Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 30 - Start the Week off Right Day

I love a Monday that is quiet and without stress!  It lets me get started off right.  Today was such a Monday.  I had no place I needed to go, so I was able to do things around the house - straightening up after the weekend, dusting, etc.

I was also able to look at my calendar for the week and plan things out.  I know plenty of unscheduled things will show up, but at least I have it planned out to some extent.  I was able to spend some time scrapbooking - I am working on the trip to Williamsburg, VA, back in 2007.  That shows how far behind I am!

I spent a long time working on Family History, too.  I only have a couple thousand names left to match with New.FamilySearch.  I am not going to get it done in January!  I guess I will keep that going well into February.  I am going to the temple on Tuesday, so I printed out a bunch of names to take to get the cards printed.  I also checked cards that I have to take to have the work done.  I have learned that it is a good idea to recheck cards if I have had them for a while.  Sometimes I discover that the work has already been done.  The new system is certainly reducing the amount of work done over again, but it has not eliminated it completely.  I found one card that someone had completed the work, so I threw it out.  Who knows how that happens???

I was able to make some phone calls for Relief Society.  I love my calling, but I hate making phone calls.  So, that was a big accomplishment for me!  I was able to do some other things with RS, as well.

Bill has caps on his two front teeth - he broke them off when he was a teenager.  Friday night, one of the caps broke, so he spent yesterday at the dentists trying to get things fixed up.  It turned out they had to redo the root canal (dentist #1).  Fortunately, with no nerve, the pain wasn't bad - except for the money, $990!  And that was just to fix the root.  Now he has to go in Wednesday and have a new cap done (dentist #2).  That is another $1500 or so.  I didn't go with him, but I did field several phone calls from him as he was going through it all - making decisions about which course to take, etc.

So, it was a mild Monday, instead of a crazy Monday, and I enjoyed the day.  The rest of the week is much busier, so I am glad I had today!

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 29 - Stake Conference

Today we had one of the regional broadcast stake conferences.  All the stakes in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were part of the broadcast.  We were able to meet in our own building, which is so much better than going to the stake center.

Elder Gonzalez conducted and was the first speaker.  Siister Cheryl Esplin, the second counselor in the Primary, Bishop Richard C Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric, and Elder M. Russell Ballard were the other speakers.  They were all really good, of course, touching on a wide variety of topics.

On the way home, Bill mentioned he particularly enjoyed Sister Esplin, who talked about family home evening.  It was her manner as much as her message.  I liked Bishop Edgely, who said that sin is sin, regardless of how the world tries to change it.  Elder Gonzalez spoke about the importance of the one.  Elder Ballard shared the numbers of members and nonmembers in the whole southeast area which means that there are about 130 nonmembers for every member.  Bill commented that the numbers have sure increased since the "old days" when he was young.

It was a wonderful way to start a Sunday morning.  It is always great to hear the church leaders, especially when their remarks are directed directly to a specific group.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 28 - ER Run

Lisa called about 2:45 AM this morning saying that they were taking Ashby to the ER and could we come over to stay with Brooks.  Ashby had not been feeling well since Wednesday night.  She had thrown up twice, but mostly was lethargic and not eating.  She complained of pain in her back and side some, but had no fever.  She woke up around midnight and it had taken them a couple of hours to finally get her calmed down and back to sleep.

After talking about it, and doing a little research on the internet, they decided they needed to take her to the ER to rule out appendicitis.  The symptoms were not exactly right, but they didn't want to take any chances.  Jason had to have his appendix out when he was about 10 or 11, so it was something that stuck in Lisa's mind.

Needless to say, we got up, got dressed, and headed over to their house.  By then Ashby was back to sleep.  Bill and David gave her a blessing, then they took her down to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to have her looked at.  We climbed into their bed and slept the rest of the night.

We didn't hear them come home about 6:30.  They just slipped in and went to sleep in the guest room downstairs.  Brooks woke up about 7:30, so I got up, fed him, and was playing with him when Lisa came up.

The good news is that it doesn't look like it is appendicitis.  Ashby struggles with bowel movements, and the doctor was almost certain it was a bowel backup that was causing the symptoms.  He told them it was a good thing to have brought her in to be checked and then gave them instructions on what to do.

They gave her a suppository when she woke up and she was able to have a good bowel movement later in the day.  They will put her on a mild laxative for the next two weeks, and then cut the amount in half and continue to give it to her for several more weeks.  Lisa said she was acting much better. The doctor told them that this can be a genetic thing, especially since Ashby usually eats a good variety of food already.

This just reminds us how precious these little ones are and how easily they can become sick or get hurt.  I am glad for Lisa' motherly instinct and David's support of her feelings.  I am glad for the care they got at the hospital, from a doctor who cared and from the support staff, as well.  I am especially grateful that this is not something more serious.  Ashby is a precious little girl and we do love her!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 27 - Don't Know About Retirement!

