Saturday, September 24, 2016

Listen

For the past couple of days I've been a little bummed about the whole social security debacle until yesterday afternoon.  I was at work and it was time for a quick break.  Just something to clear my head and get away from my office for a bit.  I went to my usual places and eventually stopped and sat in one of the big comfy chairs so I could play a quick game of Phase 10 on my phone.  As I started to play the game and seemed to be moving through the phases rather quickly I overheard a man and women talking.  I couldn't help but overhear their conversation and I felt a little uncomfortable as the young man explained a few things that were going on in his life.  I've never seen this man before and the woman he was talking to was someone I've noticed around in the office from time to time, although I have no idea what her name is or which department she works in.  The woman must have been the young man's manager was my best guess.  The young man went on to explain a few details of a messy divorce he was going through and how the house he was living in was eventually going to have to go through a short sale.  And then he said that the hardest part through this whole thing was trying not to lose his two little boys through this whole thing.  I guess the young man has custody of the boys and struggles to work, get them off to school on time each day alone, and be there when they get home from school because of his work schedule while he also tries to not take much time off work so as to be able to not lose his job and keep food on the table.  By the time he was done both the manager and I were both feeling for the young man.  The manager assured the young man that she would do what she could to help and explained that he really didn't have to share all of this if he didn't want to.  She was trying to help him to maintain a little of his self respect I guess. The two finish their conversation and go off in their separate ways and I am now left sitting alone still thinking about what I just heard and all of a sudden my own situation didn't seem as bad as it once seemed yesterday. I was now feeling thankful that Kevin and I have never been in a situation that like this young man found himself in and being concerned that he might lose the two children he obviously dearly loved. As I thought about this and realized my own problems, even though they seem quite large at times, are nothing compared to what this young man was experiencing and tears began to stream down my face. It was time for what was going to be a quick break, but turned out not to be more like a normal break instead of a short one, to be over. I wished I would have had the courage to stop that young man before he disappeared to tell him what an awesome father he was and how incredibly lucky those two little boys were to have a father that loved them as much as he obviously did. I know that young man was feeling just like I often do. He was feeling all alone with the weight of the world on his shoulders and holding on for dear life. 

As I went back to my desk I suddenly felt a little better. All of a sudden the wait for just about everything in my life wasn't as hard of a thing to endure anymore. My burden became a little bit lighter. Funny how that happens when you hear about the struggles someone else is going through. 

I am a firm believer that if we all came together and put our struggles into a big pile in the middle of us all and had the chance to take any of the trials in that pile away, that we would each come back with the same struggle we started with. It's true. As I sat there listening to this young man I suddenly realized that I could handle the struggles we are going through and I was very grateful to NOT have to go through what this young man was going through.

As I got on the elevator to go back to my office I said a quick silent prayer thanking my Heavenly Father for this little reminder and then repenting for my murmurings from yesterday. 

Once I was back to my office I only had about an hour to go before I had to make the trip home. A few days ago Lexi helped me download a digital library app to my phone so I could listen to audio books on my phone. In fact, you can download entire book, magazines, movies, and music to just able any electronic device....all for free! When I got to my car I started the car and turned on the book I had just downloaded and began listening. The last time I listened to audio books was when I took a car trip up with some friends to go to BYU Women's Conference several years ago. It made the trip go by quicker and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to books instead of music all the way up to Utah. Now listening to a book makes my little trips to and from Phoenix a lot less stressful and I hate stopping when I arrive at work or home and have to stop the book. Since I downloaded the app I've only listened to three books. I downloaded the app on Monday. The books have taken the place of Netflix for me and I have stopped watching TV or movies at all. Speaking of TV, I don't think the TV has been on in our family room in weeks. None of us watch it anymore. That's strange to me, but not a bad thing in any way.  

As I was finishing up my work day I decided I would come home and try to call social security myself. I'm glad I did. After waiting about an hour to get in touch with an actual human being, I was greeted by a young woman who asked to speak with Mr. Schmidt so she could verify that it was okay to speak with me. I took the phone into Kevin who had no idea I was calling and who happened to be sleeping.  I called his name about three times and finally got him to wake up after I said his name the third time. He woke up abruptly and agreed to take the phone and go through their verification and password process.  Once that was done, I explained why I was calling and that I needed to know how long his case had been in "quality review" and that I needed to know if asking for a supervisor would help speed things along. The women on the other end of the phone said Kevin's case had been in quality review since May not April and that she needed to put me on hold to review the case and get some help from a co-worker.  I was on hold for what seemed like half an hour when she came back and thanked me for waiting. She then explained that Kevin's case was no longer in quality review and had been out of quality review since the end of August. She then said it could take another 30-60 days for Kevin to receive his first benefits. We then discussed the other part of the case. You see, several years ago, when our older children were still in elementary school, Kevin was on social security for a short time. I asked if that prior case was slowing things down. The woman assured me that it wasn't and that everything was in good order now and that was that. I then thanked her and told her she had made my day. So, now we wait. Yes, again, but I don't care. I am just happy to finally hear that Kevin's case is out of quality review. Finally!

After my call to social security was over I immediately got on the phone again, this time with SRP. I wanted to set up an over the phone payment for the M-Power service we use so I didn't have to make so many trips each week to add money to our power card. Frankly I hate the M-Power service and intend to switch back to regular service as soon as we can. What is M-Power? M-Power is a card based service that lets you pay as you go for electricity. The deposit for electrical services is around $200 each time you move here in the valley of the sun, but if you go with M-Power that deposit gets cut in half making it a little easier on the budget. We have used M-Power since before our oldest children graduated from high school. The only bad part about it is that you have to go to certain locations across the valley to add money to your card in order to use the service. During the summer, and depending on our budget, I'm making trips to add money to our card several times a week. Plus depending on my budget I have tried to use as little power as possible in an effort to preserve the power we have and make it to paydays. It's been rough some times when I turn the air conditioner up to 80 or even 85 in the blistering heat of summer. I was just doing what we had to do. Well, long ago I had heard that you could call SRP and give them debit card or check information over the phone to add money to your card, but I had never used the service. Until yesterday. Yesterday I called and gave them my information and set up a payment. This still meant that I had to go to add one dollar to my card in order for the over the phone payment to be downloaded to my card, but in the long run I'd be making fewer trips to add service to my card. Then I asked the SRP representative about when these types of services might be available online and he assured me that changes were coming very soon. I was happy. Happy because I remembered this option and finally decided to use it, and happy to not have to make so many trips to the payment locations anymore. This makes me a happy camper!

Last night when I was talking with Lexi she said something funny happened earlier that day. You see, Kyle is working a crazy schedule for work and so his sleep pattern is a little crazy. I guess he woke up yesterday around noon and came out into the family room and said, "Where's Curtis?"  He obviously was sleep walking. Lexi then explained to Kyle that Curtis was in New York and all of a sudden Kyle was awake and looking at Lexi like she just said something completely odd. 

