It is very important to have the flowers planted at the graves on or before Memorial day.
This is one life lesson that I was taught by my father and grandmother.
When they were alive, we would go from cemetery to cemetery planting flowers on graves of relatives, some of whom none of us had ever met.
I should back up a little. First we would go from greenhouse to greenhouse finding exactly the right flowers. Certain relatives required certain flowers. My mother and my grandmother's sister required a pink geranium in the most delicate shade of pink. They also needed dusty miller. And some spikes. Some relatives required red or bright pink geraniums. Most of the relatives required white double petunias. Regular single, white petunias are pretty common. White double petunias are not. Sometimes after driving to many greenhouses, we might find them but they would be more than my grandmother was willing to pay. Sometimes at this point I was ready to beat myself to death with her cane. Eventually, we would find all the flowers in colors, layers and prices that would make my grandmother and all the dead relatives happy.
Then we did the driving from cemetery to cemetery. We would find the gravestone. Listen to stories of this relative and that relative. We would clean the stone, plant the flowers, water the flowers...there was a very specific sequence.
Honestly, I love planting the flowers for Memorial Day. It feels like a very concrete thing you can do for someone dead. What else can you do for them? There isn't much.
I even loved going with my grandmother. I didn't love the yucky BBQ chicken sandwiches from KFC we would get to eat after. Always the same sandwiches were ordered but never ever drinks because WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!
Today is Memorial Day and I haven't planted the flowers. In the years since my dad died, my sister and I have just planted flowers at his and my mom's grave. I don't know where any of those other graves are. I hope one of my other relatives is planting at them. But this year I didn't make it to Lansing to do the planting. My excuse is the same as always...I was busy. There was just not a day this last week or the week previous where I could get away for 3+ hours and do the planting. It is really bothering me that I didn't do it. It is bothering me so much that I am sitting her at 2:02AM, unable to sleep because I feel like I have been most ineffectual in my duty as grave planter.
Anna and I are going to try really hard to get to Lansing this week to plant. Even as I type these words, my schedule for the week is rolling through my head and I am worried about whether or not I can squeeze it in. For a moment I can see my grandmother with her cane and my father in his wheelchair and I feel like the world's biggest failure because I have two good legs and my excuse for not getting this done is a lack of time.
It is now 2:26 and I fear that I am entering a shame and guilt spiral. I'd better quit while I'm ahead. I am going to go to bed and wake up and have a nice Memorial Day and get to those plants when I can and not feel guilty about when they are planted. I am just going to be happy that they do.
I'm struggling with a tough decision. Spencer is having difficulty in his kindergarten. He is behind where he should be at the end of the year with reading. His teacher asked us about two months ago to start thinking about the possibility of holding him back and repeating kindergarten. His teacher said that socially he is right where he should be to enter 1st grade. She said that he doesn't struggle with math. It's just the reading that he lacks skills with. She said that he would be behind and possibly struggle through first grade. She said it might be hard for him to catch up.
Since meeting with her, I have thought about it a lot. I believe that he is socially right where he should be. I believe that when he started Kindergarten, he wasn't behind the other kids. I worry that it is something I did or didn't do with him. We read books together and do his homework, but we don't do workbooks or flashcards or anything like that.
If I do workbooks or flashcards with him over the summer, is that time enough to catch him up? I see progress already between when we met several months ago and today.
For some reason, my gut says I should send him on to first grade. But I am still very unsure--could go either way. Anyone have good experience with this? Any teachers out there have advice for me?
I've been absent for a bit. I've had some random thoughts and some random happenings.
Last night, Cameron fell off the front porch and gashed his chin open on our flower pot. It required a trip to the ER and five stitches. Cam slept almost the whole time and didn't even flinch when they did the stitching. He was very brave!
I got the flu over the weekend and was sick from Friday until Monday. Usually I can make it through my normal routine even when I'm sick. This time I couldn't. It was awful. Luckily, it was the weekend mostly and Chris and the kids were home to take care of me. I watched "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" over and over and over again. I am feeling better thankfully.
