My life is a journey...I never know who or what I will meet just around the next bend that will give my life experience!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Shoe Drops...

Just when you think life is going to fix itself, someone drops another shoe!  For some reason, God has it in His design to lay the testing on heavy.

We are adjusting to the recent events in the life of Dean, but this most recent thunder storm came out of nowhere and blind-sided us with a vengeance.  A couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call (several, really) from our son, Billy stating that his wife of only a year and a half wants a divorce and has given him a week to get his things out of the house!  Needless to say, we were shocked and our son is devastated.

That week came and went with no change in heart, and Billy moved his things into a storage unit, but he has no place to live!  We invited him to come to the coast for a few days and re-group and we will try to figure out what to do about this whole mess.

This whole thing has escalated so badly that Billy (and his parents) is a basket case.  He wants so badly to reason with his wife and try everything possible to save his marriage.  But you cannot reason with the unreasonable.  She has snapped and she is next to crazy.  She plays him like a roller-coaster!  One minute she is all "OK, we will try and work things out" and the next minute, "I want that divorce and I am going to rent out our house for some added income."  But her thoughts as to what she is going to do are scattered all over the place.

Apparently her finances are in a bad way with all of her crazy spending...and now Billy is not there to help her out.

Let me tell you a little about her history.  She was badly abused as a child and just to appease her parents when she was 18, she agreed to an arranged marriage to an older man who  took her to the middle east to live in his culture.  Two beautiful girls were the product of that marriage.  But her independent need to be a woman of the world got in the way of her marriage and she was brutally raped to try and bring his control over her. Ultimately, she was able to flee the marriage and make her way with her two little girls to America and her parents home again.  And then she met Billy.

As a result of all of this, she became afflicted with PTSD.  She had horrible night terrors, is delusional, and has a terrible opinion of both the men in her life and just men in general.  Billy knew of her history and thought he could help her work through all of this.  And for a time he did help.  But one day she just snapped...over what?  A discussion of her decision to purchase a "tiny house."  Billy expressed his thoughts on how this was not a good idea, and that is where she snapped.  In her mind, Billy was being controlling.

As of today, Billy is the one who is being abused in this relationship.  She cannot resolve her issues alone.  We have told her she needs to see a counselor or Psychiatrist to help her resolve these issues...perhaps get on some medications.  But, she has refuses.  Whe will not face her "demons!

Billy is a basket case an the phone calls are causing a great deal of anxiety in our home as well.  Prayer is ongoing and the whole thing is in the Lord's hands.  Perhaps He will give all of us answers.

This drama is not over, so I will return to update from time to time.  We love our son so much...and we thought we had a lot of love for Alicia and her girls...but I guess love is not enough here.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Tao of Learning...

It has been 25 years since I graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah with a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing., and 37 years since acquiring my Associate RN.  Prior to that, I was an LVN for 3 years.  For my Mid-Term paper in my Senior Year in my class  called "Theory Evaluation: Critical Thinking Inventory, Nursing Leadership/Management,  I chose to write the paper and titled it "The Tao of Leadership."
In the ancient world of the Dali Lama, "Tao" means "the way."

"When the mantle of leadership is placed on my shoulders, I will lead...
from my center wtth my feet planted firmly on the ground.
I will lead as Christ led.
For He is my example.
I know who I am.
And I will help others find their own center and sense of worth."

With this introduction, I ventured off to explore just what I believed (and found to be true) the value and properties of leadership.
However, today, I wish to interpret this in another light...that of how leadership has influenced learning.
With the mantle of leadership now far removed from my shoulders, there is in its place a new mantle,...the mantle of learning.  But as I look back, I find that perhaps that was interwoven in the leadership mantle.
Leadership skills were hard to learn, but following in the footsteps of my Savior, I learned more of who I am...who I was becoming.
I had multiple opportunities to help others learn who they were and I watched their self worth shine forth.

"I will lead with simplicity and an awareness of the present.
My footsteps will fall softly ,
And I will keep a good spirit."

I learned that gentleness is the best spirit to have in all situations.  Harsh words and sounds of confusion, only make the spirit withdraw.
I learned that leadership relies on a good, a soft spirit.