There have only been a couple times that we have ever seen Kyle sleep walk. Curtis is the one that does this a lot. In fact, one time he woke up in the middle of the night and Kevin decided to have a little fun with him. Kevin told Curtis he was late for school and that he needed to hurry and get ready and get going. Curtis hurried and got ready and then headed out the door. Thankfully as soon as he got outside he realized it was still dark outside and he headed back into the house. When he got back inside there was his dad standing by the door with a big grin on his face waiting to tease Curtis yet again. The poor kid. That story will forever be one we look back on with fond memories as we think about missing our missionary. That with the story of Curtis pretending to be Danielle when an old boyfriend called the house desperate to talk to Danielle because she had just broken up with him. These little stories make us smile and stop us from ever feeling sad about not being able to see Curtis right now.  

Last night as I crawled into bed I mentioned the young man and his two little boys in my prayer. I asked that if this young man was sincere and as good of a father as he seemed to be that our Heavenly Father would do everything within His power to help this young father keep those two little boys if that was what was right for the little boys. (it sounded like the mother had given up her rights as a mother.) I then said this young man knows what is important and He needs your help to keep his little family together and be able to be a part of his little boys lives and those little boys need a father that obviously loves these little boys more than they will ever know. That wasn't the end of my prayer, and I found myself on my knees for quite a while as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father over many things and thanked Him again for all that I have and all that we had not been asked to endure thus far. I must have been on my knees for over half an hour when I finally ended my prayer and felt that I had said all I needed to say. What a blessing it is to know my Heavenly Father is there for me always. I couldn't make it without Him. 

Well, I have a lot to do today. First we plan to do a chemistry experiment with Lexi, then I'm off to run a few errands, and of there is lots to do around the house as well. 


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yesterday

Yesterday was a rough day.  Yesterday was the day we were suppose to hear something back from social security.  We heard nothing.  Nothing at all.  I was so frustrated!!!

Kevin called social security today.  The representative that answered the phone could not find a reason why Kevin's case is still in their so called "quality review" group.  In fact, the representative said she has never seen a case stay in quality review for more than 90 days and Kevin's case has been there since April. She offered to request that someone in their "quality review" group give us a call to tell us what the hold up is this time.  Mind you, every time Kevin and I went down to their offices they assured us that they had everything they needed.  Apparently that was a lie.  So we wait for their so called call.  Frankly, we won't be holding our breath.  

Before Kevin called social security today I made a call of my own to the third party company we hired to handle Kevin's case. They could not believe his case was still in the "Quality review" department either and suggested that Kevin call today to see if he could determine the hold up and then if not, we should call the third party company back again today so they could file a dire need form, which will take two weeks from the time social security receives it for it to be processed.  I'm already concerned about the phone call Kevin made today. When I called last time the representative said it can take another 30 days from the time that I called for them to get back to us.  Frankly, it sounds like they like to penalize people for calling them. So, does that mean that since Kevin called again today we will have to wait another 30 days because they have penalized us again?!  What the heck??!!!

The other day we had a meeting with everyone in our department and one of the speakers (a lawyer) happened to work for the government previously. I loved her comment about the government, "they just aren't that good!" That statement about sums it up. Needless to say, we are at our wits end with this whole thing and I don't know what to do. It's not like I can afford to spend every single day down at their offices until they finally do what we need them to do. If I could afford that, we wouldn't be in need of their services. The problem is, I think they know that and go out of their way to makes things hard for the very people that really need the benefits they have to offer. It's sad! 

Unfortunately, I think I see a day spent down in their offices in the near future....arg! AND with Kevin, which means he will spend the entire week after down in bed in chronic pain again. So frustrating! I wish there was some kind of group that investigated the inner workings of various federal groups when they fail to perform their duties in a timely and effective manner. It just shouldn't take from December of 2015 to October of 2016...and then some possibly, to make a decision on social security benefits, should it?!  I realize they see thousands and thousands of cases, but honestly!!!  So do insurance companies and they manage to get the job done a lot quicker than this bunch of yahoos! I have seen insurance companies take 45 to 60 days to make their decision and pay out benefits, but not close to 10 months!!! Unbelievable!!! 

Okay. I'm done for now. I feel a little bit better...not back to normal yet, but better.

We did happen to get a letter and a few photos from Elder Schmidt. His letters are always short and sweet because he is so anxious to get out and explore the area. Frankly, I can appreciate that. If I was in the area he is in, I'd want to do the same thing. I say live it all up son of mine. Enjoy every minute of it. Let's face it, things aren't going to be that kind of fun when you return home, especially if things keep up the way they are going lately. (Yes, I'm still frustrated.)

Anyway, here is his letter....

Hey Everyone,

This week was fun. We had some really good lessons with our members and are starting to involve them more in missionary work.  Yesterday I went on splits with Elder Wxxxx, who is the East Side Zone Leader here.  It was fun.  I was in their area is the East Size Young Single Adults area. We had a dinner appointment with this girl who is 22 and she was totally flirting with Elder Wxxxx because he goes home in like 5 days. Ha Ha!  It was ridiculous!  We were at a restaurant and in the middle of eating they dimmed the lights and brought out candles and everything. Ha Ha!  I was uncomfortable and so was my companion.  During the day we taught a few of their investigators and they are dope! It was really a fun day.  

Today we played some volleyball and now I'm not sure what we're going to do. Everyone is being lame.  I'm dealing with a ton of new missionaries wanting to write home to their girlfriends.  Anyways, I gotta go.  We're gonna go explore Manhattan a little.  Talk to y'all later.

Love,

Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad


Below are a few of the photos Elder Schmidt sent home. This first one is a photo taken from the balcony of one of the ward members in the area. The temple is within walking distance of their home. How awesome is that?!  It's also their ward building. That's right folks, the downstairs portion of the temple is a ward and stake building. The other photos are of Elder Schmidt's companion and another view of the Manhattan area. 


Can you see the temple?  Here is a closer view....


See the white building in the middle of all those big tall buildings?  That's the Manhattan Temple and it's a big building it just looks tiny next to the giant buildings close by.

This is Elder Schmidt's companion.


And now for a huge surprise!!!

I received a message from a Chris Figueroa who is from Queen Creek and who also happened to be in Manhattan today and ran into our missionary!!!  Chris also happens to be related to the Figueroa's in our ward as well.  Bro. Figueroa is Chris's nephew!  How cool is that?  Small world.  Below is the photo Chris took of Elder Schmidt looking like he got his hand caught in the cookie jar.


That's all I have for you today. I promise my next post will be more upbeat. Right now I'm just trying to grasp the fact that we have to wait yet again. Story of my life....waiting. 

Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday

This is going to have to be a quick post, so here goes....

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter asked me to help her make an apple pie from scratch because her husband had been craving one and was begging her to give it a try.  As it turned out it took us a couple weekends to finally get together.

This past weekend we were finally able to get together.  We ran to the store so Danielle could pick up the things she needed to make her pie and then we went to her house to make it.  My youngest daughter came with us so she could learn how to make a pie as well.  As I thought about it, I guess we did a lot of baking over the years together, just never many pies.  