I am not talking about mine - no problem with that.  I am talking about Bill!  He didn't have a job scheduled today, so it meant we were together all day.  That isn't all bad, of course, but when this happens it reminds that it is not going to be easy when he is home all the time!  I have already told him that when he retires, he has to get a job!

I wake up around 7 - he finally shuffled out around 8:30.  I spend the beginning of my morning at the computer, so that isn't a big deal.  I also just went ahead and started the load of clothes.  The problem is that he doesn't have a routine around the house, so he starts to get bored really quickly!  I have a "honey-do" list posted, and he always mentions several things that he needs to do, but that doesn't always help!

We finally took off to do some errands, which got us out of the house.  We picked up wheat we had ordered, went by the library, stopped at Costco to buy a new wireless DVD player, and then went over to Lisa's to see the new paint job.  That was all good.  By the way, Lisa's house looks really good.  The colors are nice and, as always, David did a professional job.

At the end of the day, we had gotten some things done, and had had a good day, but I found that my normal list of things to accomplish was full of things not done.  I am not sure what I will do - it is nice having him at home, but I can't be the entertainer!  Hopefully, by the time he fully retires, if that ever happens, we will have it all figured out!  In the meantime, I will just enjoy the journey.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 26 - I Can Stop Snoring Again!

I have used a CPAP machine (for sleep apnea) since around 2003.  It makes a huge difference in my sleep and I have used it every night since I got it.  However, over the last couple of years, the machine has been starting to act a little crazy.  First the heating element went out, so I stopped using the humidifier.  It hasn't really bothered me breathing the dry air - in fact, I think it has helped keep my sinuses dry.

Over the last several months, it has started making strange noises.  My roomies will remember that it was getting a little loud when we had our reunion.  I told them to think of it as "white noise" - a stretch, I know.  By mid-December, it started making so much noise, it no longer could qualify as white noise.  It even totally conked out on me for several days.  So, for the first time in all those years, I had to sleep without it.

I had tried to contact the company that supplied the machine originally, but after leaving several messages and getting no response, I discovered that they had disappeared - not sure just what happened, but it looked like they just packed up and left in the middle of the night, with their phones still working!  I also called my doctor, since CPAP's have to be prescribed, and left several messages there that did not get returned.  I finally called the referral office and they got another provider right away.

By this time, the machine is working sometimes, but making a whale of a lot of noise.  Poor Bill couldn't sleep - either the machine kept him awake or my snoring did!  He actually slept a few nights in the guest bed.  First time that has happened, other than if one of us was so sick that it was best to sleep alone.

Because this will be covered by Medicare, the provider needed office notes from the doctor in order to be in compliance.  So, here we go again - leave messages at the doctor, get no response.  Both the provider and I were leaving messages.  I finally got through to someone in the referral office and actually spoke to a person!  Believe it or not!  She said she would fax the notes that day.

I followed up over the next couple of days with the provider, who said they didn't get the notes.  She finally called the same person in the doctor's office, found out the notes had been faxed, and someone in her office had just filed them away, even though there was a not on the file that they were waiting for the notes.

Any way, long story made longer, everything was finally approved and today I went to get my new machine.  They have really improved the machines since I got my original one.  It is smaller, quieter, and easier to run.  So, tonight I get to sleep again, Bill gets to sleep in our bed again, and all is right with the world - at least, my sleeping world!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 25th - Some Not So Good News

I learned today that my friend Judith, who is in hospice, has taken a turn for the worse.  It has been two weeks since I went down to visit her and she was doing really well at that point - getting up every day, making her bed, showering on her own, etc.  We had a nice visit that day.  Since then she has been slipping, and the last few days, she has gotten much worse.

I talked to her on the phone once I got the update and she still knew who I was.  She says she is not having pain, but her nephew reports that she seems to be having quite a bit but refuses to take anything.  She did admit that she was having "some other problems."  The hospice people are trying to get her to stay in bed now, as they are concerned that she may hurt herself.  They told her family that it was time to start making "arrangements."

We only talked for a few minutes - she is obviously feeling very weak.  It is so hard to see someone going through this.   She is slipping really fast now.  I remember that Jason slipped really fast right at the end.  It is like the body finally just quits fighting.  I doubt that I will get down to see her again.

That news kind of colored the rest of my day.  I have known Judith since about 1994 or 1995, when we worked together at Genex.  She is a few months younger than I am.  She is also one of the kindest people I have ever known.  She is very much in my thoughts!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 24th - Medallion Group

One of the RS groups in our ward is a group of women and young women working on the YW Medallion.  Of course, the program is for the YW, but many of the sisters were interested in doing the activities, as well, so we have had this group for the last couple of years.  Tonight was the meeting.

