Monday, May 23, 2011

Suzanne Marie Brown Gardiner (full history)

The Life and Thoughts of
Suzanne Marie Brown Gardiner
C 2008 by Kent Gardiner.
Prologue


Suzanne never took time to write her own story. Fortunately she was an avid writer on a variety of subjects, usually having to do with growing up, marriage and family. For this reason I have decided to let her tell her own story. All the writing herein is hers unless otherwise indicated in italics. Additions or corrections are welcome. Please email to: kgardin@ucla.edu


No part of this document may be copied or reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of Kent Gardiner This text is only for the immediate family of Suzanne and Kent Gardiner. I retain all rights to this work. These pages are for the private use of the Kent Gardiner Family. This work, in part or as a whole, may not be duplicated, disseminated or posted on the Internet without my written permission. It is expected that this work will be treated with respect and the privacy that it deserves. We are very privileged to have it. All rights to the pictures contained herein belong to Kent Gardiner. Kent H. Gardiner, kgardin@ucla.edu


Dedication


This essay is dedicated to each of her six children, who she cherishes with all her heart.

1955 - I was born on February 2, 1955 in the San Gabriel Hospital, San Gabriel, California. I joined Johanna as the second in a family of what would eventually be six children.

Elmcrest House

The children have many fond memories of the brick-colored little Elmcrest house: water-painting the playhouse; climbing the crab apple tree; tricycling around the hedges in the front yard; watching “Wagon Train” with “Wilsie” or Mrs. Wilson, their favorite baby sitter; the bandy chickens and the ‘possum in the woodpile; playing superman on the swing set; walking to Frank M. Wright Elementary School; eating pomegranates from the tree in the back yard; making snap dragons “talk”; tamales at Christmas from their next door neighbors, Mac and Bee; cute “Georgie”, Jimmie, and Jarvis Justus, the neighbors with the pool on the other side (where Suzie almost drowned one time). But they desperately needed a larger home. Jim wanted one with a view, and Marjorie wanted a large area for the children to play.

Jim Brown: Suzanne Marie, or Suzy, is sweet and sunny with a lovely smile. She is sensitive to her surroundings, concerned with others, and an easy child to take care of. I always think of her as being older than she is. Here again, she’s just perfect for a second child. Suzy wrote to President McKay to ask what she could do to help a little baby she saw with congenital defects. Pres. McKay was ill at the time, and one of his secretaries answered her letter. Knowing our Suzy, I didn’t worry about what she would write. Suzanne will be a beautiful woman.

My Mother Marjorie

She is not only beautiful, but she loves beauty wherever it can be found. Nearly everything she touched became lovelier: our home, its furnishings, evens to a vase of flowers on the kitchen table. There were always fresh flowers in our house, at least in my memory there are. If there were none from our garden there were some my father brought to her. She was always trying to expose us to all that was good and beautiful. She frequently picked out things of interest around us and helped us to evaluate and learn from them. We made many family excursions to museums, parks, historical sites, and other places of cultural and educational value. She encouraged us in our music lessons, hobbies and studies. Our home was a learning center; she had gathered an extensive file on many current topics as well as many good books, noteworthy library with some of the finest literary and church books available.

My Father’s Struggle as a Young Man

My father, the oldest of three boys and one girl lived on a small farm in Mesa, Arizona. His father was an alcoholic, so many of the responsibilities of the family fell on his head, and he grew up a lot faster than most boys. At the age of five he walked three miles each morning at dawn to get the milk. At ten he was doing a man’s work. He had courage, strength, ambition, responsibility, endurance, compassion, and ruggedness, which helped him work his way through 11 years of medical training without any outside help. He has always been a big man, spiritually, mentally and physically.

He served in World War II as an army engineer, Sergeant serving in both the European and Pacific campaigns. He is now a respected citizen of the committee, a beloved and widely practicing physician, and a leader in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As Stake President of the El Monte Stake, he has been asked to speak at the Baccalaureate Services the year before last more than once to different classes at Los Altos, at my own eighth grade graduation, and countless times in church.

It is interesting to note that of all my Grandmother Brown’s children, he has not only been the most religious, but most prosperous in his business. I hope someday to find a husband like my father.

Judy: I remember sharing and saving money for Nancy Drew books, playing with Babies and waiting to grow into her hand-me-downs which never really fit me because of her four inch height advantage. We’d take turns reading the red, blue, green, orange, yellow purple and brown fairy tale books. Then we’d play Barbie’s with her telling the most wonderful stories. Her stories of princes, princesses, castles, rescues, good winning over evil, were much better than any of those in the books. I remember her favorite name for her Barbie was Queen Deborah, a Queen Ester heroine figure.

Oh, how said I was when she didn’t have time to play anymore. I missed her adventure stories. The ones I made up were never as good as her dramatizations. I remember her and my big brother, Jim, putting on a grand catsup gum fight in the living room while my parents were out. They were so dramatic, slapping catsup on their bodies where they were “shot”. We clapped and begged them to do it again and again. Somehow it was cleaned up before Mom came home.

I remember her love of pretty things like my mother, such as antiques, china, books, flowers, Gunnysack dresses and befriending people and strange animals. At twelve years old she had waist length brown hair and an hourglass figure. I remember returned missionaries coming to see Dad and being disappointed and surprised to find she was only thirteen and not yet old enough to date. They were amazed at her spirituality as well.


Love is My Father - October 30, 1973

Love means many things to many people. To me, love is my father. I love my father, and want to live worthy of the love he has show for me throughout my life in moments of gentle discipline, wise guidance and trust, deep understanding, and great concern for my welfare.

My father is a big-boned thickset man, with a broad chest and wide shoulders. His face is square and heavy. He has a balding head with a few hairs combed carefully over the top, like a spot of soft, furrowed dirt fringed with grass. His wide, lightly creased forehead and eyes deeply set between shaded, crescent moons and low eyebrows, give him a sober look. When I was very little he seemed to me like a big warm mountain that I could run to for refuge from any of life’s wrongs.

Daddy’s Girl

I was a daddy’s girl right from the start. I don’t know when I first became really aware of why or of how much me meant to me. One time when I was five, my older sister bought a beautiful paper doll. I coveted it so much I saved all my money and bought myself one just like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money to buy my dad a Father’s Day present after that. I was anguished. He assured me I was the best present he could ever receive, but I couldn’t’ be comforted. I never played with that doll again. Even at that early age I guess I saw it for what it really was---a worthless, destructible, material item, and began to realize how much my father meant to me in a way that couldn’t be purchased.

My father did not like to discipline his children and usually left that task up to my mother, but the few times he has I remember vividly, perhaps because they were so few. I can never forget the only time he raised his hand against me. My older sister, who would lie awake at night until she had gone to sleep, and then I would see how stealthily I could climb up, tweak her hair, then jump back in bed and pretend I was asleep without letting her catch me. Invariably I would get tangled up in the bedposts or jiggle the bed springs and she would discover me. After a while she knew it was I, without even hearing me. And would anticipate my next attack. Always she tattled on me. At first I would hotly dispute it, then eventually I submitted myself to my mother’s reprimand and scolding. The last time I did it though, my father didn’t have to work late at the hospital like he usually did. He pulled down my pants and put me over his knee and slapped my bottom firmly. I cried out more in surprise than in pain—he only pulled my pants down when he gave me a shot, and he had never spanked me before. As I rubbed my sore posterior, sniveled, and looked into his stern face, his eyes softened and dissolved. He looked reproachfully at me and asked if I was going to do it again. I shook my head vigorously. He laughed gently and enfolded me into his big strong arms and I knew he still loved me even though I had been naughty. After that all he had to do was look at me reproachfully with those soft brown eyes and I would immediately repent of any wrongdoing.

While he never said much, when he did speak, his carefully chosen words enabled on to glimpse the tremendous wisdom and thought behind them. Often I took advantage of and profited from his wise counsel. Once, during my “kicking-out-against-the-pricks” stage in junior high, a minor civil war erupted between my mother and I over my “short skirts”. My father listened quietly during a battle to both my mother’s righteous wrath and my tearful defense. My mother washed her hands of all responsibility for my disobedience. My father was thoughtful for a moment, then concluded I should be mature enough to choose for myself what was modest and wholesome, coming to him for finality in cases of doubt. What a switch! In a twinkling I was transformed from the role of a resentful child into that of a responsible individual. I was pleased at his trust in my ability to make competent decisions, and vowed to live up to that trust. From then on I began to catch the spirit of the law and living the letter became less difficult.

Sobbing

Many times I have pillowed my sobbing face into that big warm chest and vent my frustrations with the trials and tribulations of childhood, adolescence, and then youth, pouring into that patient understanding ear the secrets of my heart. Even though many times he could not or would not right my wrongs, things seemed o fall in place better just having him listen and know how I felt. For instance: Last Summer I had anticipated going to church Education Week for some time. Shortly before I was planning to go my mother announced she had plans for me to pack my things for college. I was crushed. I thought I had plenty of time to pack, but she was resolute. I followed my father out to the car on his way to work. I called him, and as he turned I burst into tears out of sheer frustration. Once more, like he had done so many times before, he wrapped his arms around me. While I knew he would not overrule a decision of my mother’s it felt better knowing he understood my yearning to go.

It must be hard to be a parent and look on objectively as one’s child passes by the many chuckholes and treacherous angles in the road of life. I think that together we have fought and overcome many great-unrecorded battles in the world. I will never forget something he said to me as I approached young womanhood. I cannot recall the circumstances of our conversation, but I will always remember the soft look in his eyes when he looked into mine and said, “If anything should ever happen to you, honey, I think I would die.” For a moment I caught a glimpse into the great immeasurable depts. Of his heart, and knew that he was referring to the many unfought battles yet to come in my life that I would soon have to face alone. I also knew he would not need to worry. Not only had he trained and prepared me well to face the, I loved him too much to ever disappoint or hurt him.

Jim Brown:

Suzanne Marie, or Suzy, is sweet and sunny with a lovely smile. She’s sensitive to her surroundings, concerned with others, and an easy child to take care of. I always think of her as being older than she is. Here again, she’s just perfect for a second child. Suzy wrote to President McKay to ask what she could do to help a little baby she saw with congenital defects. Pres. McKay was ill at the time, and one of his secretaries answered her letter knowing our Suzy, I didn’t worry about what she would write. Suzanne will be a beautiful woman.

Adolescent Autobiography 1973

My adolescent period began in the sixth grade. I was very mature for my age and always seemed about two years ahead of everyone else. In sixth grade I was sent to a new school. Friends mattered very much to me and adjusting to a whole different peer group was very traumatic.

I never really did feel as though I fit in, and spending much of my time daydreaming and in my own fantasy world marked this period in my life. One time some girls came to me and said that Mr. Linde, in talking about the girls in his class, had said that Tina somebody would be beautiful and that I would always be plain. I was hurt at first, then pretended I didn’t care. I did though, and more than ever I wanted to become rich, famous, beautiful and popular, then everyone could eat their hearts out.

I felt all out of sorts with myself in this transition between girlhood and womanhood. I'd rather have been a little girl again and not be weighed down with all the cares of the world (that's how I felt) or already through puberty and be right where I am now (a freshman in college). I had all sorts of strange ideas about sex in my head, from my own fantasies and what other children had told me and I think life in general frightened me because I wasn’t sure of myself or even liked me.

I went to Newton Junior High for two weeks of Seventh Grade then my mother switched me to Orange Grove, because the “environment” was better. It put me back with all the young people I had gone to grade school with.

I was excruciatingly self-conscious, and found it very hard to adjust. Most of my former friends had formed little tight social clicks. I didn’t like crowds or groups. They seemed to confining, restricted and sort of brainless, as if each person’s individualism was sucked up by the group’s personality usually dominated by one outstanding personality of the group. (At this time I was struggling with my own individuality.) I felt left out, resented it, and at the same time wanted to be on my own. I was also fiercely proud; if they want me, let them come to me. I began making friends with other kids who were left out of the social clicks, too, and we sort of formed our own groups. I could be a leader then, and my confidence increased somewhat.

I gradually pulled myself away from environments where sex was talked about. Most of the children did discuss it occasionally, but I didn’t feel good inside or about myself, and so I disdained with activity. I began to think of myself as sort of a philosopher, thinking very seriously about life and being very conscious of the difference in values a gospel background had given me. I thought I was very mature for my age---and probably was---however, I should have given the gospel and my family background more credit. I usually spend my lunch periods philosophizing about life and trying to understand it and human behavior.

During the middle of my seventh grade year I got braces on my teeth, my face began breaking out, and I was quite a bit taller than anyone else, and more physically mature. This added to my self-consciousness and feeling of conspicuousness. In eighth grade I began to lose some of my introspectiveness as my confidence began “waxing strong.” I got my braces off and got a retainer, but soon never wore it to school.

Suzanne at 17

As my confidence increased, I began caring more what my friends thought. I began having hassles with my mother over dress lengths and clothes. I felt that I was happier at school with my friends and others than at home. My friends meant so much to me, and increasing conflicts with my mother made me feel pulled between two opposite poles—values that my parents wanted for me and being accepted by my peers. I wanted somehow to reconcile the two if I could, and so was constantly struggling within myself, and with my parents. I wanted desperately to be liked by others, and at the same time, like myself. This took some juggling around.

The summer between 8th and 9th grades was a big step in my life also. I went to a BYU Youth Activity Week and fell in love with the “Y”. I was voted most outstanding girl on my floor. I also got my first kiss that summer when I went to the beach with my MIA group. It was from some beach bum who I was sure was just as sweet and innocent as I was.

Ninth grade was one of intense attachment to my peers. I was excited about being with the big kids; I had crushes on all the older guys and I cared more what my friends thought than my grades or even my parents sometimes. My mother seemed fanatical about my dress lengths, and I was just as determined, as she was—not to wear them long. At night I secretly took my hems up. Shopping with her was a hassle, too, trying to find something we both liked that was long enough to please her and short enough to satisfy me. When she caught my hems that I had secretly taken up a little—she was furious. We had a big show down between her and my dad. It seems ridiculous now that it should have been so blown out of proportion. I felt like I had done the unpardonable sin. I just couldn’t understand or feel that Heavenly Father wanted his daughter to look like a frump, and I didn’t think I was being unreasonable. I just wanted to wear dresses that would be long enough to please my parents and short enough to make me acceptable at school. Why couldn’t we compromise? Obviously, teaching me the letter of the law was useless because I hadn’t caught the spirit of it yet. My dad listened quietly to both my mother’s righteous wrath and my tearful defense. My mother washed her hands of all responsibility for my disobedience. My father decided that he would take responsibility for me. He said I should be old enough to be deciding for myself what was modest and wholesome.

I would select clothing that I thought would be pleasing to my Heavenly father, and then come to him for finality in cases of doubt. What a switch! In a twinkling I was transformed from the role of a resentful child into that of a responsible individual. I was pleased with his trust in me and vowed to live up to it. After that living the letter of the law became easier because I began to catch the spirit of it. I’m sure my mother never would have believed I was the same daughter if she could have heard me talking about dress standards at a Youth conference only a year or so later. I was helping other girls catch the spirit of modesty, purity, dressing and acting like a daughter of God. Dress standards had become a way of looking and being like a daughter of God—not something my mother tried to force on me out of cruelty and insensitivity.

