Sunday, August 28, 2016

28 August 2016 - Finishing up Summer

What a wonderful week it has been. Talking to many of our family members, visiting with friends and finishing up some of the chores in the house.
   Monday was a "restart" day of unpacking, weeding, watering and organizing. We made phone calls for appointments, planned the week's activities and tried to get into the routine for the week. We had FHE that night on the Plan of Salvation that outlines the plan in a way that spells "L_O_V_E".
Then we talked about Christ's role in the plan and that He is in every aspect of the plan, the Creation through the Atonement. The Plan is LOVE from both the Father and His Son. It was a different way to look at the plan but the more important and enlightened way. Christ is the only means whereby we can fulfill the plan for our lives. It was great to see it and feel the spirit bear witness to the truth!
   Tuesday I went over to visit with Sheryl Sprague. She had her grandson with her and so she wanted to go outside and visit while he played with his remote control airplane in the street. I noticed the lovely grapevine of her next door neighbor. She said that he put it in last year. I was very impressed. I had to take a picture to show Stephen.
One year's growth...looks great.
It would be great to have something like that in our yard.
   Wednesday, Sr. LeDosquet came by and we talked Seminary. We have 12 students assigned to our class and we'll be meeting in the nursery room in the Kentwood building. There's a TV up there all the time so it will be great to have that resource for our class. We talked about the new Doctrinal Mastery program and how it will work this year. I'm still very much in the dark about what's going on but there was a training session on Saturday that Becky was going to. I had to work so I missed out again.
   Thursday, I worked which just takes everything out of me to do much when I get home. That day was unusual also because a sister from our ward was there and I was going to see her after work but I heard a "code blue" called to her room number and then Stephen texted me and told me that she had passed away. I missed out on seeing Sr. Louise  Atwood but I know that she is in a much better place.
   It was so hot this week that we watered the plants a whole lot more than usual. The summer was not as hot as last year but it started out drier and hotter at the first and then it cooled down in the middle and now it's getting hot again. Just strange but also a sign of the last days.... so cool!
   Friday, Stephen worked on painting the "pink" room upstairs. I had picked out the color I wanted for my "office" and Stephen and I moved all the remaining furniture out so that it didn't get in the way. He started painting that morning and by the evening he was mostly done. It was a lovely shade of Brazilian Tan.
That night Samuel had a Priest/Laurel Swim Party at the local swim and tennis club. Stephen wanted to go to since the Stake Counselor over the youth was not going to make it. I think they both had a great time.
   Saturday, I worked at the hospital and Stephen finished up the room upstairs. When I came home we moved in  the desk and tables so that I would have a place to study my scriptures and prepare my lessons for Seminary. That night Samuel had a dance in Renton and Stephen took him and just stayed there until he was done. Stephen was able to get some church work done and I was able to go to bed early.
   Today, Katie Manning had her missionary farewell. She doesn't leave until September 14 but they wanted her to speak today along with the high councilman.  She did a great job bearing her testimony and there were some inactive and non-members in the congregation.
   I felt the spirit very strong during Sacrament meeting. Tasha Heywood sang "I heard Him Come" while Rebekah played the piano which was lovely and then the Sacrament was blessed by a young man who was recently baptized and ordained a priest. He did a good job. Samuel didn't get to bless the Sacrament since we were not there early enough but he passed the Sacrament and he was so happy to do that. It is a privilege to participate in the Sacrament and renew covenants and be clean. What a blessed time to live!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

