Sunday, April 26, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Of course the top news story of the week is Bentley’s mission call to the Philippine Cibu mission.  The letter said he should report to the MTC in Provo on July 15, but I imagine that could be adjusted depending on circumstances.  Tom says that missionaries getting calls can defer their starting date for up to a year, but Bentley wants to go right away.  He’ll be learning Cebuano, which, of course, none of us had ever heard of until this week.  Tom says there are 23 missions in the Philippines, and lots of different languages.  Bentley’s in for a great adventure!
        Dad and I had a great time in Pocatello last weekend, “sheltering in place” with Vanessa’s family.  We went on walks, worked puzzles, and talked a lot.  Sunday afternoon we had the sacrament, conducted by Sterling.  Then Trent gave a really good “Come Follow Me” lesson about King Benjamin.  After that we went on another walk, and then we drove up to the site of the new Pocatello temple.  It’s high on the hill, north of Vanessa’s house, and it’s going to be absolutely beautiful.  You can see that now.  It will be a great change for Trent and Vanessa to drive just a few minutes to the temple, instead of all the way to Idaho Falls.  I envy them.  We have to drive at least an hour to any temple.  I sure would like one in Heber or Midway or even Kamas.  Or anywhere close, where the air is clean.  My lungs pay a price every time we drive down the canyon.
        I’ve been inspired by Nora’s long eyelashes, which almost look fake, but are very real.  She uses the glaucoma drops to make them grow, and Double Extend mascara by L’Oreal to make them look thick.  My lashes have really taken a hit from radiation and chemo, so I wanted to try the same things.  The glaucoma drops worked fine on my lashes, but my eyes watered all the time, so I gave that up.  The Double Extend mascara looked really good, but it made my eyes itch.  So my whole plan was a failure.  The point of all this is that I want to ask all you daughters and daughters-in-law, what’s a good mascara?  I’ve been using Maybelline Great Lash for years, but maybe there’s something better?
        Meanwhile, life stretches on for all of us.  I pray that we’ll get back to normal sometime soon.
        Love, Mom

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Dear Kids,
        I’m dating this letter for Sunday, but right now, while I’m typing it, it’s really Saturday morning.  Dad and I are leaving for Idaho in an hour or so, so I want to post something before we leave.  We’re going to Pocatello, since we haven’t been there for a year and a half, and besides, I need to go SOMEWHERE or bust or go totally crazy. Life is full of risks, and the curve is flattening in Utah and Idaho, and I’ve been pretty nonchalant about the virus anyway.  So I’m pretty excited to go.  Dad, too.  Normally when we visit Vanessa’s family they’re running every which way to their activities, and we don’t see as much of them as I’d like, so this seems like a good time to really visit.   Besides, I’m in between chemo rounds, and feeling pretty good.  The stars are totally lined up for this trip.
        What else?  Last night, Dad and I had just left John’s house, after picking up my new driving glasses.  We always drive up to Red Ledges and then down into Heber on Center Street.  We were coming down the hill when we saw a big group of people walking along the side of the road.   When we got closer I recognized Tom, and we realized this big group was just his family, out for a walk.  I know there are nine of them now, but we don’t usually see them all together walking down the road.  Of course we stopped to talk (social distancing, of course) and catch up a little.  We normally see them practically every Sunday night, but it’s been at least a month now.  Tom has more of a beard than before, and Eli’s hair is longer.  Hopefully, as things start opening up, we can gradually be more social.
        Gary and Carly Allen’s little boy, Lennox, has been fighting brain cancer, as most of you know.  He was  in remission for a while, but now the cancer is back with a vengeance, and he won’t live much longer.  Andy and Renae have flown to Florida to be with them.  I haven’t heard anything for a couple of weeks, but I’ll let you know when he passes away.  We know where he’s going, and how glorious it is, but it’s still hard for everybody.  Seeing his struggle reminds me how quickly cancer can come roaring back, and I’m appreciating every day I have.  Hopefully I have years left, but every day is still important to me.  I’m so grateful to be part of such a huge, loving family.
        Life is good!  I hope you’re all having great spring weather!
