Thursday, August 12, 2010

Experienced Personnel Convention

Today was the Experienced Personnel Convention at work. Kate planned the whole thing, but I was on the committee with her. This event is held annually for retirees of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. For the past 2 years, it has been held at the little theatre in the Conference Center. The longer I work here, the more people I recognize at the convention. This year was the best ever. Kate had arranged for the Nauvoo Pageant to present "Our Stories Go On" which was so touching, there wasn't a dry eye in the theatre. This play was about the phases of life that we go through and the generations that follow. The music was fantastic. I felt it was a life-changing experience. Then we were privileged to hear from Hilary Weeks. Her voice is beautiful and her songs very inspiring. We also heard from Heidi Swinton who is the author of President Monson's upcoming biography. She told a lot of stories about him. I knew Heidi and her husband, Jeff from many years ago. We had dinner together when I was dating Derek. They remembered me and asked me what happened. I explained it to them and they were supportive of me. It was nice to know for a surety that Derek had remarried - and to an age appropriate woman. I think all worked out for the best. After Heidi spoke, Elder Paul Johnson, our Commissioner of Education spoke. It was wonderful. He started out talking about his family and how they had created a time capsule 10 years ago. They opened it January of this year and laughed about what the children had predicted. All in all, the day was a memorable one that I will never forget.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Thoughts

Evan had a "Night to Remember" last week and it was very special. He had invited all his closest friends and family to the cultural hall of his ward building for the event. Tables were set up with table clothes and the entire back wall was filled with every dessert you could imagine. There were microphones at the front. No one knew what was going to happen because it was a total surprise. Evan mentioned that he sometimes thought it a shame to not be able to see your own funeral, so he gathered those that were closest to him to share an evening of song with a group called "Mercy River". He had listened to them before and really loved their music. One song in particular touched him deeply. It was called "The Robe". I too found it to be very moving and could see how it would touch Evan at this time in his life - fighting cancer. All in all it was a wonderful evening. Evan loves life. He wanted to celebrate it while he is doing well. I think it was a classy thing to do. He definitely created a great memory for all of us.

On to the apartment. Just a few thoughts. Malek and I are finally settled in to our new apartment. Everything didn't exactly fit, and even though Evan took part of my stuff to his house to store in the basement, there are still some residual items that have no place to stay. I have stuffed them under my bed, behind dressers, squished in the closets, etc. For the most part, I think I did pretty good considering what I gave away. When I moved from Tooele, I gave about half of my stuff away (I sold a few items). When I moved from Murray, I gave away about another half. All in all I have paired down considerably. I feel good about that. I figure you can't take it with you anyway. Sometimes less is more, right?

The apartment complex is interesting. There are so many ducks and geese. There are probably over a hundred. They live there year round. It is so funny to watch them just sitting on the ice pond. They even sleep on the ice. The geese are really big and when I take Rocky out for walks, the footprints of the geese look like bigfoot compared to his little paws. They are funny looking too because they have the lines in them where the foot webbs. Rocky thinks he's big and ferocious when he sees them. He charges and growls at them. It is amusing to me to watch a hundred geese and ducks fly away from my little 6 pound beast. Those geese are at least 3 or 4 times his size!

On to the ward. We have been introduced to our new ward. It is the Chevy Chase ward. The people there seem nice. They are friendly. Malek went to priesthood meeting two weeks in a row. That made me happy. The Relief Society presidency came over lastnight to get to know me a little. It was a nice visit. All in all, I think we will like it here. Now if we can just get Malek working, that would help immensely.

Malek started school this last week. He has been accepted to the Pharmacy Tech program and seems to like it. I think he will be successful at this field. It is something that we feel he will do well in. He is still whittling away at the generals so he can complete his AS degree.

I am getting excited for JayDee's baby to be born. I love to hold those little infants. It won't be much longer. I saw her pregnant for the first time at Evans "Night to Remember". She looked so cute with her tiny pudgy belly. She is going to make a great mom.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2010. I hope and pray that it will be a happy year for all of us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Wow, what a roller coaster the last few weeks have been. It all happened very fast. I sold the condo. Everything fell into place, and at the last minute I was looking for an apartment. Luckily, I will have time after Christmas to clean the condo for the new owners. I had to move my vacation a week earlier than planned. The difficulty was that I became very sick. I have sinusitis and bronchitis together. So much for taking vacation time off. I was so sick I could barely move. In fact, the doctor told me to be in bed for at least two days. This was the weekend I was moving, so there was no way that was possible. However, in my frustration, I called my "rescuer", Shane. I told him how far I had gotten in preparing boxes for the move, and that I didn't know how I was going to do it. He and Deb came down and packed up most everything. He encouraged me to sign the lease that day and then they started moving stuff in that day. Saturday the Elders and my other brothers came to help. Brother Kasteller brought a truck. Deb and Shane were there again, seemingly in charge of what went where. Shane is the most organized, experienced, fastest mover I have ever known - and Deb - what can I say about her. She is a saint. I really needed a woman's mind in this, and she not only got in there and moved things, but she put things away and even put my bed together. I am relieved she was there. I could not have moved without Shane and Deb. I am ever grateful to them for their Christmas service of sacrifice. Evan also came, bringing his truck and lending me his basement for storage of some of the things that wouldn't fit in the apartment. He has such a great attitude about his cancer. I remember he said that we were all "terminal". Shawn came and reminded me what it is to serve family. He always shows up to help. He is such a great brother and I look up to his great example. My sisters are loved equally as much, but I didn't bother them with this move. One reason is that I was so sick I wasn't thinking past needing the brawn to move. I know that they would have been there to help, but it all happened so fast, I couldn't see the forrest through the trees.

