Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodbye, 2016

I don't have a specific reason for blogging today, other than to write! 😀 The past nine vacation days have been so great! From beautiful Christmas celebrations, to my "graduation" of in-office physical therapy (I'm SO excited to have that expensive habit deleted from my budget!!!), to unlimited time with my favorite people (Greg and our three children!) and endless reading of interesting and inspiring articles and blog posts (I pinned all the good stuff I found!), I feel completely rejuvenated and happy!

One of the happiest things I experienced this Christmas/New Year's week is when my husband surprised me with my biggest Christmas present: a new flat-screen TV for our unfinished laundry room! No, his gift to me didn't signify that I was slacking in my laundry duties (thankfully, he's not that kind of guy!), it's simply been a desire of mine ever since we moved back to Utah, and he was so sweet to make my wish come true! 😊

I had been using our old-school, enormous tube TV and it worked very nicely at helping me not be bored while folding laundry, but it definitely cut into my laundry-folding space—it literally took up about one third of the table. So when we cleared off the table (of all my filing projects) and set up my new TV, I was beyond excited because I had so much extra space! Plus, we used Greg's old computer monitor stand, so it made my view even better(!)—because my folded laundry piles won't get in the way!

After getting my table all set up, I realized that I needed to reconfigure my large wire shelving unit of laundry supplies. Previously, my laundry-folding TV had faced away from my washer/dryer, so I could only listen to it as I was loading the washer/dryer. But because my new flat-screen is so flat (hallelujah!), I positioned it so I can actually see it while folding laundry and loading/unloading my washer/dryer! So yeah, I made sure my wire shelf is nice and open so I can easily see my TV now!

I happily hooked up my old-school DVD/VCR combo and was thrilled that the connection actually worked on my new digital TV! Yay for technology! And yay me! for actually figuring it all out! Ha ha. At first, I was a little concerned it might not work, as it took a few minutes to get everything just right.

Yet I really couldn't believe my good fortune that my eight-year-old, very inexpensive RCA digital antenna (from when TV switched from analog to digital) actually picked up 37 channels(!)—and in our dungeon of a basement, nonetheless! Even though my TV showed it was picking up channels as it scanned, I was trying not to get my hopes up because I didn't want to be disappointed when my TV channels didn't work. Thus, I was near-tears (happy ones, of course!) when my TV channels all worked and the signal was completely and perfectly crisp! Yay yay happy day!

I watched "Gone With the Wind" for quite a while yesterday and loved every minute of it! Then I switched to regular television when I realized that our local PBS station was binge-broadcasting "Downton Abbey"! Can you say, "happy"?! #that'sme!

Needless to say, my laundry is completely caught up—which is a holiday miracle! 😄 I had a major laundry party in my basement yesterday, and I honestly had no desire to leave and go do something else!

Yes, my Gregor gets major Good Husband Points! for his thoughtful gift! Plus, I'll never forget how he totally surprised me on Christmas morning! I had no idea about my TV—which is saying a lot because I usually see everything that goes in or out of our house! Well, it was easier for him to get away with his surprise because he used a gift card he had earned from work—otherwise, I would have seen his purchase on our bank statement. Yep, Greg and I both win because of his sneaky generosity! Ha ha. #thesneakygifter

Another reason I'm so happy today is because I talked with my amazingly awesome 92-year-old Grandpa Charles for 39 minutes this morning! He is just one of my most favorite people on the planet and I'm grateful he took time for me today.