        Love, Mom

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dear Kids,
         I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter day!  I was sorry we didn’t have our traditional Easter picnic and Easter egg hunt yesterday, but there will be better years.  Besides, whenever I felt bad at not having a picnic, I made myself think about the real meaning of Easter, and why we celebrate.  When I was having that really rotten chemo back in December, I felt so horrible that I kept thinking about Jesus, and how he had suffered way more than that.  I’m really grateful that He did it for us, to pay for our sins, and that when we die, it’s not the end.  I know I’ll die in the next few years, but I’m not afraid, because I know I’ll go to the spirit world and be re-united with so many loved ones.  And one day we’ll all be resurrected, like Jesus was.  I’m really grateful for that.
         On Tuesday we needed for Nora to give Dad a haircut, so we planned to go to her house and Dad could have his haircut on the front porch, away from her family.  (It didn’t totally work out that way, but at least we planned it right.)  I took Sonia along in the cat carrier, and we put her in Nora’s garage, so she wouldn’t contaminate their house.  Nora and some of the others came out and petted her and made a big deal over her.  She loved it.  When we got home, she didn’t want to get out of the carrier.  When she finally did, Scout climbed in, and went to sleep, smiling.  Sonia sat by the carrier and glared at him and thumped her tail, but he didn’t care.  Maybe we’ll take him next time.
         Dad and I did a fun service project this week.  Our neighborhood mailboxes are on a concrete pad, but there were big holes on each side that were always full of water or mud.  So you couldn’t drive right up to the mailboxes without getting mud on your car.  Dad usually parked across the street, or in the street, or down the road.  So we took Dad’s truck to Staker Parsons and got a load of roadbase, and we came back and shoveled it into the holes and raked it flat and tamped it down.  At the end, Dad drove back and forth across it with the truck to really pack it in.  Since then, it’s seemed to stay put.  If we’d been paid, it would have been work, but since it was service, it was fun.  Lots of people thanked us while we were working on it, and I bet they’re glad not to get their cars muddy now, either. 
         While we were working, Dad noticed a neighbor house where a kid was riding a small motorcycle with training wheels.  We’d never seen that before.  It’s totally Kamas Valley!  We also saw a dad on a 4-wheeler, followed by three kids on 4-wheelers of descending sizes.    We’re definitely not in Salt Lake any more!
         Best wishes to all of you to stay safe and stay happy!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Naturally the biggest and best news of the week is Sharon’s acceptance to the University of Maryland’s school of nursing.  We couldn’t be happier.  They’re one of the premier nursing programs in the nation, and Sharon will have very good job prospects when she finishes.  Dad never doubted that she would be accepted, but I thought the competition might be really tough.  Sharon said having a bachelor’s degree already probably helped her, and I think her good grades played a part.  Anyway, we’re very proud of her and we know she’ll do well.
        I guess you’re all having the same challenges with “staying home, staying safe” that Dad and I are feeling.  It’s hard to be home so much!  Luckily I’m well enough that we can  go on walks together, and we have plenty to do at the cabin.  The worst thing is not seeing much of you kids.  I can hardly remember what Tom’s family looks like!  (They’ve been the most diligent about isolating themselves.)  Monica wrote this: We are doing OK.  We’ve been working from home for almost 3 weeks.  Jackie really misses his friends but this virus is so contagious that I would feel horrible if we accidentally passed it along to anyone or got it ourselves. 
        I think that pretty well expresses how we all feel. Dad and I have been to Walmart a few times for groceries, and it’s probably just as safe there as at home, especially early in the morning.  The place is practically vacant.
        One good thing: with our extra time, we’ve been moving ahead faster with cabin projects, and we actually finished putting together the bunkbeds!  I didn’t think that would ever happen, since we kept running out of bolts and nuts, which were both practically impossible to find.  But the bunkbeds are all set up, and hopefully they’ll stay that way for a very long time.
        Our kitties have been going crazy, just like us.  Sonia still digs holes in the toilet paper, and if I try to sew, she attacks my patterns and shreds them.  One of my pajama top  patterns is totally missing.  Could she have eaten it?  Scout walks through the house meowing, for no reason at all.   We had snow every day for three weeks, but spring might finally be here!  It’s supposed to be in the 50's for the next two or three days.  Yay!
        Lots of love, Mom