1965 Picture

Now I think its time to talk about my family. I am the second oldest of six children. I mostly just tolerated my younger brothers and sisters during this period of my life, except for my older sister. When I was little she didn’t have much to do with me, but I matured quickly and eventually we became more like twins, than sisters with 3 and a half years difference in age. In fact, many people thought I was older, or that I was her (if they hadn’t seen the family for several years). This was much to my delight and her chagrin. She became a freshman at BYU when I entered high school as a freshman.

At first I really didn’t miss her. I loved her, but I was glad for the independence and responsibility of being the oldest child now. Because of our age difference, it was more like there were two oldest children in the family rather than one oldest and a second oldest child. When she came home he first summer after BYU, she was disgusting (to me) her head was in the clouds. Her whole life centered around BYU, her friends up there, and Glenn (who is now her hubby). I understand now why since I have come up here, however at the time I didn’t and I was upset. I even cried a little because I realized our relationship would never be the same. She was slipping away from me and I didn’t know how to become a part of her life again.

My mother and I have become close only the past few years. She wants very much for her children to live the standards of the church—so much so, that when she disciplined me, she used punishment, both physical and psychological. When she did compliment me on good behavior, I felt like I was being patronized. Whenever I told her things she seemed quick to judge, criticizes and give out advice. I soon became hesitant to tell her much of anything. I often I felt like she was a tyrant and didn’t love me, while going through the turbulence of adolescence. I was angry with her because I felt she didn’t understand what I was trying to express and really felt. I rebelled and usually tuned her out whenever she began nagging and scolding—it was the only way I could retain my self-dignity when she used psychological punishment. Instead of wishing to change my behavior, I became defensive about it. I used to try so hard to be independent. It seemed as if she stifled me and wouldn’t let me grow up. I resented her advice as much or more than her scolding’s. As: I matured and began to understand her more and realize that she really did love me, probably as much as my dad did, and that in her way was trying to express it, we began to have a different relationship. It was a slow painful process—especially on my part, because I think I did most of the changing. Also, as I myself began to find my own identity, and feel good about who I was, she didn’t seem to threaten me so much. I began to look at things from her point of view.

My father has played the most important role in my development. He is a stake-president, and while I resented being labeled as a stake-president’s daughter and often felt put on the spot for it, there was nothing to resent in the type of individual or father he is. I loved him more than anything else. He was strict with me, but it didn’t seem that way because I knew he loved me so much. Whenever he disciplined me, I always knew he had my best interests at heart—even when I disagreed with him. How can you argue that? I think he could have made me do anything.

I knew he wouldn’t ask me to do anything he didn’t think was best for me. I felt that he respected me, that I was important and worthwhile. He trusted me. His love and confidence in me has helped me raise to my better self on many occasions. He disciplined more with positive reinforcement—noticing and complimenting good behavior. He merely had to look reproachfully at me when I wasn’t behaving properly, and I’d feel terrible. I felt he listened to me. He wasn’t quick to judge or dish out advice unless I asked for it and the more I knew I could go to him with a problem, the more I asked for his advice. I think many times I worked my frustrations out myself just hearing myself talk and knowing someone understood. It was comforting to know he understood my frustrations, even though I knew he couldn’t do anything about them. They deemed to be easier to bear.

He has taught me more about life, love and my Heavenly Father, by the type of man and father he is. It became easy for me to have a warm loving relationship with my Heavenly parent because I think my dad must be very much like Him. I want to do the will of my Father in Heaven. Even when the way seems difficult and the commandments hard to live, I know Heavenly Father would not ask me to do anything that would not make me happier in the long run and was not for my growth and progression.

One time when my dad and I were talking, he looked at me and said, “Honey, if anything ever happened to you, I would die.” And I knew he would. I have never wanted to do anything that would hurt my dad, and I now would rather die than hurt either my earthly father or my Heavenly Father, because of the pain I know it would cause them both.

I had always admired clean cut, fine young men, but being torn between eternal values and worldly standards, I fell madly infatuated with a twenty-two year old man who just returned from the marines. He was handsome, tall, blond, blue-eyed, and well built. He drove a new Camaro, sang in a group, and had long hair. He was an outrageous flirt, enjoyed my attention, and actually was rather crude. He made a big show of going to church and meekly following the commandments, but it was more lip service than real intent.

I’d heard he’d been quite wild before joining the marines, and still got drunk on occasion, but I didn’t want to believe it. Not my Brian. My parents didn’t like him at all, and were quite upset when I agreed to meet him at school dances. We were both in a stake play together and sometimes he took me home. I began to feel uncomfortable with him. I thought maybe it was I at first—that I was too stiff, but then I realized I was seeing through him. He seemed more and more crude and phony, and I gradually became disgusted with him, and took interest elsewhere. When he was around Melinda (my best friend) and I He was really pretty good, but there was a spirit about him that made me feel awful to be with him.

A Sadie Hawkin’s Dance came up at school. I decided not to ask him and asked another young man who turned me down. I debated about going with him, but decided I’d rather stay home. My girlfriend Melinda asked if she could go with him and I pretended I didn’t care. The night of the dance we all went to a drug seminar at the church. He sat by me, and then left with Melinda for the dance. The next day I got a call from Melinda, who had spent the night in jail—Brian was picked up for possession of marijuana! And to think I’d almost gone with him. (I could see it now—“Stake-president’s daughter picked up for possession.”) I was appalled to think I had even liked such an ogre. Brian had already received one offense, and if he was convicted this time he could receive a fine of $10,000, and up to five years in prison on a felony charge. I ran outside, climbed a big avocado tree, and sobbed my heart out. I prayed that if he was guilty that he would be justly punished. I cried for him, for Melinda, and mostly for myself, realizing that I needed to readjust my values. Did I want to be like him, or did I want to live up to my high and holy station as a daughter of Deity?

I beat on that tree and sobbed and cried and poured my whole heart out to the Lord, begging him with all the anguish of my soul to please help me become the young lady I was foreordained and called to became. Every so gently and softly, a peaceful feeling filled my heart, and the words came to mind, “Have I not been with you in the past? Will I not be with you now and forever more?” I sat up, stopped beating on the tree, dried my eyes, and decided maybe there was hope for me yet.

Brian was released: illegal search procedure on the part of the policeman; but that incident marked a great change in my life. I began doing some intense self-evaluation and interior redecorating, so to speak. I began rejecting the standards of the world and striving to make gospel principles the foundation of my character. I began studying the scriptures and praying daily—I hadn’t been because my conscience bothered me too much when I did before. I became extremely concerned for the welfare of others and began making an effort to notice those who were left out of activities or were lonely or inactive at church—remembering my own acute self-consciousness. I was called to be Mia Maid class president in my sophomore year in high school. I centered all of my energies and ability on my girls in my class and anyone else I thought needed help. I helped bring up the activity of the class from 50% to 95%. Many of the girls who were inactive just needed to feel wanted. When a girl didn’t come to mutual I wrote her a letter or called her up.

I became very concerned about the example I set before others, realizing that the best way I could help “my girls” was to show them how to live. I couldn’t expect them to do anything that I wasn’t doing.

I also began going around with a very fine young man who soon left on his mission. Although he always been more of a buddy than a boyfriend, I sat him or (or rather the type of person he is), up as a standard, an ideal by which I have since judged all other young men. He has influenced my life more for good by the type of individual he is than any other person outside my own family.

In short, I think I really matured and grew up when I began to establish as priorities in my own life the gospel principles, think of others, and learn that the world didn’t revolve totally around me.

Secret Hideout - English 111, November 12, 1973

Even before all the boxes were unpacked, my three brothers, two sisters, and I scampered over our newly acquired property to discover all its secrets and the special magic of the outdoors that appeals so strongly to children. We raced around a horse trail that would unevenly down the terraces of our hill and stopped abruptly about a hundred yards from the house. In front of curling and us several hundred feel to the left was a small isolated grove of giant old avocado trees handing over a small canyon. So completely did their leafy branches demurely veil the gnarled, rheumatic trunks, that the cluster looked absolutely impenetrable? It was like a silent green mound breathing over so softly in the gentle breeze. It was a child'’ delight-— secret hideout where many fond memories would develop; and when I returned with a friend nearly a decade later after it had been damaged by fire, the grove would hold the same magical appeal that had firs captivated me.

We pulled the green skirts carefully aside and walked into a dark and awesome cathedral. A rich brown carpet of most leaves cushioned our steps. Like stained glass windows, the translucent leaves shimmered in the warm sunlight and let the sun’s rays fall benevolently on the trunks. The trees were growing along two steep terraces, one ten feet above the other, in parallel rows. Grown accustomed to each other’s presence with the passage of years, their branches intertwined and threw their leafy veils over each other like old women sharing a blanket. The patriarchs were bowed and twisted grotesquely with age. We gasped in awe and stood reverently for a moment savoring its beauty, but only for a moment. With a whoop of delight we bounded for the nearest trees and into their branches like so many monkeys. “Ooh, look at this one! This is my tree,” we called to each other; the grove echoed with our laughter and happy chattering. The trees smiled kindly and stretched heir arms to receive and lift us into their lofty heights.

I went there often: to play games after school with friends and playmates; to escape weekend chores early Saturday mornings: to nurse hurt feelings and wounded pride; or just to dream alone in the green fantasy world. It was my secret hideout where cares and troubles dropped away like leaves from a tree in autumn. One day a girlfriend and I played hooky and sought refuge under the protective covering of my obliging grove. We spent the afternoon confiding secrets; with out legs curled around a sturdy limb, basking in the warm sunlight that filtered through the camouflaged sky. I frequently rendezvoused with my brothers and sisters and we’d share boxes of Jell-O, make up stories, build tree houses, or play cowboys and Indians with the neighbor children. It always seemed to me as if the trees shivered with anticipation for my arrival, welcomed me joyfully, laughed and chuckled with me freely, dreamed with me and whispered secrets into my ears, sympathized and rustled their leaves compassionately to my frustrations, mourned and stretched their arms out after me when I left.

Then tragedy struck: a fire started in the canyon. It raged its dreadful path along the course of the ravine and licked its fiery breath about my secret hideout, damaging and mutilating several of the trees. A few days later with my brothers and sisters, I came down anxiously to investigate and survey the awful scene of destruction. A sickening stench assailed my nostril, a thick bitter odor of burnt matter and death hung in the air. The earth was blackened and smoldered angrily. Scattered here and there were little piles of charred bones from small rodents unable to escape the fire’s passion. Trees and bushes surrounding the ravine slumped in the heavy air like dangling skeletons. Miraculously our hideout and escaped most of the ravages of fire but the wounded branches and tendrils writhed and twisted in anguish. Pained and hurt, some of the trees seemed bare and sterile—the breath of life almost choked out of them. Others hung limply and seemed to seep quietly. The general shape of the great oval mound would still be there, but with a few gaps along the side of the ravine, where death had taken its toll among the ancient patriarchs. We were forbidden to play there for two years until the trees had a chance to heal. Sadly, we turned our backs on our friend and soon forgot them.

“So you want to climb trees?” I turned and smiled into the eyes of the young man beside me. “Let’s see, where can I take you…. It’s been so long since I’ve climbed any.” I was thoughtful for a moment, then looked up sharply as a light flashed across my mind. “I know!” I grabbed his hand and bounded along the familiar trail, now neglected and overgrown, toward the canyon. We hesitated when we came to the waiting grove. The fresh new branches of the mended trees had closed over the former entrance. I turned to the left, followed the giant green mound a few feet, and stopped again in front of a low arch. Reaching into the mumble of tendrils and grabbing a sturdy vine, I swung into the cool interior and sketched a hand to my friend. The leaves rustled gently, awakening to recognition. The gnarled old patriarchs lifted their heads jubilantly at the sound of my voice and quivered expectantly. I quietly surveyed the grove and caught my breath. Ten years had elapsed since I had last played among its trees and it hadn’t changed or aged a bit. I felt the same tingle of excitement and reverence flush through me as I did when I first discovered it with my brothers and sisters. Yes, there was my tree, and here was Jim’s and over there to my right was Janna’s.

My young man gave me a boost up into the nearest tree. I swung a leg over a limb, hoisted myself onto it, and watched my friend crawl up beside me. We grinned at each other and I leaned back against a branch and sighed. This same girl sitting beside this young man, I thought to myself, over a decade ago sat on this same limb leaned against this same branch and poured a box of strawberry Jell-O down her throat. Memories flickered before me and the years slipped quietly away unnoticed. I was no longer a young lady courting her beau; I was a little girl with her playmate, returning to play another day.

A Garden, Strangled by Weeds English 111

My dear,
I have been very concerned lately about the complete change that has come over you in the last few months. Indeed, I think a better word to describe how I have been feeling is disturbed, so much so, that I have not been able to eat, sleep, do schoolwork, or anything of the last three weeks. I have been a very sensitive, deeply spiritual and emotional young man whom I loved very much and who was striving very hard to live as his Father in Heaven would have him, seem to become absolutely unreasonable, hard and very proud, oblivious to any point of view other than his own selfish ambitions.

I remember the first time I met you. It was at a Regional Young Adult activity last July. You were squatting on the ground during the lunch box auction by your friend Jack and you both glanced over at me. Your friendly, easy-going smile and twinkling blue eyes deeply impressed me. It seemed forever until we finally got around to introducing our selves before the evening was over. I asked you what your plans for the future were and you replied, to be a good member of the church. I started to explain what I had meant by the question when it occurred to me what could be more important than your answer? The rest of the evening passed too quickly. It seemed there wasn’t anything we didn’t have in common, even in the books we were reading. I was touched by your patriotism, love of freedom and keen interest in American’s history and destiny; your tremendous desire to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He called you, especially in working with others to spread the gospel like you had done on your mission; your desire to someday have a family and your eagerness to teach them the gospel; your sensitivity towards and enjoyment of beautiful literature (particularly Shakespeare) and nature. I remember you said there had hardly been a better feeling in your short life as that produced by the opportunity you'’ had to make a meal from the food grown in your own garden. Something about being close to the earth brought you nearer to God and other people. You offered to take me home and as I ran outside to tell my girlfriend I had another ride, I jumped up and down and shouted, “ I found him, I found him! He’s the one!”

We spent as much time as possible together before I had to leave for college. We went to the Los Angeles temple Visitor’s Center with a girlfriend of mine who was investigating the church, and you bought her a copy of A Marvelous Work and A Wonder by Le Grand Richards. You came over for Family Home Evening, gave the lesson, and brought me a beautiful bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums. We went to see “Romeo and Juliet” and the beauty of the deep passion and powerful words so moved you, you wept probably the only man in the whole theatre who did, and were unashamed.

You proudly showed me your garden. The tender tops of radishes and carrots were sprouting up in green profusion. There were a few weeds that needed to be pulled you said, but it was coming along pretty well. I remember how you wanted to be completely honest with me and so told me about a rather serious mistake you made over a year ago with a girl you had been going with. It was hard for you to talk and I watched a tear roll down your cheek. I loved you and forgave you with all my heart. We prayed together, usually going into my father’s study after a date and kneeling by the couch holding hands. I had never felt such intense joy or sweet peace as I did being with you, especially in these precious unforgettable moments. We read each other’s patriarchal blessings and thrilled to see how similar both of them were. We shared our inner space and shyly told the other of our love and special feelings of rightness bout the other. We wanted so much for our relationship to be an uplifting, exalting one, and we vowed to be very careful about the way we acted around each other.

