Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving was wonderful thanks to everybody's contribution. Thanks go

especially to Sara who outdid herself with creative planning and preparation. I am sure she was exhausted afterward if not before but we all had a good time. She started with a beautiful home-made invitation that included everyone's food assignment. All in our family were attending. Ben's family even came from California. Jay barbecued a turkey which turned out well. I have had regular turkey, deep-fat fried turkey, and smoked turkey but this was a first for me.

The cousin's enjoyed one another and Sara even had activities planned for them. One of the activities was horse riding. Sara had made arrangements to see the horses with Paul, Ralph's brother. Ben also took the kids on tractor rides.
Sara also made arrangements for family pictures on Friday at Gardiner Village, a re-created pioneer village. Each of the restored houses is a shop of some kind. After pictures, people could visit the shops. The candy shop was a big hit with grandkids (and Grandma and Grandpa).
Since we are home now, it is fun to remember all the good memories. I think all the cousins have good memories too. Thank you Sara for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The "grandma" stage came before I expected it and I'll admit I went into it "kicking and screaming" mentally. What a pleasant surprise! I love being a grandma and as most grandmas believe, I have the best grandchildren ever! Let me tell you about my 13 grandchildren. They have been my strength through MS and this stage of life. Unlike adults, they ask questions. satisfy their curosity and set about to help in whatever way they can. Some of my grandchildren are my best friends.
Jessica is my oldest grandchild so we have the longest relationship. She is 11 and just entering her teen-age years beautifully. Who knows what the next few years will bring. I don't know but through experience I know that teen-agers kind of depart from the human race. I also know that they gradually come back. Our teen-agers turned into adults that I really like. I also know that parents become the enemy for awhile, (Ben,our oldest child, was sure we wouldn't be happy unless he became an engineer. Where he got that, I don't know.)while teen-agers are trying to figure things out. I hope that Jessica will always know that her grandparents are her friends and she can count on them.
Emily (the third Emily in the family) came into this world at 28 weeks. Despite all the worries and accomodations of a premature baby, her mother has been vigilant in taking care of her needs and Emily is now a successful third grader. I loved playing "Magic Carpet" with her and sharing her wonderful imagination.
Ashton is a third grader too and shares a love of poetry with me. When I cry (which is an embarrassing aspect of MS,) she gets me a kleenex and we go on with what we were doing like nothing is wrong. I appreciate this compassionate and practical approach to the problem.
Anna is a beautiful girl. She has a flair for fashion and carries it off beautifully. When I went to visit their new home in California, she wore a scarf around her neck for the occasion and looked beautiful.
Jack is an enthusiasic boy and is always pushing the edge to see what he can do. He is intelligent and always tries to figure things out, When I went to stay at his house, he patiently explained to me the difference between an airplane and a helicopter.
Reese loves fish. He wrote me a letter that confirmed, "Yes, grandma you are correct. A whale is a mammal, not a fish."
Alayna is a happy, thoughtful person. I stayed at her house while Grandpa took a trip to Guatemala. In her blessing on the food, she blessed grandpa in Jottemala. I knew what she meant and knew that grandpa would come home safely from the country with the highest murder rate in the world. She also helped me button my blouse one morning when I was having trouble.
The twins, Bella and Maya, are happy, enthusiastic, little girls. I still can't always tell them apart but I heard them bless me in their sincere prayers when I visited them in California.
Sam sits or lays beside me and we read books together. We have read books about birds, about flowers, and about Indians. Someday he might be too old to read books together but for now, I enjoy the snuggles and the sharing.
Kennedy is showing more of her personality as she gets older and goes to preschool. She wants to be helpful. Recently she said, "Don't worry Grandma. When you grow up, your legs will work."
Jacob is only one but his big smiles show what he is feeling inside.
Jeffrey is our newest and youngest grandson,still a baby. I am looking forward to discovering his personality as he grows.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pet Peeve