Our Bishop has suggested that each family in the ward plant a garden of some sort this year. We decided to follow his counsel and dig in. Last week, our family and Anna's family went out and purchased the plants. We decided on tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkins and zucchini. On Tuesday, Anna and I attempted to unsod a plot of land about 6ftX6ft. We tried with shovels and hoes first but it was frustrating work. We then borrowed a rototiller and put that to good use. My Visiting Teacher's ran right over to help too. Aren't they the best?? They are. We had four women and 7 children between us (4 more were in school) and the work seemed light. Maybe sister-wives isn't such a bad concept? We got the land unsodded and tilled to a nice brown soil. Anna and I purchased some topsoil and we are going to get some horse manure from another member of the ward with a farm for fertilizer. The plants will be planted on Memorial Day. Hooray for us!
I am still being plagued by the problem I wrote about on 5/5. I apologized for the display of my temper, however my apology is not being accepted. Another apology is being demanded from me. I am frustrated with the situation and ready to say "sayonara" to this person from my life. I do pray for patience and long-suffering.
I lost my temple recommend last month. I searched high and low and east and west. I knew that I put it somewhere safe because I always put it somewhere safe but I couldn't remember where the safe place was. I had a trip scheduled and still went but didn't go in the temple and watched other sister's babies in their cars while they did initiatories. The service was still satisfying, but I needed to find my recommend! Last week, I gave up and got reinterviewed and a replacement. This morning when I was preparing to go to the temple, I went to my ordinance card box to get some cards out and there in the front was my old recommend. It was a very safe place! I'm glad I found it and wasn't losing my mind. Tonight Chris and Emily went on a youth trip and were taking some very dear family names. Carol's cousin who died in her 20s and some special aunts and uncles of both Carol and me were among the stack of cards going tonight. I love temple work and the blessings it brings.
I have recently been reminded that the hand of God has been in my life before I was even here on this earth. He has been watching over me in ways I still probably am not aware of. Lately, I have been thankful for his guidance of my parents to leave their families and the land of their birth (Michigan) and immigrate to Ohio. It really made a very big difference in my life.
I dearly love finding old friends on Facebook. I find great joy in discovering people that I haven't spoken with in 3, 12, even 20 years.
And once again, I must sing the praises of the women in the Plymouth Ward. They are fun and faithful and true and kind. I am thankful for my associations with them.
Also, thank you to whomever sent me a dearly treasured bottle of Some Dude's Fry Sauce. I will love it to the last drop.
Yesterday, she attacked a baby bunny in our back yard. I was in the house and Spencer and Cameron were out playing in the sandbox. Spencer witnessed the attack and heard the bunny "cry." He chased Nala away and scooped up the tiny bunny and put her in the dump truck that he was playing with. He brought her in the house and called for me. It was very sad. She was bleeding from two wounds where Nala's sharp teeth got her. I could see her meat under her skin. I wrapped her in an old sock because I thought that I could wrap it tight to keep pressure on her wounds. Chris took us to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. I held her in the sock the whole way. She was awake and breathing. The nice people at the Humane Society took the bunny and assured us that they would do everything they could to save her and then return her to the wild.
LINDON, UT—The men of the Lindon Hills 43rd Ward are still exhausted from their rigorous Mother’s Day celebrations. “We try to go the extra mile in showing our wives and mothers how much they mean to us and how utterly unworthy we are to even be in their presence,” explained Bishop Bob Creeley. “It’s a day of cleansing the soul and of intense groveling for us men.”
The sacrament meeting program started out with a talk by Brother Hugh Castleton, the high priest group leader. “My mother tended a half-acre vegetable garden, raised ten children on $15,000 a year, made all our clothes by hand, memorized the entire Book of Mormon, and maintained a perfect size-six figure her entire life,” sobbed Brother Castleton. “She taught herself to play the piano after she went blind at age 34, just so she could say yes to the calling of Primary pianist. Using Braille and the Holy Spirit, she made us all pieced quilts for each of our birthdays. I’ll never forget watching her pray over her quilting frame, waiting for the Spirit to guide her needle to just the right spot.”
Brother Larry Schoendyke, 52, also presented a moving tribute to his mother. “My mother’s last words to me were, ‘Larry, everyone is a child of God and deserves to be trusted,’” he recalled. “Two hours later, she was shot and killed by criminals disguised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom she had invited in for cocoa and homemade cookies. But I’ll never forget that wonderful lesson she taught me about trust. What a saint.”
Brother Schoendyke’s talk was followed by a musical interlude. The Sackcloth-and-Ashes Quartet, made up of four male ward members, sang a song they wrote themselves called “I’m Just a Stupid Man But Please Allow Me to Worship at the Altar of Motherhood.”
