Thursday, June 11, 2015

In Honor Of Our Soldiers

I wish I could write this BESIDE the picture, but I don't know how to get it there!

Most of you younger kids won't have any idea what this is, maybe even some of my children.  It's a great memory in my life from World War II.

This is called a Mother's least that's the name I knew.  I understand it began in WWI.  Of course, I knew about them from WWII.  When a young man was sent to war,  his family was given a flag like this to hang in their windows, showing that their loved one was fighting for our freedom.  If the soldier happened to not make it back home, they were given a black star to sew over the blue one, or sometimes, they were given a new flag.  They were beautiful!    I felt such love and gratitude for this honor to show in my Grandmother's window for the time and sacrifice my Uncle David Rintoul was giving in the Army Air Force!  (There was no separate Air Force then)

I guess they are still used sometimes, but as a whole, we just don't honor our soldiers quite as extensively as we did then.  That flag brought the only tear I ever saw my Grandmother shed!

I have spent a long time today looking for my Uncle David's picture in his uniform, but I can't find it just now.  He was my favorite Uncle on my Mom's side.

Thank you, Gpa/Dad and our Johnny, Uncle Glenn, Uncle Jeff, Uncle Fred and you grandchildren who have been or are now serving, for your service for the greatest Country in the world!  A 'flag' will always fly in my heart in gratitude.

Love, Mom/Gma

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Cycle of Caring

As I contemplated the stages of Brother Hammond's life, my life...everyone’s lives, I wrote the following.  It is a strange but cemented cycle, even though the emotions and behavior are not the same for everyone:

First you are born, and others are wholly responsible for your well being.  The world centers around you!  And you have absolutely no idea of the love and sacrifice which is offered to you!

Soon you are a teenager and you want to do everything your way, because after all, most of us KNOW what the best way is by that time!

Then you fall in love, get married and begin the process and progress (hopefully) of taking care of your relationship to your mate, growing together. This is an important and sometimes slow, difficult part of your journey – but can be SO worth it! 
Now you have children.  Or you do not find a mate and you don’t get married.  Either way, you are very close now to the part of the cycle where you care for one or more others that need your help.  Your children, or perhaps your parents.  Maybe your grandparents or an Aunt or Uncle, a friend or a neighbor.  You want to be of assistance in the needs of all those you know and love.

As the children become adults, you do all you can to aid them in their quests and lessons and trials. You are healthy and have the energy and now to serve.  Then your children or those you care for become the center of the world for you.  The future, as pertaining to these you care for, somehow misses your focus.  Their well being and health is front and center.

But no matter how you have seen this happen many, many times before, you do not expect to continue your life without your parents or others who cared for you earlier in your life.  When they leave this earth, there is a great time of adjustment.  Many times we feel that our very foundation surely must be crumbling!
You are suddenly a step further along in the cycle. YOU are the one now in the final step of this probation!

There comes a time when you become the care-given.   And THIS is the real adjustment!  In your mind and heart, this most likely had not yet found place!   Quickly it becomes very real that your graduation to the final earthly step will be soon.  You will have many of your own caregivers during this stage of your progression, and it will be sweet and painful.  Painful, partly because you are now fully aware of the love and sacrifice you are receiving.

There is no going back; what you have done or wanted to do for others has flown.  And that is as it should be.  It is time.

I longingly pray and hope for each of our loved ones to face that time with joy and anticipation, having learned that this is only a new step in what shall surely be many more steps in this beautiful cycle called Life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Harvest Fun!

Black Harvest Farms
October 27, 2011

Grandma & Grandpa took us to Black Island Farms in Syracuse last Thursday…it was SO much FUN! We went right after school, so the sun was still shining…but BOY, was it COLD! There was a huge field area with great big slides supported by hay bales, some awesome, creatively shaped swings made out of old tires, a corn-launching game and of course, the maze. It was a-MAZE-ing! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

I’ll bet you can guess where we headed first. You got it! The SLIDES! The very tallest one wasn’t open yet, so we went for the tallest hay slide. Even Grandpa got in on the fun! It wasn’t so easy climbing to the top, as the bales of hay were steep and slippery. Thankfully, a sparsely woven net of heavy rope was firmly-staked over the “stairs,” or we may have NEVER gotten Mommy up there!

