Monday, December 28, 2015

December 25, 26, 27, and 28th, 2015

Yes, I woke up to snow this morning.

What the Heck Just Happened??

Bliss Orthodontics Office Christmas Party
Friday, Dec. 11th was the beginning of a blur.  Early that morning, I had an end of the year meeting with Dr Henao and her husband, Nacho, to discuss the successes and concerns of 2015, and we all jointly agreed that it had been a very good year for the office and next year would be even better.  I was slightly disappointed that I did not get offered a bonus or a raise, but had to realize I had received a $2 bonus last year - .  As soon as our meeting was over, we rushed to a really nice restaurant, where the rest of the staff was waiting for us to celebrate our Christmas Office party.  Dr gave us really nice gifts and we had a wonderful lunch, but I had to cut it short to rush out to pick up the 6 sheet cakes and other supplies that were needed for that night - our ward Christmas Party.  I was the counselor in the Relief Society over the ward a lot of planning had gone into this party for 300 people.  We didn't have quite that many show up, but close enough.  And it went off nicely.  But I came home exhausted.

 DMCO 'REJOICE" Christmas Concert - Dec 15, 2015

The choir had two concert nights - the first being Tuesday Dec 15th.  Emotional day for me in the first place, with it being the 30th anniversary of Michael's passing.  Don't know why it struck me so emotionally this year - probably because of all the Christmas events I was involved in - concerts,parties, memories etc etc...So, the concert went beautifully.  I had a hard time 'keeping it together' for a few of the songs...I just let the tears come.  The 2nd night of the concert came at the end of a VERY stressful week at work, home and just a lot of other things.  I left work around 4:30 and drove to the concert hall - and within literally 30 minutes, I was in a full fledged vertigo./ anxiety attack and flat on my back.  I had no clue what had happened to me - I know I was crying - couldn't stand up, was DIZZY beyond belief and had Bethany and Elaine caring for me until Del arrived at the concert.  I was so disappointed, because that was the night my family came to watch with guests I had sold tickets to.  I ended up being taken home by Del and put to bed.

Lost a bet...sweat pants were provided.
I was sick for days - one of them being Saturday, Dec 19th.  I had made a bet with a sweet new sister in our ward...Connie Hutchins, on the BYU/U of U Bowl game...and I lost.  But Del said I was so deliriously sick, that I actually kept my end of the bet and wore the said promised clothes of UofU for the whole day. I'm pretty sure I was 'near death' to have gone through with my end of the deal -

The following Tuesday, Dec 22nd, I was called to hear that my brother in law, Steve Driggs, had passed away earlier that morning.  My sister Sheila, was a widow.  I was stunned - and so sad for her and her family.  They were having the funeral that coming Saturday, which meant, Del I would need to fly out Christmas Day to be there in time.  
So we made a few quick changes for our little family to celebrate Christmas a day earlier - and so our children all came over on the 24th, where we had a nice dinner and then opened gifts.  I have forgotten to mention, that both Kathryn and Del's mother, Shirley, had arrived a few days earlier - so they were here also.  We actually opened gifts outside on the lawn, as it was a beautiful day.  I remember Del mentioning that he thought it was the first and only time he ever remembered opening Christmas gifts outside on the lawn.  I had to agree with him.
We had gone simple for Christmas - mostly for the grandchildren- but we received some things too and it made for a very sweet Christmas.
After the kids left, Del and I packed for our trip, and Christmas Day, we flew to Phoenix Arizona.