One of the fun tidbits about my paternal grandparents is the fact that they spent a lot of time getting to know each other in their high school journalism class. My Grandpa Charles was an excellent writer and my Grandma Ardis was their class' perfect typist. They were both the best in their class and their teacher's favorite students—I read their yearbook and their journalism teacher wrote as much! I strongly believe their love story needs to be written one day, but I don't know which one of their children/grandchildren/great grandchildren are going to be lucky enough to write it. Even if their actual life stories aren't all written, they inspire me to want to write a historical-fiction love story, for sure! 😊

This morning, I picked my grandpa's brain about journalism and today's crazy media. Grandpa Charles shared some wise words for our overly-editorialized media:
  • Tell it like it is.
  • Don't slant the news toward one side.
  • Stay away from sources with lobbyists trying to influence news production.
  • Realize that we, as individuals, can't change the media—it needs to change from journalists with integrity from inside each organization.
  • Research every news story we are interested in, or want to believe. See if what we believe matches up with what they're reporting.
  • Prophets have predicted the chaos and destruction of our day. We shouldn't be surprised it's here. We need to stay strong, despite what's going on in the world.
  • Opinions are okay to have, but people should present them up front as such, and not present them as fact.

Grandpa Charles continued his thoughts on our media today and how it influences us:
  • In the 50s, we didn't have instant access to the news like we do today. We had to wait for the 6:00 news, and even then, we didn't have every bit of information like we do now. Maybe we went along a little ignorant, but we were blissful because we only had our own lives to worry about.
  • We can't save the world, but we can pray for all the people who are suffering.
  • We need to realize that other people's trials are theirs, not ours. We didn't cause their suffering, so we can't let their suffering get us down when we watch or read the news.
  • We're all the result of our heredity and those things that happened in the past. We're not responsible for those things, either. All we can do is try our best to make our lives better [and better the lives of those around us].
  • People nowadays don't understand freedom. You don't understand what freedom really is until you're without it. I went into the Navy and suddenly I didn't have my full freedom anymore because I "belonged" to the government. People today need to understand how good they have it.
  • Our church does an amazing job of helping those in need. We are trying to do our part.
I wrote down a lot of my Grandpa Charles' thoughts today because his perspective is invaluable to me! 😊 He's seen so much in his 92 years on this earth! While he never went to college, Grandpa Charles is extremely intelligent. He's worked hard his entire life, and still maintains more than an acre of his five-acre property in beautiful Idaho all by himself! (The rest of his property is just weeds and rocks, so it doesn't need to be maintained.)

My grandpa is quite the writer, too—he wrote a book of poetry back-in-the-day(!), so I truly value his input when it comes to journalism/media and writing. Plus, Grandpa Charles never stops reading! As a child, I remember he was always reading something—Reader's Digest, other magazines, endless books, and scriptures—in his kitchen's corner-comfy-chair!

Grandpa Charles always has something interesting or funny to say. I can't adequately express how much I love the fact that Grandpa Charles positively contributes to every conversation without being intrusive or demeaning in any way. He basically makes everyone feel loved, valued, and like they are more than worth spending time with! My little family and extended family have been so blessed to have his example and influence in our lives!

Thus, today, it was quite the treat when (3/4 of the way into our conversation) Grandpa Charles said, "Speaking of journalism, you should write a book!" Shocked at his statement, I said, "Really?! What would I write about?!" He said, "I don't know, maybe your thoughts on life? You're just so positive and inspiring, you should write a book and influence other people!"

I about jumped through the phone and hugged my dear Grandpa Charles! He will honestly have no idea how much his words mean to me! I will never forget our happy conversation for as long as I live! 😁

I replied, "Well, Grandpa, I do write a blog—have you ever looked at it before?"—knowing full well that I've emailed him links to my blog posts more than a dozen times! And I included my blog's link in our Christmas newsletter this year! Ha ha. He said, "Nope, I've never seen your blog. I try to say away from that scary computer!" 😂

Could you "die" at how hilarious my Grandpa Charles is?! I explained why I blog, and what I hope to accomplish by doing so. He supportively agreed with my writing efforts and was so happy to hear I'm sharing my thoughts with the world! :) Yay! By the way, is "supportively" even a word? It sounds all right to me, but I couldn't really find a standard definition of it online...