Then, the BIGGUN’ opened up for business…and it was a BUMPY ride!  It was made out of some type of ribbed sewage piping or another, and it was FAST!  Grandpa discovered that if you sat on an old potato sack, you could REALLY fly!  He went SO fast that Mom even missed the shot with her camera as he zipped past her area of aim before her finger could hit the button!  (We all thought he should go again, just for the picture…but for some reason, he actually CHOSE not to!  Imagine that!)  After that, we ALL used those bags, & Mom abandoned all care of what others thought as she jumped up and laid across a big bale so she could stretch her camera out to catch our faces just as we exited the darkness of the slide.

After we were pooped from the slippery sewage pipe, we headed toward the maze…stopping to play a silly game on the way. 

The spinning wheel stopped on a phrase that ordered you to do something silly, smile as you walk around with your hands on your knees…and off we went, with Grandpa being the most dramatically obedient to the command.  J  (Boy…wish we had a picture of THAT!  He’s a hoot!  There’s NO way any other kid had a Grandpa that fun exploring with them…we are so lucky!)

Grandma decided not to venture into the maze, so we found her a place to sit in the sun, shielded from the icy wind by the little popcorn shack. Then, off we went to find the entrance to the corn maze. But Grandpa turned back after a few steps, to KISS Grandma goodbye. They’re so mushy! (How can a relationship be firm as a rock, and mushy-squishy at the same time?)

By the time Grandpa, Gabe & Mom got to the entrance, the rest of us were 15 feet ahead of them…but they couldn’t SEE us and didn’t know which of the three paths we had taken. So, they took the middle one. Maybe they figured that was the only way to be sure they were close, anyway. I guess Gabe will have to tell you about their amazing journey…cuz all the rest of us know, is that we didn’t see them again for a lllooonnng time, well after we were out playing on the slides again…

Okay, so Grandpa and Mom went with me into the middle trail. The ground was packed so hard it was almost like concrete, without a dip-free foot in sight! The first thing Mom noticed, after being glad they hadn’t brought Grandma onto the rough path, was that nearly ALL of the corn was still on the tall stalks…but too old to be eaten. She was so upset at the wastefulness of so much perfectly-grown corn having not been harvested in time to eat! But, Grandpa soothed her with the hope that it was still going to be used to feed cattle.
We each had a little map in hand, but Mom quickly decided that would be cheating…and stuffed hers into her pocket so we could get good and lost.  Well, I’m here to tell ya, THAT didn’t take long! We thought it all started to look the same after a while…and eventually, we realized that’s because it WAS. Once we found out we had gone in a few circles, Grandpa spent most of the time looking down at that map, then up to the sun and back down again…but all seemed hopeless. Mom began feeling thankful for the wind-shield of the tall corn stalks, and Grandpa was probably glad he had kissed Grandma good-bye!

Me? I didn’t care. There was dirt, family, and corn cobs I could secretly launch up into the blue & orange sky by picking up a broken stalk and swinging it into the air, watching the cobs pop off in an unplanned direction. That was all the fun I needed, until Mom caught sight of me right before hearing someone in a nearby path say, “Ouch!” Mom’s eyes flew open WIDE…and I thought about running, but was saved by an explosion of laughter streaming through the cold air, from the same direction my corn-missile had landed. Grandpa pretty much held my hand after that. 

         Mom finally decided she would have to use her map. She pulled it out and looked for a sort of shape they might recognize.      There was a heart-shaped opening in the map, so when we accidentally stumbled into a little clearing, which was the heart, Grandpa and Mom were finally able to find our way OUT.

Once Mom, Grandpa and Gabe joined us again, Mom rounded up all of our reluctant selves for a group picture in front of a wall of stalks.  We asked a 9 or 10 year old to take it so we could all be in the photo.  There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a wonderland, posing repeatedly with the cold wind in our faces, just so Mom can get the “perfect shot.”  But, eventually, the shoot was over and we all wandered off again.

Grandpa & Mom figured out that the corn is used to feed cattle through the winter. Then Grandpa told a story about a guy he had flown with a few times, who had spent some time in a “hole” for many months back during a war and the only thing they gave him to eat, was corn stalks! Not the corn…just the super-tough stalks! He still has intestinal issues from the damage that did! Then they got to thinking about how good the food must have tasted to the Prodigal Son when he returned home after eating only husks that the swine were fed.

It was suddenly getting too cold to endure the outdoors any longer…and we had worked up quite an appetite. The adults decided it was time to head out, but Mom hurriedly grabbed a few of us to go across the open field to get a few pictures on the nifty swings, as well as one of the mountains to the East.