While I was away at school we were both going to pray and read the scriptures daily, and you would go to the temple as much as possible. You came all the way up to see me at school for a few days and stayed a whole week. Remember when we drove up through Provo Canyon to have a picnic? That was the happiest time of my entire life. The hills were beginning to blush and turn a burnished gold; everything was radiant because we were. We held hands and dreamed of our future together. You said you loved me and of all things you wanted most in life, I was at the tope. I believed you, trusted you, and loved you with all my heart.

A month passed anxiously, and I didn’t hear from you. Then came a very short, one side of the page letter. You had been too busy with your paint business to think about writing at all. You hadn’t gone anywhere with anyone but your sister since you last saw me. I was a good girl and had helped you out a lot by just being around you, but I was up in Utah among all the good Mormons and going my way while you were working at home among the Gentiles and going your way. You signed it, “Work hard, Brad.” I didn’t understand I was confused and hurt. The next two weeks were hell until I finally was able to go home and confront you.

I was surprised that you didn’t seem to mind coming by the house and talking. You followed me into the study and I shut the door. At my request, we kneeled in prayer by the couch and you gave it. This time we did not hold hands and the space between us was awkward. Your words were sweet, but they washed over me; there was no spirit carried with them to touch my heart. It was like watching a man get up to speak, seeing his mouth move, and hearing no words, or consuming a luscious banquet and walking away still hungry.

You sat in the Rocking Chair

You sat in the rocking chair, leaned you head against the wooden back, and watched me coolly beneath your eyelashes, while I squirmed uncomfortably on the edge of a padded chair across from you. We looked at each other a minute, embarrassed, not knowing what to say. I plunged in and began, then periodically asked questions and commented while you did most of the talking. I stared at you, blinking, with my eyebrows knit together. You were pleasant to watch as you spoke freely and unconcerned in a calm, matter of fact way, but your words shocked me and your manner, attitude, and spirit disturbed me considerably. Was this the same man that had so captivated my heart a little while ago?

You woke up one day you said, and discovered you didn’t feel the same about me any more. Yes, you agreed that meant you must not have ever really loved or wanted me. You admitted you were afraid of man-woman relationship. You were afraid of being hurt, blowing it, or being stuck with the wrong girl. No, you were not going to do anything about trying to make sure you wouldn’t blow it. Women were silly and you had nothing in common with them. They should all be married and have children, you said. But as for you: you wanted no part of them or marriage. You had made up your mind when you were very little that you did not want any affection from anybody. (I heard you speak earlier of a certain religion teacher on campus that had been your mission president and you gave your opinion that he was effeminate. I wonder, my dear Brad, what your idea of a man is?) You would not date, and didn’t like having your emotions dependent on another individual. You wanted to be your own man, master of your own destiny. Maybe if everyone rode your back hard enough and since you can’t get anywhere in this church or the celestial kingdom without a wife you might go out and grab someone when you reached about thirty or so. Yes, you felt sorry for whomever you grabbed, but that’s just tough. Life is too exciting and you have too much you want to do. You really wouldn’t mind being a hermit except that you would miss people and you needed them, they made you happy. Anyway, all you cared about right now was getting this business venture of yours successful. No you weren’t doing it for money. You still slept on the floor and ate only one meal a day. You had moved out of the house into an apartment with a friend and while did not mention it. I knew that your garden lay neglected at home, the weeds choking and strangling what little life was left. You just wanted to help other men by giving them jobs, and once the business was successful you could leave and they would be able to carry on, enjoying the benefits of your labors for several years. (I wonder, my dear Brad, if you really believe helping a person achieve economically is going to truly make them better off and bring them happiness in life/) You were going to do in life exactly what you wanted to do you said, and no one was going to persuade you differently. (You have this obsession about your implacable will and being able to accomplish whatever you make up your mind to.) You shrugged. Yes, you supposed it was pride. If going to the celestial kingdom meant you couldn’t do what you wanted to do in life, you guessed you really didn’t want to go. Like you get involved with that girl over a year ago, you did that because you wanted to. You were going to do anything you made up your mind to. Anyway, you were a good member of the church. The reason you didn’t have a job was because you were too transient; you’re here one minute and somewhere else the next. When you go to be a Bishop someday though, you were going to have the best ward in the church. (You made becoming a Bishop should like rising up in the military ranks, and leading a ward sound like running a corporation. I wonder, my dear Brad, how you ever expect to be called to such a position with your present attitude, closed-minded arrogance, and unwillingness to change or follow anybody? Well, it was getting late, you said. You were very tired and you thought it was time to go.

While you were talking I had been rooted in my chair, my eyes fixed on you in a kind of fascinated trance. Your image and the colors had gradually faded away until I sat looking at the pale form with small dark holes for eyes and a black rag for hair. The form had seemed a little transparent and it was as thought I weren’t seeing you there at all. It was as if I were looking at your spirit. It was a strange sensation and I had to repress a shiver. The weird feeling stayed with me even as I stood and looked at the door that shut behind you for a long time. Finally I shook my head and said over and over, “he’s crazy, he’s really crazy.”

Your words and the feeling I had listening to you speak have haunted me ever since. I don’t know why, but that experience was like suddenly coming upon your garden and discovering the once green and tender life choked and dying, strangled by weeds.

To My Future Children

This is a journal in which I would like to say some things unto my children and posterity—things which are sacred and personal to me, that I hope will have great value in their lives and help them return to their Father in Heaven’s presence. I am 18 1/2 years old. I am a freshman at BYU, 1973 (Fall). The most important thing that I would have you learn in this life time, my dear children, is to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, might mind and strength. All other things in this life are an appendage to this. This is the First and greatest commandment. Only those who truly love the Lord more than anything else can become like him and return into his presence. Joseph Smith said that any religion that does not require everything of a man cannot save a man. If we are too selfish and shortsighted, if we cannot or will not be willing to sacrifice all that we have for the Lord…how can we expect to become Gods? If we can not do even as Abraham of old, did, willing to sacrifice his only son.... how could we sacrifice our son to atone for other worlds as Elohim did Jehovah? Our greatest happiness, both in this life and the next, depends on our ability to live this law. If we do not love the Lord with all our hearts, we can’t truly love anything else. We cannot love ourselves or fully realize our potential as his children. We cannot love others as much, because we won’t fully comprehend their divinity or godly heritage. If our love for our Father in Heaven is limited, our love for others will be limited. Anything that is good comes from God. Love is a gift of God. The closer you come to him, the greater your capacity and ability your worthiness to love.

Godly Attributes

Love, like all Godly attributes, is divinely inspired. It’s something to be sought after, and when obtained, nurtured and cherished, protected and added upon by righteous living. Love is Sacrifice and Giving, being stern and steadfast in truth and principle, but quick to forgive an offender. God is the source of all love. The more like him we become, the more we love. The most Godly of all attributes is the ability to love.

Know that God loves you so much that one can hardly comprehend it. I think that one can catch a glimpse of how that Heavenly parent loves his children when one becomes a parent oneself. I know that Heavenly Father loves me. I know that he only wants for my happiness, and would not suffer me to do anything that would not be for my best. I love him with all my heart. He has blessed me with all that my heart could desire—the gospel, a good family who taught me the gospel, the opportunity to be born in these latter-days, when the gospel has been restored, with prophets alive and guiding his flock, in a land of freedom and opportunity (yes, even a land choice above all other lands). He has blessed me with all that I need for my physical body. He hath redeemed my soul from death and hell and sin. Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for He is with me.

The most important decision one will ever make thought time and all eternity is to choose whom we shall serve. We already made that decision once in the pre-existence. Every single on of you chose to follow the Lord. Now it is important that we abide by that decision. I, like Joshua of old, cry out “As for me and my house…we will serve the Lord.” I want nothing more in this life than to be worthy of his love, and to bring Him Joy and Happiness for my life of service. Oh the ecstasy, to return to his presence, kneed at His feet, and have Him throw his arms around me and weep with me saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I gladly entrust all that I am and have into his hands. My joy would be full indeed if all my precious children were held in those loving arms also.


Suzanne Marie Brown 1973


Modeling

1973 June I graduate from Los Altos High School and began modeling Wedding gowns. I also go to a Laurel conference in Glendora with Melinda Romney and meet a young man in the hallway who was teaching a Sunday school class. We talk and he offers us a ride home in his red 1956 Station Wagon. He puts me in the back seat where I can see the ground through the floorboards of the old red station wagon.

1973 September – I go to BYU for my freshman year.


First Meeting

Feb 23, 1973 sitting, outside Glendora chapel across from Citrus College.
I had just attended a laurel conference held in (a wonderful war family with 8 children in Glendora. II Ward) attended workshops, a Marvin Payne Concert and a dance Saturday and then a devotional Sunday with President Don Smith of the LA temple visitors Center. Melinda Romney (who was living with my family my last semester in High School) and I were sitting or lying in the hot sun by the parking lot of the chapel waiting for my brother to come pick us up. We kept waiting and waiting and waiting, but no Jim. We had offers for rides but no, I was sure he would come. 2 hours went buy. Still no Jim. By now quite frustrated and anxious, I went in to phone. For some reason Jim could not pick us up. Then for another hour or two I continued calling a non-member guy I had dated but decided I was unwise. And somehow or another Melinda and I had struck u a conversation during our wait with an unusual interesting young man with Sandy hair, blue eyes, and a beige corduroy jacket. He had a 56 Ford, maroon in color.

I remember thinking what a bomb of a car. He had all kinds of boxes or junk in it. When he discovered we were stranded he quite gallantly offered us a ride saying he had to go out that way anyway. He put Melinda in the front seat with him (or else she insisted) and me in the back seat with the sleeping bags, suitcases and all. It seems o me that we took some other girl or girls home too although I can’t be sure. On the way home we talked about various things and he was quite intriguing to me. When he said he had majored in psychology, something clicked inside of me. – I’ve always had a craving for the subject and wanted to major in it myself. I was a little put out at having to sit in the back while my coquettish girlfriend vied for his attention. I did all I could to appeal to his intellectual side in our conversation since my pride will not let me compete with my girlfriend in a flirtatious way. He said he was a schoolteacher, and was 26 years old. At first we were very skeptical. He seemed too young to be that old and already a schoolteacher. I remember wondering if he could have gone on a mission and if not, how come) if he was very active and if so…how come he wasn’t married (26 seemed ancient to my just tuned  18 years) Hacienda heights was quite a bit out of his way, but he couldn’t very well dump us, so he continued onwards. Discovering that he was interested in restoring old MG’s. I offered to show him my dad’s Rolls Royce’s especially the 32 wagon. Kent nearly dropped his teeth and then proceeded to give me a bad time about being “used” to so many nice things. I had never really thought of that before. Would I be dissatisfied starting out struggling on my own with my husband who maybe couldn’t afford as nice things for me? Kent wondered. That gave me some food for thought. I didn’t think so. I showed him the house, the car and gave him some avocados. I think before he left I invited him to come over again and bring his old MG, and we’d give him a ride in the 32. He said he might and left for his Sacrament Meeting.

Old MG

I remember thinking he was a little colorless or monotone in appearance (what with a light jacket, light hair, light complexion – all about the same color – and light blue eyes) But his personality and communicative ability really intrigued me. (I do have to confess however that in 5th grade I put in an order with the Lord for someone with Sandy hair and blue eyes. That was my favorite combination, and all my dream heroes would have passed for Kent’s twin) I wondered to Melinda if he would ever come over (I kinda liked him) She shrugged and said He’s weird and gave a snorting laugh. I shrugged to and said maybe she was right. After all he was too old… I can’t decide now if Melinda said that because she thought he was funny (humorous) or because she was slightly jealous of a slight interest on Kent’s part towards me. There was something about him that was quietly intriguing to me, though I had to admit it.

I wondered if I’d ever go out with him…or if he’d ever come by. I would have liked him to. Over the next year and a half at Regional activities I noticed him out the corner of my eye. He sat back on the outskirts and sort of observed what was going on he seemed to have a cynical aura about him. I could really relate to that deep down inside, and sometimes I felt like going over and standing by him. I enjoyed watching people too. And sometimes I felt quite cynical also. But I was on my “ego trip” sage. Where I was out to get attention from as many different sources as I could. While I could tell Kent was interested and me and I considered bouncing his way and flirting with him. Some thing inside of me said, “no.” I was like a valve turned off and all interest in Kent dried up. I decided maybe he really was a schoolteacher and as old as he said he was. I told myself he was much too old and probably) or at least should be) looking for a wife, and I wanted to play around still (feed my ego).

1973 Kent drives his newly restored MGBTD around San Gabriel valley and occasionally he considers visiting Suzanne, however he discards the idea when he considers how young she is. He also sees her at a couple of dances but feeling the way he does, doesn’t approach her. She is stunning.

Kent and Suzanne Courtship
1974

July I go to a Know your Religion talk in Claremont to hear Truman Madsen speak on the “Steak and the Sizzle”. He tells us that women like the sizzle or romance and men just want the steak or affection. I am sitting on the front row and spy Kent on the back row and decided to walk back and sit next to him. Afterwards he walks me out to the car, an old Jaguar, and we talk for a long time and eventually he asks me out to a Dodger game. When I get home I realize that it is the same night as a friends wedding reception that I really want to go to. I beg my mother to change the date but she won’t let me.

Kent Gardiner
(alias El Sleuth)


Wednesday July 10


Supposed to go to Grandma’s do dinner with family but changes in plans: grandparents went to Solvang got to go to Education week. Tried all day to get in touch with Buddy Hughes so he could come with me, but couldn’t reach him. I had a lot of things I needed to do that night but wanted to go to Education Week in Laverne stake. Went to Truman Madsen. Saw Kent there. For some reason felt like talking to him (never before was interested.) I enjoyed it. I asked him to walk me out to the car and he asked me out. I was surprised…pleasantly. (If this is the right thing for me to go HF make it possible.

Friday July 19

Planning to go to Dodger Game with Kent. Remembered it was Wayne Hedges Wedding Reception. Had been planning to go for a year. I entertained the idea of throwing myself at Kent’s feet and crying out my dilemma. My mother discouraged me. I got ready for game and went, resignedly. Had a simple delightful evening. Was very surprised and glad my mother discouraged me from carrying out my plan. We he said he didn’t believe in using physical forces on children, I hugged him (or rather his arm.) I couldn’t resist. I decided right then this Kent Gardiner was really something worth looking into. He fascinated me (sat on floor)

Tuesday July 23

Kent picked me up from work. We went to the top of Broadway Plaza to their cocktail Lounge that revolves around: Angel Flight. We had orange juice. Then we had dinner at Marie Calendar pies. His interest in communication fascinates me. He kept teasing me and putting me on the spot so I confronted him. II told him how Bishop Cluff had a crush on his third grade teacher and so threw a rock at her. I asked him if he was throwing rocks at me. He admitted he was (I think he has a crush on me)

Saturday July 2

We went to the Schubert Theater so see “A Little Night music” The play didn’t do too much for me but Kent sure did. I couldn’t believe how much he turned me on. It was frightening, a little because I enjoyed it so much. I would have liked him to kiss me so much I was afraid he would. After the play we walked around century Plaza Hotel. As he was leaving (walking out to the car) my mother suggested he come in for cookies and milk. I ran outside, hoping I could catch him. I did and we had a nice chat. I think he was feeling a little bad because he knew I didn’t really like the play. I’m glad we talked and he came in.

