(To those of you who have read this blog, please forgive the redundancy! It won't be happening in 2016! :D)
Hi dear friends and family! :D Can you believe, another year has come and gone already??? In the beginning of a new year I always find myself reflecting on the previous year and looking forward to discovering what the coming new year has in store for our family. This is a time of serious reflection to count our many blessings! :D
Here goes!... :)
|Spontaneous photo - taken while out hiking in the summertime before Mindy left for Japan :)|
This past year started out CRAZY BUSY!
(What am I saying? It was crazy busy the whole year! Why does this seem to be a theme with me?!? :o).
I was working, what felt like, all the time! (LOL - I'm still working on this! :))
Then one of the people I work for suggested that I bring my husband to work with me. I approached him, and to my delight he said he thought about offering to work with me, repeatedly, but wasn't sure if people would want him to. That excited me, let me assure you! So Miles joined me at that job! :D It went well, and the owner told my other employers about it. Anyhow, soon, Miles was working with me most of the time. This cut my work load WAY DOWN, and let me tell you, it was nice! :)
But it turns out, God had another reason for having Miles work with me, other than just so I could work less... ;)
My WONDERFUL, AMAZING mother had struggled with health problems for many years. I would go to her home a couple times a year (usually 2 weeks at a time, once longer) to help her recover and make freezer meals for her and stuff like that. I tried to get her to move in with me FOR YEARS but she was stubbornly independent and wouldn't budge!
Anyhow, winter of 2014 came, and with no one living near her, mom fell and shattered an arm. From the hospital she was sent to a nursing home - not allowed to return home. None of us kids were in a position to spontaneously go get her, nor did we realize how badly mom would need that.
As time went on, mom quickly lost complete use of her legs and Dementia settled in. She also became SEVERELY DEPRESSED. My siblings and I were all discussing what to do. Should we move her to a nursing home near by, or try to move her in with one of us? We were all ready and willing for years, but now that her needs were so severe we all worried that we might not be able to do it. So we thought and prayed. Repeatedly, facilities denied her admittance due to the amount of care she needed; and perhaps because God had something better for her. :) Four months went by with her in nursing homes far from family...
It was then that one of the kids asked mom, "Mom, where do YOU want to go? We are all willing to take you and applying for homes near us as well, but we want to know what YOU want." So mom prayed. And she fasted. And then she called me...
"Corine, I have been fasting and praying ALL DAY, and the Lord has told me very clearly that I am supposed to live with you."
I was suddenly terrified. Visions of amputations flashed through my mind... from her lifeless, stiff, Diabetic, fibromyalgia suffered, kidney failure-blistered legs and feet... I knew her kidneys were functioning at only 8%, and she was dying. Could I do it? Would I feel like I had failed her, or worse, like I killed her when the time came for her to go?
My heart pounded, and I honestly told mom of my fears. What if I couldn't do it?
Usually when we tried to talk to mom on the phone she was groggy, weak, quiet, and it was hard to understand her. She was SO DRUGGED. But this time, her voice was strong and clear and loud.
She assured me that everything would work out, that God would help us with whatever we needed. We would have the equipment she needed. I would know what to do. We would get help. Everything would work out.
She had a strength about her that told me God was with her and she WAS being guided by him. So I told her I would talk to Miles and pray about it. I did.
Miles prayed. And the next morning a brother called and told of his visit with her in the nursing home and of the neglect she was suffering. And Miles knew. At that very moment, the Holy Spirit was there, testifying to us both that she DID NEED US, and that He would help us to do what we needed to do to take care of her. We were both now fully in.
The Lord had things in place... There was only one job that I could not work with Miles, so I quit that job. Another I would soon loose for the same reason (she needed help longer than I could be away ). It was a leap of faith, but I knew it was the Lord's will with everything in me, so I went with it.
Then two angels came to our door for a spontaneous visit. Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... (Thanks Elders Keppner and Saunders! We love you! :D). We told them of our situation, and decision to get a room ready in only a week. They asked if they could help! :) I think this was the first time in my life that I EAGERLY said yes to someone asking if they could help me. I ran to get supplies, and these fine Elders spent the next week helping us to prepare a room for her (and sometimes it was just our sons and these Elders who worked on the house, while my husband and I worked outside the home). These boys ripped out carpet, filled in holes in the walls, painted, and cut and glued down new carpet. We realized that the room next to hers would need the same treatment, as she had autoimmune diseases and kittens were born in the room next door. So the job was done twice... in one week. :) These guys became family to us, and getting to know and love them has been another highlight of this fabulous year! :)
Mom came to live with us the end of February. She started out drugged, depressed, confused, unable to read, unable to feed herself very well, and in a lot of pain. Thanks to a loving Father in Heaven, she was blessed to go from this...
|First couple taken the last couple days of February; she wasn't alert enough to put her head up for pictures...|
(Devry was in southern Id. at this time so wasn't in these first photos)
I am so proud of these kids for developing such talents of nurturing service & compassion! :D
|Taken some time in March, I think (getting a little better every month!)|
Her hand writing went from completely illegible to legible, and reading ability from non existent to able! I was so happy when I walked into the room to see this that I had to take a photo of it! :)
(For more photos of what she looked like between these months, (in addition to photos of Mindy and Levi in their costumes for convention), see my April post...
|One morning mom announced that we just HAD to get family photos - TODAY. So I helped mom get ready. She wore a wig because her hair was so thin and she didn't think it looked like here without a full head of hair. She was beautiful! :D|
|Photos taken about 6 weeks before Mindy left on her mission and about 4 weeks before mom passed away...|
On July 14th, mama passed on. We spent the next couple weeks mourning and planning a funeral. On August 1st we celebrated her life with family and friends. It was a BEAUTIFUL funeral and memorial!
THAT has been, (regardless of the fact that it took just under half of the year) - the bulk of this year.
Devry moved back in with us this year! :D
Mindy left us to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - in the Tokyo Japan Mission, on July first! She spent the first three months at the MTC in Provo. She has had many wonderful experiences and made many wonderful friends, both in Provo, and in Japan. We are so happy for her! :D
The remainder of the year has been spent getting back into the groove after mom's passing, and getting our home back in order. Like I said, the garage is still in need of help. :o We will get to it as soon as it warms up out there. :)
This year, our family has been GREATLY BLESED. The Lord has provided for our needs in a beautiful way. Despite the low income, we have continued to be self reliant. This is very important to us. And we have been blessed by the generosity of others more than we have ever experienced in our entire lives! We are incredibly thankful for this, as well!
In addition, we are making progress in so many ways. And we are blessed to do a little service for others here and there as well. :) (It never seems like enough, but we do what we can.)
In December Damien moved back in with us as well. He has had a very rough road. We are blessed to give him shelter and a family to love him as well. :)
And Miles is no longer depressed! He is balanced! :D Miles and I think Miles licked the demon that held him down! He is a new person. We are all, so blessed! :D I think his business will flourish now as a result of it! :D
***I know that our Father in Heaven loves us all, very much! He is always there for us. Our blessings are many, and they are big and small - and even the small ones are big. ;)
This includes you. I know the Lord loves you, and pray that in your darkest hours you can listen to the sweet spirit, who can testify to you the marvelous blessings and tender mercies in your lives! :)
I MISS AND LOVE YOU ALL, SO MUCH!!! I'm praying that this year my family and I will have more time to visit with family and friends, and to reconnect and bond again. Please forgive us for not keeping in touch better. And Please write or call or whatever you feel so inclined to do; we'd love to hear from you!
Happy New Year!
Love you all!