Sunday, January 29, 2017

29 January 2017 - Texas trip for Grandma & Women's conference for Grandpa

Katelyn upside down on the monkey bars.
Kathleen spent the week in Celina, Texas helping Liz and Austin with their children while Liz recovered from her delivery. There was some fun times with Jon and Jenna and their sweet children, and Liz and Austin's four oldest children. School time, play time, searching a museum and getting lost on the roads...

Isaac swinging to the side.
Joshua in Mom's arm.

Nathan playing in the sand.

Andrew playing with Nathan.

Emeri and Gracie on the swing seat.

Oakley, Ezra and Emeri.

   The first few days were spent helping with laundry, cleaning, reading to kids and just trying to be helpful. Liz struggled with lots of pain issues and other discomfort that had to be relieved. Texts to Susan were very helpful and groceries were obtained so that a Candida fighting diet could be consumed by both Liz and Grandma. Raw garlic crushed into 8 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil was difficult to gag down but it was the start of many things that were to be eaten including prunes, prune juice, onions, ginger, sour kraut, kale, lemon and lime juice. Foods that were avoided included anything with added sugar, almost all grains and high glycemic foods. Grandma noticed a decrease in her joint pain and Liz was relieved of her pain and other issues. It was a successful start.
At the Discovery Museum with the grandkids.
   The children read books, played the piano, did chores and played with lots of blocks (thanks in part to Jon) and other imaginative toys. They practiced soccer outside as well as played on the trampoline. We visited a park with Jenna and their kids and also went to their Homeschool Class on Wednesday and to the Museum on Friday.
Ezra McRae Heath at 1 week.
Jenna and Ezra.

Jon and Joshua. 
Austin grabbing pizza on the last night.

Liz hiding from the camera.

Grandma and Baby Ezra. 
Saturday was Kathleen's flight back to Washington. She had to wait at the airport for 45 minutes before Stephen was able to pick her up since he was speaking at Women's conference that day. Rebekah was able to record it for Kathleen to listen to and it was fun to hear him speak about being a single parent and not recommending that lifestyle.
   Stephen had spent the week working almost everyday. Monday was teaching a fourth grade Spanish immersion class at Scenic Hill and Tuesday through Thursday he worked for Br. Sharp on construction of a school in Puyallup. He is developing his arm muscles and loosing weight (on purpose) so he's pleased with all that he's accomplishing. He did take Friday off to work on his talk for the women's conference.
   Samuel had his last game of the season on Friday vs. Kentwood at Kentlake. He got in the last minute of the game and made the last shot of the game and season. A 3-pointer!!! The whole team seemed so very happy and excited for him. Even the Kentwood players were happy for him. The whole gym erupted into cheers. It was inspirational to see all the players on both sides of the contest become friends because Samuel was in the game. He unites people and makes others happy.

Monday, January 23, 2017

22 January 2017 - Birth and Birthday

 Ezra McRae Heath
   Monday started off with the news that  Elizabeth was off to the birth center where she gave birth to her 5th child and 3rd son, Ezra McRae Heath just after 12:00 on the 16th of January. Austin stayed with Elizabeth while the kids went over to Jon and Jenna's home where they had a great time with their cousins and even baked a birthday cake for their new family member.

Austin and little Ezra

Liz and little Ezra.

Cousins having fun at Jon and Jenna's home.