Kent was really beginning to affect me. I was terribly infatuated with him and very physically attracted to him. So much so it embarrassed me. I wanted to do the right thing really bad so I began praying to ask heavenly Father that I could hurry up and start to really care for him so I could get those “lustful” feeling under control.

There’s such a difference between love and lust I know that when you really care for someone, you are concerned with their growth, happiness and fulfillment more than your own gratification and desires. I communicated this strong attraction for Kent to my dad. He said that when he and my mother were going to gather there was really a strong physical attraction between them. But he loved her so much he didn’t want anything to happen to her that would hurt her. She often told him that he made her feel precocious and treasured. I decided that I wanted to love Kent that was. I decided to try concentrating on serious spiritual things when I was with him.

He excited me so much that in a week’s time I went out and bought nail polish lipstick, earrings, and really began to fuss over how I looked and what I wore. It was all so ridiculous I felt like I was 15 and had never been interested in anyone before. I was getting a kick out of watching my own reactions.

Suzanne: August 19, 1974

We shopped some discount places for me for school with mom. I bought some old books, and found "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and I read "Love me for love's sake only...." I want to love Kent that way.

We felt uncomfortable and came to the house. Mom went Visiting Teaching, and Kent and I ate something on the lawn and talked about our feelings. We didn't want to stay where we are, if it is right, we should move ahead. We decided that we needed to find out if it was right. I seem to always need a feeling check. We considered fasting and prayer and I decided that I would talk to my Dad, while he talked to his Home Teacher, Brother McFarland about when. We went to the Quad and I looked around and bought some underwear for school.

I talked to my dad after home night at the Salinas. I told him that I felt right and good about it but I wanted to be sure. He said that he had no reservations, and felt good about Kent and I getting married. He said that Kent was my equal. He said that we should plan tentatively to go ahead and get married, and see how it worked out with my semester away and during visits. If it felt the same then we should go ahead with our plans. He told about dating my mother during the Summer, and then driving her to El Monte in September when she started teaching, and courting her long distance from Arizona until they got married in December before Christmas. His philosophy was, if it is the right thing, it will work out: everything will fall into place.


August 5, 1974

Tonight I told Kent Gardiner that I was beginning to love him very much. It was our sixth date. Crazy.

To love you
After so short a time
Is as natural as if
You had opened a door
Walked in
And sat down beside me.

It seems incredible
That anything like this should ever happen to me
I’m really not complaining;
I’m just wondering what
I ever did without “we.”
You are springtime after a long winter.

Your mouth is warm
I think I could get drunk on your kisses.


Come, desert boy and walk with me awhile…
And together we will look
For the beautiful celestial city
Where Enoch, Abraham, and the Gods
Dwell.

I will make for you an oasis
Of love and acceptance,
And with a balm of understanding
Soothe your dry aching feet
From the hot desert sand.

I will fill your heart with a
Melody of joy,
And together we will laugh,
And weep,
And discover the hidden treasures
Of life
That most do not see.

We will bask in the light of the Son,
And run through the fields of prosperity;
Sit under an oak of righteousness
And listen to the warbling song of
Truth.

We will draw long upon the cool waters
Of purity
And raise a brimming chalice
To the thirsty and dry;
We will feast upon the nectar of
Service,
And breathe deeply the sweet fragrance
Of forgiveness.

We’ll wear stewardship as a garland
And pluck the flowers of opportunity;
We’ll sift through golden shafts of knowledge,
And create a bouquet
As a gift,
For anyone who wants it.

We’ll walk a path of diligence,
And take from the timber of faith and obedience
Lumber to build temples,
Sturdy and strong,
That will shield us from storms
That will surely come.

And when they come..
When mountains of despair
Overshadow you,
When valleys of loneliness yawn to
Engulf
And hot winds of hate
And insensitivity
Lash you and whip you about…
I will not leave you;

I will stand by your side and
Together
We will look for the dawn
That also,
Must surely follow the night.

How long our paths lie parallel
I cannot say’
But if I bring warm rains
Of compassion
That fall softly
Upon the vast wastelands
Of your soul,
Until it is fertile’
With the promise of harvest
And rich with life and hope;
If the journey was pleasant
And the city
Brighter,
Closer
More with reach;
Then
Come, desert boy and
Walk with me awhile.

August 18, 1974,

We attended Buddy party (?) I felt very close to Kent, kept rubbing his back, holding on to him. He got a chance to talk to my dad while the guests had refreshments, and my dad opened up. Kent really liked it and felt quite close to him. After the guests left Kent and I, Mom and Dad, Judy and Tom Demke, and later Jim, Jr. spent the evening talking, telling jokes, and listening to classical music. Dad played the organ a little too, and we sent Kent off at 11:00pm with some silent film Honky Tonk music. It was a very pleasant enjoyable evening. Kent gave me a picture of himself. Tom told the family that he loves Kent.

August 19, 1974,

We shopped some discount places for me for school with mom. I bought some old books, and found "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and I read "Love me for love's sake only...." I want to love Kent that way.

We felt uncomfortable and came to the house. Mom went Visiting Teaching, and Kent and I ate something on the lawn and talked about our feelings. We didn't want to stay where we are, if it is right, we should move ahead. We decided that we needed to find out if it was right. I seem to always need a feeling check. We considered fasting and prayer and I decided that I would talk to my Dad, while he talked to his Home Teacher, Brother McFarland about when. We went to the Quad and I looked around and bought some underwear for school.

I talked to my dad after home night at the Salins. I told him that I felt right and good about it but I wanted to be sure. He said that he had no reservations, and felt good about Kent and I getting married. He said that Kent was my equal. He said that we should plan tentatively to go ahead and get married, and see how it worked out with my semester away and during visits. If it felt the same then we should go ahead with our plans. He told about dating my mother during the Summer, and then driving her to El Monte in September when she started teaching, and courting her long distance from Arizona until they got married in December before Christmas. His philosophy was, if it is the right thing, it will work out: everything will fall into place.


August 20, 1974

I polled my family regarding their feelings about Kent and I:

My mother--feels very good, confident right from the beginning. She wants Kent to ask my dad. She has reservations about time, not Kent. My dad--says let Kent figure out things--he's doing the right things. He's really for it. Says we're doing what's right. Jim, Jr.--feels "really good" about it Charles --thinks it's "okay"; he likes Kent, can live with him. Judy--he fits in with the family.

August 21, 1974

I was up at 8:00, and we went over to Wescove parking lot to look for my purse and the clothes that had been stolen out of Kent's car the day before. Then to the Police station to report it and the bank to close out my account and take out all of my money with me in a Cashiers Check. We went downtown L.A. and visited with William Binger a jeweler, about diamonds.

Ring

I tried to remain calm, but this was pretty exciting stuff. We looked at settings around the Mart and talked about rings. I said that I wanted mine designed. Kent wants a thin simple band. We went to Bullocks to look up Vaughn's, a Men's clothing store and bought a safety pin so I wouldn't be tripping so much on my torn pant cuff. We stopped at Vaughn's and Kent found a blue plaid suit he liked. We returned to the car parked in Arco Garage. I was tired, hungry, and bored with the day, and I fell asleep in the car. I made lunch while Kent and my dad went down to pick up the Jag that was being worked on. I called the Police Station and gave information, etc. It seemed that Kent and I couldn't leave until 4 pm to run lots of errands. We went down to DMV and got a temporary license. We talked about reading the scriptures together when we were married. We went to May Co., where I got 2 blouses. We were bored and tired, mostly tired. I wanted something to perk us up and so I told Kent (as we were walking out of the store) that the next person I saw I would tell them how wonderful he was. I saw a lady and I began walking towards her and Kent covered my mouth. I got in the car and spotted some little old man sitting there in the parking lot (he was there when we went in). Kent went to get in and I stuck my head out of the window and said, "Hey, you know what?" He's wonderful," pointing to Kent. The man laughed, and Kent pulled me in and kept grabbing and pinching my thigh on the way to the leather works shop for a new purse. He loved it. The next person I saw was a Chicano sitting in a car smoking, and I said I was in love with Kent.

Next we went to the stamp redemption center for two blankets. We got lost on the way and got there just as they were closing up. I couldn't make up my mind what to get, but we said, "We love you" to the salesperson and "I'm in love with him" (Kent).  Kent told me I was crazy but that he loved me anyway.

His Old Car

We went over to his house to get his old car. We got malt, and I called Grandma Breiten. I cleaned up the dishes and told him about the rule in my parent’s house about being alone in a man's apartment (it's a no-no). Kent said he wished I wouldn't do the dishes, and I kept doing them. As we left he told me I crossed his sensitive line when he felt he was being questioned. I tried to reflective listen but felt bad and said that I didn't think I could stick drive his car to my grandmothers. He said there was the room for guilt and he kissed me a few good times. I felt better and tried to drive down the street. He said that it felt like he had driven here before with me, it fitted. I told grandma about Kent and I. She was excited and said that she'd make my wedding dress. She walked out to the car with us. Kent was so tired he could hardly think. We asked about trailers as a possible future home to live in.

Suzanne: August 22, 1974, we spent a quiet Thursday evening together.

About this time Kent wrote this poem for me:

For Susan

I like you just the way you are
Your walking your talking your interesting moves
And yet these things change with time,
I like your ways of becoming
Your moods, your feelings, your patterned light
And yet others possess these same qualities,
More than anything else, my dear,
I like you for your inner beauty becomingly displayed, your spirituality virtue, trust, kindness, and delicate love but most of all your closeness to our Father in Heaven.

August 23, 1974

We went to the beach and got sunburned. We bought some food for dinner and double dated with my parents to the Hollywood Bowl for their Tchaikovsky Spectacular. The program included Romeo and Juliet, both the Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Violin Concerto, plus the finale of the 1812 Overture with military band, cannon, and fireworks. Zubin Mehta conducted.


Sunday, August 25, 1974

We went to his ward, and the Smiths in the evening. We talked outside, me sitting on his lap and he on the rear fender of his car about sex and striving to be morally chaste in our courtship together. We were determined to get married in the temple and let nothing stand in our way. He said that I was the purest girl he'd ever known in his life.

He wrote this poem for me before I left for school:

I'm lost in the depth of her love.
Entrapped by arms that know my name
Nestled in a listening tenderness and
filled to capacity by her
Overpowering adoration, abounded
Understanding and a depth that goes beyond.

August 30, 1974

We went to the Hollywood Bowl together (He picked me up from work) to hear Mozart and Beethoven’s 7th Symphonies. I am completely overwhelmed by all these places he’s taking me. I thought I’d better tell him that I could enjoy him anywhere, I really wasn't used to this treatment, and that he was so delightful it didn’t matter where he took me. He said “Your just saying that because it’s true” and he flashed me an eye twinkling grin. We parked on Barnham Blvd, near the studios parking lot and rode the HB bus to the bowl.

Sometime during the next few days I drove up to BYU with Sandy Salins in her little pinto. She was a girl that I had reactivated over the last couple of years in Hacienda Heights I Ward. She was even brave and trusting enough of me to allow me to drive her stick shift car part of the way.

Campus Plaza

After I got settled in Campus Plaza, Kent came up to see me that first weekend in September (7th and 8th). I remember sitting out front with him on the curb with our feet in the street gutter talking about getting married when I said to him, "Hey, do you realize that you've never officially asked me to marry you?" And so he said, by the way, would you marry me? Of course I said yes. Then I called to some passersby, "Hey! This guy just asked me to marry him!" They looked kind of askance at us, and we laughed. Our courtship and love had come along so quickly and naturally that we had just began to assume that we would get married.

We tentatively set January 18th as the date. I wanted a few weeks after I got home from this semester at BYU to get ready. Kent really wanted to get married in December during his 2-week vacation from teaching. We made a list of pros and cons, consulted other people, and prayed about it. Then we changed the date to Dec 21. I panicked once--it was so soon and we would have to do everything while apart from each other. But then I felt good about it after talking and thinking about it some more.

We called up my parents and told them. I remember that my mother wasn't too thrilled with the timing. She was planning a trip to Egypt and Israel with my grandmother and was overwhelmed at the prospects of marrying a daughter off a couple of months after her return--especially when this daughter was going to be several hundred miles away at school up until just before the wedding.

We decided to have the reception at my folk’s home in Hacienda Heights. It was big, less formal and easier to decorate than the church cultural hall, and there is a nice warm feeling about a home that we wanted at our reception.

Suzanne Picks her Colors

I had wanted blue and gold colors, or yellow and white. I love daisies, or yellow roses, and light ruffled, frilly dresses; but these didn't seem right just before Christmas. So I changed the colors to rich dark colors--deep red, blue, green, and gold velvets for the attendants, and red roses and satin for me. It seemed wiser to take advantage of the season in our decorating ideas since my mother already had so many lovely Christmas decorations and garlands. Shortly after this, while praying and contemplating marriage with Kent I penned these words:


Are you humming?

Yes "Are you humming?" he asked her.
She sighed contentedly, her chin resting on his shoulder.
A warm sensation was generating from her chest and circulating throughout her entire body.
It soothed, comforted her flighty mind with a soft melody, calm and peaceful, refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
It rolled up in a ball and caught in her throat, sometimes making it hard for her to swallow or talk.
A small fire glowed quietly within her secret chambers.
Kindled naturally by the Son and fueled by a faithful lover, it burned steadily and grew brighter with each passing day.
If she gave it sufficient air she knew someday it would consume her whole being. Once he asked her, "How will you know?"
At the time she wasn't sure.
Now she was.
It's because she hums.

I read this poem to two of my roommates, Colleen and Doretta, and shared some of my feelings. They completely listened to me and accepted it. We also shared about how we had each individually fasted and prayed about a place to live at school before deciding on Campus Plaza. Colleen read some poems from Kent's book "EL SLEUTH" (?) and was enthralled. All she could say was "It's been real". She liked our poems and stories to each other and wanted a copy of some. Kent really has a way with words. He can say things the right way, simply, and down to earth.

Some quotes that I liked and wrote down at this time: “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it kindles the great.” To someone who's “thinkaboutable” from someone who's thinking about."

On October 6, general conference weekend, we looked at and priced rings and read about them. We read that Provo was the best place to get them according to one survey because so many young couples at BYU got married. We looked at silver, china, crystal, beds, books, and patterns. We firmed up our plans and Kent's brother Mark took some pictures of us for our wedding announcement.


On October 11

I came home and bought some patterns and material for my grandmother to make my wedding dress and trousseau. We looked at wedding announcements and tentatively decided on one design.

