Friday, December 18, 2020

 December 2020!

The year poured out like molasses on cold toast...ever so slowly.

We got three months to the gallon of gas as all of humanity hit "PAUSE" in an historic year controlled by a novel coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China.  For reasons I don't understand, the most brilliant minds of the world couldn't come up with a way to mitigate/control/cure this virus before it killed hundreds of thousands of people across every continent, valleys and mountains, time zones, demographics, race, creed and color.   

TO protect ourselves, we were told to STAY SAFE/STAY HOME and to WEAR A MASK, to Stay 6 feet away from others, and to use hand sanitizer like our lives depended upon it.  

I've journaled my experiences throughout this whole thing so I won't go into much else--besides, if you're reading this in 2020, you already know what 2020 has been like for our country and our world.  I don't think I have anything original to say about it.

Mostly, I'm grateful to have gotten through the year without having been infected. Not me, not my family--which are all over the western/southwestern US.  Even our youngest daughter who moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the Spring to become an essential worker with her older sister, each avoided getting the virus. I am most grateful for the protection we've had, and can only attribute this to answered prayers.

My focus tonight is to share what it's been like for us as a family:

Starting with our move from Eugene, OR to Canby, OR. on February 24th, 2020.  We knew noone here and honestly, aside from a couple of people who've reached out via phone calls from our ward, we still know noone. I can recognize two people who work at the Post Office, and our doctors. It is weird to be invisible in the community you live in during a pandemic. It's been awfully quiet. Mr W worked from home since two weeks after we moved here and still is.  We felt impressed not to purchase a home here, so we're tucked in a gated apartment community with our dogs. With nothing but time on my hands, I worked on my art skills and took to sending out cards to everyone I thought could use a bit of sunshine--all over the world. (That's how I know the PO workers!) I took more commissions this year than any other, especially in the Spring and Fall.  It blessed my life to have something to do with my days.

Also, all of the husbands in the family worked from home and kept their employment so that we didn't have that extra burden of job insecurity that many faced. Tisha, our DIL, is a teacher in the Boise area, and she had a few hurdles to be able to teach remotely and face-to-face in smaller classes. Her school district clearly wasn't ready for this situation, as many adaptions evolved.  

Our missionary, Joseph, reported to his mission a year from today, actually. Just before coronavirus seized the world.  He barely got into his area and through one transfer, when he took a bumpy ride through a couple more transfers--which involved a few moves around and new companions in each instance. Missionaries were sent home in the thousands, tens of thousands across the world to get each missionary back to their home land.  They had between 24-36 hours' notice in some cases.  The church also went through some rollercoaster adjustments to meet different countries' evacuation mandates. Luckily, our son got to stay out, but it wasn't easy as missionaries went into isolation lock downs. It was hard. No in person teaching or meeting with other people--in some weeks they couldn't even meet with other missionaries. Our son was feeling the effects of this and wondered if he was able to endure this kind of life. He was homesick and talked about coming home several times.  Our whole family supported him with many calls and letters and Amazon deliveries of treats and vitamins, games and distractions to kill time.  At one point, in March, I ordered a WELCOME HOME banner, in case he decided to come home.  I was going to welcome him like a rockstar no matter how long he'd been out! I didn't tell him that though. We encouraged him along, prayed for his well-being and told him we'd support his decision whatever it was. It was hard.  But you know, serving a mission is a humanitarian service first and foremost, it is voluntary. That he stayed out with no end to the lockdowns in sight is a credit to his desire to serve, and to his Mission President who told Joseph he needed him there. 