First, I think it is interesting how so many people get excited about doing something and then they never do it - or they start and fizzle out.  There have been as many as 15 or 20 attendees (there is one father who is working the program with his daughters - great dad!), but last night there were four.  There were a few who were absent for legitimate reasons, the rest have just stopped coming.  Of course, people are busy and they need to choose those things that are the priority at any given time.  It just got me to thinking about how hard it is to stick with something that requires focus.  Most of the activities are things we should be doing anyway, but it does require a certain focus to make sure the scriptures are read and the journal is written.  I also thought about how often I mean to do things, but so many times, it never happens.

In this case, I am hanging in there, although I told them up front that I intended to enjoy the journey rather than worrying about reaching a destination.  I am not interested in getting the medallion, but I want to enjoy focusing on the items in each activity.

The focus this evening was on Divine Nature #1.  We read the Family Proclamation and all the scriptures listed.  As we finished each one, we talked about what we learn about our divine nature from each of them.  Even though there were only four of us, we had a wonderful discussion.  Some of the scriptures we read were already marked in red, but I still found new thoughts in them.  We also talked about how we can find our own divine nature.  More interesting ideas!

A nice way to spend an hour - socializing with special people, discussing the scriptures, and working on accomplishing a goal.  Nice night!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 23rd - A Little More Productive Day

After such a lousy week last week, I was glad to get started off a little better today.  I did the usual chores around the house, changed and laundered sheets, did a bunch of things for my RS calling, did a little scrapbooking, got out of the house to do a list of chores, worked on family history, read a while, and took a nap.  It may not sound like much, but it felt good to accomplish a number of things that had been sitting around needing to be done.

I am really liking this time of my life when I have the time to include relaxing in my daily schedule.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 22nd - Grilling in the Rain!

After another wonderful Sunday church service, I hurried home to find the kids all resting around the house.  In spite of all the rain, we had decided to grill out - something we do a lot in the summer, but haven't done for weeks.  I had left cedar planks soaking and a salmon all thawed out.  I rubbed the salmon with seasoning, prepared potatoes to bake, picked out a couple of frozen vegetables, and turned on the oven so the bread would finish rising a little quicker.

The issue, of course, was whether or not we were going to have to cook in the rain.  It was another nasty morning, but more drizzly than raining, so I kept my fingers crossed.  It turned out that when we finally decided to go ahead and cook, it was not raining.  Hurrah!  David did the cooking, since Bill was still not home from church.  It turned out great.  I really love plank grilled salmon.

Another successful Sunday - church, family, and food!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 21st - Another Rainy Day in Georgia!

We have had a lot of rainy days over the last few weeks - and it looks like it will continue for at least another week.  Today was one of the heavy rain days, sometimes pounding down pretty hard, including thunder and tornado watches.  Fortunately, there was no damage around us.

Of course, a rainy day means curl up with a book and lay around all day.  So, I did my best to live up to the ideal.  I spent a lot of time on my family history matching, read a book for a while, took a nap.......  I also managed to straighten the house, do a ton of laundry, and get something planned for Sunday dinner.  I am going to be positive and we will do grilled plank salmon tomorrow - sure hope Bill and David don't have to stand under umbrellas!

I am feeling better, so I am looking forward to a far more productive week coming up.  Being sick is the pits - I am glad it doesn't happen often.  Now if we could just get rid of the rain!  We might see a little sun a couple of days - I need a week of it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 20 - Another Babysitting Day - Yeah!!

David had to have a follow up on the lasik eye surgery he had last year, so they dropped the kids off on their way to the eye doctor.  I always enjoy the babysitting - they are both so cute.

Ashby had a bit of a melt down because she didn't want her daddy to leave.  They have been over here way too much lately and she is a daddy's girl all the way.  She calmed down quickly, though, and loved watching Nick Jr on TV - something she doesn't do at home.  Brooks was ready to eat (when is he NOT ready to eat?), so I fed him while Ashby had her personal time.

Then they just played for an hour or so, until it was time to give Brooks his bottle and put him down for a nap.  I didn't think he was going to be ready to sleep, but he only made one little cry and then we never heard another sound - for 2 1/2 hours!  That gave Ashby and me time to play a little.  We didn't do anything special, just cuddled and then she ran around wanting me to try to catch her.  I don't chase - but I do sit in the big chair and every time she rounds the corner, I try to snatch her.  She loves it!

Lisa and David were back before Brooks woke up, so she and Ashby made some frosting to put on the sugar cookies they had made a couple of days ago.  Ashby decorated one cookie.  She had it lying on the table, and used her finger to put the frosting on.  There was not a single molecule of that cookie that was not frosted!  She also frosted the table about a quarter of inch all around the cookie.  Interesting - she doesn't really like the frosting, so she didn't eat any of it - didn't even lick her fingers - but she loved putting the frosting on.  By contrast, when making cookies, she can't keep her fingers out of the dough - she wants to eat her cookies before they get baked!

