Thursday, October 10, 2013

She found heaven

Well, we all thought it would never happen. Grandma Irene passed away on Monday morning about 6:30. She has been fighting like a tiger for the past few years. Papa passed away in October 2011 and Aunt Becky last December, and to me, it has seemed like since she has not had to take care of them
her body has just let out a huge sigh and faded. Perhaps she was experiencing some sort of prolonged adrenaline rush that was giving her the strength she needed to do what she could for them, because since then she has just been steadily declining. Mom has had the privilege and ability to stay with her in her home for about the last six months and care for her. This was a huge blessing, because putting her in a home was the very last thing she wanted to do. In fact, when she was placed on hospice care a couple of months ago, she didn't even want a hospital bed brought in. So, for the last six weeks, she has been bed ridden in her own bed. She seemed mostly comfortable.

This has been a bittersweet time. At times, we didn't think she would make it through the summer to celebrate her 85th birthday. When she did, there were moments when we wondered if she would make it through the day or the night, but somehow she just kept on kicking. I think at times she wondered if she was ever going to go "home." She talked about the people that she looked forward to meeting again. "Bucky." Her sister, Becky. Papa. Deeda. Fowie. Mother. But, mostly, she couldn't wait to meet her Daddy again. 80 years she has missed him and loved him and wanted to see him. She was only 5 when he died of tuberculosis. Oh, how she looked forward to seeing him, and how I wish I could have been there for that moment and too see her kiss her sweetheart again.


Once, we asked her if she had seen anyone. She said she had seen a cousin, Jewel, and that she was "wearing a black dress." That was a little scary, because usually you don't hear about angels wearing black. Another time, she said people were in her room saying bad words and that she wanted them to leave because she didn't want that language around her. Both of these things were interesting and curious. Perhaps, Satan never stops trying to discourage us, no matter how incapacitated we are.

I will miss Grandma so much. I think it is still pretty raw and unreal to me. I haven't cried much because it has been really surreal to me. Watching the sweet men from the mortuary come on Tuesday morning and wrap her gently in a clean, white sheet and roll her away was like the scene from a TV show, or a dream. How can she be gone? She has been there for every important moment from birthdays, to graduations, missions, and karate promotions. She has given love, food, time, money, hugs, and kisses I can not even count.  Even recently she told me that she felt like we were more than grandchildren. She has been there for everything. I can't imagine what the holidays will be like without her this year.

I will not be able to watch an episode of the Golden Girls without thinking of her, or look at a pretty quilt or a hose reel (family joke) without thinking of her, bunnies will always bring her face to my mind, she will always be there when I hear "How Great Thou Art," and she will be telling me how much she enjoyed hearing her mother sing it. I won't be able to go through a single day of my life without thinking, "I need to call Grandma and tell her . . . "

I am looking forward to bringing her sewing machine to my house. I will look at it and remember her. I will do my best to remember her instructions on how to thread the needle and load the bobbin and use it. I have used it a few times, but she was always there to help  me. Even though she struggled to do these things, I had better vision and hand eye coordination, but she was there to tell me what to do. I hope I can figure it out without her there to guide me. I want to be able to use that machine and teach my children how to sew and let them know where the machine came from, and how I learned what little bit I know.

I am so happy and sad, bitterly sad, at the same time. I am so happy that she is finally home, and yet sadder than can be because I will never be able to call her up again and tell her how much I love her, or walk into her home and feel the comfort that washes over me as I smell it. She has her own special scent. Her home has always had that smell. Grandma's smell. I will miss it. I will miss everything about her, but I am so grateful to know that we will be together again, and though it seems so far away, we will have eternity to catch up on all the things we miss from now til then.