"I will lead to fulfill the greatest paradox -
That of velvet and steel.
I will be asvelvet and as water...fluid and soft and yielding.
Consider water as it wears away rock over time with patience and perseverance.
And consider velvet that is always soft and soothing to the spirit.
So, too, the soft leader who over comes resistance, else she too may break."

I learned this principle ever so the wearing away of rock by water.
But once learned, a gentle voice or reply or request repeated over and over again can wear away the resistance of a worker or student who only wants to do it their way.  Persistence, gently, as water, wears away resistance.  Many strong relations were formed over the years and respect followed.

"I will lead in my most helpful manner...unbiased and down-to-earth.
My goals for those whom I lead will not be unrealistic,
But challenging enough to encourage growth."

I learned many things in leadership roles.  Whenever I am helpful, both the learner and the teacher learn.
No-one wants to be forced or told that your way is the only way to do a task.
Helping the learner to find their own path and challenging them along the way can be a reward for both.

"I will lead with traditional wisdom.
I will take some lessons from my Ancestors, The Ancient Ones,
who were wise in many ways, and treasure the common and natural beauty of their ways.
I will serve those I lead and give them quiet reflection."

The traditional wisdom of the Ancient Ones and of my own ancestors have given me a view of the world as a sphere to be respected.  And it has given me the perspective to lead those I am called to lead by serving them.  Service is the primary goal of a Nursing Career and I have viewed my "job" as a "service"--not only to those under my care, but also under my tutelage.  It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity for over 35 years.
For me, this was not a Career choice, but a Service choice.

"I will lead by being myself.
I will respect my subordinates and offer then a clear sense of being.
My leadership will be one of substance;
My subordinates will know where they stand with me."

I learned that knowing who you are and letting others also know, through honest relationships is a self-fulfilling process of growth.  Of all the principles I learned through leadership roles, I believe knowing and believing in myself was the most fulfilling.

"I will lead and be a creative force in the face of conflict.
I will meet each challenge with the realization that in every conflict there are two sides, and both have merit.
My ears will hear both sides and I will not play the 'win-lose'

This concept was the hardest for me to learn.  I have never been a fan of conflict and whenever it would look like a conversation was heading in that direction, that is when I would quit.  Like stepping off a cliff and trusting that someone would catch you, I found myself stepping into many a conflict in my leadership roles and found I was along to direct it.
The Aspen tree and the mighty Pine exist in the same forest...they have learned to respect each others' space and needs and co-exist in beauty.
Learning the art of listening and directing both sides of a conflict into some sort of win-win situation became the challenge of m life.
In reality, no one needs to lose an argument...just respect their thinking os both sides.

"I will lead with honesty and simplicity.
I will remember the attributes of water.
It cleanses, refreshes, and is found deep beneath the surface.
It follows natural laws and is never found complaining.
I will strive to serve those I lead."

All of the truly honest people I have known in my life share one thing in common--their simplicity of thought.  It would never enter their minds to make them be untrue to themselves, to others or to their standards.
Like water, they are clean, refreshing and their real depth is in their honesty.
When leading others, it was imperative that I be as clear and honest in all of my actions and interactions as I would expect them to be with me.
A complainer is not an honest person--it's that simple.  An honest person would "follow natural laws" and "go with the flow!"  When you buck the system, you fall back into that "win-lose" situation.  Vicious circles get us nowhere.

"I will lead without greed.
I will stand as a lighthouse, unselfishly guiding those who face danger, safe passage past my shores.
I must keep my beacon bright, and be trusted to be there when needed."

In all of my life, I have found this a very important principle.  This is true not only in leadership roles but in every walk of life.  Be a beacon light for others so they will know where safety is and that there is protection from rocky shores.  Just as I follow the light of my Savior, I hope others will see a light in me that they can follow.  My example is paramount to success in any leadership position.

"I will lead my subordinates toward their goals and our path will go beyond technical skills.
I will work with those whom I lead to facilitate their success."

