Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye-Bye 2013

Today was mostly spent recovering from Christmas and our trip.  We got the kitchen entirely clean!  Yay!  Mostly Mike got the kitchen clean. I wish I moved as fast as him.  It is nice to start to feel under control again.

We had Family Home Evening today.  I had the lesson.  It was on service and goals.  We held FHE around the kitchen table.  The kitchen was so clean I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.  When we called the kids to the table Stockton said, "Not the table.  We must be getting more rules."  Sorry about that.  You are right, but the table has nothing to do with it.  Mike and I had put together a cleaning calendar.  Starting simple.  We decided to use one of our Disney calendars and write who cleans what bathroom etc.  That way we won't have to figure it out every weekend.  We also assigned them to do a dinner chore.  Simple stuff.  Set and clear table, dishes, cook dinner, sweep floor and wipe counters.  They will rotate these a week at a time.

Mike and I also gave them goals for the new year.  I know they should pick out their own, and they can do that; but we gave them a goal that we want them to accomplish.  For Maysen, we want her to self-publish a book on Amazon.  She did not like that idea!  Mike told her it didn't need to be a long book, something simple so she could learn the process.  Stockton's goal was to design an app and get it in the app store.  He didn't like his goal either.  Luckily, now that he has his Eagle requirements done, Mike will have time to work with him on this. Jorja's goal was to finish her Faith in God before her birthday. Preston's goal was to read the Book of Mormon with the family before he is baptized.  The other kids thought Preston's goal wasn't fair because we were doing it anyway.  My goal is to finish my Personal Progress before Jorja turns 12.  That way I will have completed it with Maysen and can start on it again with Jorja.  The advantage of having girls 5 years apart!  Mike's goal is to head up the house organizing project.  We will see how these turn out.

Steve and Shannon invited us to their house to sleep over.  We had a great time.  We ate lots of food and played a lot of games.  I fell asleep watching Wreck-It Ralph with the kids.  I woke up in time for the ball to drop.  I am not a night person!  Stockton brought silly string to their house.  He got this silly string at Bret Barrow's birthday party when we lived in Georgia.  I think it was from when Bret turned 8.  Most of the kids used their spray at the party, not Stockton.  H wanted to save it for the perfect moment.  Five years later he is ready to use it.  He was pretty excited about that.
Stockton and his silly string  
 Happy 2014!
Erica, Preston, Maysen
 Mike & Stephanie
Jorja, Maysen, Preston, Stockton
Six of the kids slept downstairs.  Erica and Maysen slept upstairs. Cousins are fun.
 Brandon, Stockton & Jacob
 Jorja & Padz
 She brought dragons with her too.
 Maysen upstairs in Jacob's bed

Monday, December 30, 2013


I couldn’t sleep last night.  Well, I was able to manage about two hours of restless sleep.  I was so upset.  I finally got up and I called Rachel.  She was just about to go to bed, but she talked to me for a long time.  I needed that!  We talked about a lot of things.  I can’t wait until they move back to the states!  I told her about my rings.  She asked if I had read my dad’s blog from yesterday.  I had not.  She told me a couple of times that I should read it.

Once I got off the phone with Rachel, I called the hotel again.  The girl said the manager was looking into it, so she was transferring me.  Then she came back on the line and asked if I could call back in a few hours.  Uh-oh.  If they haven’t found the rings by now, I doubt they will find them.  I prayed and prayed to find those rings.  No luck.

Bubs’ kids came over early this morning.  I watched them while Bubs reffed basketball.  Ange went with him and video taped him.  We still need to get Lincoln and Abby a Christmas present.  My kids have their names, and I have been horrible this year!  I asked Lincoln if there was anything he wanted for Christmas that he didn’t get.  He shouted, “YES! A ring!”  He answered so fast and was so sure.  I asked what kind of ring?  He said, “One to give to a girl to marry so I don’t have to pay $2,000!”  Haha!  Oh man Lincoln, you are on your own!  I told him that he wouldn’t want a ring like that now because he would probably lose it before he needed it; after all, I know about lost rings.  
Millie and Abby holding Speckle
Anyway, after Ange came to pick up the kids I finally had a chance to read my dad’s blog.  This is part of what he had written.  It is long, but I remember this so well.  Sorry for those of you who have already read this.