It could be said of Steve that he never was heard to speak a mean or unkind word about ANYONE.  He truly was one of the most Christ-like human beings I knew, with a tender heart of gold. Sheila had asked us sisters to sing at the funeral, so when all the others arrived early Saturday morning, we met at the church and rehearsed a song for about an hour before we felt ready to sing it.  It was nice to be able to sing such a beautiful song, 'Come to Jesus', that none of us had heard before, but learned together within an hour, and then sing it fairly nicely.  I mean, we had heard it a few days before, but never learned it.  At times like that, I feel very blessed and grateful to a Heavenly Father that allows us to share talents like that to add to the spirit of the meeting.
Sheila handled things beautifully.  She was stoic. - never cried - was composed and very well put together.  I knew, from experience of my own, that her tears had been shed many days before the day of the funeral - and that she would, after everyone had left, cry more silent tears on her own in the weeks to come.  I was able to visit with her about some of her future plans. - she wants to sell the house, get something smaller, yet in the same area - spend time with her children and grandchildren and some time on herself.  She will miss Steve terribly, but is very much at peace, knowing back in June, when the cancer diagnosis came, that it would be the thing to take him from her.  So, she has been preparing WITH Steve, the past 5 months, for this moment - they had discussed everything.  Steve even helped plan his funeral.
After the funeral, most of my family left for Carlsbad, where they would all be attending the family reunion that I had decided months ago, to not attend.  For one slight moment, I regretted my decision - but realized that I needed to be back in Texas with my children and grandchildren.

A few other highlights to mention - the day after Steve passed, my sister Becca calls to say that my mother is needing emergency surgery to place a pacemaker in her and may not be able to travel to the funeral or reunion.  Surgery ends up being done and goes well, AND I was able to see her at the funeral.  Seems that if her heart condition had gone another day to week or so, it could have been fatal.  I just shake my head in astonishment that she was spared for us to have longer with us. A few phone calls with Jordan also, to find that he is terribly sick, with what started as a sore throat, went to an infection, then to an abscess in his throat - swollen - Finally went to the doctor where he had to have a shot of antibiotics and other meds and has been down for the count.  Another thing to mention - not momentous, brother Garth was at the funeral; played the piano for us girls.  I had reached out to him a few months ago after YEARS of silence - he re-married two weeks ago and his new wife was there also.  He embraced me - we hugged - I was warm, but still not 100% there yet was significantly changed from the past years.  I at least acknowledged him as my brother.  The only family not able to attend were my brothers Paul and Mark, as they and their wives were still in Carlsbad finishing the major preparations for the family reunion.  I missed them.

After the funeral and most everyone had left, Del and I went back to out hotel and went to bed early to catch a flight home to Texas yesterday morning, Sunday.  Over the weekend, terrible storms and tornadoes had hit Texas, killing 11 people in one area and flooding many many more cities. We came home to a mess.  No-one really affected in our ward or boundaries that we knew, but all over the news, there were people who had lost their homes and loved ones.  In fact, our plane circled over Dallas for over an hour, hoping to land, but they had closed the airport due to lightening, thunder and winds, so we were sent to San Antonio, where we sat at that airport for two hours, waiting to be re-fueled and sent back to Dallas.  We ended up getting home over 5 hours late, stopped at Kylie's for some homemade soup and games, before finally getting home and to bed by 11:00 p.m.

So my question remains....WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED???  It's all a blur to me,, It is Monday the 28th, and I am back at work...but I'm trying to realize all that has happened over the past two weeks.  I've not been to church, but I have been to a funeral in Phoenix, to San Antonio for a 2 hour lay over - and seen a lot of my siblings and my mother.  My sister is a widow and I know I sang at a concert, at a funeral and my mother had surgery.  Today is my grand daughters birthday - Madi - I know I have a gift for her somewhere at home...but when I'll see her or get it to her, I don't know. i have a cold/hoarse voice, my head is in a fog and I know this weekend is New Years, but I have NO CLUE as what future plans there are for anything.