Joseph rode out the Spring and by Summer, he'd been out for five transfers, had five companions and five areas.  For someone who hates changes, he learned to be flexible and adapt on the hoof. He stayed the course, even as others left. He stayed and is happy that he did.  He's on his 9th transfer I think, and loves mission life!  His personal growth has been remarkable.  I always told him that because of his stature, he could never just slip into a room unnoticed.  So he had a great opportunity to be a welcomed sight in every room he stepped into--"Oh thank goodness, Elder Anderson is here."--kind of person.  He reports that he is "volun-told" to do a great many things in the mission and he's OK with that.  Some of which includes: working on a pig ranch, tagging pigs, cleaning stalls, working on a cattle ranch, building decks, clearing land, building pens, and moving people in and out of homes.  His mission is so truly for him, as his love of the outdoors has been nurtured: he's gotten to go fishing and hiking in the mountains, and taken his MP hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, along with other missionaries.  He's also taught his district how to butcher and cook chickens. In one city area, he got to be on a golfing group--his companion was a Jr. pro golfer, so together they upped their golfing skills. Joseph's old siblings tease him about the unique mission experiences that are so perfectly designed for him. We can't tell if he's on a mission or a vacation sometimes!  Either way, he's a hardworking missionary and if you knew him at all, a tired Boofus is a happy Boofus.

So, let's keep going while I've got a minute.

Arianna, our Caboose, our Bee.  She started out at BYU-I a year ago Sept 2019. With the pandemic, she came home in January for holidays, but when it was time to go back, the campus was basically closed to living there. Struggling with anxiety and depression even before the pandemic, we jumped at the opportunity to move her to a sunny place and a job.  I've shared before her faith journey--it has been rocky.  All we could do was love her endlessly and pray for her to feel Heavenly Father's love for her.  She felt stagnant, is how I can best describe it.  Well, things turned around three months ago:  her sister had a dream about her.  She was happy and smiling and wearing a yellow polka dotted dress and a black nametag on it.  A black nametag is what missionaries wear on their clothes.  She took her dream to Arianna and encouraged her to consider serving a mission, to pray about it because she was so happy in the dream.  Now, our girl had never ever said she wanted to serve a mission. In fact, she'd said the exact opposite. A mission was not for her. No way, no how.  But she felt something when her sister shared that much so, that she made an appointment right away with her Bishop and started her mission application. She'd wanted it to be a surprise for me, only to tell me once she got her call, but we had a bump in the road and she had to tell me.  I was shocked. No idea at all.  So grateful for answered prayers. She had to get her medical and dental visits done before she could submit the application--which takes alot of time during a pandemic! She just this week had her final meeting with the Bishop down in AZ and will have her final meeting with the Stake President down there on Sunday. I'm still amazed. She is giddy and nervous and happy with her decision.

And another miracle to share:  Our Diana and her husband have been married six years. Due to infertility issues, they had little hope of creating a family.  So resigned to this, Diana had applied to and been accepted to Parker University of Chiropractic College in Dallas, Texas to begin in January.  She'd been taking her pre-req chemistry/physiology/anatomy classes to prepare.  She figured that if she wasn't going to be a mother she would become a Chiropractor and have a lifelong career.  In November, she called complaining about fatigue, food aversions, smells aversions and nausea.  I said that she might be pregnant! She wasn't convinced, but after we hung up she took a few pg tests--each one reading Positive.  After an appt with her GYN, it was confirmed that she is indeed pregnant and due June 2021!

Now I should share that I'd been praying for awhile that 2020 would be the Year of the Baby for our Nanadoos.  She has a mother's heart and always has.  When she called and told me the symptoms, I got on my knees and told Heavenly Father that this was her chance to be a mother, otherwise I knew she'd close that door to motherhood indefinitely to pursue a career. Wouldn't this be such a great time to send a baby, I wondered? When she called to tell us the news, she said, "I knew that you knew! You said 2020 was the Year of the Baby!"

So here we are, at the end of the year 2020.  I have seen some miracles this year. It has been so devastating for so many, but my witness is that God is in control. That there is still much good to come to us and although this life is not all there is in the eternities, He is in the details of our lives. He hasn't left us to fend for ourselves--we have discovered how resilient and strong we are, and how much we can rely on each other too.  This great "PAUSE" has blessed in ways we hardly comprehend.  To quote President Russell M Nelson, there are better days ahead.

My family:

Day & Jay: She finished her BS in Psychology and he's received many scholarships in his Architectural Design program at the Univ of Oregon.

Our Idaho Family

Deano with a trout last summer

Our Saudi family is back in the States

my mug:  getting old bites

Thursday, February 13, 2020

2020: Moving Again

I'm packing up to move again.
It'll be the second time in 2.5 years.
Mr W did not get the job offer in Colorado as hoped,
but he did get a one in a town north of Eugene
 and he accepted it.

