Saturday, October 1, 2016

Welcome October


Welcome October!!!


Wow! I know it's been a while since I've posted anything and I apologize for that. Since Lexi introduced me to a new library, I have been busy listening to several ebooks over the past several days. It's only been a week and I've been through 4 books now. That is amazing, considering the fact that I rarely get the chance to read. I find that if I take the time to read everything else gets pushed aside until I am done with the book. Not exactly something my family can afford to have me do and not something I would even try to do. It's been nice to be able to listen to books while traveling home from work, and while I do other things around the house. In fact, I think I've only watched something on Netflix twice this week. I usually watch Netflix when I get into bed at night. Now, I've been listening to a book. While listening to someone else read a book isn't ideal since the narrator usually reads a lot slower than I do, it has been nice to hear the story unfold with each book. Doing this makes me wonder what it might have been like to grow up in a time when the only source of outside entertainment was a radio. I think about what it must have been like to listen to the stories shared on various radio stations many years ago. I've also noticed that the T.V. in our family room rarely gets turned on. In fact, Kyle turned it on to play a quick video game the other day and then it was turned right back off. We are all enjoying the quiet and have found other ways to entertain ourselves and that is a good thing. Lexi has a stack of books she is reading and school work to be done. Kyle is working and when he is home he is either sleeping, doing things for Kevin or I, or watching old episodes of shows on Netflix from time to time. He reads to, just not as often as Lexi does lately. Kevin still watches a little T.V., but mostly football. Other times he watches Netflix too. I find it funny that he likes to watch episodes of Dancing with the Stars. Things have certainly changed around our house, that is for sure. 

September went by so quickly I can hardly belief it. I can't believe it's already October and we get to watch LDS General Conference today and tomorrow!  I absolutely LOVE Conference weekends...so I have to hurry and write this post in between sessions and maybe even after today's two sessions. A lot has happened in one short month and today I am grateful for those things. 

Many of the things that I am grateful for happened at work and some of these things I can only share bits and pieces of. As I mentioned before at the end of August and beginning of September I had the opportunity to help one of my long time clients with a few transactions and I received a lot of recognition for the work I did there.  It was humbling to hear the words of so many. You see, I deal with some very important clients for the company I work for. In fact, I am the dedicated point of contact for approximately 65 of these very important clients. These VIP's, if you will, range in sizes.  Some have one or two offices.  Some have about 10-20 offices in certain areas of the United States. While others have offices in nearly every state across the United States and I talk to many of these VIP's on a daily basis, sometimes more like several times throughout any given day. 

In addition to the VIP's I work with, once in a while I also back-up or assist my co-workers with their VIP's. Recently I had the opportunity to do just that when a co-worker was called for jury duty. Now, this co-worker rarely misses work. This co-worker works hard and does an amazing job each and every day and I for one appreciate this co-worker because they back me up with my work when I have to miss and I know how large the workload is for my co-worker yet they still manage to do amazing work and they have received well deserved recognition for the work they do as well. 

Well, while this co-worker was away the tables turned, and this is the humbling part for me.  While my co-worker was away at jury duty and while I was tasked with the responsibilities of handling my co-workers daily work, I found myself on a conference call with one of their VIP's and another co-worker. This is something that happens often in my line of work. While on this conference call it was determined that the end client was a relative of this VIP and they were dealing with the recent passing of a loved one and needed help in moving assets this relative was inheriting from their deceased relative. To add difficulty to the situation the executor of the estate was a brother who refused to assist or release any information to his sister in order to make it easier for her to receive her inheritance. While on this call with this VIP I explained the scenarios and the options this relative had. Keep in mind, they were trying to move these inherited assets into our company so everyone is somewhat at the mercy of the delivering firm. The information I had to deliver wasn't easy due to the circumstances, yet I proceeded and delivered the information I needed to give. You see, because the executor refused to release any information the sister found herself in a situation of possibly taking legal action against her own brother in order to obtain the information she needed so she could receive her inheritance. Not exactly a place anyone wants to find themselves in, especially after losing a family member. And certainly not a situation this VIP wanted to help maneuver their relative through during such a difficult time either. I found myself dealing with an emotionally difficult situation for my VIP and their relative and the conversation got a little heated at times because I was delivering tough information and it wasn't exactly what the VIP wanted to hear. The just of the conversation was that I couldn't help without a little more information. The VIP submitted a form to us asking that we medallion stamp it and sign off on this form without it even being filled out, we only had a signature on the form. If any of you know anything about medallion stamps, any time we affix that stamp to any paperwork we are basically guaranteeing the transaction up to a particular dollar amount. Our medallion stamp guarantees a transaction up to several million dollars. So, in order for us to guarantee any transaction we will always do our due diligence to ensure that everything is in good order before stamping. Along with having to deliver the news that we would not be able to stamp the paperwork we had received and that we needed additional information (documentation...namely a completed form and statement) I also had to give additional options that might be available to this relative, but they would require the relative to reach out to the executor of the estate or to pursue legal counsel in an effort to obtain the information they needed. We couldn't help with the transaction without the missing information. So, we talked about possible tax implications if the relative went about the transaction one way or another, as well as why we couldn't just blindly stamp a blank form. As you can imagine, it was a tough call all around. Not exactly the kind of call I ever enjoy and I found myself replaying the conversation and situation over in my mind as I went about my daily work. When I left the call I felt that I would be hearing from this VIP again in an effort to try once again to get this blank form stamped.  To my surprise I heard from them in a profound way. I received a written thank you for my assistance and for taking my efforts to the next level and truly helping them understand the options available to them. As you can imagine, I was shocked, but most of all, I was humbled by this because I didn't like having to be the one to deliver the tough information and I was frustrated that my co-worker didn't do this when they first discussed the situation with all parties involved. I never dreamed that it would result in receiving an amazing thank you. 