From the beginning of a leadership relationship, I found setting goals of paramount importance  and they must be re-visited often.  Like climbing a mountain, if your goal is to reach the top or summit, there are breaking points along the way to catch your breath, perhaps plan a new path, or re-visit your goal.   If it was too lofty, then perhaps you need to lower your expectation.
I learned throughout my life and through leadership roles that goal setting is both rewarding when accomplished and refreshing as you look beyond the point of completion and never give up...never stop trying.
Helping others to reach their goals is a goal in itself for the leader.

"May I wear the mantle of leadership with pride, honesty, simplicity, gentleness and strength.
May I be a guide to those I lead, ever facilitating the path that leads to their growth."

In all of my learning, this is the best lesson of all. and sums up the entire path I have traveled  It was a prayer for my future all those many years ago, and it is my hope that I have learned these things along the way.
I had many opportunities to lead in my career as a nurse and in my first choice career as a mom.  Of all of my leadership roles in my life, it is that of mother that I found the most challenging; it gives me great joy in the accomplishments of my children; I found honesty is always the "best policy;" I tried to keep our lives uncluttered with "too much" and taught my children to love the simple things like the first flowers of spring, or the smell of the first rain in summer, an amazing sunrise or sunset,  the smell of a rose in summer, and the smiles on their faces when you tell them how much you love them.

There is much to learn in life and I am so grateful for the bounties that I have been given as a result.  I am grateful for the leadership roles I have been given throughout my life, (as promised in my Patriarchal Blessing). It is through these experiences that I have grown to be the woman (and retired nurse) I am today.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Healing And Forgiveness...

My husband and I recently visited the Healing Garden at Samaritan General Hospital in Corvallis where he was having his shoulder repaired.  It is a beautiful garden, designed to bring peace, calm and healing.  In the center of the garden is a fountain/pool that is shaped like an open eye (my interpretation).  Lining the bottom of the pool are hundreds, maybe thousands, of pebbles/stones that are constantly being washed by the water flowing into the pool, over the stones, and out again.

I closed my eyes and imagines that each one of those stones represented someones pain, hurting, anxiety or dis-ease (a term that one of my professors in Nursing School gave us).  The water continually washing over the stones represented the love of our Savior and His cleansing, healing love that gives us peace.

Like a single pebble among all the pebbles in the pool, I am "one," I am "unique," and I am troubled.  My eyes have difficulty focusing on only one, but sometimes a new experience opens up an old wound and my mind gets stuck in a monotonous groove of playing the same track on a scratched record over and over and over again in my head...focusing on only that one thing... hurt.   And I ask myself, where is forgiveness?

Let's focus on the hurt, whether it be hurt feelings, an open wound, a surgery or a feeling you have for someone you love.  Sometimes, like the pebbles on the beach or in the pool, the individual hurts in our lives pile up and it is impossible to sift out the one that has to be dealt with most.  This is true especially if one has not dealt sufficiently with forgiveness.  It is hard to focus on just that one!  And when that same hurt repeats itself again over the years, the wound fills up with even more pebbles.

I tell myself, as the Gospel teaches us, that it is more important for me to forgive those who have caused me pain and move on.  But when that pain is repeated again and wounds my child, then my heart breaks open and I feel their pain and forgiveness is once again hard to find.

So, I close my eyes and listen and feel as the cleansing water of our Savior's love washes over me and I know I (we) must forgive in order for the hurt to heal once again.  If you look carefully near the center of the picture above, you will see, like I did, a red stone shaped like a heart.  Our Savior's love has given that one stone a new chance to shine and share the healing love with others.  That one stone has experienced the healing process of forgiveness.

I pray that everyone who is suffering right now will look inside your heart, identify the pain you are feeling, then let the healing waters of love and forgiveness wash over you and put you at peace.

There is one who has suffered far more than you or I ever will.  He was beaten, spat upon, flogged with stripes and nailed to a cross.  He took upon himself all of the sins, pains, sorrows and suffering of the world and gave up His life for me...for you...for all of mankind...and yet He could say, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."  "Such love hath no man... than he give up his life for a friend."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Smelling Tulips, Loving Sunshine, Opening Old Wounds...