I think I need some sleep.  I'll let you know if that happens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thirty Years Ago

So, Dec 15, 1985, I woke up early to find that my 2 yr old son, Michael Jorrell, had passed away during the night.  That was thirty years ago.  Today, I mourned his loss and wondered how I was ever going to get through the Christmas Concert of the Millennial Choir tonight without shedding more than a few tears.
Well, I didn't.  I shed a few tears...and it was okay.  I had so much love and support from family, friends and fellow choir members - and it was ok to cry.  I don't know why it was especially hard this year, except for the fact that we sang two of the songs that were sung at the ward choir program right after Michael died...and I was the choir director...the spirit was just especially strong this year - and I missed him..Michael.
Thirty years ago.  I can't believe it was so long ago.  And yet, not really.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Am Reconciled

For the first time, I feel beautiful.
No really - I feel, finally, like I have always wanted to feel about myself.
Beautiful.  And now, it can include 'physically' too.
I know it should never have had to be about weight - how I look - etc.
But for those of us that have almost always had a weight problem??  It IS about weight...
I have not bought a lot of new clothes...a few dresses, 2 pair of jeans and a few new tops.
But now, I can wear anything.  I can literally go to my closet, pick anything out and just slip it on and go out the door.  I no longer have to worry about what fits and what doesn't fit.
And I look good - skinny - healthy - happy.
I look  pretty.  And what I have realized over the past 4 months???
Is how much time I have spent over my lifetime, with that being my constant can I cover my weight??  How can I feel and be pretty AND fat???
I could never reconcile the two as one.
Before the surgery, I spent months and months analyzing me feelings about my weight and body.  The one thing I wanted to make sure NEVER happened, was that I would become prideful...that I would put such a value on the OUTSIDE of my body, that I would lose focus on the beauty that would need to come from deep inside my heart and soul.  I didn't want to be 'pretty on the outside'
but without the spirit on the inside.
I wanted to be Merrilee Dickerson.  She was my Laurel advisor - and she was beautiful - at least, I thought so.  And her husband was handsome, and he could sing beautifully.  She was thoughtful - kind, soft, intense with the spirit, had beautiful children and a happy home.  She was giving of her time and attention - and she cared about me.  I knew it, because I could feel it each time she taught me a lesson, asked me to babysit, or asked about how I was doing.  I wanted to be Merrilee.
Instead of spending the time doing research on how to prepare for my surgery, I spent time on trying to prepare the 'inside of Marlys' for the 'outside of Marlys'.  I wanted the two to reconcile POST surgery.
Kylie took this picture of me last week at my office.  I was needing a new one for our office website, so I asked Kylie, and this is what she took.  For the first time, I can see peace - contentment - I can see pretty - inside and out. Kylie was able to capture what I have always wanted to be...pretty.
Del has not seen the picture.  I'm giving it to him as a Christmas gift for his office.
I'm grateful for the surgery - I'm grateful for the change inside and out.  I like being changed - I like being new.  It's a great opportunity I've been given -

