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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet the Grandchildren




I thought it was time to introduce you to the little people in my life. It's been said that grandchildren are the reward for not killing your kids. ;-) I laugh--not because it's funny, but because it's true.

Melody is our oldest grandchild at age 7. She is in the 2nd grade and loves school (at least, she does once she actually gets there). She's like her grandmother in that she's definitely NOT a morning person. Melody is a girly girl in every sense of the word. Her favorite color is pink; she loves fairies and princesses, playing dressup, dolls, etc.

Elias will be 5 in just a couple of weeks. He is certainly all boy--he can charm you with a smile, then turn around and sock his brother a good one! Eli loves cars and superheroes.

Cassidy is almost 3 and is a delight. Quite the mimic and such an imagination. The picture of feet above is hers--first time her toenails had been polished. She loved it. Other pictures above are of her "helping" string beads.

Alexander just turned 2. He's been taking lessons from Elias and can turn on the charm with a smile. Big blue eyes and blond hair don't hurt either. He can be sneaky and, if it's quiet, you better go find out what he's up to! One of his pictures above is him hiding in the kitchen cupboards.

Grant is our chubba bubba. He will be a year old next month and we thank the Lord for him every day. Considering he entered the world 3 months early and weighed only 2 1/2 pounds, he's doing exceptionally well. Loves to eat, is crawling around getting into everything, and learning to walk.

Grandchildren are the most wonderful things Heavenly Father could bless us with. A friend and I have agreed we are 'stupid' about ours. Anything and everything they do is amazing. I love my grandchildren dearly and look forward to watching them grow and learn. I thought the sun rose and set with my grandmother. I hope I can impart some of that love on to these precious children.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Opinion Please

So, I'm taking a little unofficial poll. Which picture on the sidebar do you like best? I think the one on top best captures our personalities!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Exercise Your Right

The following email was sent to me this week and I forwarded it to some of you. In an effort to get it out to more people--especially women--I'm posting it here. Please register and vote! It's hard to imagine that women have only had the right to vote in this country for about 100 years. Our great-grandmothers and their mothers fought for us to have this right and we should not take it for granted.

Research the candidates. Find out what they stand for. Have a say in your future and the future of your children. Be proud of the wonderful country we live in.

And, if you choose not to vote, don't complain about the country and our government. An unused vote is a wasted vote.


WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE.

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.


Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed
nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.


And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the
'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/prisoners.pdf

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because-why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels'. It is a graphic depiction of the battle
these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the
actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said.
'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Monday, September 8, 2008

And... We're Back

I want to thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement and support regarding my last post. As I told a very close friend, I think that post was a cry of help in disguise. The responses I received helped me ask for a priesthood blessing from my dear husband. I also have prayed more and was inspired to reread a book called "Overcoming Personal Loss". I've been reading it with a highlighter and truly believe I'm ready to move on to the 5th stage. There may be some backsliding at times, but my outlook is better than it's been in a very long time. Love you all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I will warn you now that this may be a long post. Most of you know that my oldest daughter passed away unexpectedly in April 2006. I have a firm faith in eternal life and know that I will be with her again. That being said, I also miss her very much and continue to have a hard time dealing with her death. In this somewhat anonymous forum, I thought I'd share my movement through the seven stages of grief. They are listed below and after reading them, maybe you'll understand better where I'm coming from. Right now, I would say I'm firmly rooted in #4, though I do slide back to #1 occasionally and #2 all too often.

I pray for your understanding during this process. I know I'm not the easiest person to know and be friends with, but I hope that I'm worth it. The anniversaries of her birth and death are the most painful and I tend to start falling into that dark abyss weeks before the event and don't start the crawl out until weeks after. Bear with me. My prayers for myself are that I'll come out of this a stronger and better person.

If you ever find yourself wondering what to say to someone who has lost a loved one, just know that you don't HAVE to say anything. A touch, a hug, your own tears say more than any words ever could. And let the person talk about their loved one. I sometimes feel that people are afraid to bring up Shana's name for fear of upsetting me. The opposite is true. I don't want her to be forgotten. Share your memories. We'll laugh and cry together and both feel better in the end.

7 Stages of Grief...

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-

As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.


5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday

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You Say Tomato

Okay, I may be prejudiced, but I have an exceptional granddaughter. Well, I actually have two, but this time I'm referring to Cassidy. She constantly amazes me with her vocabulary, her humor, and her imagination.

Darrell has been trying to grow tomatoes in pots this summer. Not too successfully for us, but very successful for the caterpillars. Anyway, Cassidy (who could also be referred to as Amelia Bedelia) was watering the tomatoes earlier tonight. Instead of pouring the water into the pot, she actually watered each individual tomato. When I tried to explain to water the dirt, she poured the water on a patch of lawn with sparse grass.

Of course, one of the tomatoes came off in her hand as she watered. She decided she had a new friend. I showed her how the green stuff at the top looked like hair and then we drew a face on the tomato. Or as she called it Ma-Tate-O. She played with this golf ball sized tomato the rest of the evening. Even took a bath with it. And ate dinner with it. After all this, plus prematurely losing its hair due to some rough play, Ma-Tate-O wasn't in too good a shape. Ma-Tate-O was tenderly and surreptitiously put to sleep by Beeba while Grandpa distracted our little sweetheart.
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