Monday, October 3, 2016

So many things to be grateful for

In my mind so many times I have written this post. We were at a funeral and a cousin of mine reminded me of how long it had been since I wrote on my blog. You know me--consistency is not my best here I go, 4 or 5 months late. As you know from several posts on my Facebook page, at the end of May, Spence got a liver transplant. It has been an amazing year for us--and full of so many things to be grateful for. The timing of this transplant was truly one of the Lord's tender mercies to us. Because of when it was, we could participate in so many important events in our family's lives. We are so grateful for that--so even though they happened a while ago, I'm going to share pictures and tell you a little about what happened. The one thing that this transplant meant was that we had no vacation (our normal one to the beach)...but you know, that was all right. This transplant and the chance Spence has for truly a "new life" is worth any small sacrifice we had to make. When we knew that he was a liver candidate, we told our daughter, Katie, that there was a good possibility that we wouldn't be there for the birth of her second baby. But, by the time little Callie was born, it was the end of July--and it had been 2 months since he had gotten the transplant...and I was able to go and be there when that precious baby was born.
So I had the great privilege of being there when she was born--what a thrill! She continues to do well, and for any of you who are friends with Katie on Facebook, you know she is a darling baby--no bias from this grandma at all!! That was one of the great tender mercies. Then Kelsey, our 4th daughter, graduated from BYU--also something we didn't know if we would be able to attend...and BOTH of us were able to do that. What a great time--what a wonderful accomplishment and a happy time for Spence and me.  Here we are sharing that time with her:
That was another red-letter day in our lives. Spence was even able to drive her to California where she started her college program with Disneyland! Can you believe he could make that long trip? Another bonus for us this trip was Spence's chance to see baby Callie--that was awesome!
We have just been so blessed. So there's a little picture story of our last few months. But there have been so many other things that we have been able to do--it like we have a new "lease on life!!" This coming Friday we'll be going to Disneyland with some of our grandchildren and be able to see Kelsey in action as a photographer in the park! We are just amazed at how much the Lord has blessed us. And these are BIG things...but there are other smaller things which are wonderful too. We both have been able to keep working in the Church and serving there...and we're so thankful for that. We watched General Conference this past weekend, and were reminded again of how grateful we should be for big and little things. In the Lord's eyes, they are all big things! Let me name a few of those--little kindnesses that people do as part of their Church callings, or just because they are good people. I heard of one woman who has 5 fairly young children, who took breakfast into a friend of hers who wasn't feeling well. My daughters are some of my best examples--some of them call me often, just to see how I am, others serve so valiantly in their Church callings, my handicapped daughter writes notes to people who speak in Church. How nice is that? I think we all should look around a little bit more, and notice all the thoughtful, wonderful things that people do...and thank everyone more often. We all need that "attitude of gratitude." We don't do things to be noticed, but it IS nice to notice the extra mile that many people go, to make our lives just a little bit better. I have big blessings and I am very thankful for them...but I also am deeply touched and affected by those "little" things too. Happy October to all of you--may we all notice and then recognize and thank the people around us for just being the wonderful people they are.  Much love to you all, Louise

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

As usual, with my posts, I have hit a wrong button inadvertently, and lost everything I wrote earlier today. As I was saying my prayers last night, I felt impressed to write a tribute to my mother. My mother passed away in 2007, and I would like to pay tribute to her today--as well as let you all know a little bit about my mother. I have missed having a mother for several years now--even before she passed away, she wasn't able to communicate much because of a series of mini-strokes. So I have appreciated others who have mothered me over the years--my sisters, dear friends and other mother figures in my life. They have nurtured and comforted me like she did for so many years.
My mother was a very sweet and kind person. People were really drawn to her, just because she was so accepting and loving towards them all. She was not a judgmental or critical person. She was basically pretty quiet, although very warm and caring. She was a great listener--people who barely had met her would end up sharing a good deal of their life stories with her. I used to tease her that she would put anyone on her Christmas card list, because after she had met them, they were like her long-lost best friends. She taught our family a lot about how to be a friend. She was an only child, so friends became her family. She shared her friends with us--and so they became family to us also. My mother was great at keeping in touch with people.
My mom and dad loved music, especially jazz. Every year they had a great time at the Monterery Jazz festival...but they also  traveled with a guy who taught them more about jazz, and held different educational as well as music-filled conferences. Even when my mom had a hard time talking, she could still sing. She sang for years with choral groups, and some of my fondest memories of Christmas Eves was of her beautiful alto voice joining in with ours to sing Christmas carols. My mom truly gave me the gift of music.
My mother was an athlete. Learning about her high school days, she participated in a number of different sports--was never afraid to try new things. I remember ice skating with her one time, and she did amazingly well, while I just struggled to stand up!! One time we went hiking as a family in Monterey, and my mom was like a nimble goat, having no problem climbing on rocks and semi-rough terrain. She loved to be active and do many things. It was hard to watch her lose those abilities in her later years, due to a stroke that she suffered.
My mother didn't realize what a wonderful person she was, and often lacked the confidence that I wish she could have had. Still, she did not think of herself hardly at all, but did what she could to build her children and believe in us. That was an amazing gift, because each of us chose such different paths to follow. She was not perfect (that persons does not exist), but she was good and kind and loving...and I miss her.
It has been a good Mother's Day--I am thankful for my mother,and  for my wonderful mother-in-law, who was my best cheerleader ever since I married her son. I am also thankful for my children who made me a mother. Today I would also like to thank the 4 women who bore my first 4 children so that we could have a family. What a gift they gave to us, by giving us their children at a time when they couldn't take care of them. That is a double gift--from them and from our Father in Heaven. Truly I am blessed. I don't always count my blessings, but tonight I am. May you all be blessed, whoever you are--and however you "mother". You don't have to have children of your own to bless other peoples' lives. I have been so richly blessed by many who have cared for me, loved me and supported me. May this be a good year for all of us.

Monday, March 21, 2016

So thankful for the Savior

In spite of my best intentions to write in here more regularly, it just doesn't seem to happen. I guess that I practically need to be "hit over the head" with a prompting to write in here. That happened this morning. Maybe when we're asleep Heavenly Father can get through to us better--we're not listening to all the "clamor" and noise of the world at that time. Last night I went to our stake's Easter devotional. We have an amazing choir director, and some phenomenal musicians who work very hard to put on a great program. They did this again last night, and I was very thankful I could be there. But there was something more that touched me. A good friend of ours has been recently diagnosed with a very tough case of cancer. He was one of the members of this choir. As I picture him standing there, singing about the love and mission of Jesus Christ...and that He truly IS the resurrection and the Life--I felt like I was watching him sing his testimony. He knows that the Savior did live and die for each of us...and that because of Him, we have hope eternally to live forever. I felt hope and peace as I watched him sing--of course, we hope with all our hearts that his doctors will be inspired to give him the best care ever...but we know that because of what the Savior did for all of us, that he is not alone, and that he will be given comfort and strength to get through this hard test. Plus, the promise of eternal life with our Savior and our Heavenly Father is REAL and true--that is what I felt as I watched this good man sing of his love for and gratitude for a loving Savior. Easter is joyful and hopeful, and its message is one of a love beyond our understanding. The Savior came to earth and gave His life--so that we could have the hope of living eternally with our Heavenly Father. I just am so thankful for Him--and for the blessing of knowing that His mission was completely selfless because of His love for us. I pray that I will remember always the Savior--and try to follow Him. May you all be blessed to have a wonderful Easter season.