My World

No pictures. Just words...in sentences.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Remembering a friend

Last Sunday at church, they announced the passing of a member. You could hear audible gasps when it was announced. I know that doesn't happen very often, usually because the death is expected.

Today was the funeral. I was touched at the start when one of the granddaughters started to take her baby out at the beginning of the service and someone offered to take the baby so that the granddaughter could enjoy the service.

There were other tender moments that the speakers shared about the many acts of service of this man who was being remembered.

I realize that the world doesn't revolve around me. However, I must share some personal experiences. This man reminded me a little of my dad. They were a year apart in age. I think the most glaring similarity was that his wife was in poor health and that didn't stop him from going to church and serving. And, unexpectedly, his illness was rapid and the onset sudden, and she is now left behind.

Earlier, I used the phrase "enjoy the service." I meant it. While funerals are emotionally taxing, the one great thing about an LDS funeral is that it is positive, hopeful, and if you listen, you are reminded of the Plan of Salvation, as it is taught in the talks.

I remember hearing about my mom going to an uncle's funeral when she was dating my dad. He asked sheepishly "how was it?" and she spoke positively about that service, which was NOT what he expected to hear. It planted a seed with him, along with other events that led to his eventual conversion.

I'm grateful to have known the man we said goodbye to today...til we meet again, Brother.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Tale of Two Storehouses

My dad was raised in the 30's and 40's by a single mother and sometimes they needed assistance. Dad rarely spoke of it, except with disdain. He always thought highly of the LDS church and their assistance programs, because it preserved human dignity and was designed to be temporary. He also had done a lot of work at the cannery and storehouse in Los Angeles. A lot.

Around 30 years ago, Dad lost his job. This is the first time he might have had to be on the receiving end of church assistance. After some serious coaxing by his Bishop, he took a food order to the storehouse and it was not the pleasant, dignified experience he told everybody it would be. The worker was less than charitable and started going through the order, being critical of the items and amounts requested.

In addition to being hurt, he was angry. He grabbed the order and went home, storming into his Bishop's office, ripped up the order and threw it at the Bishop and walked out.

Thankfully, this Bishop was someone who knew Dad and could get through to him. He got Dad back in his office and talked to him. I was later told by my mom that Dad almost left the church over this incident, that's how upset and hurt he was. Dad was never driven from the church by upset or hurt feelings, but this came the closest. How ironic that the program my dad was such a cheerleader for, tried to fail him in his time of need!

A few weeks later, that Bishop called Dad into his office again, explaining that they had made some changes at the storehouse, and would he please go in again, not looking for trouble, to "test things out." He was to bring home any food he got. It had been fixed, and when I came home that day, I came home to more food than we had in the house when he was working.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to volunteer at the local LDS Bishop's Storehouse in Albuquerque, NM. I had a great time helping to fill food orders, walking patrons through and assisting them with their orders, taking full grocery carts out to the cars with the patrons, etc. I enjoyed meeting a regular volunteer who comes there with her disabled son to get him some work experience. I laughed with patrons, and took care of business. It was a wonderful experience and something I would be willing to do again.

There was a few no-shows there yesterday. No judgment, no criticism, no questioning of the orders or the leaders who helped write them out. There was a beautiful spirit of love, support and dignity--just the way I would hope anyone would feel when trying to meet their family's most basic needs.

While I can't compare this experience to helping at other food banks, I was grateful to know that the Lord loves ALL his children and is there for them when they need Him.

(I brought up the first story, not to be critical of anyone/anything, but because it was heavy on my mind yesterday. I'm grateful that when we know better, we do better.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pride and Prejudice, 2015 style

A lot of bandwidth has taken up the news feeds over Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner and the whole transgender thing. I find it sad that someone can be so unhappy in their own skin that they feel they must make drastic changes in order to feel "right." I'm also oddly intrigued by the process. Nevertheless it is their choice to make, not mine.

June is Pride Month. When I was younger, they called it Gay Pride, now it's just Pride, because the movement has adopted more than just men who like men and women who like women.