Steph’s family went on a cruise this Christmas, as you all know.  I am reminded about Steph and Mike’s first cruise together.  It was their Honeymoon Cruise.  They left just before Christmas 18 years ago.  After dropping them off at the airport, and them almost missing their plane, I dropped by mom’s work at the Federal Court House.  She was feeling sick and someone was going to drive her home, but I showed up just in time.  Unbeknownst to us, that would be her last day at work.  Christmas Eve she got a terrible pain in her stomach that made us drive to the Emergency Room at the LDS Hospital.  She remained in the hospital until our anniversary on February 1st.  That was a hard Christmas for all of us.

We had tallied up quite a hospital bill over the year.  What with Chemo treatments, bone marrow transplants, radiation, etc. the bills were mounting up.

The first week in that December I remember sitting down with Louise (I still remember her name), who worked with patients’ financial concerns and insurance companies.  Harriett had Mailhandler’s Insurance, which was Federal Government Insurance, and I had insurance with DMBA.  We owed LDS Hospital, after insurance, about $70,000.  Not having that amount of money available, Louise put us on a contract to pay so much a month for the remainder of our lives (at least that’s the way it seemed to me).

After we left that depressing meeting, we had Christmas facing us.  The next day, Saturday, we went to the SouthTowne Mall to do some Christmas shopping.  Our biggest purchase was a bunch of computer games that were the latest and greatest that 1995 could produce.  When we got home and unloaded the car, we could not find the computer games.  They were in a black, plastic bag, and after thoroughly searching the trunk of the car, we came to the conclusion that they never made it home.  So back to the mall we went.

I first went to the “Lost and Found” to find no one had found them, or at least had not turned them in.  Next, we retraced our steps, going to each store and looking around and inquiring if anyone had turned in a black plastic bag full of computer games.  No one had.

Deseret Book was the last store we checked.  (Deseret Book was in the mall at the time.)  No luck.  Discouraged, we sank down onto a bench in front of the store.  Here we were, with $70,000 in medical bills to pay; and then we splurge to buy computer games for Christmas, and then we lose them.  I think we were both feeling about as low as a person can go.

As we sat there, a thought came into my head.  Heavenly Father knows where those computer games are.  And so I said a prayer in my head.  Something like this: “Heavenly Father, it’s really tough for us right now.  Harriett has this cancer that won’t go away; we have medical bills there’s no way we can pay; and now we’ve spent money we don’t have to purchase some computer games we just lost.  We have looked everywhere and done everything we can to recover them, but have not found them.  You know where they are.  Please tell me.”

And He did.  I immediately knew where they were.  I grabbed Harriett’s hand and we went back to the Hallmark Store.  We had been there before, and had searched the store, and had asked the clerk if a black bag of computer games had been turned in, and she had said no.  But I knew the games were in there somewhere because Heavenly Father had answered my prayer immediately with an unmistakable spiritual impression.

We searched the store again, going up and down the aisles, but found nothing.  Then I stood in line again and spoke to the same clerk.

“Remember me?”

“You’re the one who lost the computer games.”

“Yes.  And I know I left them in this store.  Could you look again to see if they have been turned in?”

She said she had been there the whole time and nothing had been turned in, but she looked again where they kept the “Lost and Found” and again found nothing.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but they’re just not here.”

“Yes, they are,” I said, “they’re here somewhere.  Where else could they possibly have been placed?”

“I really don’t know.  I’m sorry I can’t help you.”  She was getting impatient because there was a line of people behind me.

“Is there anyone else in the store I can talk to?” I asked.

Just then another employee came out of the back room.

“Ask her,” I said.

“Jill, (I actually don’t remember her name) has anyone turned in a bag of computer games?”

“Were they in a black bag?”

“Yes!” I shouted.

“Just a minute.”  She went into the back room, and then returned with our long, lost, black bag of computer games.

“Someone handed them to me as I was going into the back room and I forgot to put them with the Lost and Found,” she said.

As we left the store, Harriett asked, “How did you know?”

I just pointed up, because I couldn’t talk.

