Sunday, January 18, 2009

there are families and there are ward families

1. How our ward had us in the ward directory weeks before we moved in
2. They were genuinely happy to have us in the ward
3. The first time I walked into Jane Stewart's house. I was actually looking for the Nielson's house, but found Jane instead. Her Tudor-style home was warm and inviting and she was friendly even though I had the wrong house.
4. How Jane used to tell everyone I was a good writer, long before she'd ever read anything I'd written. She helped me remember who I was and what I did before I immersed myself in being a mom.
5. The sweet way Jane has of being generous--of donating shoes, clothes, food, or whatever--without making you feel like you need a hand-out.
6. The way Olga used to call me from the Lake to pick up Christopher after school on early day or Jane would call me when she needed a phone number or some other type of information.
7. Finally seeing the sun--after living in my cousin's basement apartment for so long.
8. Feeling needed. We got put to work right away (I had 24 Beehives).
9. The row of blue-hairs in RS. Their wisdom and their grandmotherliness.
10. How it the spirit corrected me when I first turned down babysitting Leah Robinson. And so I got to know and love Leah (although I'm much better w/ teens than with toddlers) and Steve and Janet and they became like family to us.
11. How Janet once told me if she were ever the RS Pres. she would have me called as the compassionate service leader.
12. How when Janet was called as RS Pres ten years later and the bishop at that time was doubtful she persisted and told him I've already had 10 years to get ready for the call.
13. How much I loved serving as CS leader.
14. How when anyone died you didn't have to call to line up help--people called you to offer.
15. How when you send around a sign-up sheet in RS people write in their names at the bottom--an actual waiting list of sorts--when it's full.
16. The young mothers I knew who lived two houses down in the other teeny tiny fixer upper house on my street.
17. How I learned from one of them not to ever judge a mother who worked outside the home.
18. Our next door neighbor Bill--widower--who still cannot pronounce my name correctly. He is a good neighbor.
19. How Alice Jones would answer homemaking questions for me and help me with sewing issues (I'm still shocked at how quickly we lost her--to bone cancer).
20. How much I love the cookbook her husband Val gave to us all to remember her by.
21. How much Syd Kramer loved my kids.
22. Watching my Beehives grow up.
23. Getting them again four years later during my brief stint as Laurel advisor (before they yanked me out when they put Shane in the bishopric).
24. Having opportunities to have callings that made me stretch and grow.
25. How every time I was set apart I was told to put my family first.
26. Working with Lynda as the ward newsletter co-editors.
27. How much I loved writing the "News Around the Neighborhood" column (it was NOT a gossip column
28. The weird but special way I happened to usually be in the right place at the right time to know the news (at least in my pre work-outside-the-home days).
29. Sponsoring the "Where in the world is Bishop B" a "Name the Rooster" contests.
30. The Valentine's Day issue in which we ran pictures and stories of a number of the older couples in the ward.
31. Fern Cox.
32. Meridith Blackburn. It's her birthday today. Her husband just delivered to me the leftover cake. She sends food to us every couple of days because that's just the way she is.
33. How much more beautiful our world was because of the talent of Seven and Adrienne Nielsen.
34. The love shared between us the last time I saw Adrienne--just days before she died.
35. Taking my first quilt class with Alice Childs.
36. How Lil Anderson lent me her Bernina, then gave it to me for a promise---that I would take up quilting again and be her quilting partner.
37. How the miracles I've witnessed here: Andy Martin, Jenny Schieffer, and Phil Anderson's stories come to mind.
38. And how they help me hope for a miracle as well.
39. The day President Holland prayed that there would be no empty chairs at the tables in the home of our stake.
40. Back to Lynda--knowing her and learning from her and sharing in the pain and suffering she has faced as a mother has made me a better person.
41. Knowing and loving her daughters--who are amazing women even through the troubles they've shared.
42. Being able to witness Kate's return into the fold.
43. Being able to say good-bye to Kate the day before she died.
44. Being able to be there for Lynda and her family in the best way I knew how and how it helped me deal with my own grief.
45. Lynda's wonderfully frank RS lessons. Oh how I miss them. (Being able to reassure the bishop after a couple of them that they were fine and true--knowing full well he had likely heard otherwise from some who may not have appreciated her frankness.)
46. The at least a hundred times I plopped myself down on Bev Schieffer's comfy sofa in her lovely home to pour out my troubles and always hear, "Well, this too shall pass."
47. Going waterskiing with Jane and Olga.
48. The day I met Melody Newey.
49. The truth Melody speaks.
50. The way Melody nursed me, my husband, and my children. She is our personal nurse. She is one who has learned the healer's art.
