Monday, November 14, 2016

Changes and Challenges

Two weeks ago, a member of our stake presidency stood in sacrament meeting and announced that they were changing the ward boundaries in our stake. Our ward would retain all the members that it had previously, but it would gain about half of the ward to the south of us, and we would change buildings that we meet in.

My first thoughts were of excitement. The last time the ward boundaries changed, about ten years ago, the area to the south had been part of our ward. We were getting our old friends back again! One of my counselors mentioned to me that the closets for storage were bigger there. We would get a full walk in closet for our Relief Society stuff, and not just the half length cupboard we'd had.

I cleared out our cupboard that Tuesday after institute, and piled the stuff in the back of my van for the interim. I gathered up keys to the building and turned them in to the bishop to pass on. I met with my visiting teaching coordinator to make sure that was in order before we needed to add the new sisters.

About a week later (on a Sunday that happened to be a regional conference so we didn't meet as wards) the wards were changed officially in the system. Our ward received 173 new records - 97 of which are women over the age of 18. After meeting with the bishop of the other ward, my bishop provided us with a list of 14 sisters that he wanted us to get involved, and particularly to invite to our ward's Super Saturday activity which we had been planning for months and was scheduled for that coming Saturday. So my counselor and I got busy and drove around to each of those fourteen sisters' homes to deliver a personal invitation to attend our Super Saturday that weekend. Many of the sisters weren't home. However, I did get to meet a few that I didn't know before. Again, I was excited at the prospect of having new talents and new personalities in the ward.

Tuesday evening, the youth met on their new activity night at our new building. I went along to pick up my new building keys and to unload the stuff that had been sitting in the back of my van for a week. The bishop gave me the Relief Society keys that he had so far - two closet keys and two keys to a "Quilting closet". He gave me two "extra" building keys because the official Relief Society building keys hadn't been turned in yet. I went to check out the closet, and it is definitely bigger than the cupboard that we had before. It is a good sized walk-in closet with shelves from ceiling to floor on three sides. It was also still full of stuff. In the boundary realignment, four wards shrunk into three, and we got the closet for the ward that was dissolved... so they didn't need to take their stuff with them. So we "get" it. I piled the stuff from our cupboard onto the floor space in the middle. At some point I need to go back with my counselors and sort out what we want to keep and what we can get rid of.

On Friday, I met with the former Relief Society president from the other ward. She went through the list of sisters and told me a bit about each one that she knew (there were several she didn't know.) She shared with me a bit about their situations and what assistance they had been given in the past, and whether or not they would accept visiting teachers, or serve as visiting teachers. It was after this interview, that I felt like Peter, having taken a few steps on the water, took his eyes off the Savior and noticed the winds and the waves and started to falter. After six months, I finally felt like I was getting a grasp on what I was supposed to be doing, and suddenly, I'm facing new challenges in a relief society that is almost twice as big as it was before - on the rosters anyway. I came away feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.

Our Super Saturday activity went well. Only two of the new sisters came, and each only came for a short time, but we did have some less active sisters and family and friends come to the activity, and there was a good turn out in general. I enjoyed the chance to get to know some of the sisters in the ward better.

Yesterday was our first time meeting together in our new and improved ward, in the new building. I attended ward council in the morning, and one of the things our bishop said struck a chord with me. He reminded us of Joshua and Caleb, when they returned from their spying trip to report on what they saw. While the other spies saw the giants and the challenges of trying to conquer the land, Joshua and Caleb saw the advantages and blessings, and trusted the Lord would help them succeed. I realized that I need to be more like Joshua and Caleb. I need to trust that things that will work out, and that the Lord will guide me in what I need to do to best serve the sisters in my ward.

We arrived for sacrament meeting a little early, and I made a point of introducing myself to unfamiliar faces in the chapel. I saw some of the sisters I had visited earlier in the week, and even got to sit between two of them during Sunday School. I conducted in Relief Society, and before we started the lesson, I had everyone introduce themselves, so we could get to know each other better.

I don't think I'm as discouraged and overwhelmed now as I was on Friday. I still feel like I have a lot to do. I want to visit each of the sisters on our list, but I realize that is going to take some time. I don't have to do it all this week, And I don't have to do it all myself. I need to remember my favorite scripture verse:
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we standstill, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Hiatt Halloween

I didn't decorate for Halloween. I kind of decorated for fall by making this wreath, which hung on the front door to greet Trick-or-Treaters...

...along with the jack-o-lantern which we carved on Saturday afternoon, between a funeral and Hannah's last night of the play. Steven wasn't there; he was at a scout thing all day Saturday.

During the month of  October, I got a bit crafty making little crochet dolls for Halloween. I thought I'd give them out to Trick-or-Treaters as they came to the door.

grim reaper

invisible man

Hannah got crafty with her own and Peter's Halloween costumes. (What will I do without her next year?) Hannah was a clockwork droid from Doctor Who. She made her own mask and it turned out awesome!

Peter was a five headed dragon named Hirum McDaniels, which is from a podcast called, "Welcome to Night Vale". That involved a lot of papier mache and painting and creativity!