Mom got Paytie to pose for one final photo by the entrance. It was amazing that she got her to smile, because she did not want the fun to be over, or to part from Grammy & Grampy! She was the only one that never got cold. But as you can see, Mom pretty much had her dressed & layered like an Eskimo…so that was no surprise.
We said our goodbyes to Grandpa and Grandma, thanking them for a “sick” time, and yet another fun, lifetime memory…then headed home, chatting lively about our great adventures at Black Island Farms.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mr. Seth

I met a new friend on our trip to Ohio. His name was Seth. He is the first green-colored Seth I've ever known! He is Seth, the bamboo plant pet.

Rachael brought him with her to Ohio because she felt that Katie would love him as much as she (Rache) does. However, I guess Katie was in no frame of mind to pay any attention to a stranger. BUT, he had a wonderful ride from Utah to Ohio!
Seth lives in a glass house filled with rocks and dirt! (The lack of dirt was the first attraction for me.) I looked at him (and at his Rachael) with more than a little dubious-ness when I would catch her talking to him in the back seat.

I have talked to plants before, and I absolutely know that they react to that, but I thought it was just the warm air from my breath that inspired them to continue to grow beautiful leaves! I have failed to talk to them with such passion, though, and I guess that was the reason I did not previously experience the communication that was revealed to me during our trip!

The second day out, Rachael went to sleep on the seat, thereby denying Seth any ability to observe the outside world. His new station became the floor of the back seat....not a happy place. I looked at him, and he was CRYING! Well, at least he must have been crying because his leaves were wrinkled from what I assumed to be the dampness from wiping the tears. I immediately took him up with Gpa (Dad) and I, setting him in the drink holder between us, where he could feel the sun and witness the beautiful tree tops beside the road.

The only words I spoke to him were, "There, that's better." But they must have been very much appreciated, because without further communication, it only took about 10 minutes for his leaves to smooth out, brighten up and he honestly seemed to be smiling!! The really amazing thing was that he was reaching those uplifted leaves toward his hero.............ME! It was evident that he was reaching for me, but still, I thought, it COULD just be my imagination, couldn't it? So, I turned him 180 degrees to check it out.

Ten more minutes passed before I checked on him again. Once again, he was definitely reaching toward ME! It was incredible!

Later, when Seth was back in his rightful position with Rachael, she also turned him around a few times, and every single time, he would end up reaching for her in a few minutes! So I am now a true believer!

The second motel-stay night, I am not sure what happened, but I think he was in too dark a place. Yes, I realize that other bamboo people grow in dim and damp surroundings, but Seth is not a conformer. He either didn't like the dim light, or else he was too cold, because the next morning when we realized his discomfort by his drooping arms (some people call them leaves all the time), we placed him in the window to bask in the sunshine while we hurried and got ready for the day. We didn't notice how long it took before his arms were stretched up and outward in a joyous and graceful, grateful form! But when we did notice, there was absolutely no doubt....he was happily shouting "Good Morning!" in his bamboo language!

I was supposed to bring him home with us, but I forgot. He may never speak to me again.
                                                     -- G'ma

 Rachael's Point of View: "I sleepily start to awaken from my nap in the back seat of my parents car on the long drive to Cincinnati. Stirring, I slowly remember where and why I am and soon I remember Seth my bamboo plant, but I realize he's GONZO! So I sit up and see THIS VERY SIGHT:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Memory from Buddy

When I was 16 or so, I was riding with Gma and Gpa Whicker in their old-people car in downtown Salt Lake. In fact, we were just headed down Capitol Hill. Some argument had arisen between the two of them, and it got just about as tense as I had ever felt it between them, which isn't very tense at all. But it was definitely contentious! And the subject matter was quite silly, too. I remember thinking, "Wow, why are you arguing about this again?" But at the same time I was formulating my own position in my head. Anyway, there was then a moment of heavy silence that could have been hewn with a butter knife, and it was Gpa's turn to rebut. I can't remember the subject, but for the moment we'll assume it was directions. I'll never forget what he said:

"Well, you always did know your way around better than me." He smiled at her, and then looked back at me and winked as quick as lightning.

Feelings of jest and love came swiftly to diffuse the tension, and I stood all amazed. Actually, I was sitting at the time. Since then I've tried to do what he did just as quickly and effectively, but I have not yet succeeded. But I'll never forget it! And someday I hope to achieve the same!