Heath Family
   Along with a birthday, Monday was a day off with the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of equality by being judged by your character rather than your skin color. Character is an important part of development for eternity.        Stephen, Kathleen and Samuel made it to the gym and all had a good work out before Samuel went to basketball practice. That night Stephen was in charge of FHE. He chose to play the video of President Russell M. Nelson's speech from Sunday night's fireside at BYU. It was a wonderful speech on Millennials and how True Millennials are destined to bring in the Millennium and the reign of Christ. It was an awe-inspiring speech worth the watch.
   Tuesday, Kathleen taught Seminary combining two lessons in one and playing a little Kahoot that tested the students knowledge of the scriptures they need to know for the assessment. Teaching John 13 and 14 on Jesus' last teachings to his disciples the night prior to his crucifixion. Jesus taught the importance of service and love one to another. Stephen received a phone call early in the morning from John Sharp. He had several previous appointments to go to including a 1st grade class at Soos Creek Elementary where he was scheduled for half the day. He enjoyed his short time in the classroom since there was a MLK assembly followed by PE and then lunch. After school he went to the Stake Center where they were moving the library cabinets to the new room. Then he drove to Puyallup where he met with John Sharp who offered him a job working for his company at $45/hr. Stephen only wanted part time and John is happy to give him that.
Tuesday evening Samuel had a game with Tahoma HS. Samuel got to play the last two minutes and he made his first 3 point basket for the season. Go Samuel!
   Wednesday - Happy Birthday, Sarah!!! Kathleen received a text from Michael thanking her for giving birth to Sarah. That made her very pleased. She feels that she received the best blessing by having Sarah in her home and heart. Of course, she feels that way about each and everyone of her kids, in-laws and grandkids.... She is blessed!
   Wednesday morning after Kathleen came home from Seminary, Stephen was leaving for his new job in Puyallup. He was taking the truck and tools to work on some construction. He looked very pleased with himself. Wednesday evening was the ward potluck. It was to be "Superbowl Finger-foods" but there was many things that were healthy for the superbowl so Kathleen cut up fruits and made a "no-fail Kale salad". The fruit was a big success with all the pizza that showed up for dinner. Samuel had YM after at the workplace of Br. McNeil at a Care Center for aged and handicapped individuals. The boys played games and talked with the residents. Samuel had a great time. Stephen stayed for his usual Wednesday night Stake Meetings and Temple recommend interviews.
   Thursday Kathleen went to Seminary where they administered the New Testament assessment to the kids. Three kids decided not to come so they missed out on the fruit, go-gurts, muffins, milk and orange juice that the teachers brought for their students. Stephen stayed home so that he could take Kathleen to the airport at 12:00. She was flying to Dallas to help Liz and Austin during their transition to five kids. It was a 4 hour trip by 737 but it seemed longer.
   Friday night Samuel had his first time announcing the Varsity basketball game during Senior night. It was counted as his job shadow for his culmination project for high school. He said he was very nervous and he only did 3/4 of the game so that he could play in the band his last few minutes. Stephen attended the temple for the Park Orchard Ward temple night so he missed the game and Rebekah was madly working on homework while Kathleen was enjoying grand-kids and helping with laundry and cleaning for Elizabeth. Kathleen took the kids to the park with Jenna and her kids. That made the night go fast. It was dark when we got home.
   Saturday Jon and Austin left early for a "boxing" practice. A kind of exercise workout that includes punching bags etc. Katheen took the kids to the store to pick up some meds for Liz and she picked up a gift for Preston's birthday party but she was informed that it was unnecessary since they never get gifts for the kids...too many cousins. Now she gets to take it back.
   Sunday Austin, Kathleen and the kids went to church while Liz stayed at home with Ezra. Liz was able to get some sleep which was really necessary at that point. The ward that was attended was packed and they ended up in the back due to everyone saving seats in the chapel. Austin says that they hope the ward will be divided this February because their ward is so big. It's great to see the growth of the church. Sunday was a stay at home day which was a nice activity for the kids and the adults.
   A full week of many blessings finished up on Sunday. What a blessing to see family growing and teaching their children the gospel and truths that will bless their lives forever. Stephen and Kathleen feel so blessed. Love to All!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