I wasn't sure that we would have Christmas this year. But, true to his word, Malek found time to put up the tree even though our apartment is still filled with packed boxes. This brought the Christmas spirit to our new home. I have already had Christmas. It was given to me in the form of love from my family. I hope that I can strive to be more like my family. I love the Savior and am very grateful for His birth and life. I am looking forward to seeing the family tomorrow.

Love, Mel

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. The family gathered at Deb's house for dinner. She had worked hard to prepare for the gathering and was rather stressed. I felt so bad for her having to take that big job on. I felt good though, that I was able to help with the dishes afterward. My back hurt, like usual, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

It was good to see everyone there. Evan had finished his current round of treatments and was as funny as ever. I love his humor.

This has been a rather stressful holiday for Malek and for me. Since we had an offer on the house through a short sell, and the bank has accepted that offer, we are now in a rush to pack and to find a place to live. We looked all day today (Friday) and I think we have a pretty good idea of where we want to go, but we shall see if it works out that way. Money is an issue, we will be short the paycheck I was counting on to get into a rental, but again, we'll have to work around that. I hate the idea of packing. I'm so sore all the time. It seems like a monumental task. But, again, I hope that I will get help from Malek. With all the stress, also comes relief because I know that I will get into a more affordable payment that I am in now. That should alleviate so much of my stress level.

Malek and I went to Roger Christensen's daughter's wedding reception tonight. It was Jenny's wedding. I remember her coming with us on an inservice once. She is such a sweet girl. I think she did everything right and her reception was just beautiful. Roger also had a daughter get married just a few months ago, so he and his wife had to do to weddings fairly close to one another. My dream for Malek is that he would be able to have a nice wedding reception some day. . . but more than the wedding reception, I hope that he chooses a spouse wisely and that they will be married in the temple.

Well, I had better get to bed. There is a lot to do tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Condo for Sale

For the past six months I have come to realize that the move to this condo was a bit more than I could afford, but somehow we have been able to keep our home. Unfortunately, the time has come that we need to move. Our debt has exceeded our income and now it is time for a reality check. I need to live in an apartment. I won't have to deal with lawns or mowers or things going out. I won't have to worry about HOA fees. My rent will be much lower than my current mortgage and we'll be able to "live" again. I am selling my home by "short sale", which means that there won't be any money that I have to put in to pay realtors, but my credit will take a serious hit for a few years. Having been one who prided myself on my excellent credit, this was quite a blow to me. But then, it is worse of a blow to not be able to afford where you live. Lesson learned. Evan and Julie have been through it and much I too will get through this. I understand that this process can take several months. For now, our goal is to get out of debt. Debt is definitely bondage. I guess we're never too old to learn life's hard lessons. Since I have made this decision, I have already felt a big weight lifted from my shoulders so I know it is the right thing to do. I will keep everyone updated when I finally get to move.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Promised Pics of Bryce Canyon

As promised, I have put a few pictures up of what we saw on our trip in July to Bryce Canyon. I'm not very good at posting them, like Evan. Maybe I'll get with it and learn how. Until then...don't you think Malek is a great photographer!

Today we went to Shane's priesthood session at 8:00 a.m. It was combined with the Relief Society because they had a special guest. It was an actual descendant of Joseph Smith, I believe through Hyrum Smith. He showed us some great artifacts. Some of them included the bloodstained shirt that Hyrum wore the day he was shot. He also had the pants and vest that Hyrum wore. There was a family dinner bell, a pair of great spectacles, a sword from when they were in the military, and the watch that Hyrum had inside his vest pocket when he was shot in the back. The face of it of course, had been destroyed. And my favorite item was the actual box that the gold plates were in for a time. It had Alvin's name carved on it. The speaker told the story of how Joseph used the box and how the Angel Moroni had told him years earlier that it needed to be a locked box. He didn't have a locked box when he brought the plates home, but later he was able to get a lock for it. It was a neat experience, especially to share it with Malek. I was so greatful that Shane and Deb invited us to come. Malek enjoyed it too, although at this time he does not show great emotion toward spiritual things. My prayers are continually with him that one day he will gain a strong testimony of the gospel. I sincerely know that it is true and I have felt the Spirit witness it to me many times. I love the gospel and I am amazed that I was blessed enough to be born in the covenant. I think about dad's father, my grandfather, and how he was converted to the Church. That was only two generations ago!

Today, the missionaries are coming for dinner at 5:00 pm, and then the hometeachers are coming at 6:00 p.m, and we still have to go to sacrament meeting at 1:00 p.m. Malek is all churched out today, but it has been a good day for me. Until next time, Mel

Malek enjoying lunch - Rocky posing

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