This is a bit uncomfortable for me to talk about, but because I love people who are gay, I'm trying and hope they get that I am trying, and not being disrespectful.

In the transgender discussion, some other "trans" have come up, half serious, half joking. These are trans-racial and trans-able. Stories in the news talk about a woman who (according to information at the time I wrote this) has been passing herself off as black. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about that story. There's another story about a guy in Canada who didn't feel like he should be whole and wanted to remove his arm.

As I heard more and more about this whole trans-able thing, my thoughts went immediately to my mother. Anything I say about her, please remember I have made my peace with her, so I do not any longer speak about her from a place of anger. Sorrow and pity, yes, but not anger. You see, my mother was mentally ill and never was diagnosed. As I got older, I saw a woman who became more and more needy (physically and emotionally) and felt so worthless that she didn't think anyone would like her for her, so made herself need the help of others so that they'd stay in her life.

Honestly. the thought process is irrational, but tell that to someone living it who believes it is right. I wonder if trans-able had been a thing back then, if she'd have that type of diagnosis. Nobody in their right mind would think it was ok to purposely become an invalid to keep people in your life, would they?

I thought I was clever with my title, but I truly hope that people don't feel my wanderings fall in the prejudice category. Mah girls had a blast at Pride today, and I'm so glad they did!!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Super weekend!

Seems like everybody wants us to talk about Bruce Jenner, Bobbi Kristina, Deflation, and/or the Super Bowl.

I had a different type of super weekend. I was able to witness three rites of passage. Yesterday, I got to see one of my Primary (LDS Children's Organization) kids get baptized. Our faith feels that baptism is for those who are accountable, which is determined to be age 8. I love watching the little ones get baptized. Heck, I love watching anyone get baptized when they discover truth and want to open a new chapter in their lives.

The second rite of passage was a memorial service for a local radio personality. I was a faithful listener when my schedule allowed and her passing was a surprise. I was grateful to have interactions with her on Facebook and via emails. I even got to meet her once in person when a friend of mine had a book signing in town. I remember the day she read my "where was I" on the air on the anniversary of 9/11. I can't stand for long periods of time, but I was able to stand for this and go out among people I either only know online or through the radio.

Number three was a baby blessing. Since in the LDS church we don't baptize babies, we do formally give them their name and a blessing. It's a big event for the parents and grandparents and other interested parties.

Now the bonus moment. Seven years ago, I was teaching a different Primary class and I've always had a tradition that if I'm teaching during Christmas, I give each of the children a homemade ornament. One of the young ladies I taught seven years ago came up to me today and said "I have to show you something. We were going through our Christmas decorations and I found this." She showed me the ornament I'd made that year. "That day you gave it to me, I had to leave early. I ended up with a concussion later that day and that ornament is one of the few things I remember from that day."

I thought that was sweet. I always wondered what happened to those ornaments. It's nice when you give something you made and someone considers it of value. It makes me feel something I can't describe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A story of skin cancer and drama

I'm not sure why most everything in my life has to have a big, complicated story attached to it. After all, I don't crave drama, but like a cat attaching itself to the one cat hater in the room, drama always seems to find me.

When I was young, I'd get odd spots on my skin. The doctors always would look at them, say they didn't know why I got them, but they were harmless. Sometimes they even went away as mysteriously as they came. I also grew up in a time before sunblock. If you were out in the sun, you'd burn. Growing up in Southern California, the beach was part of a lot of activity. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, I would come home with some pretty bad burns (have you noticed I'm fair skinned?)

A few years ago, I noticed an odd spot on my chest. It would crack and bleed, but otherwise acted like a rash. I have to put medicated cream on my hands to keep the skin peeling under control, so I started putting it on the spot, and it kept the spot from being uncomfortable. Earlier this year at my doctor's office, I was talking to him about a less expensive alternative to the cream that I used on my hands. He asked me how I used it, and I told him I'd put it on my hands, and use any leftover on the spot on my chest. He stopped me and looked at my chest and asked me a series of questions, "how long have you had this, has it been biopsied, etc." I don't know, a few years, and no it hasn't.