Recently there has been a big flap in our city about some students on a bus that started chanting, " Kill Obama!". I think it has even made national news. This has brought back many memories of another time when gossip and talk became a national media event. I prefer to stay away from it and ignore the details.
I have read that if one can control the tongue, one can control the whole body. I am not perfect and probably my kids have done or said some things I'd rather not know about but at least I think they know what is right.
Here is my pet peeve. Most people have been taught that swearing and bad language is inappropriate. Sometimes they substitute another word that sounds like a swear word even if it has only one similar letter. To me, the intent of swearing is the same.
As I have said, I am not perfect and sometimes I am not even aware that I have offended someone. I find it best, especially when relationships are strained, to stick to "yes", "no", and "thank-you".

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I had several impressions when I first realized I was sick while we were still living in Finland. One of them was that I should be grateful for my blessings. I have so many wonderful blessings, this is not hard. My biggest and most loved blessing is my family, both immediate and extended.
The most immediate I see every day - my faithful husband, Ralph. When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I knew there would be some hard times coming so I told Ralph he could leave if he wanted to. He is still here and continues to be a source of real help. Sometimes when the changes become too much for him he spends time in the garage or backyard shop. He always comes home after being at work or away.
There are many things he does on a daily basis like cook meals. He has learned a lot, asks questions to become more expert and does all the shopping. He maintains our household and has built a cabin in the mountains that I love which accomodates all my special needs. We go there on just about a weekly basis. He always makes sure we have a movie to watch while we are there. It is kind of like our date.
I have a plaque on my wall that says: "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain". I am grateful Ralph is still dancing in the rain with me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday

We spent this weekend at the cabin in Island Park so Ralph could make shutters for the outside of the windows. The snow gets so deep there in the winter it is higher than the windows and he is afraid the windows will break. He ran into one problem after another so ended up nailing boards up like he did last year.

Sunday we went to church in West Yellowstone, MT but no one was there. We figured out that it must be Stake Conference in Ashton. By then it was too late to drive the 60 or more miles to St. Anthony. About that time Ralph said, "Aren't you going to wish me Happy Birthday?" I was mortified. True to form, I had not realized that Sunday was the 16th. I knew his birthday was coming up and even had a birthday present for him in Rexburg. I got the dates mixed up for Sara's birthday once and I have never forgotten it.

Anyway, we decided to take a Sunday drive to Virginia City, MT, a favorite childhood memory of Ralph's. When we got home to Rexburg. that night, we had Birthday brownies and I played Happy Birthday for him on my Happy Birthday music box. We both agreed that at our age, it's O.K. if someone forgets that we are one year older.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grandpa Kern

This weekend Ralph went to the funeral of his father, Reese Kern. I stayed home because I wanted Ralph to be able to grieve and enjoy his family without being consumed with worrying about my needs. Besides I had just seen Grandma and Grandpa the week before when they stayed with us during and after Grandpa's stay in the hospital in Rexburg.
Still I feel I should pay tribute to him some way so I am writing this. Most of what I know about Grandpa Kern are the good memories we made with our family. Many were at the cabin in Island Park where we spent summers while Ralph helped his parents (Grandpa Kern readily admits he is a "chainsaw carpentar") remodel their cabin. We made many lasting memories in a beautiful setting. Once Ralph and I had to get away due to misunderstandings in the newspaper, on TV, and in the community. It was a nightmare that only happened when we were awake. Grandpa made his cabin available to us and we were able able to gather our strength in a quiet place where few people knew about us.
Later Grandpa Kern allowed us to build our own cabin adjoining his garage. Now we can go to Island Park, renew our energy and have many wonderful memories of Grandpa Kern
In later years, he always took our grandchildren to see his horses in Island Park and let them have a ride. I am glad I have pictures of this.
Once when our son, Ben was visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Colorado while he was on a business trip, Grandpa explained to him why he loved Grandma Kern. I watched her meet and deal with this reality that Grandpa was going to go first with courage while they were staying with us last week. Now we will take care of grandma.