Tuesday, December 29, 2009
That morning, Mom took John and I over to the Washington DC temple. We were there a little before 5 if I remember correctly. I can't guarantee that I remember much of anything correctly these days, so.... I remember Chris and Kim filming us getting ready. I was grumpy and a bit rude to everyone around me. If nothing else, I've grown up a little. It was a cold day and we were the first of 89 sealings that day. I was rushed from room to room, and since I wasn't changing into a wedding dress, I was not given the opportunity to go into the Bride's Dressing Room. Now, if you know me, you know I'm still a little bitter about it. When the temple was open for touring before it was dedicated, I remember Mom and I walking into it and she whispered into my year, "Someday, you'll get to get dressed in this very room." Well, I didn't. I should probably build a bridge and get over it, but it still smarts. (Maybe I haven't grown up that much.)
What have I learned? Well, I wear a lot less makeup than I used to. I look horrible with bangs. I've gained 10 pounds and have a different shape. I still can't say, "No," but I am learning slowly and quietly how to share my opinion. I straighten my hair or wear it naturally curly, depending on how the day is going. I get my eyebrows waxed and periodically, will color my hair. I still hate to exercise, but still love to dance.
After all these years, we still laugh a lot, but now we include our children. We know each other well enough to know what one or the other of us will or won't want to do. We've been through sorrow, loss, success, joy, and contentment. And it has flown by. By the time our 40th rolls around, I'll be 62. I wonder how much will have changed by then?
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Yesterday, this was the scene at their house.
I dreamt all night about what I could do to help. By 7:45, I was in the car with the little ones and we were at the school. I met with the principal and kind of became the liaison for the school and community with the family. I spent my day making and fielding phone calls, organizing groups, helping spread information, and just kind of making sure the right people got in touch with the right groups.
By this evening, multiple offers of housing have been made--some offering available homes or apartments, others offering to pay months worth of rent. Food has been purchased and delivered. Clothing donations are being sent from across the country (thanks to Facebook and great friends I have from high school). Money and gift cards are being freely given. And Christmas has been saved multiple times over. A group from Ogden is bringing down supplies next week. A family in Salt Lake wants to bring down homemade crocheted afghans to replace the ones the mother made for the children for Christmas. Furniture, electronics, etc. I can't tell you how many times I've cried today, astounded by the generosity of complete strangers.
At one point, I needed to go to Willard to pick up a gift for Ellie. With my cell phone ringing constantly and the need to write things down, my friend said she would drive so I could be free to continue organizing the relief efforts. She sacrificed 3.5 hours of her time. Others have sacrificed money. None have sacrificed their love and compassion for this family. She commented that she had never seen me so happy, that I was just aglow as I talked to every person and helped arrange things. It felt good.
Now this isn't a declaration that I'm leaving my job for something else. Unfortunately, I can't afford to do that. But as I've seen what total strangers are doing, it has become the greatest Christmas. With the economy as it is, Christmas was going to be scaled back anyway. In fact, I don't even think I will be getting anything more than our dollar gifts that we do for each other. Who cares? I feel great inside. I'm exhausted for a good cause. I have very little voice left. I gave it up today for everyone else who wanted to know what was happening and how they could help. It was worth it. I did my visiting teaching with texts and calls still coming in, but the sisters didn't mind. In fact, I left with more than I came.
As I took some time tonight to ponder the fact that I'm supposed to be teaching the Christmas lesson to the Laurels on Sunday and haven't prepared anything, it occurred to me that I've been learning and living the best Christmas present of all: love thy neighbor as thyself.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
You may remember that Ian was invited to attend my nephew's summer Viking Feast. This time, John, Maggie and Ian were invited for the winter feast. I stayed home with Griffin and tended to the annual 1200 piece mailing I do each Christmas while Griffin finally got to watch his shows on the downstairs television. (He'd been denied access to all the TVs while we were all doing different things. Ellie was at a birthday party.)
Here are a few pictures.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Enjoy the pics!
So Chris, what do the characters mean?
On Friday, a week later, John was able to find and buy the right part. Today, it was installed and within minutes of installation, the heat was back on! We were very fortunate that three of those days were spent in heavy cooking mode, so the house was able to warm up from the kitchen. The temperatures were also mild, in the 50s, so it wasn't too cold inside. But in the least 2-3 days, the temps have dropped substantially, both inside and outside the house. Since we're fortunate to have two furnaces and the house wired in such a way that the two sides are completely separate, we were able to keep the kids down at the other end so they didn't freeze. John and I just bundled up with lots of blankets and hoodies. Mornings were the worst because it's just really hard to get up and moving when it's cold outside the blankets!
Thanks for all the offers of heaters, housing, and sympathy. It's so good to have friends!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was thrilled to have Chris Hopkins in attendance at our Saturday performance, as well as John's parents, 2 of his sisters and their families, and a niece who is attending the Y. As thrilled as I was to be one of the narrators, the time, energy, and brain space was a bit overwhelming. It was a great experience for everyone, but I think we're all glad that it's over.
Here are the pictures. This was performed in a church cultural hall and I think we all know that the lighting in there always wreaks havoc with the quality, but I think these turned out fairly well.