Once we had all of the ingredients it didn't take us long to have pies all ready to put in the oven.  Below are pictures of our pies before we put them in the oven. Mine is the top one and Danielle's is the bottom one.



I told Danielle to set her oven to 425 degrees and plan on the pie baking for about 45 minutes based on the instructions I found with the Pillsbury recipe I used as a guide.  We still followed my Mother's instructions but reviewed the Pillsbury recipe for temperature and length of cooking time.

Well, that was a BIG mistake!  You see, once the pies were ready for baking I gave Danielle some quick instructions on how long to bake the pie and on which temperature.  Then Lexi and I ran home to bake our pie.  

We were home for about 15 minutes when we received a text from Danielle telling me her pie had burnt.  I told her to send me a picture.  As soon as I saw the pie I immediately looked up other recipes that suggested a baking temp of about 350-375 degrees and baking time of about 2 hours.  I then ran to my oven to turn it down to 350.  We checked out pie several times as it baked and ended up pulling it out of the oven after about 90 minutes of baking.  Below are the photos.  Can you guess which pie is mine and which one is Danielle's?  I felt so bad.  I even offered to take them a couple pieces of our pie, but Chance said he would still eat the pie his wife made just maybe without the top crust.  
Can you guess which pie below is which?  When I showed Danielle our pie she called me a show off.  Ha Ha!!!



All in all, it was a lot of fun baking pies with both of my girls, even with the pie casualty.  We plan to get together again to bake pies, but this time it will be pumpkin, apple, lemon, pecan, and chocolate for Thanksgiving.  I can't wait for Thanksgiving!  I'll be cooking all day. Chance insists that I make my stuffing, which I always do, and Kevin has requested turkey and ham this year.  It will be nice to get together with our kids and spend time together for the holidays.  I'm looking forward to it. 

Kevin let me know this happened in Manhattan, NY Saturday.


I have to admit, I freaked out a bit.  Thankfully Kyle set me straight when he confirmed that his brother was on Facebook after this so that put my mind at ease.  Thank you Kyle!


Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.  
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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Morning

The day started early for me today when I woke up just before six this morning, which was sleeping in for me and that's always a good thing. Shortly after I woke up Kyle was up and dressed ready to leave the house. He was off to go play football with his cousin and a few other young men. Lexi was up and ready to work on a few things for school. Before Kyle left Kevin came out of our bedroom in his wheelchair. We all watched as Kyle left the house. After Kyle was gone Lexi, Kevin and I spent the morning sharing stories and talking about all kinds of things until Kyle called telling us he was on his way home and it was well after ten thirty. While we were talking I received a message from Curtis telling me about a few things. (his tooth) It was perfect timing. We talked for about two minutes and I happened to mention that his friend Spencer was home from his mission. Curtis said he already knew because he and Spencer had been emailing back and forth. I couldn't even surprise him with the news Spencer was home. Oh well. It was nice to spend that time together as a family this morning. We haven't had a good long family discussion and talk like this in a long time. It was great! Kyle, of course, spent a little time with us before he hopped in the shower and went to bed. Kyle is going to be super tired when he gets home from work tonight. He only got a few hours of sleep. 

Some of the things we talked about this morning was some of the things Kevin wants to do when social security finally kicks in. How he wants to get back to, as he calls it, "where he was before". That was quite a conversation. He still has trouble grasping the fact that he may never walk again. I guess I would to if the tables were turned. It's kind of hard for me. I want so much for my old husband to back, but at the same time I have to live in the reality that it might now happen and then try to help my husband come to that understanding as well. We talked about this not defining who he is. He said he just doesn't want to be treated the way other people treat him, like he is a problem. He doesn't like that others give him special treatment. He keeps mentioning how everyone treated him when our daughter was married and kept going out of their way to accommodate him. He hated it. He said he wants people to treat him the way they did when he was in the hospital and they all expected him to do things for himself and stop babying him. Then at the same time, I think he needs some special treatment once in a while. Sure, I want him to be strong enough and comfortable enough to do things for himself and not worry about what everyone else is thinking. And then there are times I want to shield him and protect him from some things to. It's hard. So, we are taking this in stride and trying to go with the flow and not rock the boat yet. 

We also talked about some of the callings Kevin has had. He said he wants to get back to where he was when he was serving in young men's again. I told him he may never be able to get back to that again, but that that did not mean that he still couldn't do the same things he did before, he just may need to find new ways to do things. We talked about getting him another wheelchair that was more fitted to his body. He said he saw a few online. I told him we were going to take him to the doctor and get the one they were trying to make for him just before our car broke down. They were building a custom chair just for Kevin. I want that chair for Kevin, not one he orders online and it might work. I want him to have exactly what is best for him and let him pick wheels, colors, and chair specifics. He deserves that. If he is going to spent a lot of time in something he deserves to be comfortable and it needs to fit him like a glove. This is yet another thing we are waiting for social security to kick in for. I feel like our entire lives have been on hold since last December when we filed. When is this going to happen? Kevin plans to call them on Monday. Hopefully we get some answers. We also talked about that big car accident I mentioned several posts before. I was wrong. They lost four people in that accident. The scout master, two boys from one ward members family, and a non-member boy. Then the father of the two boys that past away also broke his pelvis. Other young men were injured. This all happened in the Cottonwood, Arizona area. Kevin's Mom and Dad were the first on the scene and his father went around and gave every person in that vehicle a blessing. Then members of Cottonwood, Arizona took in all the kids and their families while their loved ones were in a local hospital. Ironically Kevin's father was a counselor in the bishopric and the Bishop was out of town so he and the other counselor took care of everything and what they couldn't handle Kevin's mother, who had just been called as Relief Society President took care of the rest. It was quite amazing. 
This morning we talked about that Bishop and his wife and the parents of the two member boys. I was always very impressed that from the moment they met me, just before Kevin left on his mission, both of those women never forgot my name. I found that to be incredible since I was not part of their own families and I didn't spend a lot of time around them. Then when I went with Kevin to visit the Loar's (the parents of the two member young men who passed away in the accident), nearly 30 years from the moment we met, Sister Loar still remembered my first name.  She was such an amazing woman!  She had polio and used a crutch most of the time to get around. When her husband was in the hospital with a fractured pelvis she prayed to our Heavenly Father to allow her to take some of the pain her husband was experiencing so he would pull through and recover quickly. Well, as it turned out Sister Loar fell and broke her hip and as soon as that happened her husband's fractured pelvis had healed and the pain was nearly gone.  She had incredible faith that her Heavenly Father could and would grant her the desires of her heart. She was the mother of I believe seven kids and they all were taught to love the Lord and follow His teachings. They are all incredible people and we love them all. When each of them were little and since she had polio it was hard for her to carry her child in her arms and walk. So she would often crawl and carry those little ones around in a blanket. She found a way to do things. She wasn't going to let her polio keep her from serving her family. I love her example and desire to be independent and raise her family. She found a new way to do things. 