It was a fun afternoon and a good cheer up after feeling poorly for a couple of days.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 19 - Stay in the Bed Day

Not much to write about today.  I spent most of the day in bed.  This is a weird stomach virus - I haven't thrown up, just feel woozy.  Hope it is over soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 18th - Not feeling so well!

My CPAP machine has been acting up and we have been trying to get a replacement - just waiting on office notes from the doctor.  So last night, it died completely.  That meant I had to sleep most of the night without it.  Of course, that not only means I snore like a fiend, but also that I just can't breathe!  It was not a good night - I probably slept 3 or 4 hours at most.  I rarely have trouble sleeping, so it was a tough night.

There has also been a stomach flu making the rounds in the area, and I think I caught a touch of that.  I never threw up or anything, but my stomach felt funny all day.  Hopefully, it will be gone by tomorrow!

Even so, I felt well enough to go to my RS presidency meeting.  When I got home, Ashby was napping on the couch.  A short while later, she woke up with a fever!  Her glands are swollen and she seems to have a sore throat.  Lisa packed things up and they went home earlier than they had planned, so she could see Daddy and sleep in her own bed.

When all was quiet again, I managed to get a short nap, which helped considerably!

Why do these things always happen in bunches?  I hate bad days! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 17th - Book Group

We have a book group as part of our Relief Society activities.  Our group is pretty small - sometimes as many as 10 or so, but often less.  It was a rainy night in Georgia, and there were some conflicts, so there were only four of us who showed up this time.  That didn't mean we had any less fun than usual!

We always just do pot luck refreshments and with only four of us, we still managed to have a good variety.  The book we read this time was Manhunt: the 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson.  I had read it about a year ago and had recommended it.  It is a history of the events leading up to the assassination and then the chase for John Wilkes Booth afterwards.  It is a good history, written in a style that makes the story come alive.  We all liked it and all learned things we didn't know before.

Our conversations then really go all over the place.  For everyone, it is a chance to read a book and talk about it, but even more it is about getting out with other sisters and getting to socialize.  We finally closed things out around 9:30 or so. 

It took a little effort to go out on a rainy night, but as usual, I had a great time.  These women are great friends and wonderful people and an evening spent with them is an evening well spent!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 16

Since Lisa and the kids had gone home for Sunday night, it seemed very quiet around the house this morning.  It also gave me a chance to catch up on a few things.  The biggest pile to catch up on was the laundry!  I did six loads - including the sheets.  Tonight I get to sleep in a clean, fresh bed - I so love that!  I also got some straightening done around the house.  Before I could get to dusting, though, they were back!  David is starting the final coat of paint and should be done in another 2 or 3 days.

I had started the day at the computer with quite a long list of Relief Society things to handle.  Later, when I got back to the computer, I was able to work on family history a good bit.  I am down to about 100 names or less to finish matching.  I am very excited!

Later in the afternoon, after Brooks woke up from his nap, we made a trip to Kohls and Walmart.  Ashby starts ballet again tomorrow and needed a new leotard since she has suddenly started growing!  We also picked up a few other odds and ends, like fresh fruit, etc.

We got back home just in time for me to freshen up and then Bill and I took off for Empty Nester Family Home Evening.  We had seven couples who attended and we had a great time.  Refreshments were wonderful - we always do pot luck refreshments, so you never know what will show up.  But, it is always good!  We also had a nice discussion and did lots of chatting.  There are not a lot of senior couples in the ward, so it is nice to spend a little special time with them.

So, it wasn't one of those "exciting to write about" kind of days, but it was productive and enjoyable.  I think life is mostly that way - and I like it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 15th - Another Sabbath Day

Bill had meetings starting at 10:00, so after Lisa and the kids left to attend their church meeting this morning, I had a couple of hours by myself. It seemed very quiet!  I got dinner going in the crockpot, cleaned up the kitchen so it would be easy to finish when I got home, and then got myself showered and ready for church.  I actually had time to get prepared for Relief Society - I am conducting this month - and to work a little on my family history.

Church was enjoyable as always.  The Sacrament Meeting talks were really good.  The Sunday School lesson was on Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life and that is always a good discussion.  The Relief Society lesson was from the George Albert Smith manual and was about "loving others as thyself" and the teacher did a wonderful job.  There was a really special spirit there.

When I got home, Lisa, David and both kids were napping - people sleeping all over my house!!  When everyone was up, we had dinner - a pork loin that really turned out good, along with mashed potatoes, green peas, applesauce, fresh baked rolls, and other trimmings.  Bill managed to get home in time to eat and then had to take off again to attend the youth fireside.