"Perhaps they are not stars in the sky,
but rather openings where our loved ones shine down
to let us know they are happy."
- Eskimo proverb

The Watcher
by Margaret Widdemer

She always leaned to watch for us
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

                 And though we mocked her tenderly
                Who had such foolish care,
                The long way home would seem more safe,
                Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget,
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

                Waiting 'til we come home to her
                Anxious if we are late,
                Watching from heaven's window,
                Waiting at heaven's gate.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Adios to summer

I can't believe how fast this summer has flown by, and I have gone pretty much nowhere (other than an overnight trip to Lake Powell with friends). I was planning to go to San Luis Obispo, California to spend some time with my sister and her kids for my nephew's 4th birthday, but had to forgo that trip for various reasons. One of those reasons is that my grandmother's health has been failing dramatically with almost daily declines. My mother has been living with her for many months now and is caring for her full time. She even sleeps in the same bed as her. Grandma has been put on hospice care and that has helped my mom a bit, but Mom is really wearing herself out. Grandma's 85th birthday is at the end of this month. We all love her so much and seeing her in such a weak state is very difficult, especially since she has always been so strong and powerful, helping keep the family together and strong for so many years. My sister came out with the kids and spent about a week here and had a great time making some final memories, but saying good bye was heart wrenching. It was really emotional just watching her hug Grandma for probably the last time ever. The tears were flowing freely.
My older sister, who has taught here in the same town as me for the last seven (?) years, got a job in Las Vegas and has now moved away. Although it is less than a two hour drive, it is a big change. It feels really weird not having her here. She is really enjoying Vegas and has a really nice place with a gorgeous pool. I am kind of jealous. My pool can not compare with hers at all!
School starts in just two days. I spent the day here all day today and many hours last week. I had to move into a new classroom and will be teaching 2nd grade now. This is a hard adjustment for me, but one good thing is that I will be in a real classroom now! I can actually say that I have several empty shelves in my classroom. This is strange not to feel crammed into a tiny portable. I started to plan out the first few days of school and am starting to feel a little more excited.
Well, I have to take off for now, but there are several more things that I want to write about when I have the chance...

motorcycle accident witnessed
Lake Powell/gun accident
Summer Games

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Defining and redefining "father"

 Finding a way to celebrate the Father I can always depend on, trust, and call upon no matter what the situation might be. He will never leave, lie, or hurt me.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Important thoughts about summertime

Here's the thing... it is a myth that teachers get three months off in the summer. It is actually more like two. We got out of school on May 24 and I have to be back to planning and training meetings at the end of July/beginning of August. During the two months, we teachers have "off" we spend the majority of our time reflecting and planning for the next year, cleaning, organizing, shopping, crafting, going to professional development classes, taking summer classes at universities, and hoping to fit a week or two of vacation time in.

Here's the other thing, for the first time in longer than I can remember, I have pretty much nothing going on inmylife this summer. I was planning to go to SLO (San Luis Obispo) for much of June to spend time with my sister and her kids, but that plan has been put on hold due to finances and the declining health status of my dear grandmother, who has been an instrumental role inmylife, and my siblings' lives, since my parents got divorced in 1985. Grandma Irene was more like a partner parent to my mother in many, many ways. I could tell hundreds of stories to illustrate this, but I don't have the space, and most of you wouldn't even read it. So I will just explain that where I didn't have much of a father, Grandma Irene stepped in and filled the empty spot in our family, and she did it alone as well, since our grandpa, "Bucky" (William Allen Myers, Jr.) died some years before.

Grandma and I share a birthday month. I will be 35 in August. She will be 85 a few weeks later. After the divorce, we lived with Grandma Irene for several years and she adjusted her living situation many times, sacrificing her peaceful golden years for us, in order to make sure my mother had the support to raise four kids, one of which has special needs. I know that there must have been many secret moments that I was not aware of as a child, that she had to put on her mother pants once again and step back many years in order to help my mother emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially. She was the only person my mother had to turn to for help in these situations.

Grandma has continued to be an advocate and support for all of us, stepping in where Mom didn't have the money or the time to do something. Until the past couple of years, when she has really began to grow weaker, she has been a huge advocate for my brother, helping with finances, support for legal and health issues, and much more. I lived with her for about a year when I first moved to southern Utah and really came to know her better.