He told me he really felt it should be and I needed to come back to take care of it. I still thought, oh no big deal, it will be just like every other odd spot on my skin, but decided to play along.

Of course, the biopsy spot couldn't heal normally, and got infected, so then I had to take care of that. Other than that, I wasn't alarmed or concerned, but I thought it odd that everybody else was.

About a week or so after the biopsy, I got a phone call from the doctor's office with the results. She said it was skin cancer, couldn't go into details, but I'd be back in a few days and due to a scheduling error, I got to talk to the doctor about everything. Ok, so I didn't know my own body as well as I'd thought. How could I be so wrong? What else was I wrong about? What type of skin cancer was it? Oh no, what if?!? Referral received in the mail, doctor visited, questions answered, also during this time I got a Priesthood Blessing, which really calmed me down.

When I got the referral, it said basal cell carcinoma, and I got the pathology report when I visited with the doctor. I told him that I'd been trying to reach the dermatologist they referred me to, but was being sent to voicemail and nobody returned my calls. He offered his staff to help me and a week or so later, I got a call from them, telling me to see whoever I could find. That office blew off the doctor as well.

I found another dermatologist and started over. The first call, I was sent to surgery's voicemail. No call back after a couple days, so I called again, explained my situation and that it had already been biopsied. She told me to have my doctor send a copy of the path report. I was assured it would be done. Last Friday, I called again and asked if they got the report yet. I was told no. I was inspired to ask them if they'd accept my copy if I brought it to them. She said they would, so I drove it down there and was told I'd get a phone call within 3 work days.

Monday afternoon I got my call and was scheduled. I don't understand why there had to be so much drama, but there was. I needed this done before the year's end, because my high deductible would reset on January 1. I'm grateful, and I hope that the procedure goes without incident.

Friday, August 22, 2014

ice, ice baby!

This summer has experienced an unusual ice storm that has gone viral. Unless you are the bag lady who's been staying down the street, you've probably heard of the ALS ice bucket challenge. There have been various takes on the movement, and of course, some naysayers. This disease is AKA Lou Gehrig's disease, although he wasn't the first to acquire it, nor was he the one to discover it. This is horrible. It takes functioning, productive members of society and reduces them to something painful to watch.

This condition is a thief who has robbed us of actors http://www.cbsnews.com/news/actor-michael-zaslow-dies/, dreamers http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/nyregion/charles-mcphee-dream-doctor-radio-host-dies-at-49.html?_r=0, locals http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3538336.shtml, athletes and many, many more http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-people-who-died-of-amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis/reference?page=1. It doesn't care if you're gay, straight, black, white, famous, or just getting by. If only we as a society could be this non-discriminating.

I've learned in my life that there is always someone who will be critical of even the best of intentions. Everyone's a critic! Maybe their parents ingrained in them to not play in the water for whatever reason. That's their problem and they will have to deal with it. However, there are a lot of people around the world who are having a blast with the challenge, being able to act like a child (there are never enough moments for us to do that), and I say don't spoil their fun.

Another complaint is "where does the money go?" In addition to research, people with ALS have needs that you and I can't imagine. Everything in your body has failed but your brain, but your body still has needs. Caregivers have needs. Insurance doesn't cover many of the daily living needs. If you have a moral problem with the source of the stem cells used in research, find a group that provides other needs and support them. Again, don't spoil the fun of the challenge.

In the meantime, ALSA.org (I will have to wait for payday, but something is coming from me too besides words).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My world, my thoughts

With the death of Robin Williams yesterday (I'm still stunned over that one), it's brought up some recurring themes. Is suicide a selfish act? Is it a mortal sin? I say no to both, and I will explain why.

In order to commit sin, you have to have awareness and accountability. I believe you need the same in order to be selfish (more than the two year old's "mine!").

If you are truly aware and accountable, then yes to the above questions. However, mental illness is a tricky thing, a little thief. It robs you of your awareness and also many times your accountability. If you are not accountable at the time you do something, it's not a sin.

I'm grateful that I'm not the one who gets to determine that. That's God's job.

I feel that is why we can be sad, hurt, ache, but never speculate where someone was when they committed that fatal act.