21 August 2016 - Education Week - Happy Birthday Isaac and Christian

 Stephen and I made it down to St. George by around 8:30. When we arrived Saturday night Francene was already in bed and was possibly asleep. She is in a semi-private room the bed next to the wall not the door and her roommate, Penny, likes to have the TV on most of the time. I was the first person by her bed and it was darker on her side of the room with the curtain pulled but she did not appear to recognize me at first when I said, "Hi". She did recognize Stephen right away and spoke to me as if I was a nurse and said, "that is my brother-in-law, Stephen." I said, "and I'm your sister, Kathleen." I asked how she was doing and she would answer in short sentences and sometimes fade to silence before she could get all of her thoughts out. Her hands were clinched into fists but she could open up the right hand and raise it a few inches to give me a "high five". We stayed for about 30 minutes and then spoke with her roommate who was more than willing to speak to us about Francene and how things are going.
   Sunday we went to church with her. She appeared to sleep through most of the talk but she mouthed the songs and took the Sacrament. After I fed her lunch (which she cannot feed herself at all) I took her out to the courtyard for some privacy and quiet so we could talk. My desire was to find out what her thoughts and goals were at this time, since there had been a significant change from the last time I visited. I asked her some questions to make sure that she was oriented and alert. She knew her name and the day of the week but stated that it was 1917 for the year and that she was in the backyard in Seattle. I asked about her pain level and if she wanted more pain medication. She said "yes" and I talked about Hospice versus Palliative Care. I tried to keep it simple.
  She does not remember things that have happened in the short term and yet she does remember somethings. Sarah said that this was typical of "right-sided" brain injury as well as not being able to process answer to questions, no social filter and communication difficulties. She sometimes says things that do not make sense or are embarrassing.
   We returned to Provo Sunday night and stayed with Jessica and Juan. Jess had gone to bed early because she gets up early and goes to the gym. Juan goes after she comes home so they don't have to take the kids. Stephen had told me that President Morgan had called and asked if I wanted to teach Zero Hour Seminary with Becky LeDosquet. She wanted a partner and no one else was available. Since I was released 2 weeks ago but not publicly I wasn't sure I wanted to teach that early but I also knew that I would be blessed if this was what the Lord wanted me to do. I said that I would pray about it and I felt like I should accept the calling. It will actually be better since I can work on Fridays after Seminary. The Lord does bless us.
   Monday started Education Week and I went to several classes that were really good. Since I decided to teach Seminary I looked for classes that would help me with my calling. Lots of New Testament classes were available. Unfortunately, I had to go be myself. Stephen had lots of work to do on the Duplex. He spent most of the week taking loads of wood, trash and junk to the dump and household items to Deseret Industries. He did make it to 5 classes during the week including a class by Kenneth L. Alford who was the son of Grandpa Ralph's best friend from his ward growing up and in high school and they served the same mission. In fact the "L" intial stands for Lowell. That was a cool thing to find out. The last day when I went to the BYU bookstore I saw a sign that was intriguing. I had to take a selfie of it....
Selfie with BYU Ballroom Dancers Poster.

Guess who the dancer in the top middle is????
I had a great time. Wednesday I actually skipped some classes to go to the Provo Rec Center with Jessica, Sarah, Hadlie and Christian. By the time Stephen and Juan showed up it was too cold to stay outside anymore and they decided to go home. Thursday we were able to call Isaac and wish him a Happy Birthday. We had arranged for Rebekah to get a card and some money for his birthday. He seemed pleased with the day and all the celebration for his birthday.
   I picked up some great information. I took lots of pix of slides that were so interesting. There was a new app from the Religion Dept that allows you to visit Old Jerusalem at the time of Christ in Virtual Reality. It was great. I learned more about the Sabbath and the importance of the Sacrament, How to save money for retirement, the importance of the JST and how to be a better Seminary teacher. There were so many classes to choose from. I even went to one on physics that was really interesting.
   Stephen and I spent an evening with each of the couples in Provo. Monday evening was FHE at Jessica and Juan's place with everyone for dinner. She made a lovely Taco Salad and we all ate and talked and enjoyed the time together. Tuesday was with Sarah and Michael at their place. They fixed a lovely stir-fry over rice and garlic bread. We talked about their plans and concerns. Wednesday evening we went out with Jessica and Juan while Sarah babysat the sleeping babies. We stopped at Zuppas for salad since Jess and Juan are eating healthy and exercising. Next we drove to the Provo Temple grounds and had a good talk with both of them about their plans and goals. It was a beautiful, peaceful interlude. On Thursday we were with Ben and Carli and we went to Costa Vida and enjoyed Mexican cuisine. We then toured the home that is being built for Carli's employer and their landlord. It was a huge home that can be converted to a dance studio with 4 different dance floors. Very interesting. We talked with them about their plans for the future and had a nice time. Friday evening we celebrated Christian's birthday. It was a day early but we were leaving early the next day and we wanted to celebrate his 1st birthday. It wasn't so sure about the icing on the cupcake that he was given. He didn't seem to like the cake either but he enjoyed the toys and presents so all was not lost.
Happy Birthday cupcake.