15 January 2017 - Icy roads and learning environs

Back to the basics of school, seminary and homelife routine. Seminary started out this week with a continuation of the book of John, an amazing testimony of the words of Jesus and His continual doing the will of His Father in Heaven.
   Monday was so cold that Kathleen slipped on the driveway going out to the car and then the car slid several times on the road. The worst was heading east on Kent-Kangley and coming to a stoplight behind a metro bus. The car decided to slide instead of brake and Kathleen was afraid that she was going to be in another accident. Thankfully the Lord intervened and she was able to stop inches from the bus. Making it to seminary that day without incident was a miracle and then when seminary was over the Kent school district announced that school was two hours late because of the road conditions....too late.  :-)  Samuel spent the two hours at the Haywards house since she was driving the kids to school when they heard about the two hour delay. He loved it. The Kent school district decided to make up for it by having the schools two hours late start on Tuesday.
Coach giving last minute instructions to the team.
Samuel, in white shorts, is playing the trumpet in the middle of the picture
to the right of the pep band.
   Tuesday was a little better. It was cold but dry and no seminary. Stephen did pick up a teaching assignment at Soos Creek Elementary teaching 1st grade. He enjoyed that half-day teaching assignment. Samuel had a game that night. At half time the lights went out in the gym and they couldn't get them to come back on in time for the rest of the game. Sad day! They were behind by more than 20 points so they just called the game. The lights were back on for the varsity game and Samuel played in the pep band. They lost also but they should have won since they led the whole game and were ahead with 40 seconds left in the game but a young man decided to try for a 3 point shot instead of working the clock down and going for a winning two points. Another disappointment.
   Wednesday was a scheduled late-start for school so no seminary. Stephen went to the stake center to work on the creation of a family history library at the building. He is in charge of the remodel and he is working with the FM group. That afternoon Samuel had an after school practice so his mother picked him up and his father took him to YM. Br. Carter came to teach the young men about his work in financial investing.    Thursday Stephen was scheduled to teach a half day at Soos Creek Elementary in first grade but when he got there they needed him to take over for a second grade class for the full day. Three of the children were under psych evaluations and had behavioral problems. They would not follow instructions. They got into arguments. They were disruptive in class...they were difficult and Stephen said that the mother of one of the kids wouldn't even listen to the school about methods of teaching/discipling but hung up the phone when she heard what the teacher wanted. Sad for the kids to not have parents that cared. Stephen was "burnt out" when he got home and he said he would not be going back to that school.
   Friday Stephen was scheduled to teach at Scenic Hill 1st grade Spanish immersion. He had small classes of wonderful kids and he really enjoyed it. After his day was over, the school asked if he wanted to be put on a preferred list so he would get early notifications of needs from the school. He did. He had a great time. Samuel had a game out of town so he was riding the bus after school in the afternoon.
   That night was date night for Stephen and Kathleen. They wanted to go see Rogue One at the theater after a quick bite for dinner in Federal Way so that they could pick up Samuel after the varsity game at Rogers HS. They went to the theater during the previews and the sound system was pretty gritty. Then the movie started and it was worse so the theater company stopped the movie and said that everyone could have free refills (Stephen and Kathleen hadn't gotten anything to begin with) and the movie would start where it left off when they got the sound figured out. Stephen was worried about Samuel and so he and Kathleen opted to get their money back but it was still 2 hours before his game was over. They decided to check out the dollar theater and see what was there. The selection wasn't very good but they could see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It was a different kind of movie.... Rebekah was asked to pick up Samuel at KLHS and she agreed so she arrived just as the bus got to KL. Everyone arrived back to the house about the same time. It was nice to have some time together.
   Saturday was unusual as no one had to be up early. Stephen went to the stake center for some more discussion on what to do with the library and the new family history library that is being set up. Rebekah came by for breakfast together. Kathleen was on-call at work but didn't have to go in so that afternoon everyone gathered around in the family room with a blazing fire to heat up the house and watched the football game with the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Atlanta Falcons. Seattle lost which means their season is over. After the game, Stephen and Kathleen decided there was time to make it to the temple for the 7:00 session. It was crowded with a ward temple night but it was also great to see Dave and Katie Forbes there. What a fun surprize.
   Today, Stephen had his first Ward Conference with the Clarke Lake Ward. He taught the Elder's and High Priest's quorums on the subject of Fast Offerings. The Lake Meridian ward had two youth speakers and the High Councilman, Br. Egbert. The theme was missionary work, picked by Br. Egbert and since he had 35 minutes to give his talk it was a good idea for him to pick the topic. Tonight is a missionary fireside at the stake center. The missionaries have a choir that they bring and everyone is invited to come. It should be good.
   This week in scripture studies during seminary prep and sunday school. It was noted that the important task everyone has while here on earth is to come to know Jesus Christ. "This is life eternal to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." The hope is that we are all studying the life of the Savior and His gospel. He come to know Him by doing what He asks of us, keeping His commandments and seeking to learn His will. True happiness and joy comes from knowing the plan of happiness is real and that everyone can be happy no matter what their circumstances are at this time. May you all feel loved and joy in your lives... <3 p="">

