, the king placed him in a high position over the whole province of  Babylon. And at Daniel's request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as administrators under Daniel.

As was common at the time, King Nebuchadnezzar a huge golden image and commanded all the people to fall down and worship it whenever they heard the sound of his musical herald. The awful penalty for disobeying the king’s order was to be thrown into a blazing furnace.  

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were determined to worship the One True God only and thus were reported to the king. Bravely they stood before him as the king pressured the men to deny their God. They said:
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)

Furious with pride and rage, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and cast into the flames. The fiery blast was so hot it killed the soldiers who had escorted them.

But as King Nebuchadnezzar peered into the furnace, he marveled at what he saw:
"But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods." (Daniel 3:25, ESV)

Then the king called the men to come out of the furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged unharmed, with not even a hair on their heads singed or the smell of smoke on their clothing.

Needless to say, this made quite an impression on Nebuchadnezzar who declared:
"Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God." (Daniel 3:28, ESV)

Through God's miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that day, the rest of the Israelites in captivity were given freedom to worship and protection from harm by the king's decree.

And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego received a royal promotion.

Some things I like to learn and remember from this story – 

Isn’t that just crazy?! To make something and then to worship it?!  But sometimes I think we do that with our “things.” We don’t bow down and pray to them, but we give them all our attention and thought instead of thinking about being kind and obeying Heavenly Father.  Having and enjoying our stuff sometimes seems more important to us than praying, studying scriptures, serving, doing our chores, etc. 

I taught this story to the Sunbeams in a lesson about obedience.  But! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego DISOBEYED the king.  Why is that a good thing to remember?  We should be careful to obey Heavenly Father and righteous leaders, but when someone in authority tells us to do something wrong, we should obey Heavenly Father and not the other leader.

That leads me to think about when the Spirit told Nephi to kill Laban (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 4).  Nephi had been taught that killing was wrong.  So he checked back with Heavenly Father and told Him that the idea of killing someone really bothered him.  God told Nephi why He wanted Nephi to kill Laban.  Nephi was in the habit of praying to and LISTENING to Heavenly Father so that he knew the voice of the Spirit form his own thoughts or the voice of Satan.  I am sure he had a spirit of confirmation when he prayed about this.  This whole conversation took place in just minutes or seconds.  We need to learn to talk to and LISTEN to Heavenly Father so that we learn to know his voice. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that Heavenly Father COULD save them from the fire, but they did not know if He WOULD.  They said “But if not”.  I hear something like  “Even if we suffer in this life for obeying God, we will obey Him and Him only, trusting in His love and justice that all well be right EVENTUALLY. “  We need to learn to trust and obey Heavenly Father even when it seems to cause us trouble here and now.  

I hope we can learn to be more like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  

by the way - the kids loved it