So we're moving one hundred miles to a place
that is exactly where my Heavenly Father wants us to be.
It's a tiny town.  The smallest I think I've ever lived as an adult.
The one street that runs through it is a secondary highway.
One high school. Two grocery stores. No theater.
Less than four square miles end to end.
There's no homes to buy either.
Well, I looked yesterday and there was ONE.

So while we looked at different areas around this town,
more towards Portland in towns like Wilsonville,
we even had a realtor show us some properties--
but nothing felt right, so we chose to move into an apartment
in the little town until the right thing comes along.

Good things about the move:
It's 2 miles from Mr W's  work.
Twenty-two minutes from the Portland Temple.
Seventeen minutes from Costco and Target.
It's not in a valley like Eugene is,
so it gets more SUNSHINE!
Those are soul-affirming things on their own.
And I am grateful.

I am grateful.
I am developing gratitude even when I cannot see the purpose of this journey.
Even when I'm thinning out belongings and packing up again
to move some place I'm not sure about.
Even when I'd rather, SO MUCH, rather,
move home to the Springs.
Because I believe that God has a purpose for my life.
He has promised me that my life shall be "exciting and joyful."

Last weekend, we took a drive to the Oregon coast.
I cast my eyes on the Pacific Ocean horizon,
with it's wintery clouds enveloping the cliffs and giant sequoias
and again I thought,
"I didn't know Heavenly Father had this in store for me.  I always had a desire to live in the Pacific Northwest, but never dreamed it was part of His plan all along."
I love this part of the country.  The landscape is breathtaking.
I love the roaring ocean.
The huge green lakes and winding forceful rivers.
The rolling evergreen hills, the mossy trees that hang over the grey ribbons of highways.
The natural beauty is inspiring and it's a gift that we are here at all.

I do believe that this is a timed adventure and we'll be home before we know,
talking all about our Oregon Adventure someday.

But right now, I'm cultivating gratitude when I cannot see the way.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Momza Wisdom: Fragile Isn't the Same as Broken

Egg shells.
Heirloom dishes.
Antique books.
Museum fine arts.
Plant sprouts.
Flower petals.

What do all of these have in common?
They're all valuable, useful, important things that we come across in life,
sometimes more than we even realize.
They're also Fragile.
 We treat them differently than everyday sturdy things
that we handle, right?

Know what else is fragile?
Men, women, children.
Every size, shape and color.
Relationships can be fragile too.
Health can be fragile: mental and physical.

My awareness of our fragility
became more sensitive recently
after learning about the experiences of some dear friends
who are going through some very big trials.
Some are going through a divorce,
another a serious illness,
a death in the family of another,
a loss of employment in yet another.
And on and on.

One thing I've heard a number of times recently
is the phrase: "I'm broken."
I've been there--
in that emotional state of feeling lost, forgotten, hopeless.
Is it not a Universal experience
for most of the human beings that have ever lived on this planet
and most of those that are here now?

Yes, I've been heart broken.
With time and lots of mending,
The failure of my first marriage,
the birth of my special needs son--
both times I felt completely damaged into fragments
of who I thought I was and what my life would be.
Understanding came through perspective,
healing followed with time.

There have been other times though,
through deep examination of my own challenges,
the discovery that I am not broken.
I struggle, maybe even weep, lose sleep, and fret,
but a more fitting word is "fragile".
Meaning "handle with care".

Doesn't that sound more accurate?
Handling with care means I slow down a little bit,
examine the pain more closely
looking for the tenderest areas and seek remedies for healing.
Having a mindful approach to my circumstances
creates an inner dialogue that sparks hope in the darkness.
Do what needs to be done,
but invite patience and forgiveness in that space--
maybe for someone else
maybe for my self.

I was talking to a friend who asked my opinion of his actions
in a certain business situation with his nephew,
who had stepped out of line and behaved unprofessionally,
resulting in a loss of business for the family company.
My friend took it as a betrayal and fired the nephew.
There were repercussions within the extended family over this.
I asked one question of my friend:
Was the action of the nephew unforgivable?
My friend thought for a moment and said, "No. Not unforgivable."
"Then, with patience and forgiveness, proceed towards healing.", I told him.