Sunday, January 8, 2017

8 January 2017 - In the Beginning....

On the highway in Oregon.
   A wonderful week at the Ralph House. Sunday, the first, found Stephen, Kathleen, Rebekah and Samuel driving back from Meridian, Idaho where they spent a lovely time with family at Cory and Susan's home. The drive back was made safe with prayer and the steady hands of Stephen through the snow coming down and 10 cars that had slid off the road. Stephen was very tired when he finally was able to relax at home.
   Monday was a day off from school so Samuel, Kathleen and Stephen were able to unpack bags, clean rooms, mop and vacuum and just clean up the house. Cleanliness is imperative for the spirit and it really made a difference. Vinay was able to care for things at home while everyone else was gone but Jersey enjoyed having people back in her life.
   Tuesday was a school day. Kathleen was at Seminary but didn't have to teach the lesson. Stephen picked up a teaching job at Soos Creek Elementary. He was to do a half day of working with Special Education kids but they asked him to finish the day working with the 1st graders. He was very tired when he got home but he enjoyed the experience. Kathleen prepared her lesson for John 7 - To know God's will and the truth of the Gospel, you must live it.
   Tuesday night Samuel played in his first game of basketball for the season. They played Kennedy Catholic and had a decisive win. He stayed for the varsity game and watched them lose but he played in the Pep Band, so he has an A in band this quarter.... Go Samuel. Stephen and Kathleen didn't make his game because they were at the temple to witness the sealing of Br. Tom Manning to his wife and young son. Many of the ward members were there and it was a special sealing. Br. Manning's mom and grandmother were there and two ward members were witnesses. Going to the temple is always a special experience.
   Wednesday morning all the Christmas decor was put away except for the lights on the house. During the dark time of the year, it's nice to see the twinkling lights on houses. It makes the darkness seem less encroaching. After Samuel came home from school, he complained about his foot hurting. He enjoyed the stretches that Carli and Ben put him through in Provo and at Susan's place but the top of his left foot started to hurt and had been getting worse. We tried some ice alternating with heat and it seemed to help. He had a basketball practice late on Wednesday so Kathleen picked him up and took him home for a quick change and then he went to YM at the Stake Center for their combined activity. Stephen has meetings every Wednesday so he was already there. The weather was dry and cold so at night the fire was started in the fireplace. The blower works well to keep the downstairs warm.
   Thursday Kathleen had a physical therapy appointment. Her knee is doing better but her left hip is causing more and more problems. They worked on the hip while her knee was getting some electrical stimulation therapy and heat. It was a work out. Stephen had another teaching assignment at Neely O'Brian Elementary teaching half day music. This elementary is down in the inner city of Kent and a rougher crowd than Soos Creek. He's not sure he'll go back there.
Martial Arts trainers....
   Thursday night Kathleen had a self-defense class put on by the RS. It was nice to mingle with the sisters but some of the moves they taught were rather impractical for a 60 year old with lots of lower extremity problems. The instructors were serious and informative and they brought hand mitts that the sisters could practice hitting. Stephen spent the evening doing church work and catching up on some things that needed to be done in his calling.
Kentlake pep band
Friday was extra cold outside but no snow. Kathleen had prepared her lesson on John 9 - the Healing of the blind man and how we can use our own adversity to bring glory to God. There was also time for a little doctrinal mastery so Sr. LeDosquet used a scenario of a family attending another church and the older sibling partaking of the wine used by the church for their sacrament and then after how the sibling who partook of the wine berated the younger sibling who was upset by the experience. Several basic doctrinal passages came to the minds of the students. Commandments, Priesthood and Priesthood keys, the Atonement, the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and how all men will be judged by their actions. The students brought up some good ideas of the basic doctrine and the next step will dig deeper into the scriptures and what the prophets counsel.
Samuel in his new suit.
   Friday night Samuel had another basketball game against Hazen. His team won by one point so Samuel didn't get to play but the varsity actually played really well and won by 24 points. They really looked good against a bigger, taller team. Samuel played in the Pep Band for varsity and Stephen and Kathleen got to see the whole thing from the other side of the gym. It brings back lots of memories of all the other kids who played sports or band during their KentLake years. Such fun!
   Saturday Stephen went to the Priesthood session at the temple. He came home after 10:00. There was work to be done around the house and football games to watch. The Seahawks beat the Detroit Lions which was the highlight game of the day.
   Samuel wore his new suit for the second time on Sunday. He wore it last Sunday at Susan's house but this was the first time members of our ward were able to see him in his new suit that he got for  Christmas. He looked very sharp.
Fast and Testimony was nice. Kathleen wanted to bare her testimony but didn't get the time. She was reading this morning and saw a phrase that really struck her. Grace is to be used Daily. It was like a bolt of lightening. She had always thought that grace was a one time deal made available through the atonement of Christ but the spirit spoke to her today and bore witness that Grace is a daily power to change. At this time during a new year while people are making new goals and commitments they can use the power of the Atonement to make the important changes, the eternal progress, the repentance that matters. It was a very enlightening experience to feel the spirit bear witness.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1 January 2017 - Happy New Year!