That was Saturday.  Monday morning, at work (Crescent View Middle School Seminary), I called Louise because I had another question for her.  She said, “Just a minute.  Let me look into your file.”

I waited for awhile, and then I heard her say, “Oh, my gosh!...No way…”

She then spoke to me.  “I have just found out something that you might be interested in.  Did you know that your insurance $#%&8@%$?”  Whatever she said after the word “insurance” went right over my head.

“No,” I said.  “What does that mean?”

“It means that any expenses over and above what your insurance company will pay will be assumed by the hospital.”

“You mean I don’t owe the hospital $70,000?”

“That’s right.  You’re free and clear.”

“I’m glad I called,” I said.

Heavenly Father passed out a lot of “tender mercies” during that hard Christmas season.

That was my dad’s post.  It was obvious why Rachel encouraged me to read it.  I cried and cried while I read for many reasons.  First, I miss my mom.  I really really do.  I miss her so much it hurts.  When does it stop hurting?  Second, my situation right now was so similar.  Luckily I am not sick and I do not owe an obscene amount of money to anyone, but still….the situation was so similar to what I was going through at this exact moment.

I had prayed over and over, almost constantly that I would know where my rings were.  That I would get them back.  I went to my room to say another prayer.  This time I said, “Heavenly Father, I know you know where my rings are.  I know it is not important in the grand scheme of things, but I really want those rings.  I don’t have a mom anymore.  I miss her so much.  Please let me keep her ring.  Please let me find it.  Please let me know where they are.”  I prayed like that for a long time.  Tears were falling down my face so fast.  I felt devastated.  My dad said he knew immediately where the computer games were, but not me.  I just didn’t know.  I really thought they were at the hotel.  I felt that whether or not I got my rings back hinged 100% on the person that found the rings.  If they were an honest person or not.  My hopes were not high.

Mike came into the room and saw me kneeling on the floor.  I stood up and hugged him and cried on his shoulder.  I followed him out of the room and as I did I casually moved a shirt that had fallen on the table at the end of our bed.  As I did that something caught my eye.  I looked down and saw my watch.  I dropped the shirt.  Shocked beyond belief.  I picked it up and looked again.  Inside the band of my watch were my two wedding rings.

I collapsed to the floor.  I cried and cried and cried.  (I cried a lot this last two days.  Do you cry more when you are 40?  I sure have!  I cried more the last few days then I have the last few years!)  I was so happy.  I couldn’t believe they were there.  I have never placed my rings on that table in my life.  I had looked and looked all the places I could think of, including that table.  I just didn’t see them.  My heart feels 1,000 times lighter now.  I can’t believe the loss I felt when those rings were missing.  I am so glad to have them back!

Of course I have said several ‘thank you’ prayers.  So happy!  Also, I called the hotel right away and let them know I found my rings.  Again, I was completely in tears when I called them and could barely talk.  I didn’t want them looking for them anymore and I definitely didn’t want anyone being accused of taking them!
My two rings.  Happy!  Happy!

The rest of the day was awesome!  I was so happy!  Mike, Stockton and I went downtown to the scout office to turn in Stockton’s Eagle application.  The poor lady was swamped!  No one wants to do that cooking merit badge.  She started looking through Stockton’s papers and almost immediately said, “You are killing me here.  You have got to have 6 months of leadership experience.”  Or something like that.  My heart dropped.  Then she said, “Oh wait, you got it.”  AHHH!  Several minutes later she said, “Oh no!  You are missing . . . . nothing.”  Heart drop again.  Especially with her tone of voice.  She was not joking around.  Who is killing who?  Anyway, the paperwork passed!  She said she would get it entered before the end of the year so he won’t have to do that merit badge.  Hopefully that happens because she had piles and piles of applications.  Two more people were waiting at the door after we finished.

Mike wanted to pick up a few things at the store while we were there. As I looked around it dawned on me that Lincoln is 8 now.  I texted Bubs to ask him if he had a scout shirt.  He did not.  I know what Lincoln is getting for Christmas!  Late Christmas, but whatever…… this will be a good gift for him.
Mike & Stockton

 Poor busy lady
Wow.  What a day!  I’m exhausted, but so happy!  Amazing how different I feel than I did 24 hours ago.