And one last thought--having heard a bit about Gpa's temper in days of yore, I ask this: Is such change possible without the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I say unto you, NAY!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer... about over, and I have not written any emails to speak of to any of you, so here's a quick synopsis.

Most of you know that Dad/Gpa and I went to Ohio to be with Glenn, Pam and Katie for a couple of weeks during the last of July and half of August. Rachael went with us, leaving her personal activities and time with Brooks and her boys and girl (4 boys, 1 girl!!) for exactly a month, hoping to be of as much help as possible to Pam and Katie while Glenn had to be back in St. George. That was a great and loving sacrifice, and yet she kept telling Dad/Gpa and I over and over how grateful she was that we gave her that opportunity! Thanks much, Rache.

Katie has been brave and in my opinion, VERY tolerant with a lot of pain and inconvenience and endurance. I believe that this was possible because of her own faith and the faith and support of her parents and sisters, brothers and nieces and nephews, as well as the extended families of Stones and Whickers, and her friends. It has been a long, painful and yet sometimes very boring time for her! There was never a moment (except during the actual surgeries) when Rachael or one or both of her parents were not with her, except at the very last when she felt stable enough to wander some in the Ronald McDonald House by herself. She is truly a blessed and loved young lady!

We stayed in a "hotel" that was actually an old fact, still operating as a medical clinic and light surgery hospital every day. They made the 3rd floor into rooms for families to stay in while they were supporting loved ones in the Children's Hospital. It is less than a block away (as the sparrow flies) from the hospital. We were quite pleased when we checked out and found out that because they gave us a weekly rate, we only ended up paying $33.33 a day! The accommodations weren't perfect, but considering the absolutely horrible road placements in a very UNplanned city............I was so grateful that we didn't have to navigate to a regular motel every night and back again the next day! We had to buy a GPS there just to hope to get from one place to another, as even landmarks seemed to change locations! (Ry's note: it was SO cold at night in that hotel...that Rache took the following photo of our Daddy sleepng in Mom's hoodie. :))

We had a good time seeing some new things, such as the Cincinnati Museum and the Zoo. The tickets for all of the things that any of us attended were donated by different organizations, to the Ronald McDonald House, for whoever wanted to use them! I couldn't walk around those big places, so Dad had to push me in a wheelchair, and that made the Zoo quite miserable for me, even though I enjoyed the things we saw. It just wasn't good for Dad to have to do that, because that Zoo is very, very hilly. Had I known that, I would have stayed home and let the rest of them go! He was pretty worn out that night and the next day. Pam pushed Katie, too, as she wasn't strong enough yet, and it was hard for her, too, but of course, she didn't have nearly as much weight to manage. I will check the terrain before I do anything like that again!

My favorite thing was the Wright Brothers' Museum and field. They had a display of the history of parachutes there which was fascinating, too. Those two little boys (Wright Brothers) had NO idea what part they were playing in history! In fact at one time they declared that this flying business would never work, or something to that effect! I was especially impressed with a quote from one of the boys that was on a large display in the museum. It said, (paraphrased) "The secret for success is to be born to good parents and grow up in Ohio." Not a profound statement, but such a humble and sincere and grateful one!

Katie, Rachael and Pam also got to attend a Cincinnati Reds game after Dad and I left, and I think Katie's very favorite thing was probably the tennis matches that they witnessed on the following Saturday. They all got too much sun that day, but for Katie, at least, it was worth it!

Rachael worked for hours and hours on a special necklace she wanted to finish for Katie during the month. I don't know if she got it done or not, but it was quite beautiful, even unfinished! That takes so much time and focus and coordinated hand work! Not my kind of thing to DO, but I sure do love to see the finished products! Rachael also gave Katie a piece of amethyst that she broke off from a larger piece that she has at home. She (Rache) has studied a lot about the healing and encouraging properties of different stones and rocks...she'll have to explain about the amethyst.

When we went to church with them, we met a Dr. who specializes in the research of DNA and cells, I believe it is, and he had taken a sample of Katie's blood and sent it off for research on Treacher Collins. I hope we get to hear about any findings they gather on that project. He is very interested in Katie''s case.

Well it is now Monday Morning, and we have heard that the Glenn Whickers and the Rachael Gibbs got home safely, which was wonderful news! Yesterday evening, we went to the Waltons for a little celebration for Nathan's birthday and got to have a nice visit with them, which is rather rare even though they live 3 miles away! Then later, Jeff and Lynda and Taz paid us a visit, which is also rare! What on earth has happened to the front-porch-rocker visiting? Time seems to be our problem, and time is such a sneaky thing!