On October 22

I started some Marriage Classes at BYU in one of the old academy buildings on lower campus. I think it was the old Martin building. The classes were some extension classes that were offered in the evening--Tuesdays, I think. I remember having to talk my way into taking them without Kent. Everyone thought it was very odd for me to attend alone. I remember seeing Steven McConkie there with a pretty, independent-looking gal that he was engaged to. My roommate Jeanne Fitch had set me up with him last February for a girls' choice prom to help me get over Brad Jenkins. He was Elder McConkie's son, and I had met him in a Missionary Scripture class. I remember thinking that he was the most socially inept young man that I had ever gone out with and I was very surprised to see him at those classes.

Several times I walked around BYU campus that Fall, so sad to think of never coming back to that beautiful wonderful place, full of so many opportunities for growth and learning. There is such a marvelous, infectiously inspiring Spirit at that school. Several times I sat on a wall on Upper Campus looking out over panoramic Provo down below and contemplated what I was giving up for what I was gaining. I dearly wanted to return someday, if it was the Lord's will, but I knew in my heart that all the degrees in the world were small in comparison to a beautiful forever family, which my heart desired most. Learning and positions and service to humanity could come later, but my family couldn't. Once I had asked Kent if he would wait for me while I went on a mission and he said no, he was ready to get married and start his family now. I knew that I was pursuing the better course in life, but still it was hard for me to think of all the other interesting roads in life that I would not be taking.

By October 25th

I had a picture taken by Revoir studios (I bought a special 8x10) for Kent as a wedding present. I checked out colleges to attend the spring semester after we were married, and had transcripts mailed out. I had decided to attend Cal State Northridge, which was about 30 miles north of Santa Monica where Kent had found us an apartment. Grandma fit me for my clothes, and we chose and ordered our announcements.

From Her

The other night, Sweetheart When I said my prayers, I asked Heavenly Father to marry us, I extended a personal invitation To Him, the Son, the Holy Ghost, And all the hosts of heaven To come to our wedding. I made a special request that your mother be present.

I told him if He couldn't be there Himself I would understand, But to please send the Holy Spirit of Promise To seal us in a celestial bond And dwell with us in our home So we could come and live in His someday. I fell asleep in a beautiful cloud of light.

November 1, I put a down payment on a ring I fell in love with at Schabaram's in Orem. Once I saw it, I could never get it out of my mind, no matter how many other rings we looked at together. It was a set, with the diamond surrounded by six little diamonds, and I imagined that it would be like Kent and I surrounded by our six future little children, for that was how many we wanted to have.

On one trip down home my dad took me to pick out all my temple clothes.

On November 9

We picked up the ring, went over our finances, and picked up our announcements.


November 15

I made wedding, shower, and temple lists, decided decorations.

November 22

I came home for Thanksgiving weekend. I had my premarital exam from my Dad. I met with Bishop Dallas and my dad for my temple recommend. It was quite a thrill to meet them in the eye and say YES! I am morally clean. It brought tears to my father's eyes. Kent talked with his Bishop in the Santa Monica ward that he was now living in and which I would be too after we were married. I can't remember if I met him at that time or not. It was Bishop Rex Nichols.

Sunny Ahlmann gave me a bridal shower that weekend I seem to recall. It seems to me that not many people were able to come, but I remember some towels from Kent's mother Carol.

We got our marriage license and addressed wedding announcements. We also made a list of music we liked and wanted played on the stereo during the reception. December 2 I mailed out Thank Yous, schooling info, and job applications for after marriage.

December 6 and 7 we mailed announcements and ordered flowers
December 14
Wedding Shower

Some of my friends at school gave me a wedding shower. I remember a girl named Sandy? Gave it for me and gave me some cookie sheets with cookie recipes, including one for snicker doodles which has become a family favorite. I picked up Kent's ring, a simple gold band, had a hair appointment for a trim (seems like it had a perm in it too to help hold the gentle curl). I picked out a yellow penoire and gown at ZCMI's in Orem and some slippers. My mother wanted me to get a white set but they were out so I chose the yellow. I paid all my bills and the count down was one week. Kent made reservations for places to stay on our honeymoon up the coast to San Francisco.

Kent compiled many of his poems and stories over the past four years (including some of ours to each other) into a book that he had printed and called Cordial Smiles. He gave these out at Christmas time to some of his and my favorite people and family members as a gift.

That final week I took my exams and packed. I had a tennis final on Friday Dec 20th, which I decided to skip. I wrote a note to the teacher, told him what was happening and said he could give me whatever grade he wanted, I really didn't care.

Chris Bertilson came to see me before I left and help me pack up. He was a dear boy from Sweden (now a member of the stake presidency in Stockholm) whom I had fellowshipped into the church last spring. He had really liked me, and I am sure was really concerned about my leaving school to marry a man he didn't think I knew very well. All of the fears of the unknown ahead of me, and the sadness of leaving everything else behind overcame me, and as I hugged him goodbye I cried. I'm sure he wondered about me. He told me maybe I shouldn't get married, and I tried to assure him that I really believed I was doing the right thing.

I left Tuesday or Wednesday evening for home. I got a ride home from a fellow named Rod (Smith? Stewart?) Who was bringing all of he and his wife's things home to California at the end of the semester. He had rented a U-Haul which he was pulling behind his loaded truck and had a little room for my trunks and suitcases. His wife Karen (the sister of an old beau--that dastardly Brad Jenkins who had dumped me the year before) had gone home to her parents a few weeks before because she was pregnant and feeling poorly.

It was the most uncomfortable llllooonnnnngggg ride I've ever taken in my life in that small truck cab. The bench seat was so painful to sit in or lie down on most of the way. I hardly slept those 12 or so hours and became nearly delirious trying to talk to Rod to keep him awake. He told me how much he was really looking forward to seeing his wife again. He said that he really liked being married and he really missed her. He quizzed me several times to see if I felt like I was making the right decision. I think he was concerned because the family knew how crushed I was after Brad broke up with me. I told him all about our courtship and our feelings and he seemed assured afterwards. He drove to his wife's folk’s house in Chino about 5 o'clock in the morning, too tired and anxious to see his wife to drive me home.

I slept for a bit on the front room couch. It was very strange to be in the house of this old flash-in-the-pan beau a few days before my marriage. If I had married Brad, it would have been the absolutely worse thing I could have possibly done in my whole life--he was so emotionally and spiritually unstable. I remember receiving a definite "NO!" like an electric shock through me when I had prayed about marrying Brad over a year before. In contrast, I knew that Kent was the man for me, the one I wanted to raise an eternal family with. I felt a burning peaceful assurance about him all the time, especially when I was on my knees praying about it. I remember the line in my patriarchal blessing about how the Lord would place the knowledge of whom I should marry into my mind if I prayed and followed His counsel. But to be in Brad's home again and think how much I had liked him once before made everything have an unreal dream-like quality to it. Perhaps the Lord let me have this experience to confirm that promise in my patriarchal blessing. I overheard Brad's grandmother in the kitchen saying she didn't like me and wanted me out of the house. Brad said he didn't like me either. I pretended not to have heard this discussion and Brad acted very cordial to me that morning. I called dad and Kent, and it seems to me that Karen drove me and my things home after a bite of breakfast. I remember driving off thinking how weird this was and I couldn't believe it was happening to me.

Planning a Marriage December 14, 1974

Every girl dreams all her life about getting married some day. Even with all my mental fantasies, I didn’t feel at all prepared or even desirous of marriage when Kent Gardiner and I began our fast-paced romance.

Although I had met Kent a year ago last February (when he gallantly took my girlfriend and I home from a girl’s conference) our first date was July 19th of this year to of all places, a Dodger baseball game. Exactly one month later, August 19, I conferred with my father and he with his home teacher about what we should do about our feelings for each other. We both felt really good about each other and our relationship, in fact our relationship seemed to be characterized by an overriding feeling of calmness and reassurance; yet both of us were worried about the short time of our association together, and besieged with doubts about our own personal readiness for such a giant step as marriage. Both my dad and his home teacher-Brother Mc Farland - counseled us to tentatively plan on getting married, then; as long as we kept feeling natural and good about it; as long as we were trying hard individually to do the right things the Lord would guide us in our actions and plans.

I left for BYU a week later, really knowing in my heart that this was the will of the Lord but still anxious about my capacity and readiness. I fasted for two and half days and read the scriptures as soon as I was settled in my apartment. Perhaps the most comforting words I pondered were those of Nephi as he said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he commandeth them.”

I felt reassured that if this was the Lord’s will I could do it and He would help me. But was this the Lord’s will? Funny, I never received any supernatural manifestations or revelations, but my chest burned with humming warmth, that seemed to melt away all my fears. Kent came up the week school began September 4th thorough the 8th, and while we were sitting on the gutter curb out in front of Campus Plaza he said:

Hey, I’ve never asked you to marry me, have I?”
“No, you haven’t. I was just thinking about that the other day.”
“Well, would you like to marry me?”
“Um” I hesitated teasingly, “Yes.” And thus began our official engagement.

I called my parents Sunday September 8th after Kent left and casually told them Kent and I thought we would get married the middle of January, during his semester break from school. They oozed congratulations and pleasure.

The next few weeks were especially hectic because a lot of decisions needed to be made. Kent and I moved the date up to the 21 of December after some deliberation and thought. Kent scheduled our wedding at the Los Angeles temple for the morning of the 21st and found a small apartment in Santa Monica for us to live in after we’re married.

My mother asked the son of a friend to take our pictures for us, and the florists told us to order two weeks in advance. Kent and I decided we would like too play classical music at the reception on our stereo and if possible ask my former piano teacher if he would play a few numbers – particularly from such composers as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, because Kent and I enjoyed several of their pieces of work at the Hollywood Bowl this past summer for our dates.

Kent came up for October General Conference on the 4th, 5th, and 6th. We looked at millions of rings together and learned how the quality of a diamond is judged; the four C’s of diamonds are “cut, clarity, color, and carat”. We looked at china and silver and crystal and decided upon a deep brown stoneware-Kent really likes that- a simple stainless steel pattern, and omitted sterling silver and crystal deciding that they were too expensive and impractical for us for about the next fifteen years (until our family that we hope to have gets older). Kent and I also looked at beds for our future home and had a salesman in Salt Lake ZCMI explain how to judge the quality of a bed. We examined several lines, I read an article about beds in a consumer magazine, and Kent eventually purchased a top quality bed on sale in a major department store in California. Before Kent left, his brother took some pictures of us for our announcements.

I chose heavy bridal satin and pearl beading for my Gown and washable polyester-Lutesong-and a washable polyester lace trim for the temple dress. I chose rayon velvet and another material that was bright and sparkly for the bridesmaids to choose from. My grandmother took my measurements and immediately goes to work on it.


Honeymoon Reservations

Kent made reservations for our honeymoon in Carmel and San Luis Obispo, California.

I had wanted to get my endowments out a day or two before the wedding to help me appreciate it separate from the sealing and so that it wouldn't be so much in one day, but the temple presidency at the time wanted the couples to do everything the same day. I had been reading The House of the Lord by James Talmage and hoped for a spiritual experience at the temple.


Endowments

We listened to music Friday evening, and I went to bed after washing and setting my hair about midnight. Then I had to get up at 4:00 so that we could get to the temple by 6:00. I had come fasting that morning and was really excited about the coming events. I knew that this was the most important step I was taking in my life.

Overpowering Cleansing

I remember really feeling an overpowering cleansing Spirit of the lord during the Washing and Anointing. The endowment was interesting but so different than what I was expecting and confusing to remember everything. My dear mother was my escort and she fussed over my bows and clothes to be sure everything was right and I was embarrassed. Afterwards we went up to the Solemn Assembly room to wait to be sealed. I remember that the air was so still and warm in those upper rooms and I was faint with exhaustion and hunger. I think we were sealed in room 3M by President Evans, the temple president.

I seem to remember him telling us to pray, pay our tithing, come to the temple often, and continue our courtship. He said something about our children and I thought he said our "eight children" which startled me, as I wanted six. (Kent said later he didn't say that.) My ears were popping and again things were overwhelming and dreamlike. I could barely take it all in. Kent said later that he felt that he was going to be consumed by the burning power of the Spirit he felt it so strongly in that room. I remember kissing across the altar, looking in the beautiful parallel mirrors at our forever reflection standing in that chandeliered room with all our family and friends. It was a glimpse of heaven to contemplate endless association with all those dear people. I remember Kent's home teacher Brother McFarland and Brother Thielens, from Glendora Ward, Kent's folks, his Aunt Audrey, his brother Mark, Murray and Faye Cluff (my first Bishop), Felice and Mayo Smith, Joics and Gene Stone, my folks, my grandma Brown, and my sister Johanna. I'm sure that there were others (like probably Bishop Bradford and his wife), but I don't remember now.

After the sealing we took pictures outside the temple, then came home to a cold buffet at the house, which was supervised I believe by my grandmother Breiten and Joyce Osborn. Then I tried to take a rest and curled my hair for the reception.

Allen Lohrke took pictures for us at the reception. My old piano teacher Brother Abraham Ardean Neighbors played the piano and his wife Edna sang.

Reception

In the reception line were my folks, my Brown grandparents, Grandma Breitin and Edward, Kent's folks, my attendants who were my sisters Judy (in gold velvet) and Johanna (red), and Kent's sisters Gayle (blue) and Julie (green). Kent wore a grey tuxedo and his best friend Richard Watson was best man, with his brother Mark? My girlfriend Melinda Romney was a special helper in charge of the guest book. I remember my Grandmother Brown, who didn't come to Johanna's wedding because my grandfather did, was having the time of her life, and kept coming and standing between Kent and I as if she were the star of the evening. I remember that our new Bishop Nichols came all the way out from Santa Monica to attend the reception because we were going to be in his ward. Many people came, mostly friends of my parents, who brought us many lovely gifts.

I know that we had planned to display some special memorabilia of our courtship and places we had been to, pictures of us growing up and some of our poems, but I do not remember whether or not we actually did. I remember having a headache, feeling pretty and light-headed, and having a good time.

After the reception was over, we drove off in Kent's teal blue MGB to our Santa Monica apartment for the night. I remember having a fit of the giggles, which quite drove Kent batty. We went to Sacrament Meeting in our new ward the next day and drove out to my folks during the week to open Wedding Presents, have Christmas Eve celebration, etc.

Then after Christmas we took off on our honeymoon up the coast. We spent one night in a lovely hotel room over-looking Moro Bay. The next night in Carmel in the Hofbrau Inn. That night Kent washed his garments out (he forgot to pack extra pairs) and put them over the heater to dry and they burned--big giant holes. Because he had no others to wear he had to wear them. We spent the next night in Oakland by the temple. I think we attended a temple session, and church near there on Sunday. I know that we attended the San Francisco Ballet, the Nutcracker Suite I believe.