The rest of us enjoyed a little time together before they had to leave for home.  During the evening, I worked some more on family history, read scriptures, and read my current book.

All in all, a very nice Sabbath Day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 14 - Day of Chaos

Some days go by and it feels like nothing gets accomplished, but there is activity all around.  This was one of those days!  Lisa and kids spent the night and both kids kept Lisa awake half the night for one reason or another.  Needless to say, she was exhausted, so she napped a good bit during the morning while the kids just played.  They were good, but they do create a lot of chaos!

We finally got everyone dressed and together so we could go out to Del Rio's for lunch.  Then back home again.  While Brooks took a nap, Lisa and Ashby went to the playground.  That was my one chance to get something done, but I didn't get too much of what I needed to do.  No laundry, no housecleaning, etc.  I did spend a little time at the computer working on clearing the last 400 names - I think I got about 100 of them done.  On their way home, Lisa and Ashby picked up some pizza for dinner.

After dinner, there were baths, and a wild playtime.  Brooks has started taking some steps and he was going wild - walking 10 or 12 steps at a time, sitting down, and clapping to make sure we all noticed.  He was also getting up on his hands and feet and doing the elephant walk.  Plus he would lie down and roll over, except he doesn't go straight over, so he was rolling around in a circle.  It was hilarious!  As if all that wasn't enough, Ashby was running laps through the house, squealing and trying to snatch the laundry that Lisa was trying to fold.  It really was total chaos and so funny!

Brooks was finally in for bed and Ashby was calming down, when Grandpa got home.  Shortly after that, David came over.  He was there in time to play with Ashby a little and then put her to bed.  They are staying another night.  David went on home later, after watching some of the football game, to finish up a couple of things there.

It was a day full of adventure, but it was also total chaos.  I will have to make myself get things back in order one of these days!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January 13 - New Art Set - and Two Great Artists!

Lisa brought the children over after lunch so she and David could paint.  Then she and the kids spent the night, so David could work late and get started early the next morning.

 I didn't get much else done, other than babysitting.  Of course, that is fine with me!  Before they came, I got in a run to the grocery store. In between everything else, I plugged away at the family history matching and have only about 400 names to go. 

It is always fun to have the children here and they were both very good.  They played and then, while Brooks took a nap, Ashby and I pulled out the new art set that just came.  Together, we did a watercolor picture of a tree and the sky, a colored pencil drawing of the pool with chair and palm tree, and Ashby used a marker to draw a lovely face.  We were quite proud of ourselves!

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 12 - Stay at Home Day

I had a stay-at-home day today, after what has been a pretty busy week with other things.  That meant that in addition to the usual household stuff - straightening, dishes, laundry, etc. - I spent most of the day on family history.  I am getting close to having every name matched to New Family Search.  I have 2224 matched, with 555 left.  Another couple of days, and I should have it done.

Of course, I haven't started Bill's line yet.  There, I have 4771 left to match, with 3147 done.  Oh, well.  Guess it won't be done in January!  Maybe February???

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 11 - Why is Visiting Teaching Such a Struggle?

We had a RS presidency meeting this morning devoted to Visiting Teaching only.  We have a very poor record in this ward - for years the percentage has hovered between 40 and 60%.  Now, I don't think we visit for stats, but those kinds of numbers tell us that almost half of the sisters in our ward do not get visited.  And many of those not visited are the same ones all those months.  It is a real problem.  So, we had a meeting to try to find some ideas on how to change the hearts of the visiting teachers so they begin to understand what an important calling this is. 

We had already decided that we would not have a Visiting Teaching Conference this year.  First of all, it is not required by the handbook.  Secondly, the sisters who attend are not the ones who need it.  Thirdly, the last couple of years, it has been held during Relief Society meeting on Mother's Day, with all the sisters in the ward attending, and I totally didn't like turning Mother's Day into a meeting about what you are doing wrong!  Fortunately, the president and other counselor totally agreed with me!

So we met to try to find some ways to encourage the sisters all year long.  After talking about what some of the underlying problems might be, we came up with a few ideas.  We decided to keep it simple - after all, the biggest way to change something is to focus on the little things that make a difference.  We are also concerned about "The One" and wanted to keep the focus on individual sisters, not on overall numbers.  Among our concerns is the lack of unity in the ward.  We are much improved from a few years ago, but there is still not a closeness that we would like to have.  We also decided that probably the biggest stumbling block is the simple act of just making the appointments.  We have seen that when appointments are made, the sisters will go, but no one wants to make calls to set up appointments.  There is also the issue of accountability.  The sisters do not see this as all that important and if they don't go, no one will really even care.

With that in mind, we will begin doing a Visiting Teaching Challenge as part of our opening exercises each Sunday.  We have already been doing that a little, but we will make it more focused.  On the issue of accountability, we will do more VT interviews, perhaps three or four times a year, if necessary.  That way we can work more closely with those who struggle with doing it and offer personal support. 

