Sunday, June 12, 2016

Putty, Sand, Vacuum, Prime, Paint... and do it Again

This has been the story of the week.  But things are coming along!  Here's one of the walls we worked on this week.  Touched up paint, cleaned stair rail (done last week by Mary and Becca), and new light fixture.  Yeah! Oh, and the carpet on the stairs got stretched too.
Our hardwood floor got finished this week too, and it is beautiful!  The house is looking SO NICE.

I also had the help of six Relief Society Sisters that came in and cleaned windows, window sills, blinds, and even Jeni, who came with her two daughters and climbed up on the kitchen counter and vacuumed off the top of the cupboards.  Interestingly, Jeni has MS and had just the day before come home from spending four days at Girls Camp.  Wow - can you figure anyone that had a better excuse not to sign up to come over and help?  When I talked to her about how she managed her MS, she said, "I think it's more how I think about it than anything.  Sometimes I'll think I can't do something, but then I just start to do it, and I'll find that I can do it."  And then there is Shelly, who is doing the same exact thing we are doing - getting ready to put her house on the market - and she is over helping us.  And Amber, who brought her two kids to help, and Melanie, Tanya, and Heather - put in wonderful hours of service for our family.  I was so grateful!  And I hope to pay it forward many times over.

On the way home from Church, I was thinking about my children, how each one of them makes the world a better place wherever they are.  Lynsie came up to me at Church today and said, "Libby was so great at Girl's Camp."  She related how encouraging she was to all the other girls and was up for whatever was presented.  She had fun!
I love this picture of Libby!  She said that halfway up this hike they gave the girls a chance to turn back if they wanted to.  As Libby related the story, she rolled her eyes.  No turning back for this girl!

Peter was a good sport this week to work every day.  He and Libby performed Saturday night for the Mrs. Idaho pagent with Breakaway Ballroom, their dance company.

Becca came over on Friday night and we went out to Applebee's with her.  We figured out that she fits right in the spot in our family where we have a big gap - between Mary and Peter.  It's just perfect.  :)

Last night my friend Diane brought dinner over to us - glazed pork chops with potato salad, watermelons, Izzy's and lemon bars for dessert.  It was so good!

Becca also got to spend some time with Joseph in Rexburg.  Here are these two love birds!

Josh got 97.5% on his French test this week.  This is the same number that he has gotten every time he has taken a French test this semester.  I told him, if you're going to be stuck on a number, that's a good one!  Update:  Josh informed me that it's not only this semester but last semester too - he got 97.5 on every test!  Haha - even more funny!

Jesse sent a bunch of pictures out this week.  This is my favorite:
Mia lives in their ward, and Jesse and her companion go up there on P-days sometimes (they live up in the mountains).  Jesse loves it there.  Apparently in this picture Mia just threw a bucket of water on her.  For some reason, this picture makes me miss Jesse so much I can hardly stand it!

I decided to start posting some of my favorite pictures from Mary and Kevin's engagement photos!

This week our dear neighbor and friend Helen Bryson passed on to the other side of the veil.  She and Wally had ten children, and they were ALL around her bedside when she passed away.  Imagine that!  They said it was beautiful and peaceful,  It was an amazing thing to go over to their house and see them sitting around talking, and feel the "peace that passeth understanding".  The blessings of the eternal sealing covenant are real, and they are available to us as families.  I'm so grateful that our family is sealed together!  Pres Boyd K. Packer, the former President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, said repeatedly that the aim of everything we do in the church is so that a mother and father can be happy at home with their children, sealed in the covenant, and protected by the priesthood.  To experience that is a wonderful blessing!

I have determined that I will speak differently about death than I have in the past.  If someone is dead, that means they are no longer living.  But the problem with that word usage is that it's not true - it doesn't happen - to anyone.  Everyone that "dies" keeps on LIVING.  You'll notice that I said Helen had passed ON.  This is how I will refer to the end of mortal life from now on - passed on, instead of died, or passed away.  When I announced this in Relief Society today I said, "Our dear Helen has made it!  She's done with her probation and she made it!  She endured well to the end of mortality and was a shining example to all of us."  I saw a lot of appreciative faces and joy and love for Helen!
We express tenderness for the family that remains in mortality, and love for them, but wow - can we be anything but happy for the person that has passed on, especially if they lived the life that Helen did?