Grandma Irene, Kelly, Mom Disneyland c. 1976

So, since Grandma's health is declining so much, especially since her husband died about a year ago, and her younger sister, this past December, my sister, Kelly and I have decided the best idea might be to put the SLO trip on hold for now. Mom can not leave Grandma alone (she has actually been living with her for the past couple of months and can not even really leave during the day), and we did not want to make a trip to see Erin, Will, and the babies without them, and then, if given the worst case scenario leave Mom here alone to take care of Grandma during a fall, illness, or even if she were to pass away. So, I am not sure what is going to happen, but we have decided to go one day at a time and to spend as much time together here as sisters and with Mom and Grandma. Kelly will be moving to Las Vegas later in the summer, since she will be taking a new job as a teacher there. What a great experience this will be for her! She will be out completely on her own for the first time in her life. I think she is ready to experience this new adventure, and I know she is needed there.


School got out on May 24. I have a dear friend, Nancy, who I met while I was on my mission for the LDS (Mormon) church in Arizona. While I was in Prescott we knocked on her door and she wanted to know more about the church, and she was baptized a few months later. Nancy and her older daughter, Cait, came out to the area to do some Front Sight gun training in Pahrump, NV. After the two day training, they came and spent some time with me. We had a great time catching up, sleeping in, and enjoying the outdoors.
On Sunday afternoon, we went on a short hike out in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve in Harrisburg. We took about 500 pictures, I fell from a tree, we climbed rocks, swam in natural pools, and got really dirty, at least I did. We spent the next day shooting our guns with my buddy, Tyler, out by Virgin, on the way to Zion National Park, at Dalton Wash. I have missed them greatly since they left a few days later.


Since Nancy and Cait left, I have been taking things pretty low key. Not much has been going on at all. So, I am in the midst of reflecting and setting some goals for the summer. I have been working out really hard and relaxing hard too.

Here are some things that I would like to accomplish this summer:

1. Read a few good books.
2. Finish painting the downstairs, most of which is done, but edging needs to be finished.
3. Get the carpets cleaned.
4. Plan for a great year. My first year in 2nd grade.
5. Spend some time in California.
6. Lose 30 pounds.
7. Sweat hard every day.
8. Spend as much time as possible with my family.
9. Get back onto a working budget.
10. Get North Star Photography to a point where I am making a stable second income.
11. Have fun and stay cool.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Some things that I have learned inmylife . . . a list that is constantly growing

Life isn’t fair and you will never be truly grateful or happy until you recognize, accept, and are grateful that it isn’t.

Cats, dogs, bunnies, and horses are healthy for your heart, body, and soul. An animal is smarter and more intuitive than most of us give them credit for. They know when we are in pain and they love stronger than any human ever could.

Yelling at a child or hitting her will never help her to really understand what she did wrong.

You can love the person that hurt you and forgive him, but you don’t need to let him be a part of your life any longer, and you really shouldn’t either.

Mothers and sisters are more valuable than we ever realize, that is, until we can’t have her at the moment we want or need her most.

Looking at the stars may make you feel small and insignificant, but if you think about it for a while it will also help you see how special and important we are to God. He has created such an amazing and matchless world for us to live in and we often are moving too fast to even notice it.

Doing something you think you can’t do will make you feel invincible, even if just for that second.

Opening up your heart to love someone after it has been broken is the most difficult, most vulnerable, most frightening thing you will ever do in life. By doing so, you are saying that you are willing to let someone hurt you again like you have been hurt before. Being loved by someone who has been hurt should make you feel very special and very powerful. You have the power in your hands to change that person’s life or destroy it. Be sure to take that role as friend or lover seriously because you will surely create irreversible consequences for good or bad.

Every child is an artist, but the world smothers it far too soon. Take every opportunity you are given to stoke the fire of a child's creative confidence. Never criticize.

A good father or a good brother is essential to the development of a confident, loving, strong girl. If a girl's trust or spirit is abused by her father or brother in any way she will never be the same.

You can lie to yourself long enough to actually believe it. This is both good and bad.

If you are ever blessed enough to be given a rock, a dandelion, a piece of driftwood, or a dead leaf from a child, the very best thing you could do for yourself and for that child is to recieve it with more grace than if it were a diamond necklace. You are obviously very special to that child, so special in fact, that he took the time to think about YOU and find the only thing he could and to consider it a special gift. From him, it is more genuine than any gift you will ever receive. Hang the rock or wood on a piece of rope and wear it as a necklace, press the leaf or dandelion, and save it forever in your Bible. Take the time to pull it out every once in a while and remind him how precious his gift was. You won't regret it.