To help build unity and so the sisters get to know each other a little more personally, we will have small socials with the companionships and the sisters they visit, perhaps 6 or 8 routes at a time.  We will meet in one of our homes, and will share a very brief message, have refreshments and socialize, and do interviews.  We are hoping that it will strengthen the bond between the teachers and the sisters they visit if they have a relaxed social time.  We will do this every couple of weeks until we get through the whole list. 

We also wanted a fun way to graphically show how many sisters are visited each month.  We decided to take the "warm fuzzies" from Primary and change it to a Relief Society visual.  Each month once the reports are finished, we will have two glass jars set out - one will have a warm fuzzy for every sister that was visited and the other will have a warm fuzzy for every sisters who was not visited.  Hopefully, it will show the sisters in a simple and non-threatening way just how many sisters are being missed each month.

I think those are the highlights of what we are going to do.  We will re-evaluate regularly and make changes as necessary.  It is such a challenge in our busy world to get sisters to take the time to do visiting teaching, and yet it is really important.  We never know which sister was in need that month, nor what long term effects visiting has on the lives of individuals.  But, it is clear that when a ward never even gets close to visiting 70% of the sisters that there are many needs that are not being met and many lives that are not being helped.

Visiting Teachers are the hands of Christ in providing service to the individual sisters, but they are also the heart of Christ, bringing His love into their homes and allowing the power of the Atonement have an influence in those lives that need it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 10 - 65th Birthday - Oh, How Old!

Well, I survived my 65th birthday and I think it was done in style - my style, that is.  I enjoyed receiving tons of birthday wishes on Facebook, birthday cards, phone calls, etc.  It made me feel special.  I know it helps that Facebook tells everyone it is my birthday, but they still took the time to post.  One of the phone calls was from Ashby, who sang happy birthday - so cute!

I went to the temple in the morning and did a session.  I did a family file card for Hattie Archer, born Jun 1878 in Ohio.  She would have been my 1st cousin, 3 times removed.  It is always nice attending the temple and especially so when I see so many people I know and love.

I spent the afternoon working on family history, of course.  I am still trying to get everyone matched against New.FamilySearch.  I am making good progress on that, but will probably still take a few weeks.

For dinner, we went to eat at Provino's, an Italian restaurant that we have gone to for years and years.  They do free dinner on your birthday, so we often go there.  They have the best salad and bread of any place I have ever eaten.  I am not a huge salad fan, but they add some interesting things that I like, like garbanzo beans and beets.  The homemade rolls are drenched in fresh garlic and melted butter - so sinful, but so good!  I sometimes just have bread and salad and maybe a small appetizer.  However, with free dinner, I decided to go all out and get the seafood trio.  Oh, my, was it ever good!  They also bring a dish of ice cream with a candle for the birthday person.  That really got Ashby excited.  She sang happy birthday again and then blew out my candle!  She and Brooks managed to make a big dent in the ice cream, too.  Brooks would laugh out loud before every bite, like he was cheering.  I guess he likes ice cream!

Lisa, Ashby and Brooks joined us for dinner - we went early so they would not be a disturbance.  As it turned out, they were both good as gold.  Ashby ate a huge dinner - she loves cheese ravioli!  Brooks sat in his high chair the whole time, laughing and playing.  It was all very nice.

Afterwards, we went to their place to have a birthday cake that Ashby and Lisa had made.  I got the happy birthday song one more time and then we ate cake and more ice cream.  Then the kids ran around playing - they were really wound up!  They were so funny and so fun - we all had a chance to really laugh it up.

So, birthday my style - all about temple, family history, food, and mostly family!  It was a very good day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 9 - Visit with Judith

This was a good day.  It is always a good day when I push myself to do something I want to do anyway.  In this case, I went to visit my friend Judith, who is fighting cancer and is in a hospice in downtown Atlanta.  In fact, the hospice is run by Catholic nuns and is literally right next door to the stadium.  It is a nice facility and it seems like they give very good care.

Judith quit work in August, citing "health reasons," but it wasn't until October that we finally knew what was going on.  She had been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, with spread to other areas, including the brain.  She had actually just gone home and was waiting to die - even her family didn't know what was going on.  Her son, who had been living with her, had taken off and no one had checked on her for a while.  Anyway, her nephew stepped in, took her to his place, got her in to another doctor, and after some time at the hospital was transferred to this hospice in November.

I call and talk to her on the phone every couple of weeks, but I hadn't been down to visit her since November.  I had planned to go right after Christmas, but with all the chaos with Lisa and the kids being here, and then my getting a cold, I didn't make it until today.  I called first and she said she was up to having visitors.