51. The way Melody knows what I need even when I don't.
52. The way she nurtured me at times when I was all used up.
53. The way she makes me feel special with simple gifts of beautiful jewelry, silk slippers, fine chocolate and good books.
54. Getting sneak peaks at so much of her wonderful poetry.
55. The honor of being a friend to her, loving her kids, helping her work through some of her pains and fears.
56. Being there for her during her surgery. (Another miracle.)
57. When Marilyn Barry told me she knew my voice and I felt in my heart that God knew my voice, too.
58. The day I had a personal witness of why I come (even when with little kids it feels futile) as I bore my testimony through the simple act of answering questions during a temple recommend interview.
59. The night I went to ward temple night and I walked into the room and looked at those people wearing white and I knew that these are the people I want to see in heaven, too. The paths we walk together here bind us in such a way they are family to me.
60. The truth I knew when I first heard Steve Robinson's parable of the bicycle.
61. The way Melody saved my life when the doctors missed my double pneumonia.
62. How people brought in meals for weeks after I returned home from the hospital and long after the sign-up sheet was full and over with.
63. How I came home to clean house after that despite having threatened my husband to not let anyone in the house (I'd already been quite ill for a month).
64. All those years when we were first starting out with the school teaching gig and "Santa" would leave extras on our front door.
66. The wonderful friends my kids have had growing up.
67. Matt Marvell's "Step Up" challenge to the young men, just when one of my boys needed to hear it from someone other than his mother.
68. So many Fast Sundays when truth was told, witnesses were born, and I came away nourished and strengthened.
69. Gospel Doctrine from Steve Robinson, Dave Steward, Neal Kramer, Gordon Stokes and (finally) Donnette Perkins.
70. Geri Wood teaching me how to be a good mother-in-law.
71. The way my kids are at home at the Duerdens or the Cuells.
72. Finding out I was related to Charlotte Loveless when she told her pioneer story around the fake campfire in RS on July 24 and I realized her story was my story.
73. Finding out how Bob Spencer grew up with my dad.
74. The way Chris Sorensen caught Luke up with two years of scouts after he was allowed to fall through the cracks.
75. Watching Jan and Rob's lives changed as they embraced the Gospel--and learning not to take the water in which I swim for granted.
76. The way Jan takes in Kyle and Lindsay and loves them like they were her own.
77. All the people who played Santa for us this year when we were too devastated to do it ourselves.
78. Sister B. shoveling our walks
79. Jo Wentz (widow longer than I've been alive) tipping our boys when they delivered her paper (seriously no one tips in Utah).
80. The legion of people who supported Luke while he prepared for his mission and donated to the cause of outfitting him.
81. The legion of people who write to him and send him packages.
82. The people who bring dinner in anyway even though you tell them that until surgery there really is nothing to be done (this is a blessing because the truth is being so wiped out emotionally can be pretty exhausting physically and it's a good thing to have one less thing to worry about).
83. Knowing you can go to the bishopric and tell them when you're not comfortable with one of the YM leaders (turns out we were right on on that one), or that you have a family member who is struggling and you need some help.
84. All the people who love your kid anyway, even when he or she struggles.
85. Watching all the people who embrace your friend's daughter and her partner when they visit the ward.
86. Seeing the generosity pour forth for the 15-year-old girl who is pregnant (oh you know there are some who disapprove, but the majority are generous and supportive)
87. All the people praying and fasting for my husband.
88. The people who consistently drop off good quality hand-me-downs at exactly the right time.
89. Everyone who comes out of there houses no matter what the weather or what time of day or night at the too frequent arrival of ambulances on my street.
90. Knowing that whatever comes, we will go through it together.
91. The many times women have rescued me with homework help, costume help and general all-around survival help during the tempests of a teenage daughter.
92. The way everyone looks after each other.
93. Knowing so many doors are open to me, my husband and my kids if ever there is a need.
94. The people who are not afraid to tell my kids like it is.
95. Those people you can borrow a cup of sugar from.
96. Linda B's. Christmas cheese ball
97. Shirley's Christmas sweet bread wreath
98. Loving my ward so much when we had to move into a little bigger home we moved right across the street.
99. Sitting on the back row and watching the simple acts of service and sacrifice about which most people passing by any of these people I love would be completely oblivious.
100. Finding out Maria Lund knew my father and his family quite well growing up as well.
101. Working together with these people in this little corner of Zion, trying to build Zion together and helping each other along the way.

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