It wasn't even two weeks later
I needed to listen to the same advice myself
within my own family.
Feelings had been deeply hurt and if I let it fester,
the relationship could have become broken.
"But, were the words and actions unforgivable?"
the prompt came front and center to my mind.
Could I forgive and allow time for healing?
Yes, I can do that.
Feelings were raw, emotions tender, the relationship was fragile.
But not broken.

What helps healing come along quicker and completely?
For me it is faith.  Faith to ask Heavenly Father for help.
I believe in Jesus Christ's desire and ability to heal my wounds
because He has done that for me all of my life,
at every turn, you see.
I know there is healing and hope in His love for me.
Turning my pain over to Him and asking to see things clearly,
to be able to move forward and make weak things strong--
in my self, in my loves, in our relationships
is all possible because of His atoning sacrifice made long long ago
in the Garden of Gethsemane.

So, if we're able to look at our reality in the light of
"Fragile Not Broken"
we can see things more clearly, right?

Fragile isn't the same as broken.
Fragile requires extra attention, care, compassion, love, patience, and mercy.
Asking for what you need is important.
And while you are healing whatever it is--
know this:
Fragile things are still useful, valuable, important and worthy.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Opening Up to New Adventures

A new adventure is afoot here in Momza's House.
It began like all our adventures began:
"Heavenly Father, where should we go?"

The job we accepted in Eugene, Oregon turned out to be not-so-good.
The company has had eight new leaders in the 2 years we've been here.
That is loaded with red flags, people.
We had our own reasons for looking at other opportunities--
but that company's flailing about was as good as the others so we started looking.

Mr. W turned his passive looking into agressive searching,
and lo! within a month he had several opportunities come to him.
Two in particular overlapped in the interviewing process,
so he's accepted one--a very good one, here in Oregon--
while he's being interviewed for a better one in Colorado next week.

Now, you know, you have to know that I am praying for Colorado.
It is home afterall.
It's where my Dean is.
Where my mountains are.
I've fasted and prayed for this company twice already,
hoping that this is the best place for us.
And now we wait and we trust.


We are the company we keep!

As our Caboose led the way to Brigham Young University-Idaho
three weeks ago,
she still expressed her fears that she's not ready for college,
not ready to be on her own, not ready for "adulthood"...
I love my grown Caboose.
It was hard to let her go too.
A friend reminded me that the thing about Caboose's is that they're just behind us,
if we know where to look.
That's true, hunh?
Moving Day
As we unloaded and put away her things in the new apartment,
feelings were tender as we all felt the newness of the season in front of us.
Helping his sister get set up.
And ending of the family circle it has always been.
The youngest is out of the nest.
It was hard. I can't even pretend it wasn't.
Brotherly love
I have taught her all I can within the walls of my home,
within the reach of my arms.
Now is the season for her to test what she's learned from me
and learn how strong her own abilities serve her needs.
It's been a rough three weeks,
but she's learning and stretching and adjusting
like we all do in new seasons, right?

At General Conference with friends
Just today she sent pics in our family chat
from the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City
as she attended with friends.
Look at that smile, people!
My little Caboose is a young woman in the world.

We have just about 44 days left with Boofus
before he leaves for his mission.
He's cramming in as many camp-outs, hunting trips, kayaking and fishing days
as possible before he turns his time and attention to being a full-time missionary for 2 years.
This week, he will prepare to enter the temple for his own endowment.
Another milestone, my friends.
Such gratitude in my soul for his choice to trust and move forward!

Can life be any sweeter than when we ask the heavens,
"Where should I go, Lord?"

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The One Where Momza Learns Kayaking

 IN the category of You're Never Too Old to Learn New Things:

I've learned a new passion: kayaking.  I even have my own. I fantasized about owning a kayak since last summer when I saw a woman on a lake in her own kayak at a golden hour dust and thought, "That gal has life figured out."  

That was it for me.  I thought if we still lived in Oregon come summer 2019, I'd have to try it out for myself.

 I love it.  I love everything about it.  The ease of rowing across the water, the scenery of beautiful lakes and shorelines, the solitude and peace...I am smitten.