Joshua started out wanting to be a three headed person, but changed his mind a couple days before when his extra heads had yet to materialize, and he decided to be a Pokemon trainer instead.

John didn't really decide on a costume. I don't think he planned to go Trick-or-Treating, but Steven and I asked him to accompany Josh and Peter when they went. Hannah went with a friend.

Steven and I enjoyed a very quiet night at home. We received one (1) trick-or-treater at our home. She took home the witch and a large handful of chocolate candy. Peter decided he wanted to keep the mummy, and Josh kept the grim reaper, but I still have a bunch of crochet dolls I'm not sure what to do with now.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Almost, Maine

On Friday and Saturday, Hannah performed in her school play, Almost Maine. According to the director's notes,  "Almost, Maine is a series of loosely intertwined scenes about love and loss that take place over one night in a fictional Maine town."

Because the play is made up of short scenes, without much to combine them, Hannah only appeared in one scene. In that scene, a young man encounters a woman at a restaurant that he used to date before she dumped him, and tonight she is celebrating her bachelorette party. Hannah plays the part of a waitress at the restaurant. After the young woman left him, the young man got a tattoo on his arm that he had intended to say, "Villain" because he felt like a villain for letting her go... but the tattoo parlor had made a mistake and wrote "Villian" instead. At the end of the scene, after the young woman has returned to her party, the young man learns that the kind and cheerful waitress's name is "Villian"!

It was a fun play, and Hannah enjoyed the experience. She is already looking forward to the musical in the Spring, which will The Addams Family!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cultural Celebration and Dedication

This past weekend has been one to remember.

Twenty some-odd years ago, I lived in southern California when the San Diego temple was dedicated. I remember helping with the open house, putting shoe coverings on people's feet. And I remember the dedication itself, sitting in the cafeteria of the actual temple, and President Hinkley passing through on his way to the Celestial Room, and being within a few feet of him. That was an awesome event, and ever since then, the San Diego temple has held a special place in my heart. That was where I received my endowment before I left on my mission. I was able to serve there as an ordinance worker following my mission. That was also where I was married. The San Diego temple will always be "my" temple.

I hope that the Fort Collins temple will hold a similar place in my children's hearts. I was able to take them on a tour of the temple during the open house. The oldest three were able to return to help but on shoe coverings for the open house. The last couple months have been filled with rehearsals for the cultural celebration which took place Saturday evening.

Hannah, John and Joshua spent the entire day in Fort Collins rehearsing. Steven, Peter and I drove up in the evening just in time for the performance. President Uchtdorf attended, and it was fun to see the excitement of the youth to see him. Different groups of youth performed dances depicting a different part of Colorado's history and heritage. Behind them was a structure that began as a fort, but became a temple. The theme for the night was  "A Fortress of Faith". Between the dances, there were video clips shown on a big screen where youth shared their testimonies and faith building experiences.

Our children celebrated the days of the Native Americans. I'm afraid I spent too much time trying to figure out where my children were in the crowd (I think I saw Hannah, but not either of the boys at the time), and didn't enjoy the overall dance as much as I should have, but their dance was still my favorite.

John is one of the Indians in this picture... can you find him?
Hannah, as a deer, is in this picture.
Josh is not pictured, but he was helping hold one of the blue "river" cloths.
Following them came settlers, ranchers, army men, helping hands, and others.

After the celebration, it took us a little while to find the kids and get everyone rounded up to go home. Hannah had lost her bag, containing her phone as well as her shoes. (She performed barefoot!) Eventually she did find them in the Lost and Found, and we were able to go home.

Yesterday was the actual dedication of the Fort Collins temple. We were not able to be in the temple itself, but our meetinghouse became an extension of the temple and we had to present a recommend to enter and watch the proceedings projected on a screen in the chapel. We attended the second of the three dedicatory sessions. I enjoyed the talks; they helped me see temple work in a little different way than I had pictured it in the past. I had tears running down my cheeks as we joined the choir in singing "The Spirit of God".

I'm grateful that our family had the experience of seeing a new temple built and dedicated. I hope my children always remember the events of the last few months in regards to the temple, and that they feel that the Fort Collins temple is theirs.

For more on the Fort Collins Temple in general, see:
and, for information on the dedication and Cultural Celebration, see:

Also, the entire cultural celebration (all 75 minutes of it!) is available on YouTube!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ishmael's Ordeal

I think we first came to our attention almost a week ago. We woke up in the morning, and as usual, Ishmael was lying on our bed. At some point, Steven reached over to pet him and suddenly, "Sssssss!" Ishmael hissed at him.

Now, you have to understand that Ishmael doesn't hiss. He doesn't scratch. He doesn't bite. (People anyway, apparently.) We realized that he had a sore on his side that he didn't want people touching. We assumed he'd been out and gotten into a fight with a neighborhood cat. At the time, the injured area was covered in fur so we couldn't get a good look at it, but he was eating and acting normally, so we respected Ishmael's desires and avoided petting the offending side.

A few days later, Thursday evening, was when we noticed the balding spot. He had an ugly sore on his side, as though a claw or fangs had sunk deeply into his side. The fur around it was disappearing, although whether it was due to him licking it or the sore becoming infected, or whatever, I didn't know. I resolved to take him to the vet.