This is what I have been trying to tell my husband. He cannot let his injury keep him down and he may need to find new ways to do things. I've tried to explain to Kevin that I know that he has never been the type of person to just sit back and take it. He is a fighter and when people tell him he can't do things he ALWAYS finds a way to prove them wrong. His Mom would call it a James thing. (Her maiden name.) Well, it very well may just be that, a James thing and that is a-okay with me. Whatever it is that makes Kevin dig in a fight I say that is great! I think he is at a place where he is starting to believe the things he has been telling himself. I told him he needs to get out of that bedroom and maybe go out for walks or something. Just something to get a new perspective on things. As we talked this morning I could see that I was striking a nerve and he knew I was right. The one thing I have always known is that Kevin can do anything he sets his mind to do. I have had a front row seat watching him single handedly move mountains in the lives of many young men over the years as he served for over 23 years in the young men's program in various rolls and callings. I have watching him literally drag young men out of the gutter and bring them back and help them realize their own potential and later go on to become awesome men. So I know what he can do. I have also watched him go from not thinking he would ever amount to anything (we actually had that conversation when he found out the family business was folding as he thought about having to take a job for someone other than his family.) as he took his first ever job outside of the family business, right after we got married, and he single handedly turned that into his lifelong career and he excelled at it! He went from being a new employee at Home Depot to becoming a store manager and someone the owner of the company spoke to on a regular basis as they discussed day to day business. Kevin got his attention and he wasn't the type of man to be easily impressed either, but he was with Kevin.  Then later when Kevin left Home Depot he became manager of several other businesses and later became Operations Manager at a computer company. That job was something Kevin took after being ill. That job became everything to him. He loved that job and the people he worked for, and then the business was sold. When the business was sold Kevin became their Operations Manager. Kevin worked hard for the new owners just like he did for the previous, but the dynamics in the officer were never the same again and he hated that. He even got promoted and was making $70K as their initial offer with the promise of a six figure salary if he agreed to relocate with the company. He loved working for the previous owner. They treated us all like family. He could literally take a struggling business and turn it into a thriving success! It was amazing to watch. It was only after his first ever back surgery that things began to change for all of us. After Kevin's back surgery we made the hard decision to not make that move. The new owners ran that business lean and while Kevin worked hard to keep it thriving, the owners ran it into the ground and they were credit poor. It was a very literal example of what you would call, robbing Peter to pay Paul. It was a hard decision. I was the one that refused to move. I was the one that put my foot down and tried to remind Kevin what out lives would be like if something were to happen to him and we were away from doctors that we knew and family. I was the one that had to burst my husband's bubble, so to speak, and remind him how bad things looked for the company and it was going to be a complete stretch if the company was going to turn around their credit poor situation. It was not an easy decision and I still hear about that. I was the one that shot down my husband's dreams of making a six figure salary and really making it to, what he called successful. We were also going through a lot of other things as a couple and a family at the time. We had our two older kids in high school just about ready to graduate. Kevin had promised our children to never move our children from a school once they started high school and here we were trying to go back on that word. There were many factors that came into play with that decision to not relocate. But...Kevin bounced back and eventually went to work as an Operations Manager again for yet another company. He never made what he was making for the computer company, but he did well for himself and we were still here in Arizona. Our kids were happy and I was too. At this new company Kevin did the same thing he always does....made the business successful and even got the attention of upper management. He just has a way of doing that every single time. He has a talent and I hope that maybe one day he will get to a place where he can do it again possibly. 

In high school he had a math teacher make a deal with him. The teacher never understood how Kevin could never do any of the homework and yet ace every single test...which meant his grade suffered. So, the teacher's deal was that if he would join DECA and help the school's team he would get Kevin a passing grade. Kevin ended up excelling in DECA. He loved it and his math grade significantly improved as well. 

So, no one can ever tell me that my husband cannot do anything he sets his mind to, because I have witnessed that our entire married life. He just needs to decide for himself that HE CAN! It's funny to me that Kevin and I seem to be opposites from each other in many ways. For example, when I am struggling with things, Kevin has a way of setting me straight and getting me back on track again. I do the same thing for him. We joke that if we were ever in the same place at the same time that could be bad for us, because when I am down he is up and when I am up he is down, and the one that is up always saves the one who is down. It's just how we work best together. Not that I always like it, it just is. I guess since Kevin's SCI we both have had moments where we have been down together. BUT never did I ever think Kevin could not take this SCI and turn it into something amazing. EVER! The man I married is amazing. He really is. He just is and I will always be in his corner. I love him.

After we all talked for a bit, Kevin went back to bed. I did the same thing and slept until after two in the afternoon. I have to say, this has been a weird day full of us all doing things we don't normally do or at least in ways we don't normally do them. That's not a bad thing. In fact, it was great today. I loved spending the morning talking and sharing things with our children and each other. We use to do this all the time and this is how we would have most of our family gospel discussions and us as parents sharing our testimonies with our children. I miss that. Our children miss that. Now a days, it's nice to talk with our older children and hear them share their testimonies as well. I absolutely LOVE that! Today we talked about serving and how all of us watched Kevin and I serve and how Kevin even watched his parents serve others. It was good to talk about these things. All in all, today was not a very productive day in terms of getting things done around the house but it was a productive day in terms of getting things done between all of us as a family and that is a wonderful thing. I love that!

Well, I should go. Take care friends and we will talk again soon.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

It's FRIDAY!!! Yes! Let's kick things off with a MEME...

1. What has changed in your life, home, or community since your last birthday?

My birthday was a few months ago.  Since then not much has changed.  Things are pretty much status quo. 

2. September is Classical Music Month.  Do you like/listen to classical music?  If so, what's a favorite piece and/or who is a favorite composer?

It's not a favorite, but I don't hate it and will listen if someone else turns it on.   

3. Besides The Bible, what's a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective?  How so?

I'd say the Book of Mormon.  That book has done more for me than any other book on the face of the earth.  I love it.  

4. I read that these ten hobbies will make you smarter....play a musical instrument, read voraciously, meditate regularly, work out your brain (puzzles, sudoku, board games, etc.), exercise often, learn a new language, write your feelings down (blog, journal, just write), travel to new places, cook different kinds of meals, participate in sports actively.

Are any on this list your current hobbies?  Which hobby on the list would you be most inclined to try?

I read.  Just not as much as I'd like to these days.  I just don't have the time.  I spend time in prayer and in thinking on scripture...not sure that's what they mean by meditating.  But that's what I call meditating or pondering.   I do word puzzles and love to play board games on a regular basis.  I exercise, but I wouldn't say it's often...working on that.  I blog and journal.  Lately, I've been getting back into cooking and trying lots of new recipes or just winging it with what's on hand.  Of the hobbies I don't do, I'd most like to travel to new places.