I am always relieved when she recognizes me when I walk in, so things started off well.  She still has the best smile.  She gets up and dresses every day.  Her bed is made up.  She is not doing any chemo or radiation, and she says she is not having any pain nor taking any pain meds.  She eats well and sleeps well.  Her only complaints are her eyesight and memory loss.  Her short term memory is where it is most noticeable - and when she struggles to find the word she wants to use when talking.

When I visited last time, I took her a genealogy of her father's line.  She has always been interested in genealogy, but knew very little about hers.  We had a great time sharing all the stories I had found - especially about her Civil War, a.k.a. The War of Northern Aggression, ancestor (a reb, of course!) and her Revolutionary War ancestor.

This time I had her mother's genealogy.  It was a harder line to pull together, but I loved doing it.  There was another Civil War ancestor.  She was particularly touched by the story of a distant uncle (I forget how many greats) who was captured in Virginia during the Civil War.  He was imprisoned in Elmira prison in New York, which was about the equivalent of the Andersonville Prison in the south.  She cried when I read the story of the conditions in that prison, called Helmira by the prisoners.  He survived and she was proud to have him in her ancestry.

It was a nice visit.  I stayed about a half an hour or a little more, until she started to get tired.  She is a wonderful person, with a heart of gold, and I do love her.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 8 - A Quiet Sabbath

We are now on the afternoon church session, which is not my favorite time.  However, it does mean that the morning is very relaxed.  And, church is always great, no matter when it is held.

I threw a pot roast and veggies in the crock pot in the morning and things sure smelled good by the time I got home!  Lisa and David and kids came over right after their church meeting, which finished at 2:00.  David is catching a plane in the evening to Denver for an interview.  They put Brooks straight into the crib and then they ate their dinner.  I hurried home after church, so Lisa could take David at 4:30 and I could watch the kids.  Such fun.  Brooks slept until 5:30, then woke up happy, ready to eat and play.  He laughs most of the time.  Ashby was tired, but didn't sleep.  She cuddled some and watched Mickey Mouse on TV.  She also played with her Polly Pocket Princesses that she got for Christmas.  She also showed off the little book they made in Sunbeam class - all about themselves being a child of God.  Really cute.

All in all, it was a nice day.  I think it qualified as a nearly perfect Sabbath - quiet morning, spiritual testimony meeting, great lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society, and then special time with the family, especially the grandchildren.  Now what more could I ask?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 7 - A Whole Week in the New Year Already!

Ah, Saturday!  Bill spent the day helping David doing some yard work at his house, so I was "home alone."  That meant I got to do whatever I wanted (like most of my days!)  Besides the expected Saturday chores - laundry, cleaning, etc - I also managed to do some work in the scrapbooking room, trying to get it better organized.  I had quite a few Relief Society things to do, including updating the general conference talks blog and sending out the service opportunities email.  I spent most of the rest of my day working on family history - still trying to match up with New Family Search.  See what I mean about how boring my life is when almost every entry is "worked on family history"?

I thought it was a great day, actually.  I have made it through the first week of the new year and still haven't worked on any new year's resolutions - probably a good thing since I didn't really make any!  I have kept up on my scripture reading, I have read a couple of books, I have even taken a couple of naps. 

Now I need to make sure I actually accomplish something of a little more value this coming week!  Oops, that sounds like a resolution!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 6 - A productive day

I managed to get quite a lot done today - even if most of it was family history!!  My goal for the beginning of the year is to get through all my family history files and check them against New Family Search to make sure all the temple work has been done.  I get so into doing research that I let that part slide.  That is supposed to be the reason we do family history, but I really do it just because I love it.  I figure it will take me a few weeks, but I am going to get through all of it.

I also got the follow-up request for my grandfathers' WWI military records sent back.  I suppose I could say it was a coincidence that I found his draft papers and his discharge papers the same week that I received notice from the Archives that they needed additional information.  But, I don't believe in coincidences like that - I am glad that I had something definite to send back.  Now, hopefully, it will lead them to find something.  I realize that most of the records were destroyed by fire - here's hoping something still exists somewhere.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 5 - An Almost Too Quiet Day

Lisa and the kids didn't come over for the day today - first time in a couple of weeks!  It was almost too quiet!!

I did get some things done, though.  I did some more straightening in the house, trying to get things back into proper order and rearranging a few spots so they would look better.  I spent a lot of time on genealogy, which is what I really wanted to do.  And there were a few other things in there, as well.

I went through a couple of boxes of old things that I had brought down from the attic, because I was looking for something specific.  I didn't find what I was looking for, but it was fun going through the boxes anyway.  I did find some old pictures, letters, and newspaper clippings from my grandfather's things.  I pulled them out to scan and attach to my family history files.  I also found his military enlistment and discharge.  I had sent for his military records from WWI, and just this week got a letter back saying they couldn't find them.  I have to fill out another form for them to try some other places.  Finding his papers should help with that.  Hopefully, they were not among the things lost in the fire.