Monday after Christmas was a whirl of activity. The rental car needed to be picked up, the bags packed and put in the car, the house cleaned, etc. Stephen was driving the Subaru Outback with Samuel in the back and Kathleen in the front.  Leaving an hour later than planned, snow wasn't seen until Tiger Mountain. Highway 18 was very busy and SLOW... making it to Boise late.
The rental car....
While in Meridian Stephen helped Cory and Susan work on the flooring in their family room. It was a beautiful dark brown and went well with the gray color on the walls and the white kitchen cabinets. Both Cory and Susan seemed very pleased with their work and Jarom helped too.
Siblings that made the funeral. L to R
Mayrene, Kathleen, Leonard, Michael, Larry, Richard
Program cover
Tuesday morning put the car back on the snowy road. Light snow was falling as the car made it's way to the highway. After leaving Boise, the weather mostly cleared up with only some drifting snow at Sweetzer pass. The drive to Provo was uneventful with the roads clear and only the city streets crusted with a thick blanket of snow. Samuel's Christmas was a suit so there was a stop at the Missionary Mall where a suit was found, measured for alterations and paid for. Samuel seemed pleased. Next stop was Jessica and Juan's place. Ben and Carli stopped in and plans were made to continue the journey to St. George for Francene's funeral. Kathleen rode with Ben and Carli, Stephen took Jessica with Samuel. On the way down, the rental car overheated and the signal light came on to indicate the oil level was too low. They stopped and Ben and Carli and Kathleen made it to the Comfort Inn in St. George first where the family was staying. Michael and Catherine, Larry and Teverly and Richard were next door at the Wendy's restaurant so when Stephen arrived the whole group joined them for dinner. After a quick bite, everyone went back to the hotel where they let us gather in the breakfast room to discuss what was happening for the funeral and what else needed to be done. Catherine showed us the program and Leonard discussed the finances. Most of the men were to be pall bearers or honorary pall bearers. Kathleen was asked to give the opening prayer, Stephen was to speak after Richard gave the eulogy. Catherine would finish up giving the memories of Francene's nieces and nephews. After planning there was some time to try out the pool and sauna before going to bed. Jessica slept with Stephen and Kathleen but couldn't sleep well due to the snoring.
Sisters Mayrene and Kathleen