I married an amazing man!  He does so much for me and even though I am not his mother...he gave me Tulips!  My daughter, Heather sent me Tulips! (And Sherry's Berries!)  They both know how much I love them.  They don't always last as long as I would like, but "during their lifetime, I can love them and cherish the sentiment."

It has been a Mother's Day with mixed blessings, hurts, and memories.

BLESSINGS:  Besides Heather's thoughtful gift and my husband's flowers, I was blessed with an adorable homemade card from JerriAnne, some yummy lip balm and a beautiful card from Kim, loving sentiments on Facebook from Mark, Debi and all!  And I got a call from my son, Billy.  (I'm sure as the day goes on, others will call.)  It is reminders such as these that bless my life and make me cherish the day I first became a mother and all the other days as well.  I love Motherhood...and today I am reminded in spiritual ways that it is truly a Partnership with God!

SUNSHINE:  After nearly a week of rain, we were blessed with sunshine today.  Sunshine always makes me my happiest.  On the Coast of Oregon, we spend a great deal of our lives in shadow...rain and gloom...but when the sun comes out, it is a day for celebration.

OLD WOUNDS:  Unfortunately, into each life there comes something or someone who will try their best to destroy all that light that lives inside of you!  I had a couple of incidents that tried to do just that this very day.

First thing this morning, I got a voicemail from a dear friend who I befriended in High School.  We have kept in touch for all of these many years.  We have shared each others heartaches, blessings, happiness and sorrows.  This morning's news was one of those heartaches for her.  A little over a year ago, she entered into a marriage that I tried to warn her would not bring her a lot of fact, it was destined for a multiplication of trials!  This morning she informed me that she had been deserted, left without her car, her money, and most of all her dignity!  How do I help this friend?  This is the question that plagues my mind and my heart.

Next, I got a call from my son who is at the peak of his career, was invited to be a performer on TedxBend (a real privilege in the "communication," "art," "music" world).  In the audience, by chance, there was one of his old High School Teachers (and I use the word "Teacher" loosely).  She gave my son a really terrible, unfair time in her class, and she had the gall (15 years later) to lean over to the man sitting next to her and tell him she knew my son in High School and he was a "troubled" boy and a "cheater."  After the show, the man came up to Billy to purchase one of his CD's and told him what the "teacher" had told him.  That old would was opened wide and my son had to go through that hurt all over again.  My son was never a troubled boy and he was not a cheater.  He is as honest as can be!  It hurts me, too, because it is a reflection on his father and I.

At this writing, I am trying not to let the bad things get in the way of the good.  Ugly things happen, and we shall deal with them on another day..,.but for today, I want to focus on the teachings of the greatest Teacher that ever lived, Jesus Christ.  His teachings are what light up my countenance.  His Gospel is what gives me purpose!  His example is what drives me to be a better person each and every day.  In the end, I am striving to be more Christlike and I know He leads the way.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Growing Old; Growing Tired; Growing...

I cannot remember a time filled with more stress and strife than the past two months has thrown our way.  Nothing can compare with it.  Our stressful move is behind us, but the space we now live in is not sufficient for all of our belongings.  Much of what we own or have owned has either been given away, sold, donated or taken to the dump.

It makes one wonder why we hold on to so many things in the first place.  We think we need them, if mot now, then in some future (non-existent) time, but in the end, did we really?  The one major possession we parted with was our beautiful baby grand piano.  It was a heartache to watch them pack it up and wheel it out the door and onto the truck that would take it to its new home.  That piano was a birthday gift to me 14 years ago when we lived in Crooked River Ranch.  I loved that piano.  But, truth be known, my husband loved it more and it was truly his piano.  I saw the pain in his eyes as he sat down on the bench to play it for the very last time.

The second item I had to "let go" of was the dining-room table and chairs that I bought seven years ago when we lived on Jetty Avenue in Lincoln City.  I loved that table.  We donated it to the Deseret Industries when their pod was parked in our Church parking lot.  Quite convenient, I would say.

The third item was my beloved corner hutch that Dean bought me when we lived in Brooking.  I had it for 10 or 11 years.   Our sweet next-door neighbor bought it and it has a lovely place in her home.  She beamed when she showed me all of her treasures that she had displayed inside.

