Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Love Being a Grandmother!

Yesterday, Lisa and Ashby took me out for lunch. It was a belated Mother's Day outing. We decided it is the first of "lunch with the girls" outings. Ashby was as cute as she could be, sitting in the high chair and chattering along like she was part of the conversation. She had us laughing most of the time.

After lunch, Lisa wanted to run some errands and go to the gym, so I babysat Ashby for the rest of the afternoon. She was so tired from our outing that she started with a nap. Fortunately, she didn't sleep long. So Grandma got to feed her (sweet potatoes, pears, and peach yogurt, plus the bottle) and then we played. She is crawling all over the place now and heads straight for something so she can try to pull herself up. She can get to her knees, and balance there, and then she tries to put a foot up and everything falls apart. But, she doesn't give up!

She spent a little time in her jumpster while watching a Baby Einstein video. She practically launches herself in that jumpster. What a hoot to watch her! We also read some books, listened to some music, and generally had a great time.

I enjoy these weekly babysitting opportunities. It gives Lisa a chance to get out a little, but I am really being selfish - I want time alone with Ashby! I so love being a Grandma!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Now I have a Facebook page

Boy, am I getting so into the 21st century! I have set up a page on Facebook. The problem is that I have no clue what I am supposed to do with it. Right off the bat, it looked for the people in my email address book to see if they were on Facebook, too. But, I figured I know those people and I wasn't really interested that much, so I just ignored it. The people I am interested in I talk to you in person, you know?

I did put in the high school I attended and then did a search for the year I graduated. There was not one single soul there! I know it was a small class, but I can't believe I am the first one to join Facebook. Maybe the rest just didn't put in what high school they attended. So then I decided to check the class years before and after mine, since the school was so small and everyone knew everyone. I did find a few people, but only one I was really interested in talking to. I contacted him, Ron Tope, since our families had been super close when we were growing up and we were kind of like cousins. He responded so I then had one friend.

I finally mentioned to Lisa what I had done and she made me her friend, so that gave me connections to lots of family members. I am now up to about six or seven friends. Of course, they are all family (except Ron), but it is still cool.

I still haven't figured out what I am supposed to do, but it is fun to check it every so often and see if any of my friends have posted anything. Actually, it is also very interesting to check out their pages, especially to see the pictures they have posted.

I did put up a picture of Bill, Lisa, Billy and I that was taken at Christmas a few years ago. And, of course, I put up some of Ashby. Other than that, there isn't much on my page. Maybe I need to find more pictures.

I am not sure this is going to go anywhere, but at least now I can say "my Facebook page" and sound like I am really with it. By the way, I even signed up for an account on, but I really have no clue what to do with that. I did it because of the Day of Service and being instructed about twittering. But, I don't think I really even want to twitter!

I guess I can pretend to be with it, but the truth is I am just an old grandma. So be it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day of Service - Big Success, But Glad It's Over - Or Is It?

For the last few months, much of my time has been filled with making preparations for the Day of Service that was scheduled for April 25th. Now that it has come and gone, I am glad to report that it was a huge success. In Lilburn Stake, we had nine different projects and all turned out better than planned. We had almost 800 members and over 125 non-members who worked together to provide the service.

Projects ranged from cleaning up county parks to doing yard work for seniors and disabled citizens, to landscaping and painting at non-profit organizations to putting together food boxes to stenciling environmental warnings on storm drains in neighborhoods. In every case, the members are looking forward to doing it again. Likewise, in every case, the people and organizations who received the service were thrilled.

Public Affairs did a special project for the Lawrenceville Housing Authority. They provide 212 apartments for the disabled and those down on their luck. One of their requirements is that the residents provide eight hours of community service each month, if they are able. We had quite a few of the residents show up to help us, as well as the director of the housing authority. In addition, we called on some of the young singles and the members of the Conyers Ward and the Yellow River Branch to help, especially by providing trucks so the boxes could be moved when we were finished. We had a total of 50 members and 30 non-members help us.

Briane Adams, my Community Affairs Assistant, had requested Humanitarian Funds from the church to pay for the food, which was granted. It was a much larger request than is normally given, but I guess they were impressed with the philosophy of the authority about allowing the recipients to provide service in exchange for the help. It certainly does help build the self-esteem of the individuals. There were several helpers who would obviously have a hard time holding a full-time job, but they were so excited to help and they worked so hard. They felt so good about what they had done.

Briane had set up two assembly lines to fill the boxes. The filled boxes were then loaded on the trucks and delivered to the various apartments. Then everyone came back to the church for a chili dog lunch. The young singles provided the dessert and they came with strawberry shortcake and brownies and ice cream. I think I will ask them to provide dessert at some future time - it was really good!

My home ward, Dacula, did projects at two local non-profits. They did some landscaping and flowers for the United Cerebral Palsy organization. Creative Enterprises, Inc., is a much larger facility that provides help for adult disabled. They do all sorts of activities, including making jewelry, artwork, plant nursery, and an animal shelter (cats only, right now). We did painting, landscaping, building stones for flower beds, replacing some ceiling drywall, etc., at several of their buildings. Leigh, the director, couldn't believe how hard everyone worked. She had been hesitant when we approached her, because last fall a group had come and things were worse when they left than before they came. This time was different and she was so excited.

The week after the day of service turned out to be even busier. I was responsible for getting back reports on each project, including the numbers who worked and who they partnered with, etc. Every time I turned around, I had another request from the Area Public Affairs for more information. We were also trying to get together some news articles to submit about the event. The Area PA reports to Elder Gonzalez on Tuesday of this week, so hopefully they are finished asking me for things. We have one article ready to submit and are still working on another. To make things even more difficult, my Media Assistant works for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and she is working overtime with this flu crisis, since they are working 24 hours a day right now.

All in all, though, I am glad that things went so well. I think they will probably make this an annual event and may even have it a national event rather than just the southeast.

Some of the comments from the members point out how important these kinds of things are. In one case, a young man who had not attended church in a very long time, came out to help and has been back to church both weeks since then. We all have a need to help others and this obviously filled a need that he had felt. Others commented that working with other members in this kind of a project allows you to get to know each other in different ways than just being together on Sunday. In every case, the friendships became stronger. Some of the teenage girls were overheard in the bathroom the next day talking about how fun it was and that they couldn't wait until we did it again. That's the best endorsement ever! One group finished their project at the home of a senior citizen, but they weren't ready to quit, so they went to the home of a member of the ward who needed help and continued to work.

We also made new friends in the community. The Community of Christ joined with us, as well as a number of county departments and the non-profit organizations. We also had city proclamations issued by the mayors of Dacula, Lilburn, and Lawrenceville, as well as the Gwinnett County Commission Chairman. I was able to attend each of those council meetings.

Huge success - but glad it is over! Maybe next year we will be better organized earlier. I do hope there will be a "next year." I know that some of the wards will do something on their own if nothing is planned on the area level. It was too good not to do again.