Love you all,


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our Mission: Mobile Mouse Maternity

by Rea C. Whicker
(A true story, from our Cove Fort mission days!)
This is how it works, at least from the viewpoint of Molly Mouse: True story.
First, you find a very nice, clean automobile. One that has an owner who cleans EVEN THE ENGINE when he washes his car. This owner has just recently done that very thing, and the engine is almost clean enough to use for a picnic table! Actually, it IS clean enough -- just has a few too many bumps to be practical.
Secondly, you search for a space approximately 6 inches long and 3 or 4 inches wide, that is completely safe, warm but not too hot, tight but still has enough airflow for your new little family to survive. Aha! There it is -- a small, comfortable compartment just under the air flow ducts that allow air into the people part of this automobile. The weather is still cool a lot of the time, so there surely won't be TOO much cold air flowing there for TOO many minutes at a time. PERFECT!
Now, we have the building lot. Let's see, what materials shall we use for the house itself? We'll need at least 200 small sticks, from one to three inches in length, to give it stability. Whew! That took awhile. We need to hurry, because the mommy is getting close to her due date! Oh, look, there's something soft on the underneath side of the top of this big engine's roof! I wonder if I could get my teeth into that? Hmmmmmmmm...
Voila! It is just right! We'll only need to tear the covering off of about 24 square inches or so, and dig into the soft stuff underneath! Wow, it is WARM and SOFT and CUDDLY! Easier to get down through the vent holes than the sticks were....
Weaving, pulling, pushing, weaving................there, finished! Now, I need to rest before this little one comes.
What's that noise? OH, NO, the engine is starting! I wonder if we really will be safe? This is really scary!
The wind is blowing through here, but it isn't cold yet, thank goodness. Hey, watch those bumps! I'm a bit big to be bounced around right now!
Wow, that was a short ride. I think they got out. Maybe I can have some peace now.
(6 1/2 hours later) Ah-h-h-h, that was a great nap! It's a good thing, I think the little ones are coming!
The engine again??? Why can't they leave a girl alone in her hour of travail? OK, hang on, maybe this will be a short ride like the last one.
It was! These people sure do move a little distance at a time! You'd think they'd just let me be and WALK if it's going to be that short distance!
Oh, sweetie, you are such a little doll! Just look at that beautiful grey hair and cute tail! I'll be glad when you open your eyes and look at me! I can't wait 'til your Grandma sees you! We'll just stay in our cozy little home until you get a little stronger and I feel a bit more rested.
My, you are hungry so much of the time! You eat every few minutes it seems. You gonna be a beeg stronga boy? I bet you are!
Oh, oh........what's that funny noise. It's not the engine. Oh, my, they opened the roof! The sun is SO bright it hurts my eyes. Hey, put it back down! There's a baby eating here and I want him to go to sleep so I can catch a nap. What are you doin'?
He's pulling some big long thing away from the glass above me. Then he drops it back onto the glass! SO NOISY. I can see him now. He sure is funny looking. He has a little bit of hair, but it isn't pretty grey like mine and the baby's. He has something shiny on top of his head......oh, maybe that's the sunshine reflecting! Hope he doesn't see me down here. I'm keeping an eye on him.
Ugh! I think he's looking at me! I'll hold really still.....maybe he won't see me here.
Ohmigosh! He's taking my roof with the holes in it away..........what will I do? Hey, babe, wake up, we may have to make a quick getaway here.......Mortimer, did you hear me? We may need to RUN! ARE YOU DEAF, KID?
Well, I looked straight into his eyes, and now he's reaching down in here, so here we go! Hang on, kiddo! We gotta find our way outa here! 
The next chapter shall never be known by human beans. The little mommy, with her babe hanging on to his feeding tube for all he was worth, found their way out of the car and off across the field, with Grandpa looking on in complete surprise.

Well, the above story is the prologue of my visit to the Dr., which is explained in the rest of this letter.  We very well could have been exposed to the Hanta Virus through that little experience, so we are checking it out.  I've been pretty much in pain for a couple of weeks, with the exception of one or two days.  The little mouse nest was right in the air conditioning vent, so when we turned the AC on, we got the airborne dust from the urine and feces of the mice right in our faces.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Gma & Gpa's Home Sweet Home

Father's Day Poem from Benj

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Daddy Flying over House

June 7, 2011
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