The last man to speak on motherhood was Brother Rick Dalmonico, 23, a new father. “Sometimes when I come home and my wife is nursing our newborn, the spirit is so strong that I feel it would be irreverent to interrupt them,” he confessed. “So I just usually go in the other room and watch football. I wouldn’t want to interfere with something as sacred as precious motherhood.” He added, “Or sometimes I just stay out late with friends instead of coming home. So I won’t interfere with all that holy motherhood stuff. It truly is much more special than we men could ever understand.”
After sacrament meeting, the men of the ward adjourned to the foyer, where they covered their heads, donned black robes, and greeted the women on their knees. When the first woman appeared, they prostrated themselves on the ground and chanted “Miserere Mei” several times. Bishop Creeley then reconfirmed the holiness of women and the utter uselessness of men in his remarks: “We know we’re just men and therefore the only socially acceptable butt of jokes in the LDS culture,” said Bishop Creeley. “We are also aware that we are not entitled to the holy role of mother or even to loosen your sandal straps—we love your sandals, by the way, and you should buy as many more pairs as you want—but please do accept this small token of our worshipfulness, gratitude, and awe.”
The men then presented the mothers with large bouquets of black roses, tied with a ribbon that had the message WE’RE NOT WORTHY written on it in two-inch letters. Each message had been individually written in the men’s own blood the previous Sunday in their elders quorum and high priest groups. “I finally had to nick an artery to get enough blood, and I actually passed out twice,” said Brother Craig Davis, describing the ordeal. “But I know my small trial was nothing compared to the travails of laboring to bring a child into the world, which my sweet, dear wife has done twice now, without any pain medication.” He added, “She actually recited psalms instead of screaming. What a woman.”
Now that the men of the Lindon Hills 43rd ward have had their annual purge of unworthiness, “we can all get back to important man stuff,” admits Brother Schoendyke. He denies rumors that he told his friend that he can now ignore his wife in good conscience for another year.
I lost my temper tonight. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does...look out. I used to read Alma 7:23 every day. I think I need to keep doing it because it's not sinking in.
Granted, I was provoked. Granted, I held my tongue many, many, many, many times in the past. Granted, I was probably well within my rights to be upset.
However, I am embarrassed by how I acted. I am supposed to be a peacemaker. I am supposed to let him slap the other cheek. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Sometimes Blair and Edith's intolerance and outspokeness rear their ugly heads through my personality. Tonight was one of those nights. Oh, that I could turn back time...
There is a box in my mind. A brown cardboard box held together with pieces of tape that are falling off from being opened and shut so many times. I keep the box closed as much as I can but every once in a while late at night, I'll fiddle with a piece of the tape and one of the flaps comes open. Once part of it is open, I am powerless to contain everything that is inside. The pieces come bounding out and I chase them around in my head trying to get them back in.
What would my mother's email address be? I think gloriajean@_____.com What would she rather play: Apples to Apples or Scattergories? How would it be to go with her to watch Emily in the band? To hear her cheer for Christopher and Calvin at football? To talk with Spencer during his field trips? To play choo-choo's with Cameron? To cuddle Lizzie in her arms? What would she think of my house? How would she like our finished basement? What color would she suggest I paint my room? What would she give the kids for their birthdays? Christmas? What special traditions would she have for their baptisms, entering YW and YM? What would she think of our snacks on Thanksgiving? What would the birthday signs look like for her birthday? Would she prefer Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility? How many Facebook friends would she have? What would her calling be? Would she have gone back to school after Anna had grown? What would it feel like to sit next to her and have her arm around me and feel so safe and loved? Would she have gotten a pretzel or popcorn from Mr. Popcorn? What would she have been most proud of me for? Most disappointed? Would we sing and dance to Beatles songs with the kids? Would she like Wii and play tennis with Anna and I? What gadgets would she pick up at Ikea each time we visit? Would she wear Crocs? What would her cell phone ring tone be? Would she like American Idol? Survivor? The Mentalist? What would she think about me getting up today at 9:30 and then going to take a nap at noon? What would it be like to bury my face in her hair and tell her my deepest fears, secrets, hopes, dreams, disappointments?
My mind is exhausted from chasing these thoughts around my head. Finally, each one is caught and returned to the box which is taped up and kicked back to the bottom of my consciousness.
Stay hidden, box. Once opened, you leave me with a tear-stained pillow and a sleepless night.