I am grateful for every single person in my life, everyone, including the ones that are challenging.  Even those, because I know they are in my life for a reason, and I love them for going through whatever hard thing they are going through in order to give me a chance to learn and grow.  In mortality, we are all in a CONNECTED WEB of sinning, and being sinned against, having challenges and successes, having good days and bad, and working through this mortal experience together.  Truly, when we look back, we will see how closely our lives intertwined.  And how desperately we need our Savior Jesus Christ to be the bedrock of our foundation.

The final message from today, the verse that Josh read as his final statement in his talk at HS Graduation:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Do it Yourself

Joseph was over at Becca's house a week ago Saturday, and they found this picture.  Joseph said jokingly, "Look, that's probably me refereeing."  And then he said, "Wait, I think that's Josh!"  So fun!

Seeing Becca at this age reminds me of this picture of Hannah and Becca, which I adore:
It was super fun to have everyone here for my birthday last Sunday, and for Memorial day.

Josh, Joseph, Becca, Santi and Peter
Up on the roof! Josh, Santi, Peter and Libby
On the subject of the roof, Peter, Libby and I just saw this:

And here's Peter chillin in his cool chair that he rigged on the rooftop.

On Monday we loaded Mom's Mexican Furniture, the white couches that our neighbors gave us years ago, the rocking chair, the green rocking chair, the table from the ER, an end table and some other stuff, all into Greg and Rachelle's old Uhaul truck, and took off for Rexburg.  Joseph, Mary and two other girls that they picked up went in Frankie, Joseph's car.  (Joseph names his cars. What a hoot).
And in the UHaul, Peter and I were in front, and Josh and Santi were in back, lounging on the couches!  When we got to Mountain Home, Peter went in back too and we picked up Cara and Karen, friends of Santi, who needed a ride back to school.  I told Bishop I could handily drive the UHaul, having driven the loaded 26 foot long UHaul with Mom and Dad's stuff across the state a few years ago,  But what I didn't know was that this was an old Diesel stick shift!  Oh wow!  It was quite an experience driving that thing.  Peter actually helped a lot, and he ended up driving most of the way home on Tuesday afternoon.  He rocked it!  I was really proud of myself for gaining a new skill!  I tried to channel my sister Julie - she would have no problems with that!

Halfway up the hill outside of Mountain Home, I heard some banging from the back, and I just thought it was Peter telling me when to shift down, but in a moment, Josh called Kara and told her they needed me to pull over.  Apparently the strap had broken that was keeping the truck door a little open for air, and they were trying to keep all the furniture from falling out as we went up the hill!  It was a little adventure for them, but everyone survived and no one was hurt, so it was all good!  :)  What I was really impressed about was Kara and Karen - the two returned missionaries that rode with me in the front.  They were such good sports, just enjoying the adventure of it all as we bounced down the road!  Thank goodness for them.

We had our hardwood floors redone this week!  It looks so nice!
 And it was time to take down the Measuring of the Heights Board.  (Gulp - that one took some doing.  Tender moment.)  I love it that they both have on BYS t-shirts.  :)
Painting the trim has been, from the very beginning, the big monster in the room, so to speak, with getting the house ready to sell.  The trim looked terrible.  In fact, when we first discussed it, we both said, "We'll just have to put it up for sale 'as is'."  The thought of getting to the point we are now was so daunting that it seemed impossible.  But when we talked to our realtor, Shelly, and our home teacher, Doug, who is a general contractor, they both said that to get a decent price, and to sell in our price range, we would have to do something about it.  I saw the wisdom in what they were saying but it still seemed overwhelmingly daunting.  Then last Monday our friend Jaylen came in, and being a professional painter in college, he said he would come in and help us spray it and work on it.  That actually gave us a glimmer of hope.  We worked really hard for 2 weeks before that decluttering in every room, and by the time Friday came around, we actually had cleared out a space, both in our minds and in the house to be able to address the painting that needed to be done.  We found a lot of old paint, for one, and then were able to go to the paint store and decide on what we needed and get some supplies.  We started on it Friday afternoon, and by Saturday night, we had completed the trim (and some of the walls) in the yellow room, the boys room, Libby's room and half of her bathroom, and the hallway.  Whew!  It looks fantastic!