Ben, Jessica and Carli at the viewing.
   Wednesday was the funeral. After breakfast and packing the cars up, everyone headed for the church where Francene had spent most of her years attending while in Washington City. A family viewing was an hour prior to the funeral and many family members close by were able to come. The funeral went as planned. There was a musical number by the ward members and some of the Care Center's employees came. Stephen did an excellent job incorporating our belief in the Plan of Salvation and the fact that Francene will now be able to have an eternal companion. Part of Catherine's talk included a poem that she asked Jessica to read about being "home for Christmas". The Bishop finished up the service and reiterated much of what Stephen said. This was his 4th funeral in just a few weeks but he was able to individualize each one to the needs of the family and friends of the deceased. The spirit was strongly felt.
Ian, Mayrene, Emily, Michael

Sheila and Marty Mayne

Jeanette Raisor & family

Mindy and children
Carl and Julia and family
Jay and his mom, Helena

Karen and Doug
Jimmy Jo and Harmony
Aaron and friend Alicia (?)
Mayrene and Wayne Stewart
Helena and Leonard and Camille
Ben Selfie with Carli, Samuel, Stephen,
Kathleen Ralph and Jessica Salcedo.

Shauna Tyler
   After the funeral, family gathered at the Washington City Cemetery where the gravesite was purchased not too far from Floyd and Irene Langford. Leonard dedicated the grave site and the bishop said a few words then everyone started to leave. A luncheon was prepared back at the church but it was hard to leave. Stephen and Kathleen were the last ones to leave the cemetery after visiting at the parent's gravesite. The luncheon was nice and after cleaning up everyone headed their separate directions.
Luncheon at the church.
   Wednesday night Stephen and Kathleen spent at Jessica's place and Samuel stayed with Ben and Carli. There was a quick stop by Sarah's apartment to check it out and she was sorely missed.
   Thursday was when the suit was ready to be picked up. Stephen and Juan took Samuel and visited with Lisa and Tom where they saw Brandon and Demarae and their kids.  Jessica and Kathleen dropped Ben off at his apartment so he could wait for Carli to finish her dance instructions. They had Hadlie and Christian with them so they started off and had to stop in Layton at Leonard's house where they picked up some DVD's that he had from Francene that Kathleen had purchased for her. The only stop after that was in Burley for gas and a potty break for the kids. Meridian Idaho was covered in snow on the city roads and Kathleen only navigated wrong once. Otherwise the trip was uneventful. Stephen and Juan were able to pick up Rebekah at the airport in Boise before making it to Susan and Cory's place.
   Friday was quiet at the house. Susan had prepared a breakfast casserole of eggs and vegetables. It was so delicious. After a nice lunch, Kathleen had an appointment scheduled at her clinic for a PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment for her knee and hip. After several (10+) injections in various sites, Kathleen was pretty sore but hopeful that her knee will get better as she follow directions with exactness. That evening was a movie night at the dollar theater. We saw "Doctor Strange" with Benedict ???
Game Time
   Saturday was a fun breakfast of eggnog and pumpkin pancakes with buttermilk syrup and sausage. Then the decisions were to be made. Whether people wanted outdoor activities in the cold (that was shot down), to go to the movies again or visit a fun center. The fun center was selected but it had a sale that started at 5:00 and it was only 1:30. Most people didn't want to stay for the sale but the guys and Rebekah wanted to stay for the football game of Ohio State. Jessica stayed so her kids could play and Susan, Cory, Jarom and Kathleen went home and played Jokers and Pegs.

