Thursday, May 23, 2013
Grandma Heelis had many health challenges that kept her home, and not at all of the events that she would have liked to attend. The thing I loved about Grandma, is that even though she couldn't often physically go and help people, or be at their special occasions, she helped many, many people from home. Grandma sent us, and countless other people, notes for birthdays, and every possible occasion including holidays like St. Patrick's Day. She loved giving gifts, and she didn't need a special occasion to give them. I feel like we rarely left her home empty handed. We'd get a treat at the very least and maybe a book, or some other little thing she thought we would like.
When I had to stay in bed during my pregnancy with Trisa, Grandma would call and check on me. She did this even though, at the time, she was dealing with breast cancer and radiation treatments. The day Trisa was born, Grandma was at the hospital having a treatment. She and Grandpa stopped by my hospital room before they left. They had just come in when the nurse brought Trisa for me to see for the first time (about four hours after she was born). Trisa was their first great grandchild.
Grandma Heelis lived long enough to meet all of our children except Dan. They all loved Grandma and Grandpa Heelis, and Dan sometimes talks about them as if he can remember them too. We all liked to visit. We knew we would be welcomed with joy, and that they would stand on the porch and wave as we left. Grandma Heelis was a wonderful person. She often did not feel well, but she never used that as an excuse to do nothing, but continued to help many people, including me. Her calls, letters, and notes shared her faith, and her love, and let us know that we were important to her.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|Grandma C. and Trisa|
As senior citizens she and Grandpa decided to take a painting class. They knew they were not too old to learn new things. As a result, there were several paintings around the house that they had done. Grandma took Derek and me on a tour of the house and showed us which paintings were hers. I was impressed, and told her so. I also told her that I didn't think I could ever paint anything so well because my drawing skills are not good. She assured me that I could if I took a class. She was so certain sounding that if I ever decide I want to paint, and get up the nerve to try, it will be, in part, because she said that I could do it.
I really did not know Grandma long, but I was convinced that she really liked me, and that meant quite a lot to me. She must have known how to sew because I have a little sewing box that belonged to her. I like it because it reminds me of a lady who was old enough when I met her that hearing, seeing, remembering, and moving around had all become difficult, but who was still, inside, the very capable, loving, knowledgeable person that she had always been. She was frustrated with being old. She missed reading, singing, painting, and so many things that she had enjoyed, but she had faith that life continues after this one, that there is a resurrection, and that she would, one day, again be able to do all of the things that she loved.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
My Mamaw and Papaw did not have easy growing up years, and got married quite young. They both worked very hard and they did their best to teach their children what was right. When my Dad served a mission in Kentucky he baptized Mamaw, Papaw, and their three children, including my Mom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was not a popular church to join, and it took courage to do what they thought was right. They were the pioneers in their family, and I have been blessed because of them.
Mamaw and Papaw were generous, and liked to help others. They loved their children and grandchildren. I remember when they added a room to their house so that some of my cousins, who faced a hard situation, could stay with them. This was at a time when my grandparents were older, and it was harder to find energy for children, but they welcomed them into their home and took the best care of them they could. Mamaw and Papaw loved them, taught them, and worried over them.
One fun thing about Mamaw is that she just couldn't wait to open presents. My family sent her the 12 days of Christmas once, and my Mom reported that Mamaw sat right down and opened everything at once. I think my Mom is like her in many ways, including this one, and perhaps that's where I get the curiosity that makes me rattle, feel, and weigh in my hands every gift I am given trying to guess what's inside! I love my Mamaw. I wish you could hear her sweet southern accent calling you sugar, and could know her kindness, and her ability to be bold in doing what is right. I honor the sweet, smart, bold, kind, remarkable woman that is my one and only Mamaw.
*The top picture is my Mamaw and Papaw in May 1937 two months before their wedding.
**The second picture is my Mom, my sister Jenny, my niece Audrey, and Mamaw around 1995
Monday, May 20, 2013
|Grandma and Grandpa Fuller|
This week I want to post some of what I have learned from Grandmas -- both my own, and Derek's.
Grandma Fuller is the grandma I feel like I knew the best during my growing up years. When we went to Grandma's house, I remember running right to the pantry to see what she had made for us to snack on. I particularly loved her applesauce cake, but I remember liking her cookies too. She made delicious fruit leather, and I often went down to the storage room to raid her dried fruit. I always felt like Grandma was glad to have us at her house, and she was kind, though I do remember her being frustrated with me for being afraid of her vacuum when I was little!