Mr W and I have gone out on a few different lakes around us--Fall Creek Reservoir in Lowell, Oregon, Woahink Lake in Florence, Oregon, and Fern Ridge Reservoir in Eugene area.  

This is Fall Creek Res. last Saturday.  It was warm and drizzling rain.  We were the absolute only people on the water for at least an hour.  Complete Bliss. I cannot live a life without my kayak. Forever and Ever, Amen.

And Then There Were None

If you've been here since the beginning of 2008,
you know that I have been raising children a long long time
and writing about it--
the good things like moving from Idaho to Colorado Springs to Oregon,
and mission calls and homecomings
weddings and grandbabies
careers and callings
travels and recipes--
I have written all of that and then some!

I used to blog daily for years--those deeply-up-to-my-neck-in-kids years
and I loved it!
I'd get up before the kids on school mornings
and stay up late on summer nights just to get it all down
before I'd forget those moments in the mix of things.

I'm so glad that I did all of that typing and editing and loading pics
that used to take
It blessed my life then and it continues.
I love looking back over those busy years and recalling them all.
Journaling is a great memory keeper.

It's gotten more and more quiet around here as the last two at home
approached adulthood thru high school.
So I didn't write as much online but kept writing in my personal journal,
because journalling is good for me.

So here I am eleven years later,
the house asleep, it's nearly midnight
and my brain is buzzing such that I need to do a blog dump
so I can let it all go.

First up,

our youngest son, Joseph, has received his mission call.
It was not a straight shot from high school to this moment.
Deciding to serve a two year mission--completely trusting in the process of
where he'd be asked to serve,
moving away from family and friends,
postponing college and career,
and all of the conveniances and habits that accompany his daily life--
including leaving behind a cute young lady he's been dating since last Fall,
and who also happens to be a non-member and doesn't really get why young men do any of this--
well that decision was a hard one to make for Joseph.

And knowing what the sacrifices are,
as parents we couldn't simply insist that he serve.
We encouraged him along, hoping and praying truly that he would make the decision
to go on his own.
A mission is hard. There's not much that is easy about it, so it had to be his choice.
He wanted to go, but wasn't sure if he was ready to trust in the process
or had enough faith that Heavenly Father actually knew him and would place him
exactly where he should be called to serve.
So he vacillated for a few months before finally making the commitment to go.
Once he did, from beginning to end was less than 3 weeks.

He's in Houston, Texas visiting Danielle and her family
as they just returned from living in Saudi Arabia for five years.
His call came last week via email.
His joy is palpable! I've watched this no fewer than 30 times! I love it! We used to live there.  We've only been gone from Colorado two years this month. We are all amazed at his perfect call.
He doesn't leave until November--time enough to get in some fall hunting, which was important to him.  He'll have Christmas in the mission field.

And lastly, The Caboose.  She's heading to Brigham Young University-Idaho in a month.

She and Joseph have made the best kind of friends here in Eugene.  They are loving, fun, and accepting of each other.  Zero drama.  Camp-outs in the mountains, at the beach or lakes, movie-nights, and sunrise hikes.  All of these young people are tightly knit and supportive.  After enduring the depressed environment in Colorado Springs from so many of their classmates' suicides for two full years, my teens needed a break from it all.  It took them awhile, especially Arianna, to heal from the grief that so intensely held her breath that she could barely attend school there.  She says the friends here made her feel like she has permission to be happy again.  The healing continues for both Joseph and Arianna and it seems that's the best part of moving here.

So with the two youngest leaping out of the nest pretty darn soon here--Mr. Wonderful and I are about to become Empty Nesters!  I can't even believe it.  I've been raising children since 1983, since I was 21 years old.  Seven children!  And we've reached the Finish Line of: laundry piles, endless sinks of dirty dishes, meal planning for a family, carpools, curfew watches, bags and bags of groceries and the umpteenth trip to the market to get those groceries, school lunches and PTO meetings, afterschool activities, sleepovers, Church youth activities, looking for the TV remote (and the batteries that always disappeared in them!), shoo-ing kids out the door for church on Sundays and Seminary...I can hardly believe the end is here.

It was a long long Season in Life, but it's finished.  And man, I'm missing it already.