It's funny because this is not the first time I have found myself in a situation where I am the one having to deliver difficult information to someone. It has happened time and time again. In fact, I have even found myself in prayer to my Heavenly Father pleading with him to not have to be the one to relay the difficult information. Unfortunately, He has not taken me out of each and every situation. Most times I find that He has calmed me down and I have had to proceed with the task at hand. I can honestly say I hate it. So, as you can imagine receiving a thank you after doing what I never wanted to do was bittersweet. While yes, it was nice to hear that the information I delivered was received and carefully considered and they were grateful I had that conversation with them. While on the other hand, I never like to be the so called "bad guy". It's not fun.

You see, throughout my adult life, I have found people that seem to always have a lot to say about various situations, and have no problem sharing their opinions with others, until the time comes to have to deliver difficult information. These people have no problem speaking their minds to everyone but the person that really needs to hear what they have to say and they spend countless time discussing and talking about whatever it is to others behind the backs of the one who really should hear their words. It blows my mind how quiet certain people become when the times comes to stand up and speak, and I have resented those individuals for putting me in the "hot seat" so to speak. The other thing that blows me away is how quickly those that could not speak seem to always take credit when they do not deserve it.  How does that happen and why?  

So, here I was at work, finding myself in a situation I have often been in before, delivering the tough news once again. Yet, to my surprise I received the recognition. It was indeed a humbling experience. One I remember and never forget.  

Along with this experience a few other things have transpired at work as well. Things I can't really discuss, but have really made a big difference for all of us on the team. In fact, it's funny how the tables can turn and be brought to light. I marvel at that. What a blessing!

On the home front, September has been a month full of all sorts of twists and turns. As always we are still waiting for social security and I am trying to take them at their word and hope we will receive something by the end of November. Fingers crossed and toes too. From what we are being told, Kevin should receive benefits dating back for at least one year. Which could mean one of two things. They could either just start distributing benefits going forward and then send an additional distribution months down the road to pay for the past year in a lump sum, or they could begin his future benefits and pay the lump sum for past monts all together in one big distribution. I'm hoping for the big lump sum and past and future benefits all at the same time. We have several bills to pay, equipment Kevin needs.... namely a new wheelchair, and a few doctor's appointments to make, and it sure would make for a nice Christmas to. 

The change in schools has been a good thing for Lexi.  She seems to be doing better and her attitude has changed a bit. This is always a good thing. I'm actually excited to hear all about her classes when I get home from work now. She is working hard and that is all I can ask.

Kyle has had a lot going on with work. Not much that I can really share though. I wish I could. It's hard having a son that works in law enforcement. Anyway,.....He has been asked to go visit one of his past missionary companions. This is the same companion that was on the plane with Kyle when he came home from his mission. Kyle and this Elder have had the chance to get together from time to time to play football together and just to hang out together. Until this companion went away to school. Now this companion lives in Hawaii and wants Kyle to come visit him so Kyle has been working hard to save some money for this trip. As it turns out, several of the people from his mission are attending school in Hawaii...BYU Hawaii, and they all can't wait for Kyle to get there. Kyle is looking forward to this. He has been home from his mission for a few years now and has missed every reunion and really wants to spend some time with those he served with. Frankly, I think he needs this and I look forward to him taking this trip. Thankfully, he will have a place to stay which is right near the beach too. I wish I could go with him. I've always wanted to see Hawaii and I to have a few friends that live there now. I even have work clients that live and work there and I have secretly wished that the company I work for would send me there for work related matters. (A girl can have a dream, can't she??) So, we have been hunting around for the cheapest flights to Hawaii and Kyle has booked his flights. Kyle needs to get away and have some fun. This is a good thing. More to come on this.