For many years Grandma sent birthday cards to each of her grandchildren. I got my last one when she was almost 81. She lived until she was 93 and 1/2 and her family was important to her. She came through the temple with me when I went for the first time, was at my wedding, and even came to my little apartment when Derek and I were celebrating our graduation from college. She has many grandchildren and I think she went to as many of our important events as she could manage. I remember hearing at her funeral how important she had been to a cousin of mine. She had written him letters that were important to him. I think she was inspired to know when people needed her, and she supported her children, and grandchildren the best that she could.
My grandma had a lot of skills. She could cook, and bake. She was an excellent gardener, a seamstress, a teacher, and she served the Lord in many ways, including two missions. My Grandma was a very hard worker. I have a quote from her journal on my desk. It was written when she was 88. It says,
"Haven't been feeling very ambitious. I polished the bathrooms so they're clean. I cleaned the floors, vacuumed the rugs, mopped the halls so they're dusted, did a couple loads of wash, then I did some mending and fixed two dresses so they would be more comfortable and this morning I did some irrigating and pulled some weeds. All together I guess that isn't too bad."Somehow this quote never makes me feel discouraged. I just smile, and remember my wonderful, hard working Grandma, and her great example of love and service.
Grandma Fuller and Trisa, February 1991
Friday, May 17, 2013
When Derek was the Bishop, it was hard for me. I was thankful that he could have new opportunities to learn, and grow, and to help people, but I was a bit sad for me. I am jealous of Derek's time. I like it to be mostly spent with me! During those years I often thought of the wives of the apostles and Prophets, and I thought of Sister Monson specifically.
President Monson was a bishop at a very young age, and he spent hours and hours helping people. What did Sister Monson do? She took care of the children, and taught them well. She loved them, she loved her husband, and she supported him in his efforts. From the time he was Bishop until now, President Monson has had callings that have required immense amounts of time and energy. We have heard of the wonderful things he has done to help groups and individuals. But all along, there was his wife that I rarely heard a thing about, in the background, taking care of home and family, and supporting her husband so that he could go to the rescue of those around him.
When Derek was Bishop I learned to pray, not just for my priesthood leaders, but for their wives and families who are there in the background living lives of quiet service. So today I will send up one more prayer of thanks for a wonderful lady, Sister Frances Monson, who did so much good beside her husband, who I love and honor as a prophet of God.
**Picture from http://mormonsoprano.com
Thursday, May 16, 2013
|Yes, this says, "Those were the droids you were looking for." |
This is not one of my regrets, but I did think it was funny.
Regrets are normal since I am imperfect. But what is the best way to deal with them? I feel guilty multiple times for each mistake I make, and each imperfection that I have. I have beaten myself over the head with them, felt sorry about them, and cried about them. However, I have found that the most productive thing I can do with my mistakes and imperfections is to learn from them, and to move on.
Sometimes when I am down I dredge up all of the old regrets and start feeling bad about them again. It is times like this that I remember to chant in my head the words, "Don't look back, don't you ever look back!" This only works if I know that I have done what I can to undo any harm I might have caused. It is okay to apologize to our children (or others) when we goof. It is good for them to know that we are learning too, and that we recognize that sometimes we fall short. It is okay for them to learn that we have regrets, and to see that something we regret can cause us to learn, and to do better next time.
**Picture from Google Images
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
|Shannon (right) and her girls Megan (middle) and Chelsea|
There is a quote by Marjorie Hinckley that I have heard a lot. She said, “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” The first time I heard this, my first thought was, "Wow, Sister Hinckley is quoting Shannon!" I had heard this idea first from my friend.
This past General Conference one of the things I felt impressed to work on was on choosing to be happy more often. Now, I make myself sound kind of weepy and unhappy, and I do not think I am really like that the majority of the time, but that does not mean that I can't choose happiness more often! I have worked on this for years, and I can look back and see improvements. I have come to understand myself better, and in realizing that I am often crying just out of exhaustion, I can find it in me to laugh instead. There is so much in life to be happy about, and so much help available for hard days. I hope to find myself, when telling a friend about a frustrating situation I faced, saying, "I had to laugh!"