1974, Honeymoon December 21

Kent and I marry and take a honeymoon to northern California. We stayed at our apartment from December 21 to the 25. On the 26th we went to Morrow bay at the Golden Tee Motel. I was drying my garments and burnt them. On the 27 we stayed at the Hoffsa House in Carmel. We got drenched in the rain and had dinner at the Spinning Wheel Steak House. On the 28th we drove the 17-mile ride on Monterey Peninsula. Then went to San Francisco and saw the Coit Tower. We looked for a motel, stayed at the Holiday Inn in Oakland, went to bookstores and saw the Nutcracker Suite at the War Memorial Opera House. On the 29th we went to church by the temple, had lunch at the Fisherman’s Grotto, saw the Golden Gate and Golden Gate Park and art museum. The 30th we dove home in 6 and a half-hours. I cooked my first meal. We had friend chicken, burnt potatoes, and broccoli, chicken gravy, fresh carrots, celery, milk in a silver pitcher. We also had our first family home evening on Eternal marriage. We talked about how we intended to make God a part of our marriage and promised to have family prayer, home evening, go to the temple, go to church, do scripture reading and try to live the commandments.

A Little Tiff

I remember on our way to the Ballet that Kent and I got into a tiff. Probably because we were tired out from going all the time on so little sleep. I was eating some carrots and he got really annoyed with me for eating them so noisily, and my feelings were hurt.

We tried to say our prayers every day and attend to our church responsibilities, and do what was right, but the reality of every day married life to one so emotionally immature and ill prepared as I was put me into a state of cultural shock. Our little apartment, which had nothing but a bed and a stereo, was quite depressing during the day with Kent gone. We had hardly any lamps and the homemade curtains over the windows made it so dark inside. I remember sitting with my hands folded hardly able to do anything in the way of work or recreation. I could barely cook, and we had few utensils. I burned our first meal of potatoes and chicken. We took some of our wedding presents back to the stores in exchange for money or other items we needed like pots and pans. Kent got an old wooden spool that we covered with a tablecloth to eat on and we sat on stools. On Sundays Kent lay around in his garments on an old green vinyl swaybacked sofa that was given to us and wanted to watch TV all day--not at all like my dad whom I rarely saw out of a suit his whole life. I remember being afraid to call home for fear I would cry if I heard my daddy's voice or become defensive if I heard my mother's.

We stayed in the one-bedroom "hole" apartment on Oak Street a couple of months, and then moved to a wonderful airy upstairs two-bedroom apartment on Hill Street just a few blocks from the beach and the chapel. It was owned and managed by Goldie Schiess and his wife. He was on the high council and later became our bishop. Most of the people he rented to were LDS like ourselves, and we paid the same amount ($150.00 month) of rent for this delightful place as we did the previous one. The Schiess charged us much less than they could have if they wanted to. A mature couple in the ward (the Sergeant’s) gave us a refrigerator they didn't want any more.

Some Rough Times
January 17, 1979

I've always told Suzanne that she believes others but she doesn't believe me. Suzanne was pretty sick tonight. She wanted to go to M.I.A. even though she was ill. I said she shouldn't and she told me to bug off. She then said she might call her dad. I encouraged her to do so. She did. She said she wanted to go to the special event because she hadn't delegated very well. Her dad said "listen to your husband." I smiled.

1979 January 21

Suzanne again looks terrible and had a temperature of 100 but she wants to hold a YW presidency meeting. I encouraged her not too. She said she would go even though sick. I went to priesthood and had Bishop Higley call her and suggest that she is sick and should stay home. He says: “Listen to your husband. If you don’t we’ll release you. We appreciate all things you have done for our youth but your family should come first.” When I got home Suzanne said I had embarrassed her, then smiled at me.


1978 August

Suzanne and I go to Hawaii with Madeline Hunter. We enjoyed Hanamma Bay with clean water and fish, swimming in the toilet bowl. The slippery slide was great; the flowers Banyan trees, volcano, beaches, lush growth were inspiring. Suzanne liked the rain forests, the history of King Kamehamah and his family, the beaches, waterfalls, and fern grottos. It was a lovely romantic time away from everything.


1976 May 8, Chad is born.
Rachel is born.
Birth of a Child November 21, 1978

The loosely woven curtains to the right of my cherry wood sewing cabinet were fully drawn to let in as much light as possible this late afternoon, Tuesday, January 24, 1978. The ancient black motor, faintly resembling a giant mosquito, hovered motionless over the blue baby’s bubble suit that was beginning to take shape under my swift fingers from some leftover scraps of matching Christmas cardigans that I had made for my husband and son. In my private communication with eternity, I knew my unborn child was a girl whom I would name Rachel, “the beloved”. She would be my parent’s first granddaughter. Because my yearning for her was so deep souled, I outwardly pretended, even to myself, that this one would be another boy. I could not bear my “premonition" to be wrong, and I must confess that I tend to be a “doubting Thomas”.

I was ready for “him” to be born-had been ready for three weeks now. The bags were packed and waiting the large pink Samsonite suitcase filled with underwear, nightgowns, robe, and slippers for me to take to the hospital; a small, monogrammed, blue d-denim bag leaning next to it containing my “Lamaze kit”; a voluminous “Save-Our-Trees” muslin bag stuffed with diapers, toys, change of clothes, and a schedule for Chad I even had a list made out of things to grab at the last minute. It had been so long since I had gotten ready that I had had to use several of the “take-a-longs” several times over already.

I was two days overdue and I was tired of the waiting. Tired of the gawks people gave my bulking shape as I waddled around still! Tired of having my form-conscious vanity dampened by my tight, ballooning distention, my elephantine bulge, that kept me from wearing anything remotely chic. Tired of the pain in my lower abdomen, of muscles that angrily protested against this unaltered burden. Tired of the utter humiliation of vomiting after meals with such violence that the contents of my already squished bladder gushed warmly down my legs (and of having my one-and-a-half year old son imitate my actions. Tired of the terrible dark depression, wondering if the baby would be born whole or well, or even alive. Tired of the constant ache in the small of my back caused by my disproportioned posture, and the longing for the time when the small of my back would effortlessly hug the bed’s flat surface instead of arching painfully away. Tired of lying awake the first half of the night with heartburn; or worse, getting up at 2 a.m. to empty my punished bladder and lying awake the last half. And I was tired of sleeping on the couch because it was the only thing that gave in to my bulges and sags. I WAS READY FOR THIS BABY TO BE BORN!

San Gabriel Valley Hospital

I liked its moderate charges, too. We passed my dad’s out-dated, chief-of-staff picture on the corridor wall and passed again just inside the metal doors as another cramp rolled forth.


“There’s your father now. Hello, Dr. Brown. Do you want to check her now, or would you like me to?”
“Oh I will,” he said congenially. “Hi Precious, how are you?” His face crinkled up and he stooped to kiss my cheek. “Let’s get her settled.” I was wheeled into the bright, posie-papered labor room. My dad disappeared while I changed into the blue-checked hospital gown. I left my socks on; remembering how ice-cold my feet got last time during transition.


It seemed as natural for me to trust my dad now as it had when I was a little girl. He would always be “daddy” to me-a soft warm, mountain of complete understanding and unconditional love. I liked the way his soft brown eyes melted; into his heavy jowls when he smiled at me in his tender way of saying, “You’re precious to me”. He was the archetype of all fathers, the ultimate Christian man. When I was a little girl, often times in my prayers the difference between the earthly father and the Spiritual Father became confused. I seemed to know the one because of my relationship with the other. I felt they both had my best interests at heart, even if it meant hurting me a little.


I gulped and mentally pushed the curtains of my modesty and self-dignity aside. I, who had been a virgin until marriage and had known and would only know one man, found it terribly painful to be probed and displayed in such an ungraceful manner, but if I had to endure it, I would rather let my Marcus Welby mannered, clinical father poke me than any young and good-looking “Dr. Kildaire.” Once, I had to get a physical exam at Cedars-Sinai hospital because a government study program I was involved in required me to do so. The doctor was in his late twenties and had dark curly hair and deep blue eyes. I nearly died. I thought, I’ve dated and loved guys older than you do and I never let them do what you, a perfect stranger, are doing. It was terrible.


My dad came in the room and spoke quietly to the nurse while pulling on a second-skin-like glove. “I’m not doing very much,” I told him, “my bag of waters hasn’t broken yet.” He nodded thoughtfully. “Okay, I’ll be as gentle as I can, honey.” I gritted my teeth and mentally blocked out all my inner feelings. ”Let’s see, that’s (probing) um m..(o-o-O-OW! I screamed.) Three centimeters,” he said coolly, ramming his hand up to my navel and withdrawing it warm and dripping. “I broke the Amniotic sac, “he casually said aside to the nurse. I gasped painfully and clutched the sides of the bed. “I’m sorry, honey,” he looked at me sheepishly. “This way it’ll get things moving a little faster. You don’t want to be here all night, do you? I shook my head, still in a state of shock. “Okay,” he squeezed my knee. “I’ll let the nurse prep you and send Kent in a little later.”


“Surprised you, huh? The little oriental nurse said shyly as she bustled about, arranging pads under me and gathering a razor and enema bag. I was still too shaken to mind the further indignity of the shave and enema treatment. Amniotic fluid oozed warmly out between my legs, wetting the bed linen and trickling across the floor as I trotted to the bathroom. When I came out Kent was waiting for me 9in a chair beside the bed, flipping thorough the T.V. channels. I recalled that when I was in labor with Chad he had found an early morning Laurel and Hardy movie on television. He bucked it up and then, exhausted by all the excitement and lack of sleep had curled behind me on the same narrow twin bed and fallen asleep. He only roused himself when I yelled, “rub my back!” with a lazy massaging motion of his left hand. At any other time I would have found him amusing, but at that time I fumed at his seeming insensitivity to my ordeal.


This time I made him leave the channel on a dull Fred MacMurray movie about a woman-president of the United States and all the problems her husband MacMurray had. The dialogue and action were so dry I had to really concentrate to comprehend any thing that made sense. And by now I needed the concentrated distraction. The contractions began rolling forward again forcefully and hard. I sucked on ice chips and began my second-phase breathing. “pant-pant-pant-pant-blow”, thinking to myself that child’s rhyme, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” in rhythm with the breathing. I alternately focused my eyes on the clock (just 20 more seconds I can hang on for just 20 more seconds now 10 more) and Fred MacMurray’s mouth (What nonsense is he saying?) The contractions lasted 60 to 75 seconds and came every two to four minutes. They started in my lower back and moved up to my rib cage and then forward and down to my cervix. My round belly was so sore. I couldn’t stand anything touching it nor could I stand leaving it alone. I slid my fingertips along my side and moved them forward and down the contraction, sometimes with hand lotion, sometimes with ice water. My cervix cramped with a dull pain, like a charley horse, during every contraction, s. I gave in to each pain, mentally shouting: ”Open! O-o-op-en!” As if I could will it to dilate a centimeter each time. The vertebrae in the small of my back ground mercilessly and I cried for Kent to rub it harder. Rolling two tennis balls against my back with his palms and all his might, he helped relieve the pressure and made the pain tolerable. It was uncomfortable lying on my side. But even more uncomfortable on my back because I had no relief from the back labor.


I shifted my weight absently as an uncomfortable movement churned my bowels, and remembered the amusing events before my son Chad’s labor. He was due on Mother’s day, May 9, 1976. The Friday night before his due dates Kent and I went to a friends’ wedding reception. I made a pig of myself on the refreshments and joked about him “making camp” in my tummy. We came home early and watched Maureen Stapleton in “Belle of the Stardust Ball”, then cuddled to sleep in bed until 2 a.m. I awoke to a pop, not unlike a fetus’ single hiccough. I got up to go to the bathroom and couldn’t get off the toilet. A slow dribble of water trickled down my legs. The realization that this was the onslaught of labor sent little electric thrills through my body.


I wrapped a blue and gold hand towel between my legs and eased back into bed to try and get some more sleep. The waves of gentle contractions rolling from the small of my back towards my pelvic bone every tin minutes re-electrified me each time until I was wide-awake with calm anticipation. I decided to clean up my room so my mother and mother-in-law wouldn’t discover my “file system” stacked in disorderly piles beside the bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed and shuffling through papers, I inadvertently awoke Kent, who sprung out of bed like a frightened cat when I told him yes, I was in labor. I told him to go back to sleep that it would be hours before we’d even need to go to the hospital. (Labor with first babies averages close to twenty hours.” He said he couldn’t, that he was too nervous. He chattered excitedly, paced the floor, pulled on his clothes, and then ran out to find a gas station open near Ocean Park and Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica at 3 a.m. Every time I moved it felt as though all my insides from my diaphragm down where roll over a bumpy road. I took my half an hour just to get dressed. I knew I’d never make it through cleaning the bedroom or fixing Kent’s lunch. When he returned with the car, a teak-blue MGB, I told him he’d better pull some frozen sandwiches out of the freezer. He said that he was so excited and nervous he wouldn’t be able to eat. He said that he felt like vomiting. He called my dad to ask him what we should do; the contractions were five minutes apart, and out hospital, in San Gabriel, was forty minutes away. My dad sleepily told us to go on over to the hospital and let the nurses check me, we could always go over to my parent’s house if I “wasn’t doing anything much”.


I braced my legs again and the present came sharply into focus as another pain churned inside my bulge under Kent’s “El Sleuth” sweatshirt. Could I be in labor? But my bag of waters hadn’t broken yet, nor had I lost my mucous plug. I had had Braxton-Hickson contractions before, but not this insistent or regular. I laid the sewing down and looked at my watch. It was nearly six o’clock time to get dinner on for Chad and Kent. Maybe if I moved around the contractions would go away. That was supposed to be the way you could tell real labor from false labor: in real labor the contractions get harder; in false labor, the contractions lessened or disappeared.


I hobbled into the kitchen, threw some hamburger on the fire, and began grating Mozzarella cheese with one eye on the clock. The strong turning-over sensation came every 10-15 minutes. Chad’s labor, from start to delivery had been only seven hours. Since successive labors are much, much less and since Panorama City is nearly as far from San Gabriel as Santa Monica, I was a bit concerned about getting to the hospital in time. No time for pizza, it’ll have to be pizza-burgers-eaten on the run. Kent scurried circles around me, throwing the sandwiches into brown paper bags, chucking all the gear into the brown Plymouth Valiant, calling the friends who were going to watch Chad, and calling my mom to make sure my dad would get the message and meet us at the hospital. I lived in fear of having the baby in the car. Or, almost as dreadful, not making connections with my father.


We pulled up to Bob and Judy Garcia’s house about 6:45 p.m. Chad recognized the house and began to giggle with eager anticipation. He bounded up the walk, darted through the partially open door, and be-lined right for the boys’ bedroom and toy box. Kent and I looked at each other and laughed, embarrassed, and my heart thrilled a note in my throat. It was hard to leave him, my soon-to-be-no-longer only child. I struggled awkwardly up the driveway to plant a kiss on his flushed, fair face. He beamed enthusiastically back, happy just to be with other children.


I made my way slowly back to the car, leaning heavily on Kent, and thought about hat first, wild early morning ride to the hospital. It was about 3:45 a.m. when we finally pulled ourselves together, ready to leave. Thoughtful Kent had parked the car at the end of the block and across the street from our white, black-trimmed apartment building. I panted my way down each step of the flight of stairs from our second-story apartment, pausing frequently, and remembered wryly how my neighbor had chuckles when she told me that she had thought she could just waltz into the hospital right before delivery. Now I understood why she had laughed so hard. I could hardly walk, let alone waltz, and I was barely into first-stage labor. I heaved heavily against a lighted street lamp while Kent yelled at me and rearranged bags under the MG’s back latch. A passing motorist hung his head out the window and gawked with unabashed curiosity. I chuckled out loud as I imagined the hilarity that his situation must appear to others. Our little sports car hugged the road and I felt every bump, every rock, every indentation and chuckhole. Every gearshift ground my spine; every jolt reverberated throughout my system. I put my hands, palms down on the leather seat, under my thighs to act as shock absorbers. Studiously practicing my controlled breathing and effleurage (abdominal massage), I focused on the license plate of the car ahead and counted the minutes.