5. What sports traditions does your family have?

I come from a family that watched some sports.  Not all.   I think my parents preferred old westerns, war movies, documentaries, and the movie classics.  My husband, on the other hand, grew up watching all sports that were on.  It didn't matter what it was.  Once in a while he would watch something other than sports.  I guess this is why I can never get him to go to the movies with me now. If it was March and nothing was in season he might have watched something like ping pong or cliff diving.   In my opinion, if they keep score in any way, Kevin will watch it.   For me, I love an occasional sporting event.  My favorites are hockey and basketball.  Once in a while baseball.  Football is my least favorite.  So when football season starts and Kevin and my boys want to watch the game I usually leave the room and go do something else or watch something other than football.  
My kids?  I'd say with football they are split down the middle.  The boys love to watch.  The girls not so much.  BUT, if the sport is something like volleyball, we ALL will watch or wrestling....we all watch that too.

6. In a few words, weigh in on the current football/National Anthem brouhaha. Keep it family friendly, please?

Do I like what Colin Kaepernick is doing?  No.  Do I like that it seems to be spreading among other players?  No.  I tend to think they are young men who are a bit puffed up with their fame and forget the opportunities they have had in life precisely because they live in this country.  I'd like to ask them what they, themselves as famous, exceptionally wealthy young black men are doing to change things....other than bowing out of standing up for the National Anthem, which has gotten everyone yelling, is proving to be yet another dividing line between us, and is about as effective as a Facebook post in actually accomplishing anything.

All that said, we cannot play the free speech card only when it suits us.  The men who are refusing to stand have that right (as long as they are not disruptive)....just as I have the right to think they are in the wrong and say so.

7. Where do you have loads of patience and where do you most lack patience?

I don't naturally have "loads" of patience anywhere.  I would classify myself as an impatient person except when I am at work.  There people don't think I know how to raise my voice.  (Guess I have them fooled.)   Many times a day I have to stop before I open my mouth and ask my Heavenly Father to help me NOT say something.  Other times the words come out like nobody's business.  Bottom line......Sometimes I do okay, sometimes I don't.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Remember me mentioning that large seventy million dollar issue I had at work that I helped resolve.  Well, today I got a message that one tiny little piece of the issue still needed to be resolved.  Keep in mind, this is for a multi-billion dollar client.  So, pretty important.  Needless to say, I spent a little time working to resolve this tiny piece today.  I knew there was a reason I kept all my notes close just in case something came up.  I'm so glad I did because it helped to speed up the resolution.  I love it when that still small voice whispers and I listen....what a blessing!  You see, normally I would discard or delete certain things once issues are resolved so as to keep things nice and tidy and organized.  This one, for some reason, made me not do what I normally do.  Thankfully the issue should be taken care of by Monday and that should be the last of it. (I'll probably still hang on to my notes until at least the end of the year just to be sure all is well.)

I have to say, I really do enjoy what I do for a living.  There is always something new to learn and things are always happening.  Never a dull moment.  That is a good thing.  I love the people I work with, my boss is amazing!  Last night we all cleared off our desks so the cleaning staff could come and deep clean our offices.  Well, we work in an office with 2500 people in it.  Unfortunately that is to many offices for the cleaning staff to get to in one evening and our area got missed and we totally understand.  Well, my boss, seeing that our areas got missed, got out her cleaning supplies and cleaned each one of our offices for us.  How awesome is that?!  So many times you have bosses that feel that certain tasks are beneath them, but not my boss.  She will do whatever it takes.  I love that about her and it makes me appreciate her more than ever!  She has been a huge blessing to our team.  We have learned a lot and we all seem to be working better as a team now.  Plus, she is working to promote me.  That makes me super happy!  If all goes well, that should happen about the time Curtis gets home from his mission.  If I wouldn't have had to be out so much right after Kevin's SCI it probably would have happened at the beginning of this year, but I couldn't help that.  Family first!  I am so grateful she is doing everything she can to help me reach that goal.  What more could I ask for?

As soon as I got home from work I ran to Target with Kyle.  He wanted to get a couple pairs of socks and he picked up some things to make sandwiches.  Before we left, I called in a couple prescription refills for Kevin.  By the time we got home from Target both prescriptions were ready so Lexi and I ran down to Walgreen's to pick them up.  Lately it seems that we have been running to two Walgreen's to pick up everyone's prescriptions which isn't that big of a deal, but the one Walgreen's seems to be a lot more pleasant to work with, even though they are the ones that made that big mistake and shorted Kevin on that one prescription several months back and I had to move heaven and earth to get them to fix it, I still think they are the better place.  They have been very nice to work with and I appreciate that more than ever, especially since Kevin has some pretty intense medications we are dealing with.  The other location just seemed to not be as nice.  So, tonight when I was at the Walgreen's I like I asked the pharmacist how we could go about moving the entire family over to their location.  He said just let us know which prescriptions you want to move and we will do it.  Then he asked me if I wanted him to keep our debit card on file so they could set it up so that whenever Kevin had future prescriptions to pay for we could make the payment over the phone and then all we had to do was to pick it up.  How cool is that?  I like that option of being able to pick and choose which ones we pay on the phone and which ones we don't.  Love it!!  

Once I got home I was ready to be home.  Wednesday I made the mistake of drinking a glass of Mountain Dew with dinner.  Big mistake! I probably had less than 12 ounces of Mountain Dew.  If I had to guess it was probably more like 8 ounces. That night I couldn't fall asleep to save my life.  I tossed and turned and finally remember checking the clock for the last time just after 12:30AM.  The next day I was pretty tired.  I made it through work okay, but once I got home I was ready to call it day.  Well, I scheduled a doctor's appointment for 5PM that night.  