Accordingly, on Friday morning, I took him to the vet. The trip to the vet was less eventful than I had feared it might be. I showed Ishmael the cat carrier, and he entered promptly, of his own free will. I carried the carrier to the car, and Ishmael seemed to enjoy the short ride to the animal hospital a mile or so down the street. I carried him, still in the carrier, into the building and checked in, then we settled ourselves in the "cat waiting area". Ishmael was content to be in his carrier, watching what he could, a little wary of the dogs that were passing by and occasionally barking. Eventually we were called back to an examination room. When I opened the door to the carrier, Ishmael exited readily, anxious to explore his new surroundings. He allowed the technician to weigh him and look at him. Then he returned to the safety of his carrier.

The sore spot on Saturday
When the vet came in to take a look, we had to tip him out of the carrier; he was less willing to leave. The vet looked at the sore, and asked several questions, then took Ishmael to the back room to shave the area and clean it so she could get a better look. When she returned, the verdict wasn't good. Whatever had caused the wound hadn't been clean, and a lot of the skin cells were dying. He had a hole in his side behind the marks, where the flesh was dead.

When I left the vet's office that day, I had three medications - a pain killer, an antibiotic, and a topical antibacterial cream. I also had a "cone of shame" to keep him from licking the wound. I also had a return appointment to check it again in a few days (today).

Ishmael has been pretty good about taking his medications. He had become resigned to wearing his bonnet, although he enjoys the times when we take it off him so he can wash and eat more comfortably. He wishes we would let him go outside, but in the interest of keeping his wound area clean, we have kept him in.

The sore spot today
This morning, I took him to the vet again to get it checked. It was red, and started bleeding when she washed it out, but the good news is that it seems to be healing. The hole inside is shrinking, and the skin is looking healthier. We are to continue with the cream and bring him back to be checked again on Friday.

Through it all, Ishmael has remained the sweet cat he has always been. With all the poking and prodding, all the smearing cream on his sore spot and taking the bonnet off and putting it back on, he has never scratched or bitten anyone, and since that first day, I haven't heard him hiss. He still stands up on me wanting to be held, to bury his head in my hair, to drool. He still loves to be pet. He wishes he could get into his cozy carrier with his bonnet on, but it's too wide to fit in the door. Poor thing. I hope he continues to heal.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Say What?

I sometimes wonder what is going on inside my children's heads. 
For example:

This morning as we were walking to school in a drizzly rain, Peter said, "Do you know what you could do when you are feeling lonely?"

Curious, I replied, "No, what?"

"You could turn off all the lights and watch a scary movie." He paused, then continued. "After a while, you won't feel like you are alone anymore!"

And feeling like there are ghosts or stalkers or creepy clowns or something around would be a good thing?

Where does he get these ideas???

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Powder Puff Football

Last night, I attended my first high school football game. (That I can remember. I may have been to one before, but I can't remember it if I did.) I haven't even watched football since I was in college and my college was playing - but then I watched it on TV, not in the stadium. I'm not generally a sports fan. But last night's game kept me entertained.
She wanted her jersey to say "Hanana Bread" but they got it wrong.
When Hannah told me last month that she wanted to play powder puff football, my first response was probably, "Really? Whatever for?" And then when I signed the permission forms that mentioned that there was a risk of serious injury, and possibly even death, I wondered why on earth I was letting her play! But I signed them anyway, grateful that we at least have health insurance.

Practices began, and kept her busy after school almost every day. I'm not sure how she juggled football practice with play practices, but somehow she managed.

Because there was a cultural celebration practice last night as well, only Peter and I were able to attend the game. Neither of us really understood what was going on as far as downs and the like, but we knew that when a player on the team with the gold jerseys (seniors) had the ball and was running like crazy towards the goal posts with everyone else on the field chasing behind, that something good was happening. And it wasn't such a good thing when it was someone in a red jersey (juniors) running towards the other goal posts.

There were over a hundred girls on each team, and they were divided up into smaller groups of eleven that would play at a time - some defensive and others offensive. Hannah played cornerback on a defensive team. One girl on the junior's team was in a wheelchair. She got to be on the field for the starting coin toss, and then she came out later when the junior team was only a few yards from their goalpost, and she was able to carry the ball over the line to make a touchdown.

The cheerleaders (the young men from the football team) added some entertainment to the game. When the opposing team made a touchdown, their team's cheerleaders jogged around the track and did a push up for each point the scoring team had on the scoreboard. The junior's team's cheerleaders got really tired and ended up doing crunches instead after the seniors scored their final touchdown. The halftime show they put on was fun. They started out with several acting like Pokemon and the others coming out and pelting them with red and white beach balls. They did some cheers, and then they did some cool gymnastics, forming pyramids and jumping over each other.

The seniors won the game, 54 to 28. When the game ended, a ton of people rushed onto the field in a mob, and it looked like a mosh pit. When I asked Hannah about it later, she said that was kind of scary. It sounded like she enjoyed the game and had fun. She's probably in better physical shape now than she's been in a long time, too.