 Standing on the ocean's edge with your feet in the water, as the waves rush in and out as your feet get pushed deeper and deeper into the wet sand by the powerful surf, feels just like flying and there is nothing quite like it. Everyone should experience it sometime in their life.

Hugs are vital to survival. Every day you should hug at least one person; a real person, not a virtual (((hug))). Hugs from four kids or more at once are life changing.


Saying “I love you” is important. It is awkward at first, and people may laugh or act weird when you tell them, but if you practice it and tell people it enough you start to realize how true it really is, and they realize it too. If you spend a significant amount of time around children in any way, you should tell them you love them every day, especially the ones who you have a hard time loving. It will change who they are, and it won’t be long before you will see a person who you really do love.

You never know when someone you love will go away, either to another town or to heaven. Cherish every moment, make them meaningful, and let them know how important they are to you.

Music has a spiritual and emotional power, unlike any other thing on Earth, to transform your mood and thoughts. It can bring you closer to God or drive you further from Him, it can quickly become a source of negative thinking or it can almost instantly wash away destructive thoughts. The music you listen to should be fun, but even more it should be, something powerful, soothing, emotionally stimulating, and it should speak something deep to you. There is too much pointless music in our world, and it does nothing except damages our souls and drives us further from our spiritual person, so that we know and understand nothing beyond our skin and carnal passions.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful heart 2012

It's that time of year again. I really enjoy the whole holiday season and the reminder that it provides to reflect on the blessings that I have been given and the things that I am thankful for inmylife. So here I go.

Nov.12: I am grateful for my sisters, my eternal sisters, my forever friends.

Nov. 11: I am thankful for those who are serving, or have served before, in order to protect their fellow Americans, or to forward the cause of freedom and liberty around the world.

Nov.10: I am grateful for the color red. It makes me happy.

Nov.9: I am thankful for music, and the power it has - like nothing else- to affect my mood, motivate me, and make my heart dance like a fool.

Nov. 8: I am thankful for friends, old friends and new friends. I am not a real outgoing person like I was as a kid, and I don't socialize too much- even with people I know. There's a lot behind it, but I was grateful for a kind parent who shares a mutual friend with me, who invited me to dinner, along with our mutual friend and her daughters. I got to see her beautiful home, watch her spirited kids run and play together, and chat with some great ladies. ♥

Nov.7: I am thankful for the comforting peace that comes through prayer. There is no power like it on Earth. When darkness surrounds me and threatens to swallow me completely I can always turn to the Lord through a quiet prayer and His love engulfs me. Through prayer, I was able to calm my troubled soul and get the rest I needed in order to deal with the fear, frustration, and dismay after the election turnout last night.

Nov.6: I am thankful to live in a country where I have the right to vote for the person who I feel best represents me and my faith, morals, and what I stand for. 

Nov. 5: I am thankful for my beautiful nephew, Jude. I have always felt like we share a special connection. I love being around him and he makes me feel so important and special.

Nov.4: I am thankful for fall, the greatest season of all. I love the colors, the flavors, the smells, the weather, the clothes. 

Nov. 3: I am thankful for the moments of motivation that I occasionally get when I feel so overwhelmed that I think I will never accomplish all the things that my ADHD raddled brain wants to get done. I have spent the past few days finally getting a lot of cleaning done that I should not have put off, but I love how I feel once I get so much done, and I love the feeling of a really clean house.

Nov. 2: I am thankful for my little kitty, Lucy. She has saved me. She came along at a time when I was very lonely and still suffering from broken friendships with people who I was very close to. I love when she sleeps with me and crawls right up to my back and lays there. I love how she tags me with both paws as I walk by. I love how much she enjoys just sitting and staring out the window. I never thought I could love a cat as much as I do. She truly is my baby.

Nov. 1: I am thankful for my job and how much fun I get to have every day. I get to make a difference in the lives of so many children and I am so grateful for the love that it has brought to my life. I get hugs, high fives, and "I love yous," every day, and that makes me so grateful for each child I have had in my classroom.

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