Last, was my Queen-size bed that I bought in St. George when I was single.  You can't sell or give away beds in this area, so we loaded it up on a truck and a friend drove it to the dump.  Part of me disappeared during this move, and now I am left with memories.

My office is filled with notebooks that I have filled with my attempts at writing; a box in storage is filled with my journals that have covered a span of 55 plus years of my life.  I started keeping a journal when I was in my 20's in Salt Lake City.  I keep telling myself that I will take upon myself the monumental task of abridging them one day, just as Mormon did when he abridged the records of the Nephite's which spanned a period of over 1000 years.  I thin my task is not quite as daunting.

I dislike the idea of leaving that task to my children, but, alas, I am growing old and I am growing tired.  If the Lord is testing me in the hope that I still have some "growing" to do, I hope I am able to complete it and that the test will be a short one.

Forgive my rambling, I just have much on my mind and I can't seem to come up with a plan to get over this mountain of "stuff".  I just can't bring myself to get rid of it.  It's funny...the decision to get rid of the big stuff was far easier...the little stuff is by far the hardest.  Perhaps one day, I will box up all the lovely gifts each of my children have given me over the years and save them for the time when they might want them remember me by.

It's interesting how we save parts of past generations.  I have my great-great grandfather's life history, but nothing more; I had some of my grandmother's things, but have distributed them to some of the kids; and I have some of my mother's things that I doubt any of the kids will be interested in.  Most of what I have accumulated has no real value to anyone but me.  Life in this 21st Century has changed a lot of our values,.

I guess the bottom line is that I treasure my family and my faith in my Savior far above material possessions and those values have been passed on.

Thank you for persevering and reading this mixed up writing.  I will be glad when the things that clutter the floor in my office will find a home and I can get down to some serious writing.

                                                   Welcome home!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sometimes Life Keeps Piling It On...

Do you ever have those days when if they put just one more bale of hay on my truck, I'm just going to tip over and die?  Well, it seem like my life is  truckin' down that road lately and I'm not sure what the outcome is going to be.

All of my life, I have trusted in the Lord, that if He "brought me to it, He will get me through it."  I have given this load completely to him...well, at least I thought I had until yesterday afternoon.

Let me catch you up to speed...Here's my (our) story.  Two yeas ago, Dean got pulled over and cited for the ridiculous charge of "DUII and Reckless Driving."  We thought it was never going to come to a hearing, because the limit to "file" such a charge in Oregon is 2 years.  I guess the Officer just wasn't going to let this one slide, and with a clean breath alcohol test and no illegal drugs in his urine test and a dash-cam that shows nothing more than him passing a car a bit too fast, at the most, he should have been cited for speeding...nothing more.  It is a shame that this is being pursued.  Dean goes to court tomorrow and his Attorney has asked the DA to drop the reckless driving and DUII charges and move on.  We shall see how the Judicial System works in Oregon!  Dean's greatest fear is that the Oregon State Board of Licensing (Pharmacy) will remove his license and he will be without a job!  Prayers needed!

Item number two:  Nearly 2 months ago, Dean tore the Rotater Cuff in his right shoulder and separated his bicep from the shoulder, as well.  He desperately needs surgery.  It is scheduled for May 16th.  Hr will then face 6 weeks of rehab before he can return to work...if he has a job to return to.  Prayers are needed here, too.

And, here's the kicker!  Yesterday we received, by mail, a notice to "vacate the premises' by April 30.  We are being kicked out of our rental...for what reason, they didn't say.  Apparently in Oregon, they don't have to!  So, with a court date coming up tomorrow, a shoulder surgery coming up in May, and finding a rental and packing up and moving by April 30, we are tearing our hair out!  BIG prayers needed!

Can someone please explain to me why bad things come in "three's" and happen to "nice people?"  I'm trying to keep a smile on my face and a positive attitude, but I am finding it really, really hard to do!  I have been tested big time before, and I should be stronger than this, but I'm not 29 anymore.  I'm not even 59 or 69 anymore!  Oh, Lord give me strength!