While Kyle has been planning his trip and making arrangements with his friends and the airlines I told Kevin when we finally receive that money from social security, we need to take a trip or plan a little get away. Even if it's only an overnight kind of thing. So, we will see what that brings as time moves on.

Over the past few weeks we have been planning for the holidays. I'm planning on having a big Thanksgiving here at the house with at least Danielle and Chance coming over to spend the day with us, and possibly other family members too. We will see how that turns out as we get closer to the holidays.  We usually switch off at work each year with which holiday we take off. While none of us actually work Thanksgiving or Christmas we still have to coordinate time off around those two holidays because the end of the year is our busiest time of the year because of all the charitable gifting our clients do right at the end of the year in order to have it count for the tax year. We have clients gift all throughout the year to various charitable organizations but the end of the year seems to be the busiest time.  So, we have to plan accordingly and so half of us take a few extra days around Thanksgiving and the other half of us take extra time around Christmas. This year I have extra time at Christmas and I am very excited about that. It will be nice to have a couple extra days to plan and prepare and a couple extra days to get things back in order after as well. It's always nice when Christmas falls on a Sunday. In my opinion, having to attend church on that day, makes the reason for the season that much more special. It will be good.

Thursday was my Dad's birthday and I decided to write a post to share on Facebook to wish him a Happy Birthday since I wouldn't be able to get over to his house until this weekend with a card. Here is the post I shared....

Happy Birthday To My Dad, 
You were the first man in my life, the one every boy that came along was measured against.  You taught me about life and parenting through laughter and love.  I have grown and learned the most, not from your perfection, but your imperfections.  You showed me that embracing your faults as well as your strengths and using both is where true strength of character is found.  You held my hand when I needed help and comfort.  Remember when I broke both of my arms at the same time?  You were right there by my side the entire time.  You cheered me on, even when you knew I was making the wrong choices.  Remember when I tried to find a family to live with when you retired from the Air Force and I didn't want to go?  You knew I was trying to make the wrong choice then.  Thanks you for never saying, "I told you so."  Thank you for simply picking me up and gently nudging me towards the realizations of what went wrong, and how to choose more wisely the next time.  Thank you for helping me to realize that life shouldn't be taken too seriously, or you'll never make it through in one piece.  You have helped me to see the importance of friendship, independence, laughter, love and knowledge.  You taught me to stand on my own two feet, but also to know that it is just as important to know how to ask for help and lean on others when it is necessary.  You were, and still are, the best father any girl could ever wish for. Because of you, I was able to chose an amazing man who was worthy to take me to the temple.  Because of you, I do not have silly ideas of a smooth or perfect marriage.....where would the fun be in that?  Instead, I have come to know how to embrace our difficulties, stand strong together and love with all that I am.  I know to accept both of our imperfections and choose my battles.  I know that keeping my own identity is important not only for the strength of my marriage, but for my children as well.  I now know what you mean by enjoying your adult children's company and I marvel at how well own my children can handle themselves and stand up for what they know to be right.   Because of yours and Mom's example, I know that the best marriages are those where both partners work together in all things and I know that my husband and I are a team and we both have qualities that compliment each other to work together for our combined good.  Because of your example, I was blessed to find a man with your best qualities and because of that, I know that my children are being raised by the best kind of man possible.  My children are growing up strong, independent individuals who never doubt that they are loved.  Thanks for all the gifts you have given me, the best of which is you.
Happy Birthday Dad!  I love you so much!  I hope it's a wonderful day.
I posted this bright and early on Thursday and my dad replied to my post by about eight that morning. But something happened shortly there after that I never expected. 