Tossing the ball that Aunt Lisa Leake gave Christian.

Opening gifts is so much fun!

Getting help with opening gifts is not as fun but Hadlie enjoyed it... :-0

   We left early Saturday morning so that we could get home for the dance that night for Samuel. We were able to stop at  Susan's house for an hour from 11 to 12 before they went on the boating trip with her boss and colleagues. It was nice to see them again. 
   Samuel made it to the dance that night and Stephen made it to his early Sunday meetings. All was well. Samuel was able to bless the Sacrament for the first time. He did a great job. Knowing the importance of the Sabbath and especially the covenants made during the Sacrament ordinance makes it so much for meaningful and to see Samuel participate in that sacred ordinance following his older brothers was heart-warming. What a blessed family we are! 

14 August 2016 - Heading to Utah and Texas & Happy 36th Anniversary

The first Sunday of the month on the 7th, we went to Federal Way to church for the blessing of Daniel and Shawn's baby girl, Adeline. There were so many brethren there to stand in the circle that some of them had to sit down. It was so nice to see such an out-pouring of support for this young couple and their new baby. We went over to Shawn's parent's home for lunch afterward and that was very nice. Samuel didn't get to bless the Sacrament but it was a good sacrifice to be with family.
By Wednesday, Elizabeth and I were ready to go in her van to Susan's house. Susan wanted to spend some time with Liz since she didn't get to see much of her over the 4th of July. We traveled to Meridian, Idaho with only one stop for gas and lunch. The kids did pretty well. Liz started out and and I drove from Pendleton on about half way.
Loaded and ready to go. Stephen did a nice job with the bikes on the top.
 We had a great time with Susan even though she had to work most of Thursday. She got to come home for lunch so that was nice to see her then.
   At home Jenna cleaned the house and packed her car and Stephen and Samuel packed the truck and they caravanned on Friday. Rebekah drove with Jenna and the kids. They couldn't come earlier since there was a Single Adult Activity on Thursday night that both Rebekah and Stephen had to make an appearance.
   We were all together again for Friday night and since that was Stephen and Kathleen's anniversary, the kids let us go out for a dinner and visit to the Meridian Temple site. The food was great but very filling. It was nice to do something for our anniversary... ;-)  
36th Anniversary Pix at Susan's House.
    Saturday morning we were up early and off to Utah for a Ralph Family Reunion. We were late but they waited on us before really starting. Stephen played his harmonica 3 different ways which is his signature talent. Our Ralph Family had the most people there and in the nursery. It was nice to see so many family members. Elaine and Lamar Hansen are going on a mission soon to Georgia so it was so very nice to see them. We also spoke with Janelle Black and others that we haven't seen for awhile. It was just fun to get together even for a little while.
Lunch at the Reunion. Watching the show.

The grandkids playing Simon Says.

Rebekah has the kids following her lead.
The Fred Horace Ralph Reunion - 2016
   After that Jenna and Beka left for Jenna's mother's house and Liz went to pick up Austin. That was the last time we saw them during this trip. Stephen and I went to St George to visit Francene and Samuel went back with Michael and Sarah, Ben and Carli who had all come up together.

7 August 2016 - Last full week of Grandkids visiting....

  How do you fill everything that has been done into one week??? You do as much as you Stephen took the four older kids to lots of activities and sometimes we all went together.  There was things to do at home and things to see elsewhere. Here's just a sample of things that were done.
Tiger Lilies at the Tribal Life Trail.
Nature walk through the Arboretum and Tribal Life  Trail in Maple Valley at  Lake Wilderness. 
Walking the trail with song and dancing in the rain.... Chilly August day. 
Going Dutch in the backyard.

Dutch Oven trio with Curried dinner, Brownies and Loganberry Cobbler. Backyard Delights!!
Zucchini Brownies
Curried chicken, rice and lentils.

Up on the basketball pole.

 Two boys at the races with their Grandpa.

Seattle International Raceway with the Dragster and team.
Andrew and Nathan having noisy FUN.

At the Ballard Locks with Grandpa.
What else are metal waves for but to ride....
Checking out the  Ballard Locks. 

At the Seattle Temple. 
Dinner in style....from Winco.

In the Back of Grandpa's Pick-up Truck.