Breakfast buddies....
Kimball and Hadlie
    That night Susan had prepared a game in which you rolled the dice to get doubles while someone put on gloves and tried to unwrap and ball of gifts wrapped in cellophane wrap. It was quite the fun game and Ben and Jessica got the most stuff.... Midnight was celebrated with a toast of sparkling cider.
   Sunday was 9:00 church for the New Year. The Speakers spoke about the important goals to be made in the year to come. The sister that spoke talked about seeing the gifts (valentines) from God that we receive daily and how we can develop charity by looking for those opportunities to serve others. The brother who spoke mentioned the regrets that people have on their death beds. #1- Not spending more time with their loved ones.  #2 Not living by the spirit and #3 Not living up to the potential to BE HAPPY.  There was some good messages in the words spoken and the spirit was felt very strong. After church, clothes were changed and everyone headed off to their destinations. Ben and Carli and Jessica and Juan made it back to Provo before the big storm hit. Stephen and Kathleen saw 10 cars slid off the road during their travel back to Kent but theirs was uneventful thankfully.
   With the New Year begun, we say goodbye to the old. Hopefully we can have fond memories of all that went before but if not may we all strive to do worthwhile activities that have potential to bring happiness and joy to others so there will be many good memories ahead.
A New Year's picture at Cory and Susan's ward after church. What a beautiful Day!!!