The ride over to the hospital this second time was much easier. not just because this car rode smoother, but because the labor was much milder. This is a piece of cake, I thought. I don’t even have to think about distracting myself. The blurring lights along the lightly traveled Golden State Freeway had a fuzzy, dream-like quality about them. Everything seemed unread. It is strange how the mind detaches itself from the body during momentous occasions and looks on as an amazed and neutral observer. I felt my ego slip away from my id and hover slightly above and behind my head, noting with casual interest the various happenings. It didn’t seem possible that this could be happening to me that I (me!) was having my second child already. My ego’s self-identification will always be that of a young free spirit. It seemed that there were not two people riding along in that car sharing the same front seat, but three people: a pleasant-looking man not much past thirty, a mother-to-be in her early twenties, and an invisible, slim young girl, perhaps in her late teens.

Kent ran into the main entrance and came out with a wheelchair. They wheeled me into the dimly lit waiting-admittance area. The T.V. was on (I think it was a horror film—Dracula chasing a pretty young girl around a castle dungeon) and a few people lounged in the shadows. It was 7:30 p.m. While Kent parked the car, I filled out the admittance form and answered “Dr. J. Brown” to the receptionist’s query. “Good, he’s in already and waiting for you. We can take you back now.” I heaved a sigh of relief. Last time he showed up “just to see how (I) was doing”, and I delivered forty –five minutes later. I wanted no close calls this time. The nurse paused at my insistence as another contraction somersaulted forward and down my tightening belly. Then she began the long walk towards the double metal swinging doors in the outside middle curve of the “m”-shaped, one-story hospital. It was a small, old community hospital, with only an eighty-patient capacity. My dad said he liked to send his “special” patients here because of the slower pace and more personal attention they received here than at most other monstrous, prison/hotel like medical complexes. I and four of my five brothers and sisters were born in this same hospital some sixteen to twenty-three years earlier.

My dad checked on me briefly a little after 8:30 p.m. He patted my head gently and said, “It’s just a matter of putting in time, honey.” I couldn’t respond. I prayed for the time to go by faster and continued to will my cervix open with each successive contraction-that seemed more like one long, continuous contraction, with varying highs and lows, strengths and relaxation’s.

At 9:15 p.m. Kent pulled on a surgical suit while the nurse and my dad slid me into the same delivery room where I had been born twenty-three years earlier. “I feel like
My—back—is—going—to—break—in--two!” I whimpered as the nurse strapped my legs down in the stirrups.


“Oh dear, sounds like it’s posterior. That’s the way Johanna (my older sister) had Matthew. I’ll see if I can turn it around in a little bit.”


Kent lifted my shoulders with a pillow. I held my breath, gasped, and bore down as hard as I could, my face turning red and my ears popping, then lay back on the table weakly. “Tell me when the next contraction comes.” My dad sat on the stool at the end of the table. “Now! No, Yes, now! A-a-agh get your hand out of there! Stop!
I don’t care how the baby is born JUST GET YOUR HAND OUT1’


My dad smiled. “ I think I got it turned around Wait Ah, it turned back the other way
that’s too bad.” I groaned. I wanted out. All my will and fortitude were gone. My back felt like it was breaking in two and I felt like I was stuck in limbo. Held in suspension between two worlds, the dead and the living, I belonged to neither one. I did not want to go through with this any longer. My dad paced the floor and knit his brows. I thought about one of my girls to whom I am an advisor in my church, who had given birth to her illegitimate child (since then given up for adoption) just a week ago. At the time I only thought about the situational irony of this seventeen-year old girl who had never known a sick or uncomfortable day in her entire pregnancy, having her girl one week before mine and two weeks earlier than due. Now I remembered she had delivered Cesarean because the baby was in a posterior position. Please, not a c-section, I prayed again, the tears riding down my temples.


“Okay, let’s do it again,” my dad said somberly. I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, and pushed down again. Tu-u-ur-rn it! I shouted against my mind’s walls, echoing and deafening my senses. “Oh, Father, Father, Father.” I groaned. It was no earthly father I called, but the upward stretching of my soul to clasp an omnipotent, invisible hand.


“Oh, dear, it’s turning back again. Well, we’ll leave it along.” He paced the floor again, agitated, and looked at me sharply. I can give you something if you want a saddle it’s only a little bit longer, though almost over try again there, it’s coming just a few more pushes can you push harder?” I shook my head weakly; my sensitivities numb with the agonizing discomfort. Kent spoke soothingly, encouragingly. Again and again I tried. Then ”Now it’s coming hold it, hold it (clip). Push now there’s the head!! One more push and you’ve got it honey.” I fell back on the table, heaving, took another breath, pushed hard, then shouted exuberantly as an exhilarating gush bulleted the baby into my dad’s waiting hands. “It’s a girl! A beautiful baby girl!” “Listen to that yell,” Kent joined in ”She sure is a feisty thing Yes, it’s a beautiful baby girl, born 10:05 p.m. with an Apgar score of ten.” My dad beamed. I fell weakly back on the delivery table, relief flooding my sensibilities. I watched him hold the squalling, red baby, sheathed in a white waxy coating, by the feet as he cleaned the mucous and fluid from her nose and mouth with a bulb syringe. My spirit nodded silent assent. Yes, of course it was a girl. My dad laid her across my deflated stomach and I wept. A beautiful baby girl. A perfect little girl. Rachel. Rachel Ann Gardiner. I’d go through all this over again in a moment just to have you. Oh, thank you, thank you Father. A quiet elation filtered through my system and I cried, as I had done after Chad’s birth. The miracle of procreation had so awed me at that time that I had never again considered the sexual relationship between a man and a woman without the deepest reverence.


I did not seem to notice the stitches, the convulsive shaking, and the afterbirth cramps—they were nothing compared to what I’d just been through. The nurses wrapped the baby and I each in warm linen. We paused for pictures outside the nursery. Then I handed Rachel to the nurse and was placed on a firm, smooth bed in a dark room of the adjoining wing of the maternity ward. Ah, it felt so good to feel the bed’s hard surface press against my sore back, and see my flattened tummy. Kent kissed me and went out to call his parents.


My dad appeared some time later, dressed in his customary suit. Placing his hand on my head, he whispered. “Well, you have a beautiful little girl. She has pretty features looks a lot like you did when you were born.  You were a pretty baby her head is a little flattened, but that will straighten out. Near as I can tell she looks all right—none the worse for wear I called Mother; she sends her love you know what I put in the hospital report? ‘This is the most beautiful little baby girl ever born in this hospital” he laughed softly, “a grandfather’s prerogative. Well, try and get some sleep now. You did a good job, honey. I love you. “ He kissed my forehead. I smiled and sank into the darkness and a kind of soul sleeping.


Secrets of Waikapalae Wet Cave 1978


“Waikapalae Wet Cave was made by the Fire Goddess Pele upon her arrival in the Hawaiian Islands, expecting to find fire at the earth’s core rather than fresh water.” I read aloud from the “Wiki Wiki Wheels U-Drive” guidebook while my husband maneuvered the compact rent-a-car along the winding two-lane highway. "An eerie cavern filled with limpid green water, no one can explain why the icy pool occasionally turns cloudy. By diving into the chilly water and swimming under the wall of the mountain one comes up in a secret room, reported to be an ancient trysting place for lovers. It is said that bellows from mo’o (giant lizard trapped under the earth’s surface) can sometimes be heard at night.”


The idea of exploring this mystical place intrigued me. What enchanting tales did it harbor? “Let’s go find it!” I turned to Kent excitedly. “And look for the secret room?” he grinned slyly and raised his eyebrows in rapid succession. “Just tell me where to go and I’ll take you there,” he said lightly.


My eyes probed the blurring roadside for the capped King Kamehameha-pictured marker. “There it is! Turn left—how!” Kent turned the wheel sharply, throwing me against the door. Shifting the rust-colored Toyota into low, we skidded up the narrow gravelly road about a hundred yards and parked on the edge of a dirt cul-de-sac, facing the highway. Chattering female voices and door’s slamming drew our attention to a small group of woman preparing to leave.
Kent: “Hey! My wife thinks there’s a cave around here that you can dive in and come up in some secret room.” (I wrinkled up my nose.)

Lady driver: “You mean the ‘blue room’? Yes, I’ve gone inside it. Not this year, though. It’s really neat, you should see it.”

Kent “Can you see the room? How do you find it?”

Lady driver: “I came last year in the afternoon and the sun was shining inside the cave and the water was so clear—you see the rocks on the bottom. It was sort of a turquoise-blue color. There’s a little tunnel about this big”—she raised her arms and touched her fingertips above her head—on the right side of the cave…oh, about halfway in. I rode in on an inner tube. Or you can dive under the ledge of the right wall of the cave and come inside. Some of my friends did that…that might be your best bet.”
“Okay, thanks.”
I kicked off my cloddy wooden shoes, rolled up the window, smacked the door lock, and clambered out of the car. To the left of the access road a jagged and steep path, obscured by heavy hillside growth, climbed straight up the mountain. I eyed it unhappily. Cheerful voices floated down over the treetops. Taking my husband’s hand, I gingerly picked my way over the rocky trail. Sharp volcanic rock dug into my tender city feet. I lunged from one rough level to another—deliberately searching out the smoother surfaces. Even the flatter, worn rocks were covered with a thin layer of sharp, granulated rocks that produced “Ooh’s!” and “Ah’s!” between my gritted teeth. I wryly imagined in former times a bronze Hawaiian youth urging his complaining maiden lover, whispering, “Come on, only a little further...it’ll be worth it, I promise you…”


Cresting the top of the hill, I paused breathlessly to view the gaping cavern below me. The path zigzagged down a few feet, halting at a cumbersome boulder, then split to the right and left, tumbling over large rocks and loose gravel to the glassy water’s edge. The cave was a partially submerged cup carved in the face of a neck-craning, solid cliff. An arch as perfect as any rainbow’s marked the cup’s lip, or mouth of the cave. The bowl’s rippled wall on the right side, however seemed dented in, for rather than curving convexly out in a smooth crescent, it angled over to the left side so that the water on the left of the cave was cut deep into the mountain, while the right strip of water thinned out into rough terra firma. The vary-hued water’s surface looked like a shiny wedge of pie. The mid-afternoon sun’s rays illuminated only the opening of the arch, but from where I stood the pool did not look limpid green at all. It changed, like a painter’s stick, from translucent turquoise just below me, to murky brown in the far-reaches of the cave.


I stumbled down the scarred hillside to have a closer look. Each of us perched on a separate rock; Kent and I stood alone in the warm natural amphitheater. I peered anxiously into the dark water near the right wall, looking for the tunnel, while Kent laughed loudly and listened to its hollow magnifying echo.

“Do you see the tunnel? He asked interestedly.
“Well…” I hesitated. “I think I see it in the middle there.” I pointed to a lumpy indentation rising a little above the water line. “It looks like it goes in a little ways and then turns to the right. I’d have to get over closer to tell.”
“Oh, yes, I see it now. Can you see into the room?”
“Not from here. Why don’t you swim over and have a peek?”
“Who me? Not me!” he said emphatically. “I wouldn’t go in that water you go. You’re the brave one in this family, remember?”
I screwed my mouth up in a pout. “Humph!” I snorted. My gaze wavered between the forbidding water at my feet, the silhouetted hill behind me, and fortress rock before me. I visualized the room behind that impregnable buttress, lying the same as it had for centuries…. The light filtering in from somewhere above, casting perhaps a soft blue light on the worn rock bed…maybe fern icicles dangling from the ceiling like in a fern grotto…silence, except for the erratic drip, drop of water falling from stalagmites…the “blue room”…I sighed. It would be a shame for us to have come this far, perhaps for the only time in our lives, and leave without having visited this haunting secret room.


Reluctantly, I dipped my foot into the icy water. “Oooh! That’s co-o-old!” Huge rocks and boulders avalanched long ago from the hill behind me. Tumbled a few yards into the pool’s depths. Then the pool’s bottom dropped out of sight into subterraneous levels. I splashed from rock to rock towards the edge of the impenetrable deep. “Ouch! Oh agh! The rocks are cutting my feet and the water is just free-ee-eezing!”


“Well, dive in and start swimming,” my husband shouted encouragingly.


I teetered hesitantly on a slippery pedestal. Well, I was in this far…”Okay,” I said less enthusiastically. Taking a big breath, I shut my eyes and leaped ungracefully into the chilly darkness. I whooped and flailed my quickly to the right wall, feeling the blood petrify in my numb veins from the coldness. I paused, treading water, near the bumpy indentation.


“Can you see anything?”
“I don’t know,” my teeth chattered, “it curves to the right, and I can’t see where it goes. I think I see a light, though.” Was it my imagination or was there a faint eerie blue light glowing from within? I got as close as I could to the watery tunnel without knocking my head on the low hanging rock or dipping my chin into the freezing water. Maybe the blue tint was my imagining, but it did seem as though eerie was some light coming from somewhere, because I could see no shadows although the irregular roof dipped and arched and angled this way and that.


“Really? Kent called excitedly. “Can you swim inside the tunnel and see where it goes?”
“Not without diving under the water, the roof of the tunnel’s too low.” I shivered as I mulled this idea over in my brain. What if I dived down into the water and never came up again? I felt like I was hovering over a black bottomless pit and in my vivid mind’s eye I could see mo’so blinking up at me and reaching a scaly claw to drag me under forever.
“Um-m-m, I think I’m going to get out now,” I stammered, trying to be nonchalant. “You come over and take a look.” I swam hurriedly towards the submerged rocks, passing over—was that a warm spot? The water swirling past my thighs seemed almost comfortable for a moment, then goose-pimply cold again. I was engulfed by another warmer spot that moved from my wrists down to my ankles. I paused a few seconds, startled, then thrashed wildly for shore. My knee caught on the jagged edge of an unseen obstacle and I scrambled for safety. Out of the darkness and into the warm sunlight I shrugged my fears off. Too much television I laughed to myself.


“Okay, your turn,” I turned to Kent. “ I did it, now you do it. It’s not so bad, really, once you get going.”
“Well, all right…boy, it is cold…is it ever cold…this is really cold water!” he shrieked, splashing and stumbling into the dark deep. “Whoa!” He frog-legged it over to the center of the right wall. “There’s no light coming from in there…no, maybe there is…I can’t tell, but there does seem to be a faint glow about it.”
“Why don’t you swim under water and see where it goes? I called.
“Unh, unh! I’m not going in there. I’m getting out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”
“Me, too.” I watched him struggle into the rocks. We stood looking uncertainly into the mute cavern. What had it been like long ago? Two lovers stealthily feeling their way to the pool’s edge in the moonlit night…they are followed by a silent third…a struggle…one lover lies motionless, staring with sightless eyes from the bottom of the pool’s depths…the other two leave swiftly, one sobbing…


My attention is averted by a rock falling from the hilltop at my back and the sound of scuffling. I jumped involuntarily. From behind a boulder bounded two almond-shaped eyes peering beneath a cap of black shiny hair. This little oriental boy was followed by a little oriental girl in sable pigtails, smiling oriental woman, thirty-fivish, and a short oriental man with poised camera in his hands.