Another factor that I haven't mentioned yet is that even when we wanted to pay someone to do this, we couldn't get anyone to come.  There is a huge influx of building going on in our valley right now and the subcontractors are so busy they can't even fill the demand for their most trusted general contractors, so to do a little side job like ours was totally off the radar.  Se literally we had to buckle down and do it ourselves.  But what seemed like a totally insurmountable problem 3 weeks ago, has opened up and we are DOING IT!  And it's turning out great.  Peter and Libby are gaining a skill they didn't have before, which is even better.  I really am so pleased with what is happening, even though it is a TON of work, and we still have a lot to go!  The other funny thing - Jaylen forgot he had father and sons, so he couldn't come anyway.  But we had it figured out, so it was OK.

Before and after shots.  (This is embarassing, but that's really what it looked like!) Upstairs hallway.

This morning I had a profound experience reading Elder F. Enzio Busche's talk from October 1993 General Conference.  It's a long story how I got there, but it was the answer to what I had been searching for all week, and I used it as the basis for my lesson today is Relief Society.  I just love teaching Relief Society, can I say?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Last Week of School!

We sure have missed Jesse this past week!  She loves to clean out and de-clutter, and she would have been in hog heaven this week at our house.  Bruce actually went out and helped the garbage man this week, because it is three weeks in a row that we've had six garbage cans on the curb instead of one.  And Jerica has made a DI trip two weeks in a row with her car loaded with stuff to donate.  We have saved some stuff - which is gathering in stacks in the shop in the garage.  Lots of STUFF!  What's left in the house is the bare essentials, and it's so nice just to have that.  I have taken lots of pictures of things - thank goodness for digital cameras.  I hug the thing, take a picture and say, "Thank you for serving me all this time.  Good bye!"  It is liberating indeed!

Here are some things I have of which I have fond memories:

 I did this cross-stitch back in high school.
 Remember Gunny Bag?!

Breakaway Ballroom had their end of the year concert for families.  They showed off some of the dances they are learning already for next year.

Libby and Peter had their Last Day of School this week!  Libby had a fun Extravaganza, and then the next morning had an 8th grade breakfast, at which I helped serve.  We then went to the Awards Ceremony, where Libby got the PE Award from her teacher, as well as the Science Award!

 Congratulations, Libby!  She, Elizabeth, and Ellie all wore the same outfit - their blue honor choir t-shirt and black pants, for the last day - and then forgot to take a picture!  Haha  But the memory is there!

Can I just say, that I had a little Celebration because we are done with MIDDLE SCHOOL!!  Haha!

We had the annual water fight and it was a great success!  Lots of neighbors and friends.  We took two stock watering troughs down to the neighbors and filled them there instead of at our house.  And we took lots of buckets and containers and it made for a long, very wet water fight.  It was actually on the warm side!  No rain or clouds, which hasn't happened in many years.  I don't have any pictures, unfortunately, because we are busy getting people wet, not taking pictures!

Becca graduated from high school this week!  Congratulations, Becca!

I love this picture of Mary and Bailey too.
Saturday we had the Street Dance!  We had very sparse numbers.  I don't know if it's because we advertised it late or the fact that it was Memorial Day Weekend, but not many people came. However, we still had a great time!  My favorite moment was during the dance when we were standing there talking to Jay and Leah, and all of a sudden a grey car pulls up, and this kid is hanging out the window with a grin on his face, waving, and my brain finally registered that the grey car was the Impala and the kid was Joshua Bruce!  Yeah!!!  He surprised me!  He told me he couldn't come home this weekend, despite all the reasons to come, because he was stressed and too busy.  But that was all a cover up.  I was so glad to see him!  I just hugged and hugged him for a long time!  He brought Santi, he and Joseph's roommate, with him, so we've had fun having Santi here too.  I love having all my children at the Street Dance.  They are the most fun people to dance with!  They all showed off some great dance moves, both contemporary and a good deal of Ballroom and Latin!  SO FUN.

My birthday was fun!  I am a youngin' still at only 49!  I still have half my life left to live.  It's great to be 49 - seriously.  I love it.  Never had a better time of life.  The family came in and sang to me, and Bruce fixed a delicious breakfast AND a delicious dinner!  I got to take a long Sunday nap, and we had visits from Greg and Rachelle and family, and a nice walk down the street.  Scrolling through the Facebook birthday wishes was a treat.  To think of so many friends and family that are so kind to me warmed my heart.  I truly have so many people that I love dearly.  I think of the bouquet of beautiful people that are a constant stream in my life, and I am overwhelmed by the deep blessing I have had all my life of being surrounded by wonderful, exemplary human beings.  So kind and good. This has been my lot all my life, and continues to be so.  I give all the credit to God, and glory in his goodness and mercy to me, and to all of His children.