25 December 2016 - Merry Christmas

   The week before Christmas started out with Kathleen feeling sick and going home after Sacrament meeting. She had had the flu vaccine so it wasn't suppose to be flu but it felt like it. Stephen had been sick earlier so it may have mutated and passed on.
   Monday she continued to feel sick and she was suppose to work but she called in sick. Bed was the best place for her in her slow recovery.
   Tuesday morning, Kathleen got a call from the Red Hills Rehab facility where Francene was staying. They said that her oxygen levels were low and she probably wouldn't make it through the week. It was a difficult call to receive. More calls were made to all the siblings that would take them. Catherine called Nancy, Larry and Teverly. Kathleen called Ron, Richard and Mayrene and both Cathy and Kathleen tried to get ahold of Leonard, who was working in the Bountiful temple until 9:00. A decision was made here to keep with the original plan and wait until after Christmas to see Francene since Kathleen had seen her less than two weeks previous. Leonard planned on going to see her on Thursday and Catherine and Michael planned to fly to Las Vegas on Thursday and drive the remaining way to St. George. Ron was not able to go at all since his health/weight prevented him from travel and any stairs. Richard had plans until after Christmas as did Larry and Teverly. Kathleen spoke to Wayne and he was to let Mayrene know what was happening.
   Wednesday was lost in Christmas preparations and Stephen having meetings. Samuel took a plate of cookies to YM so they could divide them with other cookies and pass them out to people in the ward. After the activity they all went to Pres. Stroud's home to watch the BYU football game. Thankfully BYU beat Wyoming so it was a positive end of the day.
   Thursday morning Sarah called from the Care Center where Francene was. Sarah and Michael were on their way back from Disneyland, where they had been taken by his boss as a bonus for the company where Michael works. She was very upset and stated that she had tried to speak with the Hospice nurse who was taking care of Francene and she felt that she was rude. Sarah was startled at the condition Francene was in because she had just seen her on Sunday but she didn't try to wake her up from a nap.
   Thursday evening Rebekah had a piano recital for her students. While driving to the recital with Stephen and Samuel, Kathleen got a call from Leonard. He had just gotten to the Care Center to visit Francene. He was pretty upset. He said Francene's breathing was fast and shallow, then it slowed down. He asked Kathleen if she wanted to talk to Francene. Of course, she did, so he put her on speaker phone. There was no two-way conversation but Kathleen told Francene that it was alright to go to the Light. She wanted Francene to say Hi to Mom and Dad and to give Nathan and Danielle a kiss and a hug. It was a difficult conversation. After saying goodbyes the car was parked at the church where the recital was and Kathleen was ready to get out of the car when the phone rang again. Leonard was crying and said that Francene had passed away. Helena said that it was about one minute after we had hung up from the last conversation. Francene had just stopped breathing and was gone. Michael and Catherine hadn't made it to Las Vegas yet but they came in later that night. Both Leonard and Catherine took care of funeral arrangements, flowers, obituaries, programs, etc.
   Friday was the last day that Kathleen had to prepare for Christmas. She had to deliver a package to Sheryl Sprague and wish her a Merry Christmas as a visiting teacher. Also our Home Teachers came by and delivered cookies, too. There were some last minute items to purchase and all the wrapping had to be done, but with only 4 people sharing Christmas day there wasn't a lot of presents to be wrapped. Stephen was out and about with his activities and Samuel had a date with friends going to the movie. He saw Rogue One and liked it. Not everyone did.
   Saturday, Kathleen went to the hospital for her shift on Christmas Eve. It wasn't super busy and she had 3 couplets to care for all of whom wanted to go home. By the time she got home there was just small things left to do. We gave Vinay his gifts that evening since he wasn't going to spend Christmas day with us. Wrapping gifts and taking them over to Rebekah's home. Reading the Nativity story was part of the tradition that was kept. There was no dressing up since the costumes were in Texas for the kids there to share for their advent. It was a quiet evening and Rebekah had a nice tree lit up with lights and lots of decorations. It was so nice to visit in her home.
Stockings to open on Christmas
Dressed for church with a stocking full of goodies.
   Sunday was Christmas! The Sabbath makes Christmas special. Everyone awoke a little late but were dressed by the time Rebekah came by at 9:00 to open stockings. She had to be a the church to practice a song with two other people by 9:30 so it was a quick visit before everyone jumped into the car and drove to the church. Samuel and Kathleen sat in the choir seats with Rebekah at the piano and Stephen in the front as part of the Stake Presidency. There was a large congregation, more than usual since the Young Adult ward was not meeting that day. There was only Sacrament meeting which lasted a little longer than usual. The choir had 4 numbers, one with the primary children and one with the congregation. There were also two other numbers. A piano solo by Br. Woodhouse and a mother/son (10 yr old) cello and violin duet by the Warner's that Rebekah accompanied without any practice. It was very beautiful. The bishop spoke also which made everything last longer. After the meeting and the visiting after of people home for the holidays, there was a stop to deliver a birthday gift to Kappy since Christmas is her birthday. After the delivery the family went to Brian and  Ruth's home (after finding the church empty of their presence) for Christmas breakfast. The scrambled eggs and bacon along with grapefruit, kiwi, Orange juice, cranberry juice, eggnog made a delicious beginning followed by Cinnamon rolls for dessert. What a lovely treat! The best part was when Kathleen found out she didn't have to go to work that day. What a wonderful Christmas present. Michelle and Alberto were there with their little girl, Lilah, and Daniel and Shawn were their with their little girl, Adeline. Shawn's parents were also there. It was a large group and plenty of food.
Rebekah dressed for Christmas.

Michelle showing her baby bump.
After the clean-up and conversation, the gifts had to be opened so Stephen and his family left and headed back to Rebekah's home. There were some  nice surprises for everyone. A phone for Rebekah, a massage package for Kathleen along with a beautiful Birthday remembrance board, Samuel got lots of Nike stuff and Stephen got the clamps he wanted and the Surface Pro 4 that he needed, along with other small items.
Before the gifts with open at Rebekah's house.

So Grandma can practice and maybe beat Andrew and Emeri.
After the last gifts were opened everyone piled into the car again to go to the Kozy home where a dinner invitation had been made. The prime rib was cooked to perfection and there was dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole and salad. Drinks were from a variety of sparkling ciders. Melissa and Jordan were there to celebrate Christmas and David expressed the finer techniques of cooking meat. It was fun and they wouldn't let us help with the clean up. It was a lovely evening and a very Merry Christmas.