My doctor is amazing!  Since Kevin's SCI a lot has changed around our home.  Kevin is set up in the master bedroom and has pretty much taken over the entire room.  In fact, I have moved out all of my clothing, the things I use in the master bathroom to do my hair and make-up, all of my jewelry, and I pretty much do not have a space to call my own now.  I am like a gypsy in my own home moving from place to place with all of my belongings.  I kid you not.  In fact, all of my stuff is hung over chairs in my dining room and on the coffee table in my living room because I don't have a place to put it all.  In fact, I blow dry my hair while sitting on the couch in my living room simply because the guest bathroom is too steamy after my shower.  So, because all of my stuff is everywhere and I don't have a place to put it all, it's been hard.  I was talking to my doctor about some of these things and how I didn't want people in my home to see the piles of clothing and other things all over my dining room chairs and coffee table.  I explained that I don't want anyone coming into my home until I had all of that put away in a spot and things were "company clean".  It's an issue for me.  I know.  I don't want to give anyone any more stuff to talk about because I don't want to be the topic of their conversations and their nit picking.  I can't help that.  I know I will never have the perfect situation in my lifetime and no matter what, people are going to talk, even if my house is "company clean".  BUT, at least if they talk, I will know that I have done everything within my power and then if they talk it's on them and it's their problem.  My doctor and I talked about this for a bit.  She said it's time to get myself a space in my home and make it my own.  She said I do EVERYTHING for EVERYONE in this family and I deserve my own space.  I make the money.  I pay the bills.  I cook.  I clean.  I am the one everyone comes to when they need something and I am not placing enough value on myself by allowing myself to not have my own space.  She said I need to work on placing more value on ME.  I about burst into laughter when she said that.  I guess because I never thought of it like that.  She is also helping me to create boundaries and distancing myself from certain people and situations in my life as a way to preserve myself and allow myself to deal with everything that has fallen squarely on my shoulders because it is a lot.  She even said, because of all that I deal with, she hasn't even begun to do some of the things she normally does with her other patients.  She said what I am dealing with is way too much!  I appreciate her insight so much because she is absolutely right.  Certain relationships are smothering for me right now and I need to step away and not be around that right now.  AND I will say, that has been the hardest thing ever for me because that is not what I have been taught and what I know to be right in a healthy situation.  Key word, healthy.  She said if someone was physically hurting one of my children what would I do?  I told her I would take my child out of that situation.  She said, exactly!!!  You would get them as far away from that to prevent your child from being hurt more and get them to where they can heal from the hurt that was caused.  She said the same thing is true for someone when the same type of thing happens when there is things like mental anguish involved.  You have to take yourself out of that situation in order to allow yourself time to heal and get stronger so you can move on and hopefully be able to eventually be around that situation later on, but sometimes if the damage is really bad you may not be able to be around that situation ever again.  It just depends on the damage done.  Now, for me, I'm sure eventually I will be back in that situation some time down the road, but for now I have to keep my distance and create certain barriers to give myself time to deal with everything in my own family and give myself time to get to a better place.  I just don't need to added drama and pressure that comes from that situation...my plate is full and spilling over.  You know, these are not things I didn't already know.  I knew this situation wasn't healthy all along.  BUT, by working with my doctor and her helping me to see and understand that what I was feeling and experiencing is not right or okay and she is teaching me that it is okay to say NO and I don't have to feel guilty about it.  It's okay to NOT do certain things in an effort to preserve sanity around our home and allow my entire family time to heal because lets face it....ALL of us are going through a grieving process right now.  We, like Kevin, are all grieving the husband and father we use to have.  A lot has changed about Kevin and the things that he can or cannot do now.  It isn't easy for any of us.  My doctor said it takes a good full year for everyone to begin to feel somewhat normal again after something like this and everyone involved goes through a certain amount of grieving.  Honestly, I knew it would be hard.  I just never dreamed it would effect all of us so drastically and profoundly.  It really has taken it's toll on all of us and if we did not have the blessings we have in our lives who knows where we would be right now.  I cannot stress this enough!  Our ability to get through this difficult time has come from the things we have all been taught in our parents homes, in our home as parents together, and what we have tried to teach our children, which everything has been centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come from trying to remain true an faithful.  I love the saying, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."  This quote referring to the trials we experience in this earthly life in order to someday be found worthy to return to live with our Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom.  That is what this earth life is really all about. Working together, teaching each other, learning together, helping each other through the difficult times, and making sure we ALL make it back to our Heavenly Father.  I also like the picture that use to hang above my living room couch of the stripling warriors.  (We took the picture down so we could use the doors it hung on for my daughter's wedding reception and I just haven't put it back up yet....I relocating it to our dining room) In the picture the captain is taking a report from one of the soldiers and the soldier reports, "All present and accounted for."  That is what I want my husband and I to be able to say when we stand before him at judgement that our little family is ALL present and accounted for.  No, this trial has not been easy.  No, this trial has not been anything we would wish on our worst enemies.  Yes, we have our bad moments when we want to run screaming from the building saying I'm done and I can't do this anymore, but realistically, we know that is never the option.  We are in this as a family together forever, for always, and no matter what!  AND that means with all of our good times and all of our bad.  To-ge-ther!  All of us.


After that appointment the other day, I ran an errand and got gas in my car.  Once I was home I was home.  I must have finally fell asleep last night by about 9PM, which is pretty late seeing as how I get up at 4AM each morning to make it to work on time.  Tonight, I'm feeling the same way I did last night.  I'm ready to go to bed and it's only 7PM.  How crazy is that??  Lexi didn't want anything special for dinner and she just had some left overs.  I had some of the same thing Lexi had so I was good to go.  Before Lexi and I ran to pick up prescriptions I made Kevin a sandwich and he was good to go.  Tonight I think he will be sleeping soundly, or at least I hope he will be.  These prescriptions help with the nerve pain.  They are not the same medicines he sees a pain specialist for.  The medications we see a pain specialist for, Kevin won't let me refill.  He wants to wait for social security to kick in first.  He is being stubborn and I have tried and tried to let him know that those prescriptions do not cost thousands of dollars now that we have almost met all of our deductibles for the year.  He still won't do it. I also think he wants to see if the doctor can change up the medications for something a little different.  Something a little less strong and I am perfectly A-okay with that.  Frankly, I prefer that.  I don't like him taking all of those controlled medications anyway.  They make him loopy and he doesn't need any help with that.  That is his "tell" when things are not good.  I can always tell Kevin isn't feeling well when he is loopy right now or he starts to slip out of bed over and over again.  That is when I know it's time to get him some help and it comes on quick.  I have to monitor him a lot. We use to go running to the bedroom every time we heard a loud noise.  Now we just ask Kevin if he is okay.  If he doesn't answer within a minute or two, then we go running.  So see, things are getting a little better.  We aren't in panic mode with every noise anymore.  That's a good thing.  We are starting to get the hang of thing a little more.  Sure, there will be things that come along I'm sure I'll have plenty of freak out moments along the way.  Thankfully there are others who have been through this kind of thing before and who will be there to help us all every step of the way and that is an incredible blessing!

Tonight Kyle is off playing games with a couple of the officers he works with, a couple of the dispatchers, and a couple of the police aides.  He won't be home until late an then his work week starts again tomorrow.  He needs to get out and have some fun so this kind of thing is encouraged by Kevin and I.  I think he could also benefit from taking an institute class while he has a little extra time.  He didn't sign up for classes this semester because his work schedule was going (or still could be) changed.  He is working at the Central Phoenix location right now and he was trying to get back to the main campus.  He likes being busy and going out on campus and meeting the students and going on calls with the officers and doing the kind of work he wants to be doing.  Right now his job consists of sitting at a desk that was never something Kyle wanted to be doing. At least this schedule isn't permanent and will change eventually.  Kyle told me the other day that once he goes through the academy he will graduate from the academy with an associates degree which thrills me!  He of course, would continue on to finish with at least a bachelor's degree.  Of course it would be in criminology.  I love that he enjoys what he does, even when he is sitting at a desk.  Since he started this job, he hasn't missed a single day.  Sure, he took a vacation day when Danielle got married to attend the temple ceremony but that has been it.  He loves his work.  I for one, love what I do as well, but if someone were to offer me enough money to be able to not work and stay home and take care of my husband and children I don't think it would take me very long to make the decision to become a stay at home wife and mother.  I'm sure there are things about being a stay at home wife and mother that I will hate, but I at least would like the opportunity to find those things out for myself.  Know what I mean??