Being Overwhelmed For Good

The month of December is a blender full of mixed emotions...
Del, as Bishop, has one of the busiest months of all - with tithing settlement, interviews, talks, work, husband, father and Papa responsibilities...and his health (he had a colonoscopy this month too), - but all in all, he is overwhelmed.
My past few months have also been very busy - Relief Society, Millenial Choir, work, wife, mother and Nana moments - lessons to teach, visits to make and two choir performances coming up...I too, have been overwhelmed.
To add to all of this, it's the month of Michael's passing  - always adds a new dimension to the already feel of the Season.
It was decided MONTHS ago, because of my major surgery, there would be NO gift giving this Christmas except to our grandchildren, Kathryn and Del's mother, Shirley, as she is coming for the holiday. No excess was affordable this year - and we are okay with that.  But we do want to celebrate certain traditions and be sure to continue with the desire of always making new memories and having special moments.
So, we started with the putting up of our Christmas tree.  It's beautiful...and really brings such a warm and comforting feel to our home.  The other Christmas decorations went up and the outside lights were finished just this past weekend.
Then, we added the music...Josh Groban, the Mormon Tab Choir - and other beautiful artists that we love to hear...the baking started - cookies, cakes, pies and candies will be made when Shirley gets here.  And the traditional sugar cookies, will be made and iced when our family has a get together in two weeks.  Those are a must, as they are Kylie's favorite and she can down about a dozen of them without even blinking.
I have decided to email Elaine's daughter, Kayla, on her mission every week.  So I write that letter on Sunday evenings when the Bishop is finishing up his last minute church things on the Sabbath.  We try to watch the 'Spoken Word' each Sunday and I do not watch football.
We gifted Mike and Kylie's family early for Christmas - a new puppy.  Yes, Mike and Kylie knew and even picked Charlie out.  Yes, Preston chose the name Charlie.  Adorable, right??  And fits the puppy perfectly - a small, white, fluffy Maltipoo that is getting smothered by more love and attention than any puppy ever deserves.  EVEN MICHAEL loves this puppy - only a few would understand the significance of that statement.  But their family is in puppy heaven.  Pure joy has come in the form of this little addition to their home.  We are so happy for them.
Then for Emerson...we loved having him come for his first sleep over - we have purchased 2-3 presents for him - some that even his daddy will get to play with Emerson with...
And last Sunday, was the best Christmas present Del and I have had in years.  We literally had such an outpouring of tender love for each other, the strength of the spirit was over powering in our home - it was a fast Sunday in which we truly enjoyed the spirit of the fast and felt divine inspiration in our purpose of the fast - Del gave a very intense and spirit filled 3rd hour lesson to both the adults and youth about pornography and touched many hearts - we had the missionaries to dinner, we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional together and then even got to enjoy a special Christmas musical presentation by a group called Gentri and a young artist named Lexi Walker - beautiful voices.
And by the end of the weekend, we had experienced such beautiful feelings of joy, love, tenderness and the spirit, that neither of us had ever felt to that degree in our entire 34 years of marriage.  Our companion prayers that evening, were tender rejoicings to the Lord for the abundance of His love that weekend/day.  We were 'overwhelmed'...this time, with what we truly felt was eternal happiness. 
Our goal now, is to carry this throughout the month - day to day, month to month, year to year and throughout our lives.  Tender voices, tender kindnesses, tender thoughts and actions, patience and understanding is so much easier to have when you eternally love the companion you are with.
We pray the same blessing upon our children...

Merry Christmas From Bliss Orthodontics

Kylie was very kind to come to our office and take our staff Christmas Card pictures for us again this year.  She is so good - and Dr Henao and the rest of the office LOVED the great picture Kylie took for our Christmas card...
It was especially nice to have one of our assistants, Blanca, back for the day, WITH her new baby, for the pictures.
Our office is wonderful.  We all get along soo well...and work together just like a family.  I couldn't be happier working at such a great place and with such great people.

Emerson's First Sleep Over With Papa

First things first.  A walk was taken up to feed the neighbors horse and donkey, one of Emerson's favorite things to do with Papa.

When Emerson is in a relaxed situation, being held by someone, he tends to hold on to their face or throat.  He does it completely subconsciously...

There were forts to build and places to hide from Nana.

The two of them played songs and sang together.

The movie was intense, and at the most scary of moments, Emerson held on to Papa for comfort.
Jordan and Lexi FINALLY allowed us to have Emerson over for his first sleep over with Papa.  And it was wonderful.  He and Papa did soooo many things together...inside, outside, inside and outside again.  The taking care of and feeding of the chickens is a 'given' activity that Emerson loves.  He will chase those poor chicken from one end of the yard to the other.  But the best thing, is Emerson likes to take the can of wheat and walk into their chicken run and throw the wheat around for the chickens to eat. They will come running and almost scare Emerson to death...there are 17 of them.