After my delightful conversation with Grandpa Charles, I've decided that I'm going to print off one of my blog posts ("My Pioneer Sacrament Meeting Talk"—because it includes portions of our family history) and mail it to him! If he likes it, I'll print off and mail another post every-so-often for his reading enjoyment! I'm only slightly concerned that Grandpa Charles will be bothered by all of my typos/grammatical errors, but I'll survive because he's so awesome! 😇

The other huge bit of good news that I've been sailing on since December 19th is that Greg had a perfect colonoscopy! We'd both been more than worried because Greg's extended family has colon polyps in their genetics—on both his maternal and paternal lines. Not to mention, one of our family tragedies is that his mom, Anne, died from colon cancer at age 65. I was genuinely concerned that Greg would not only have multiple polyps, but that said polyps could be pre-cancerous, or even cancerous. I shudder to revisit my worries about Greg's colonoscopy!

So it was truly the best Christmas gift we could have received when Greg's procedure concluded without a flaw! His doctor gave us photos of Greg's colon and it was completely clear! In fact, Greg's colon looks better than anything I've ever seen online—and I've seen a lot of colons because I sadly researched colon cancer for five years while Anne was suffering from it. So when I say, "Greg literally has THE PERFECT COLON!" I really mean it! Ha ha.

It's become quite the joke when I greet Greg with, "How does it feel to be the man with the perfect colon?!" or "I hope my colon is as perfect as yours when I have my colonoscopy!" And sometimes I shout, "Greg has the perfect colon!" or I tickle him and say, "Ahh! Your colon is so perfect!" I could go on, but I'll spare you. 😉

The part of Greg's colonoscopy—and all that went with it—I won't ever forget is what happened right before we left for the hospital. I'd been praying for days about his procedure (there can be significant side effects), and wanted to sneak in one more prayer. After I finished my prayer, the Holy Ghost told me, "Greg will be completely fine. There will be no polyps. There will be no cancer. You have absolutely nothing to worry about."

In that moment, I was shocked at what had been revealed to me—but I believed it because I felt such utter peace and comfort accompanying my spiritual experience. I knew that my inspiration had come from the Holy Ghost because I had been nervous all week, and there's no way I could suddenly become completely peaceful all by myself—especially when I had been so worried for so long.

I found it interesting that the Spirit didn't say anything to me about the colonoscopy procedure itself—and the possibility of the doctor nicking his colon, as they describe in their warning literature. But logically speaking, if there aren't any polyps or cancer to be found in Greg's colon, there wouldn't be a need for any nipping/cutting in the first place! 😀 So it makes perfect sense that the Holy Ghost wouldn't say anything specific about Greg's procedure! Right?!

Having those wonderful, peaceful thoughts pop suddenly into my mind made me excited and happy because I knew they were not my own thoughts. Besides, if I had come up with thoughts about Greg's colonoscopy on my own, I would have thought for sure that he would have had polyps, or the early stages of diverticulitis—as his brother had trouble with that condition in the past.

The greatest part was being able to go with Greg to his colonoscopy without fear. I was calm and it was so easy(!) for me to wait for Greg to return from his procedure. I wasn't a nervous wreck and my waiting time passed very quickly! I give complete props to the Holy Ghost for preparing me in the perfect way—nothing could have calmed me down like He did! :)

Yes, I love the spiritual experiences I'm given by our Heavenly Father. The marvelous, heavenly gift of the Holy Ghost is one I've never taken for granted and will cherish forever! The Comforter truly is evidence of our Heavenly Father's and Savior's love for us. They want us to know we are not alone in our life journeys, and the Holy Ghost perfectly testifies of that glorious fact with His endless presence in our lives! And, as Moroni 10:5 states, "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." I 100% believe that scripture because my experience with Greg's colonoscopy was precisely that!

Here's a photo from my extended family's Christmas celebration—two days before Greg's colonoscopy. I wanted to document our happy Christmas in the event he received not-great news that next Monday. Thank goodness we're still smiling...because everything is awesome! 😀

Well, my time is up for today, I need to go be a productive mama again. But I've greatly enjoyed my blogging time and I can't wait to come back again soon! Happy New Year to you and yours! 🎉🎇🎊

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