This weekend I had planned to head over to Peoria to pick up something from a friend, but my stomach is a mess.  So, that may have to wait.  Danielle and I are suppose to get together to bake that apple pie this Sunday, but that to may have to wait. More to come on all of that......

Are you still with me?

I'm sure you have probably read enough, right?
Well, it's been a busy week and I think I just might watch a movie and head off to bed.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"That's My Fun Day!"

Well, I'm back at work!  Yay!  

Let's start with a Meme.....

 The Alice Through the Looking Glass Meme

If your life was a book, what would be its title?  Plans Are Made to be Broken, So Don't Make Them.

Who is/was the weirdest person in your life?  Weird?!  I wouldn't call anyone weird so I can't really decide.

What is a special thing that someone once did for you? There have been several things. When I was in Elementary School my grandparents paid to have me fly to California to spend a week with them. We went all over the place,....Disneyland, the Queen Mary, the Spruce Goose, A museum.  It was a lot of fun.  Then there were several things my parents have done for me.  Like planning and executing a wedding reception for me at a time when my dad was out of work.  My parents sacrificed a lot for my reception.  Then there was the time later when my parents paid our rent several months in a row when I was pregnant with Lexi.  There was the time my parents gave me money to purchase a car.  Then there are the countless times when my parents have helped us since Kevin's spinal cord injury.  There is also all the things our church has done for us since Kevin's spinal cord injury as well.  These are just a few of the things people have done for us.

If you could erase someone off the planet, who would it be?  I wouldn't choose anyone.  I don't hate anyone enough to want to erase their existence.  Now, if someone hurt the ones I love...I might feel differently, at least for a little while, but I hope I'd be able to find it in me to forgive them.  Hate's not a good thing...it only hurts the hater.

What’s a big goal that you have?  I want to be able to buy the house we live in and remove all the carpet and tile from every room and replace it with another type of flooring. Then I want to knock out the wall where our kitchen is and extend it so it lines up with the back wall of our bedroom.  Then I would close off the room we now use as our family room and turn it into a bedroom again.  I'd then put up a wall to make our living room smaller on the one side, and then on the other would be our dining room.  Then the room beyond the dining room would become our family room with an opening between it to the master bedroom that could be opened up so Kevin wouldn't be closed off from the rest of us when he has to lay down.  Hope that all makes sense.

If you could time travel and meet yourself at 16, what would you tell yourself?  Take every opportunity to do all the things you want to do.  Don't let things pass you by.

If it were the last day of your life, how would you spend it? I think just hanging out in some beautiful location with the people I love, enjoying the world and hopefully giving them some things to remember about me.

If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be and why?  I am honestly just not that into the whole celebrity thing.  I think it would be cooler to meet the General Authorities from my church instead of celebrities. 

What is one thing that you would never do that others you know have done?  Make excuses for my kids. I know some good people whose kids have made some very bad life choices and they make excuse after excuse for them and are just the biggest enablers I have ever seen.  They would be doing the child a service if they would stop making those excuses, handing them whatever they want, and riding in to rescue them from the consequences at every turn.

What is one romance depicted in film that you’d love to experience?  I honestly do not know.  I have seen so many but I can't pick just one.  The one is Sixteen Candles.  OR how about the one in Pretty Woman?  

Describe yourself in just one sentence. An ordinary woman trying to live each day the best I can with the Lord's help.

Who is the most beautiful person on earth?  How can I answer that?  We're all beautiful in some way and I believe real beauty is in the heart, not on the surface.  A plain person with a beautiful spirit is much more attractive than a physically perfect person with a miserable personality.

What was the best experience in your life?  I would have to say when my parents were baptized into the LDS church.  That event changed our lives forever!  I was only 4 or 5 when they were baptized, but that was the moment set into motion so many other amazing events in my life.  things like my own baptism when I was eight.  Meeting a return missionary who was worthy to take me to the temple.  The moment my husband and I were sealed in the Temple for time and all eternity.  Watching each one of our children be blessed by my husband. Watching each one of our children be baptized.  Watching each one of our boys be ordained to the Priesthood.  Sending our boys off on missions.  Watching our children go through the temple for the first time.  These are the best experiences of a life time!!  

If you could rule the world, what would you change?  I would rule according to the Commandments.  Did you know there are about 747 commandments in the scriptures,...not just 10? I would also encourage that whole "love one another" thing. Love is not a feeling, it is a decision to take care of another. It's a choice you make daily...and you can do it without actually liking the other person or agreeing with their choices and beliefs.  Wouldn't it be great if the world practiced that?

Where were you when you heard the news of 9/11?At home by myself.  I remember getting a call from my husband who was at work.  He called to tell me what was happening.  I then turned on the TV and watched as things progressed throughout the day.  I don't think anyone in America got much work done that day because we were all in shock.

We have a few photos and a letter from Elder Schmidt.  

Hello Everyone,

This week was a lot of fun.  I got to try a lot of New York food with some members starting with real New York pizza at a place called Patsy's.   We had a meatball, peperoni, and sausage pizza and it was so good.  It wasn't as thin as I thought it would be lol. It's kinda funny, I've been here for a year and a half and still had never tried really good pizza.  Just the dollar slice stuff, which is still really good. This week we also had ramen burgers which is pork between two patties of ramen.   The member that took us kept wanting to get us more food because Elder Gxxxxx's and I are both bigger guys. She made us order more so we got poutine which is French fries with cheese curds and brown gravy. The place we went to was a Filipino place so they added meat and eggs to it as well. It was super good. We then went to a doughnut place and I got a maple bacon cronut which was so good. For some reason maple doughnuts are super hard to find in New York so I jumped at the opportunity.  Below are a few photos of all the yummy food.

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I've gotta get going.  

Love,
Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad

He's a funny kid.  I'm happy he is loving this great adventure, his full-time mission, he is on.  I'm so proud to be the mother of a missionary again.  It's exciting to watch both of my boys having the time of their lives as they serve the Lord doing the kind of work He would do if he could be on the earth with us today.  What more could a mother want than for her child to be found worthy to do exactly what Heavenly Father wants them to do?  It's so exciting to hear all about the things our missionaries have experienced, but the best part is seeing their permanent smiles on their faces as they serve and when they return home.  You can just see the joy they have in their hearts because it just pours out of them.  It's awesome!  And that's all I have to say about that for now.  ~smile~smile~

In other news.....