After dinner, there was running and playing all over the place - Emerson's favorite thing is to take the nerf gun and a water gun that we have, and shoot everyone and everything dead.  He makes a certain sound everytime he shoots the gun and we drop to the floor dead, right on cue.  of course, he has to kiss us to bring us 'alive' again, so the repitition of the game is fun for all of us. The two of them played in forts, played and sang at the piano, watched movies, and of course, played horsey...up on top of Papa's shoulders.
Bedtime was priceless.  We gave him a fun bath, washed his hair and got him dressed in his pj's...OH, BTW, Jordan has called at least 4-5 times by now, asking how things are going, making sure Emerson is not driving us crazy...OVER PROTECTIVE and can we say 'way freaked out' over not being with his son for the first time....
So, Del takes Emerson into the guest bedroom where we have two queen beds set for Emerson and one for Papa.  I can hear Papa reading stories to Emerson and then singing Primary and Christmas songs to him.  Emerson decides to join in the singing...which, of course, melts Papa's heart.  But it's only within 10-15 minutes, that Papa emerges from the room with the exclamation, that the bedtime routine, has been a success.
I, of course, have had the following thoughts and feelings sitting out on the couch, listening to all that was transpiring in the other room.  Within days, we will be remembering the 30th anniversary of the day of our Michael's passing.  Yes, it has been 30 years.  And Emerson is just shy of the age Michael was at his passing.  I'm feeling grateful for this heavenly moment Del is having with his grandson...a moment much  like the many moments he had with his Michael during the two years we had him.  The afternoon had been filled with the exact things he used to do with Michael...and he was able to now have them with Emerson.  My heart was full.
There will be many more sleep overs with our grandchildren.  But with this being Emerson's first, it was very special and memorable for us...


This picture was taken November 15th, the day of Elaine's daughter, Kayla's farewell for her mission.
This is 3 months POST surgery for me, but doesn't show my true shape, as the angel of the picture is kind of tricky.
But I finally look as skinny as Elaine does...
Yes, we look very much alike.

Month of November Was a Blur

Before the slaughtering...

Dr. Henao, Mary and I attended several work related seminars

Jordan, Lexi and Emerson had their first pumpkin carving experience.  Emerson was VERY unimpressed. 
He did love his pretend toy gun though...

Lexi had yet, another money making project - re-upholstering a dining set - SUCCESS!!

But Emerson had better things to do outside on his own...

Emerson and Madi's first piano duet...
Our Empty Nestor FHE Group 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Feeling Family Love on the Sabbath

Sundays are really hectic - more so for Del than for me..but yesterday was busy for us both.
We had Lucy's early morning blessing in her ward and then had to rush to our ward for me to play the organ and teach the RS lesson, and for Del to be Bishop...
Mike and Kylie's meetings started at 8:30.  We were at their church before the rest of the family arrived.  Jordan and Lexi arrived first.  I could see them parking their car from inside the building, so I went out to greet little Emerson through the glass doors.  As soon as he saw me, I could see him mouthing the words 'Nana Nana'...I swept him up as he came into the building - then he scurried off to see Papa.  Mike and Kylie arrived with their three kids right after...and they greeted me quickly as they passed me to get to Papa.  I make it sound like it bothers me, but it really doesn't.  I know they love me...but they ADORE Papa; as it should be.
It was great to have Del sitting with us during a meeting.  The grand kids passed between us - back and forth - just amazed that they actually got to sit and be with Papa.  And Emerson just LOVES his little cousins - so he was from Papa to Preston, to back to Papa and then back to Madison.  At one point, Emerson went over to where Preston was sitting and plopped himself up on the bench, sitting so close to Preston that Em was literally almost on Preston's lap.  When Preston turned to Emerson, their faces were so close they were almost touching nose to nose.  It was at that moment, that I looked down the bench to see my two children, Jordan and Kylie, who were sitting by each other, also talking face to face.  I nudged Del and had him look down to see our children giggling back and forth at each other. I smiled and mentioned to Del that 'some things never change'.  We couldn't keep them from talking when they were little, let alone now as adults.
I observed Jordan attempting to parent Emerson during Sacrament meeting, and as Emerson was escaping Jordan's careful eye by crawling under the benches two rows ahead of us, I turned to Jordan and mentioned how 'Karma sucks'...Jordan had made it 3 rows one time before I had been able to capture his eye to come back and sit down reverently.  Kylie juggled Lucy, Madison and Preston and I just smiled and rolled my eyes when I realized how Kylie had Madi dressed EXACTLY like one of Kylie's own outfits at home.  Madi is a mini Kylie.
And there would be several interactions between Jordan and Kylie that would make me remember them as children themselves - I would point them out to Del and we would both sigh with a feeling of contentment, realizing we were watching the results of our years with them as children.
It was a really satisfying moment for me; to see Jordan and Lexi interacting with Mike and Kylie - come to find out from Kylie later...the moment Jordan had turned nose to nose with Kylie, was the exact time Emerson was right in Preston's face - and Jordan said 'We don't believe in personal space in our family'....Kylie had laughed and responded with 'apparently not'.
And then Lexi shared a beautiful testimony in which she expressed several moments of her testimony being strengthened by recent events - and how much she loved family and the church.  It was sweet - and very touching to know that she is strong in the gospel and loves her Father in Heaven.
The day was perfect for me.  I felt a huge desire to be good - to be kind to others - to make good choices and changes in my life.  I sent Kathryn a little text telling her she had been missed and then had the chance to talk to her several times throughout the rest of the day.  I'm so grateful for the choices she is making and that she is finally living a life of happiness -.  One of her texts to me just made me laugh out loud. She wrote ' Mom, I'm at stake conference. So many beautiful men around me!!'
Yes, she is up at BYU.