So, a quiet, but productive day - the kind I enjoy the most!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January 4 - Just another day

Now I remember why I have trouble writing a daily journal - so many of my days are just like every other day!  So, who wants to just write "ditto" in a journal?

Wednesday was pretty much a "ditto" of Tuesday, except that I did have Relief Society presidency meeting thrown in there.  Oh, and Lisa left for awhile, so I was watching the kids alone.  They both slept most of that time, so there isn't even too much of excitement to share there!

Let's see -- I also used up the last of the Christmas ham.  I made scalloped potatoes with ham and cheese in the crock pot and boiled the bone and ham shreds in the stew pot and added red beans.  Both were good.

Well, that's about it for my rip roaring, rollicking Wednesday!  The truth is, it was a great day - just not too exciting to retell.  So goes my life!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 3 - Am I in a Rut Already?

So Tuesday wasn't much different than Monday - only the 3rd day of the year and I am in a rut?  It isn't a bad one, so maybe I will stay here a while:

Finished the laundry
Cleaned the dining room, including moving a few small pieces of furniture that needed to go elsewhere
Straightened the rest of the house
Worked on some church things
Lisa and kids came over and we played at home the rest of the day

With a new year, it also means a new course of study for Gospel Doctrine - Book of Mormon this year.  So, I am ending my day reading it.  This week is one chapter per day and I just finished chapter 3 - right on target.  That is a rut I need to stay in!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 2nd - Still Not Back to Normal

Plans were to get back into a normal routine today.  Things started out OK - 4 loads of laundry done, including bed sheets, house straightened, etc.  Then Lisa and kids came over to get out of the way of David working on painting.

The rest of the day was just playing!  After Brooks had a nap, we headed to the mall, had lunch at the food court, played on the little cars, played at the playground, rode on the train, and finally came back home.  Brooks took his second nap - and Ashby and Lisa both zonked, too!  They headed back home for the night after we had a light supper.

I can't complain about the interruption in my routine, though.  We had way more fun than house cleaning!

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 1 - A New Year Begins

It is really nice to have Christmas and New Year's Day both fall on a Sunday.  Going to church and partaking of the sacrament on Christmas Day really brought the Savior into focus in my life and I felt good all day.

Starting the new year in church brought the same feelings.  Life is full of ups and downs and it is my testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that help me to ride with whatever happens - good and bad.  So, starting the year worshiping and studying the gospel is a great way to take that first step in the new year on the right path.

Gospel Doctrine class will be studying the Book of Mormon this year, so I started reading it again before bed.  I am really looking forward to it, as I didn't get it read last year.

I taught the Relief Society lesson about George Albert Smith.  We will be studying his teachings this year and it was fun to learn more about him.  There were many comments and the sisters seemed to get really excited about the events in his life.  I have learned to love him as I have studied about him the last couple of months.  He was a man who loved people unconditionally - whether they were homeless on a street corner or the leader of the country, he treated them all with love and respect, as the children of God.  That is what we need in this world right now - love and respect and acceptance of all by all.

So, day one of 2012 was good.  I hope many more of the same follow!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Journal - December 31st - The End!

Well, end of the month and end of the year.  I guess that means we are supposed to reflect on our blessings and struggles for the past year and make resolutions for next year.  I think I will pretty much skip both.  I have decided that life is best lived in the moment.

That doesn't mean I don't look back with happiness and joy at the good times.  Or, look to the struggles for strength and ways to avoid similar events in the future and to see what progress I have made.  It also doesn't mean I don't set goals for the future.  However, I think those things should be ongoing and happen every day, rather than just one day a year.

I am getting very sick of all the "best of...," "worst of....," "most this or that" lists for 2011.  Sometimes, the best things in life aren't the things that will make it on that kind of list.  Likewise, the worst things are often small, difficult moments that might not seem significant to others.  I often say that my life isn't much in the retelling, but has been enjoyable in the living.  It probably wouldn't make any special lists, but I wouldn't change it.

Having said all that, I do have a goal for this first week of the new year - I am going to get my house back in order after this hectic week with Lisa and the kids here!  It has been fun and they will probably be back a couple of days more next week, but I have not been following my normal routines and things are definitely out of order around here!  I don't like chaos.  I am glad all the decorations are down and ready to go in the attic.  Lisa has done a lot to keep things straightened, but it all just needs a little tweaking to get back into proper order.

So, another good year has ended and another good one will begin.  I am grateful for all the blessings and struggles.  I look forward to many new adventures.  One of which is -- what will I do with my blog now that my Gratitude Journal and Christmas Journal are done?  Hmmmm, haven't decided yet!