As some of you know Lexi has been attending an online high school.  She was attending one school and this year made the switch to another school that seems to be a lot more to her liking.  Instead of spending two hours a day in one course, which meant she would take between two and three classes at a time in a six week time frame.  Now she takes six classes, spends an hour a day in each class and each quarter (9 weeks) is set up just like a regular high school.  Well, it took us a little longer to get Lexi set up and transcripts sent to the new school.  Lexi has been working on the classes online but today she received 31 pounds of course material in the mail.  She has actual textbooks that they sent to her.  She's taking an chemistry class so one of the boxes had tons of fun things she will use for the experiments they will be doing.  She also received a big box full of things for the art class she is taking as well.  This quarter she is taking American History, American Literature, Algebra 2, Chemistry, Fine Arts, and even a P.E. Class.  For the P.E. Class Lexi will be focusing on her running and will have to keep track of how long and how far she runs each day and report her efforts to the instructor by keeping a log and trackin her progress.  At first I was skeptical when it took so long just to get her registered, but now I can say I actually like that they keep on her for every class and the course material she was sent is amazing!  For her literature class she was sent three books she will read this quarter.  She loves to read so this will be good.  She's excited.  That's half the battle.  I'm a happy Mom.  Now to check on Seminary for the dear girl.  Baby steps.  She needs seminary too.  In my opinion, she needs that more than ever right now.  The girl is in a rut with church, mutual, and seminary.  We are working on that.  I made a deal with her to get her to church with me last Sunday but then Kevin wasn't feeling well and I started feeling cruddy as well, so we stayed home.  Frustrating!  We will try again this next Sunday.  I'm just grateful she knows she needs to go and realizes that something is missing in her life right now.  That proves to me that her testimony is still there and she knows what is right, she just got off course a bit.  Don't we all from time to time, even those of us that you see at church every single Sunday have moments like that.  

We all can do better.  None of us are perfect.  I loved hearing Sister Ross bear her testimony this month.  She basically said exactly that.  We all have something we could be doing better to become better followers of Christ.  Maybe it's learning not to gossip or not holding grudges and learning to forgive others and seeing people with celestial eyes.  Maybe it's learning to keep the Sabbath Day holy and not shopping on Sunday?  I will be frank about this one....this is my weakness.  I find that working five days a week and trying to accomplish everything in the two days off is hard.  Especially now a days.  It seems like every time I decide to work on not shopping on Sunday, that's about the time Kevin needs a prescription filled or needs something like his special little enemas and can't wait for them.  It's always something.  Sure we could plan better with the prescriptions but It's not like I can actually plan for his bathroom issues to be on a perfect schedule.  It's hard.  If money wasn't as tight as it is I could probably stock up so there wasn't the need to rush out on Sunday's.  And you know, as soon as I get to the store there are other things we always need like band aides or ice, and I end up grabbing that to.  OR sometimes I get so wrapped up in certain things on Saturday and can't fit it all into just one day and I have to run to add money to SRP on Sunday so we don't run out in the middle of a blistering hot day on Monday while I'm at work.  Then there are my children living in this house that seem to have checked out to the sound of my voice and refuse to hear the words coming out of my mouth.  I absolutely LOVE it when they think I'm yelling at them when I haven't even raised my voice but happen to be speaking quite plainly and quite fast and to the point in an effort to get their attention.  And besides, why bother yelling at them?  All that does is get me all worked up and angry.  If I did that all the time I'd surely die from a stroke or find myself living inside a room with padded walls and a straight jacket on my back, and I've got to many people counting on me to have that happen.  Could you imagine what my children would do if I really did yell at them?  The thought just makes me laugh.  They wouldn't know what to do.  Run and hide, or vacate the premises.  

I would hope that others would understand, but I've come to know that even those that know our situation well still find reason to judge.  Even one of our neighbors hold a grudge.  We use to have a nice, fairly well kept front green lawn.  Since Kevin's SCI and this shift of responsibilities the yard has taken a back seat in the order of importance on my list of things to do.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love a nice, well kept yard just like anyone, but there are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done.  Needless to say, I've explained our situation to our one neighbor and they are well aware, yet lately they will not speak to me at all.  The other day they were all out working on something in their garage and I was at our mailbox.  I saw them and immediately said hello, they turned, saw me, said nothing, and turned back to whatever it was that they were doing.  It was obvious that they were upset that we let the yard turn brown, but instead of getting upset I just laughed to myself.  What else could I do?  Stress about it?  That wouldn't do me any good.  I know I'm doing the best I can with all that I have on my so called plate and that's all I can do.  I also know that we are simply waiting for social security to kick in so we can purchase new rose bushes to replant and grass seed to put in a winter lawn.  Right now every dollar goes to our basic needs and rose bushes aren't really top on the priority list at this point.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is I often wish others could see the intentions of my heart and not judge solely on the things they see or by what they consider a lack of interest on my part and try to understand the situation this whole spinal cord injury not just puts Kevin in, but try to understand the place it puts myself and the rest of my family in.   Maybe then they might come to realize that we really do want to have a nice yard and want to be a part of all kinds of outside activities but other things come first.  After all, our lives have been changed forever and we are learning as we go to do things in different ways now and it just takes time. I guess that's where those celestial eyes come into to play.  I have learned a lot about people and about myself through all of this and I'm still learning.  

Some time ago I had a long time co-worker stop and talk to me one afternoon while I was on a break.  We talked about her new job with the company and some of the changes to my area and then we talked about our families.   She had not heard about what happened to Kevin, so I filled her in.  She couldn't believe it and she spent most of the conversation in complete shock with her mouth wide open in disbelief as I shared what we were going through.  She asked how I was able to continue working and why I didn't looked completely stressed out.  I of course explained that was because of the incredible support we've received from our church and our ward and stake.  Not to mention the support from my family as well.  She couldn't believe all that everyone was doing to help us and she asked how a church could do so much.  I then explained just a little bit about how incredible the support system in our church is and how the members rally around those in need.  When we were done talking my friend was still in shock mostly because of the services provided by our church.  My friend then gave me a big hug, reminded me how lucky my husband and children are to have me in their lives, and we went on our separate ways.  

Today I ran into that friend again.  This time I asked her again how her new job was going and she said it was great just like before but I could tell something wasn't quite right.  Well, come to find out, after our conversation her Grandfather passed away.  I guess this Grandfather was the primary care taker for a severely mentally retarded uncle of hers.  Over the years it was always understood that this uncle would go to live with relatives in California if anything were to happen to my friends Grandfather.  Well, plans changed and now this uncle is now living with my friend, her husband, and their six children.  My friend then proceeded to tell me that she had to wake up super early today to help her uncle in the bathroom, which had become a complete mess by the time she got to the room.  She said she spent most of the morning cleaning the bathroom before she could even think about getting ready for work herself.  She looked worn out.  She even said she was worn out and having her uncle live with them was a lot harder than she ever thought it could be.  I then told my friend I knew exactly how she felt and that her family was incredibly blessed to have her in their lives, I then gave her a big hug, and told her that she could call me for anything....even if it meant help cleaning a stinky bathroom and I'd come running as long as I wasn't knee deep in the middle of my own mess.  That put a smile on her face and we went our separate ways.  I think she needed to talk more but couldn't spare the time.  My heart goes out to my friend and I hope things get better for her.  She is pretty amazing!

Well, I think I've rambled on quite enough tonight, don't you think?  You take care and we will talk again soon.


Not really.  I just thought this sign was funny and had to share.  ~smile~smile~

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