Lucy's Blessing Day

Lucy Beth Crump - Nov 1, 2015

The Crump Family on Lucy's blessing day - 
What a great experience to attend Lucy's blessing.

It Finally Caught Up to Him

Del is the hardest working man I know.
He works from before the sun is up (usually 5:00 am) to way past the hour the sun has gone to sleep, (usually 10:30/11:00).  His work consists of yard work, garden, chicken coop, his job, neighbor work, Bishop work, husband, father and of course, Papa. In between, he has his scripture study, meetings and personal goals that he works on.  He is busy.
Last week, he made early morning (5:30) Seminary visits; Thursday actually teaching a class for a traveling Seminary teacher, and then Friday morning, as Bishop visiting another class. I took this picture Friday morning at around 9:30 after he had just finished a conference call for work.  He hadn't even changed out of his suit yet.
I just thought I would try and capture a picture before he's translated.

He Has a Sweet Tooth...or Two

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I bake...a lot.  Probably two to three times a week - cookies, brownies, cakes and bread.  Last week, I made this dessert; it's called Cherry Royale.  My mother used to make it, but I didn't really like it when I was little.  But, OH, it's a favorite now.
Del asked me who the dessert was for.  I told him I was taking it to work.  He asked if he could have a bowl of it first.

Halloween 2015

We had our annual Halloween Carnival at Bliss Orthodontics where I, once again, was the Wicked Witch.  It's fun to see my grandchildren get all dressed up and come to see their Nana and get candy.  Our office had a great time dressing up.  A better turn out this year. Love my little trick or treaters.

A New Little Personality

Yes, you can see the resemblance.  They are siblings.  But just her older brother and sister, this little Lucy (in the middle) has her own little personality

At 5 weeks, she is just starting to smile on her own
And at 7 weeks, we have full fledged mood swings!!  No really, Kylie said she was practicing her tongue going in and out of her mouth and the 'pouty' picture was her actually puckering up to stick the tongue out. But it's still CUTE!!!

Sunday Night Firesides

Sunday evenings in the Fall are the best.
After the Bishop gets home from his meetings and interviews, he changes out of his suit and Papa emerges to spend the evening with his family.  The grandkids LOVE coming over on Sundays, having a big family dinner, and then we go outside and have a big bonfire and the kids play with Papa.  We love to chat around the fire, make samores and just enjoy each others company.  Mostly, it's an evening where our grandchildren love to enjoy being outside and seeing Papa in his element...