I received this text message from my Mom...
The grey messages are the things my Mom sent to me, and the blue are the replies I sent back. (Keep in mind, this was all happening while I was at work in my office trying to work.)
Needless to say, I was touched by the things my Mom and Dad had to say and I suddenly realized that I need to take the time to tell them as often as I can just how much I appreciate both of them and how grateful I am that they are my parents and are there for me no matter what. It means so much to have them close by to turn to. I have to say, I never would have made it through this ordeal with Kevin and his SCI without the love and support of my parents. They have been there for Kevin and I and our children through this entire thing and I really do appreciate that. It means the world to have people that are there for you through the good and the bad times no matter what. My parents have never been the type of people to overstep or try to take over any situation and I love that! Sure, they are there to lend a hand or support when they can, but they have always let me try to work through situations on my own first. I love my parents.

Something else happened almost instantly right before my eyes. Lexi had some money from her birthday a few months back and has been wanting to get her hair cut. She wanted bangs. Now, she has had long hair for years now and hasn't had bangs since she was a little girl, so I made her wait a month to think long and hard about that decision because I didn't want her to regret the choice. Well, Friday as soon as I got home from work Lexi went from this...

To this and instantly got a little older right before my very eyes.


Even the girl that cut Lexi's hair commented on the transformation. She couldn't believe her eyes. She said usually when people come in and we cut their hair the way they feel it should be cut it tends to not turn out so well, but Lexi knew exactly what she wanted and made the right choice to go with bangs. When we got home Lexi posted this photo on Facebook and her older sister said she didn't even recognize Lexi at first. She looks really good with bangs. My little girl is growing. WOW!

Before I forget, once in a while I have the opportunity to share some of the things I do on a daily basis with various co-workers. Usually these sessions take place in my office and I spend time letting them see the things I do every single day as well as listen to some of the calls I take. Well, yesterday I had the chance to do this and I got to meet a very interesting new co-worker from Russia. She was very sweet and I learned a lot and I marveled at how much she has learned in such a short period of time. It was fun showing her the things I do, but it was even more fun hearing about her life and a little bit about her home in Russia. She grew up about 500 kilometers south of Moscow. She shared that she has three children and had just had a baby about 2 months ago so her work and home life are very busy. So much so that her mother has traveled all the way from Russia to come and help her while she tries to handle all the recent changes in her life.  I also mentioned that I had a nephew that served a two year mission in Russia not to long ago. We shared photos with one another and she showed me a photo of her new little girl. I happened to have photos of my husband and children on my desk and we talked about those photos. I also took the time to pull up a photo of my nephew that served his mission in Russia as well. All in all, it was interesting to learn a little bit more about the country my new friend calls home.

Speaking of missionaries, we received a letter from our missionary this week. We also have a photo or two as well. Here is his letter.

Hey Everyone,

This week was cool! This Saturday Elder Gxxxxxx and I went to a focus group the church set up to discuss technology and missionary work. It was pretty much a survey but an in person survey. This gentleman from Salt Lake just asked up questions about Training we received about using Facebook for proselyting. There were only about 12 missionaries and our mission president, President Smith, wasn't even there. In fact, he wasn't even told any of the details of the meeting besides the fact that it was just to see how missionaries are using the technology. I enjoyed being a part of this survey and sharing my personal thoughts on how technology can get investigators in touch with members on a day to day basis and help build that relationship that is so vital for newly baptized members. 

Speaking of baptisms, we have a solid baptismal date for one of our investigators. We are teaching him through FaceTime which has been fun. (another benefit of using technology in missionary work) We are also setting up a chat group for him and some of the members on Facebook so that he can ask them questions. It's really fun seeing him progress and learn. 

On Monday, I was on splits and I joked with the Elder I was with about getting on the train and sharing a message with the entire train car, and then going to the next car and doing it again. I got the idea from the people who sell snacks on the trains. We almost made it to the train to do it but we took the time to talked with other people to find out what they thought about my idea. We asked random people what they thought would be the best way to share our message and they all said just talk to people as they are getting on and off the train. And so we did just that and now that I think about it, we should have got on the train still. Someday we will try my idea. Thinking about it, this mission would be an easy one to set up a soap box to share messages with the public in because everyone is so use to people standing on the sidewalks and talking. A lot of people with stop, look, and listen to. We may have to try this, maybe if my companion and I are courageous enough we will do it. 

Well, I have to get going I have laundry to do now. Talk to you all later.

Love,

Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad

This is the Manhattan South Zone.  Photo taken at their last Zone Meeting.  Can you see Elder Schmidt standing in the back?

It's been a busy few days.  Conference today was amazing. I couldn't believe how vocal people were during the sustaining of our church leaders. How rude! I loved that President Eyring just kept going and didn't let that phase him. I can't wait to watch the last two sessions of conference tomorrow. Love it! 

Well, I should get going. Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.
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