“Hey, you guys should go swimming here, it’s loads of fun,” Kent hollered up to the man.
“In there? You’re kidding?! “ The man’s mouth dropped.
“Sure, you’ll have a great time.” We both laughed. “You see there’s this secret room…” I tuned Kent’s voice out as I thought of that mystical.


March 19, 1979


Kent's birthday yesterday fell on a Sunday, and he celebrated it quietly serving the Lord and his family. He went to Priesthood, watched the kids while I went to a Young Women's Meeting. Then we went to Sunday school. He got the kids down for naps and went to an interview with the Stake President, came home, we all went to Sacrament meeting, and then after I made dinner and went to a fireside, he put the children in bed (Whew!) He's another year older and another year more appreciated and adored by his wife. The Lord has truly blessed me with great men in my life who love me, take care of me, encourage and help me and keep me in line. I know the Lord gave me to Kent, and together we do make a great team. He is strong where I am weak and vice versa. I appreciate his simple heart, faith, goodness, constancy, kindness, thoughtfulness, evenness, dependability, and helpfulness. He's a doer, not a hearer only, and is becoming the great patriarch of our family I knew he would become and married him for. I would choose him all over again, and go on choosing him again and again throughout eternity. We were meant for each other. We belong together. We fit like 2 halves of a puzzle, I pray that the Lord may bless me to become his queen and priestess both now and in the eternities. He is my eternal love and lover. May I live more worthy and grateful of this great blessing from the Lord a righteous husband and father to my children. Always yours,


Suzanne Gardiner


1980


Kent and Suzanne move into the Hyssop Home on 27712 Hyssop Saugus, with Chad and Rachel.


1980 March 24


Eric is born in the San Gabriel hospital. At first I had wanted to stall so Kent could see the birth but that lasted only a few minutes. Very quickly my one consuming interest became pushing the baby out and getting it over with. I soon got the knack of bearing down, and as soon as the head poked through, dad had HIM out. We were all elated: me, because I think I had secretly wanted a boy, and my dad, because he had delivered his own grandson on his own birthday—March 26, 1980, Wednesday. Kent walked in not 5 minutes after Eric’s birth, while they were cleaning me up. He took pictures of the baby and all of us. Eric was born at 9:15.pm.


1981 April 19


The week before last I complimented Suzanne on giving her lesson to the Stake ladies. A day or so later Suzanne told me that she had placed all of my clothes that I left out that night into the trashcan! She later reconsidered it and took them out! When she told me this I lay down on the floor and laughed till my sides hurt!


1983 July 21

As I held hands with your father in a Swanson’s ice cream parlor the night before you were born, I told him that “As difficult as this has been for me (physically) and as crazy as the world must think us for wanting another child, I know that 20, 30 or even a million years from now, we will look back at this moment as being very special.

1983, July 22

Ryan Philip was born Friday morning July 22, at 9:22 a.m. Delivery and labor went fine – except it was tough to push him out. I guess we were all expecting a tiny little girl, and were surprised to find out it was a BIG boy instead: 23 inches long, 9 pounds 1 oz. And he is beautiful, a perfect “10” baby. He has medium brown hair, medium complexion, well proportioned, all the right number of fingers, toes etc. And he’s a good cuddlier and sleeper. He already is trying to focus in on people’s faces and is interested in sounds of people’s voices, water running, etc.

1986 February 22, Ashley

After having Ryan, we looked forward to having another child in the family. Ryan had been the model baby. We could take him camping, to the movies, and church was a breeze. He was always happy, content and peaceful. I babysat some older children of two mothers in the ward who were having babies and began to yearn for another baby myself. We talked about conceiving another child in a few months when we thought our financial situation would be improved enough so that we could buy a larger home. We already had four children in our small three-bedroom home and didn’t see how we could fit another one in.

But then surprise! Surprise! The week following Memorial Day, just after we got home from camping in King’s Canyon with the Beitlers, we conceived. For several months previous to this, I had been having some physical problems. and worried about being able to have more children. One afternoon while taking a nap, I was awakened by a male authoritative voice saying very distinctly; “You will have two daughters”. I was working in the stake Young Women’s presidency at the time, and so really hoped that I would have a little girl

That night at the temple, I was thrilled to be proxy for a woman named Rebecca, a name Kent and I had treasured for some time for our next girl, and also the name of my 3rd great grandmother whose temple work had recently been done. We felt that this was an “omen”, as the last temple visit before Rachel’s birth I had been proxy for Rachel Ann.

When discussing the name Rebecca two weeks before with the other children, some of them weren’t sure if they liked it or not. Chad suggested the name Ashley, the name of a girl at school he had a crush on (but wouldn’t admit). There was a darling little girl at Kent’s school named Ashley May, and so he said that if it was a girl, he might nickname her Ashley May. I didn’t like the name May, it sounded too southern-belle-ish. So Rachel’s suggestion was to compromise with the name Ashley Rebecca and we all liked that.

Her favorite things to eat are popsicles, watermelon, bananas, hotdogs, milk, string cheese, graham crackers, cheerios, grapes, bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Nutter Butter Cookies, ice chips, and raisin bran cereal. She never really eats a meal; she just snacks all day long. She likes to eat something about every 45 minutes, in between looking at Golden Books and hitting you in the chest while grunting and pointing to the pictures of animals. She wants you to give the sounds that the animals give. This, and going for a ride in her stroller are her two favorite things to do. When she wants something, she comes up and hits you on the leg or points and grunts, lowers her eyebrows and frowns with her whole face when she doesn’t get her own way, and rubs her eyes with her hands when you tell her no. She is rather difficult to resist. She is able to say quite a few words, like” thank you, ma, daddy, amen, ball, bus, meow, kitty cat" but she rarely used this language. Most of the time she just points and says "Tsshhh". She absolutely hates baths, and the mere mention of the subject is enough to send her shrieking from the room. Her father’s dousing of her has her quite traumatized. She does like to put on her little swimsuit and play in the children’s pool at the Association pool here. In fact she loves to drape over her head or around her neck any clothes she finds of her older siblings, and particularly likes some little white sandals she inherited from the Jim White family when they moved.


1987 England

In January I got a letter from the British South Mission stating that they planned on having a missionary reunion in England during October. We left on October 1, and that morning we had a 6.8 earthquake that had us all rushing for sanctuary under the dining room table. However we were undaunted and we took Ashley, Rachel, and Eric over to the Gardiners and Chad and Ryan over to the Browns.

Suzanne wanted a bus tour of London and I insisted that it was a waste because we were going to see it all anyway. We went to visit St. Pauls and Westminster Abbey, which was closed and then went home. I learned that Suzanne has a few little needs, as we all do, that need fulfilling. Tours, soup, warmth, a nightly bath, regular food and sweetness are all she needs and she’s mine. The next day I insist that she take a bus tour of London and I walk the shops. Our feet
really ache tonight and the next few days just makes them hurt all the more.

Well, it is back to reality for us after a fairy tale adventure in England. And for us it was just that, a fairy tale. Two weeks alone with Suzanne, was just wonderful we saw three plays, two

in London and Shakespeare in Stratford. We visited small towns, castles, churches, stores and friends. We saw places I had lived in and streets that I had tracted. We went through the temple with 18 other former missionaries and the mission president and his wife. We held an unforgettable testimony meeting at Crawley chapel. We visited with people I had baptized twenty years before and even found that one of their children was having the discussions the very weekend we were there. It was absolutely wonderful to see these people again. One lovely young mother that I taught twenty years ago was pregnant back then and now twenty years later, she was a] pregnant again.

1987 December 31

Well, it is the end of the year. It has been a year of great sweetness and contentment in my personal relationship with Kent and the children, one of sadness and recommitment to the gospel truths through the death of my mother, and one of tremendous frustration financially, as planned escrows have drug on and on, and the depths piled higher and higher.

This past summer was like a second honeymoon for Kent and I, romantically speaking. We slept on the floor in the front room (while Ashley slept in the closet in our room), and developed such a closeness and sensitivity to each other – like many couples finally do after the children are grown and they spend time along together. We loved our trip to England for his mission reunion, it will always have a special place in our memories.

1988, February 8

Suzanne is a strikingly beautiful woman. Composed, thoughtful and intelligent. She usually weights 145 pounds, is 5 foot and 8 and a half inches tall with thick luxurious brunette hair, the kind others envy. Her brown eyes sparkle. She has an attractive figure that looks good in all kinds of clothing. She prefers red, turquoise and black. Traditional clothes are preferred but she is also comfortable in denim and tennis shoes.

Her hands are exquisite. They’re like matching set of doves; moving gracefully across find bone china, quietly resting on cut crystal. Pianists would die for such hands, long graceful ending in long sculptured fingernails.

She is a gifted communicator. With only one meeting people have told me what a wonderful, caring wife I have. She is extraordinary. In front of a group she presents herself as an organized glib, fun filled intelligent speaker. She has presence. Her writing also reflects her ability to communicate. She writes with the clarity, description and directness of English novelists. This is reflected in her extensive journal entries over the last 13 years. They are detailed, sensitive insightful portrayals of herself and her family. She has a phone book of phone numbers memorized, understands and can expound on the scriptures, is gregarious with all types of people and has style and culture. She is a wonderful person and a wonderful wife. Kent

Suzanne is 33 Years Old


Suzanne, February 8, 1988, Dear Family,

Well, I hit a BIG 33 this week. I thought that I'd be more depressed about it than I actually was. I guess I'm too busy with the family, Primary, Scouts, and PTA (and enjoying myself) to stew too much about it. Life does get better with the passage of time, if only we could figure out some way to get wiser without actually aging any. But maybe that's something we get in the Millennial Post Graduate Course.

Well, we still have no money, but not enough sense to believe we're very poor (although two escrows are scheduled to close this Wednesday Finally!). But in our free time, we've been compiling all our journal entries about the children into their personal histories on the computer. Rachel's history alone has over 45 pages more than I think I have on my whole life to date. It has been very fulfilling, renewing all our tender feelings for each other over the years from each child's birth to the present. I recommend this to all of you. With computers it is easy to compile and store information, and it has proven to be one of the most worthwhile undertakings we've ever done.

I came across my journal entry after Jim and Carol's temple wedding. Dad told a story about Elder David B. Haight who used to dream as a boy growing up in the farm fields of Idaho of hitting the winning run in the World's Series and thinking that was the greatest thing that could ever happen to him. Many years later he had the opportunity of performing the sealing for his youngest child, a boy, and as he looked around the room he saw all his children present with their spouses, he realized that this was the greatest dream to have. All of us were there, except for Charlie, who was on his mission. Dad said that this was he and mother's dream as well. A sweeter spirit I have never felt in all my life.

We had a very nice visit with Grandma and Dad on Saturday. The children enjoyed showing off their accomplishments. Chad just finished his Art Merit Badge and will be awarded the Star Rank in Scouting at his next Court of Honor on February 17th. He also won toastmasters in his classroom when he gave a presentation on art and animation. Rachel has been competing in multi regional Soccer games since her team was the All Valley winner in December. She is an avid reader in the Book It program sponsored by Pizza Hut, and is enjoying the Babysitters' Club series. Eric has been enjoying his after school art classes and is looking forward to being baptized next month on his birthday, March 26th. We'll have a family baptism at the stake center on Camp Plenty Road at 3:00pm, followed by dinner and joint Grandpa Brown/Eric birthday celebrations. Ryan, who was just getting over the flu (miraculously cured with M&M's and Root Beer), was Grandpa's special "buddy" the whole visit. Ashley flirted a little with both Grandpa and Grandma Great until falling asleep on the floor beside Kent and the TV (watching the broadcast of BYU's disastrous game with UAB). She came down with a fever during the night like Ryan, and was "cured" in similar fashion. Love y'all.


Shooting Ashley


Thursday, February 25, 1988

Today I took Ashley in for her two-year-old check up with Dr. Adrienne Altman, pediatrician. As we sat in the waiting room I heard the office staff discussing large families. One was telling about a woman she used to babysit for who had twelve children. She thought that this woman was crazy, and the most children that she wanted was two. As we were called in to the examination room I poked my head in the window and said, "I have five children and I wouldn't trade any of them in!" And I meant it.

Ashley sat on my lap and played contentedly with a preschool puzzle of a doggy, kitty cat and rabbit ("babbit"), three of her favorite animals while we waited for the nurse to come in. When she did, we took off her clothes and walked her down the hallway to the scales. But as soon as it came time to stand up on them by herself, she began to scream and cling to me, so the nurse had me stand on the scales with her, and then without to subtract my weight from the total. Ashley's cheeks got all flushed as she cried and tried to get up the scales with me. We tried sitting her on the regular baby scales to double check her weight, but she held her arms out to me and sobbed quite pathetically. She also contorted and would hardly lie down for her height measurement. She weighs 22lbs 10 ounces, and is 34 1/4 inches tall.

She sat on my lap and played with the puzzle during the doctor's visit, was quite interested in the stethoscope and ear/viewing instrument. She examined the latter quite intently after the doctor left it behind. She was pretty as a little angel perched securely on my lap with her blond curls framing her pink cheeks, white spotted scar on her forehead (from the infected mosquito bite last fall), her slender perfect body, and slightly knock(tm)kneed legs. When the nurse came back to give her a TB tine she just looked curiously at it, but began to wail after her HIV flu shot and finger poke for anemia. She wanted the band aids off right away after the nurse left. I think that the alcohol on the cotton balls which the nurse swabbed against her needle pokes stung Ashley's sensitive skin.


Friday, the 26th 1988

After Blazer scouts, Ashley went out to play tetherball in the back yard with Rachel and Elisha Challgren. She was wearing her purple corduroy pants, and mint green sweatshirt with purple and yellow designs on it. Cocked sideways on her head was Rachel's yellow baseball cap from Dr. Dean the dentist. She was smiling with pure delight and I so wished that I had a picture of that adorable "little babushka" or "pipsqueak" as we sometimes call her. I also call her my little "Maybelle, sleighbell" when she is in a bright cheery mood. She is a cutie pie.

March 2, 1988

Last weekend was a low point for me. I was feeling down because I had a blood test at my dad's office, just one week from giving blood at the Red Cross office, and so was slightly anemic. I was recovering from an ulcer attack and a high blood pressure scare the weekend before, and was feeling numb emotionally. I looked forward to seeing Chad perform as narrator for Patty Hatton's cub den (where he serves as Den Chief), but unfortunately we misunderstood when it was going to be presented and so he got there too late to do it. I felt awful, like a failure as a mother. Seeing my children do well has become my one compensation since failing financially these past few months. Sunday night I cried in the shower. I thought, we pay our tithing, why has this gone on so long (no escrows closing and constant borrowing on our credit cards to the limit)? I confess to praying lately as though the heavens were made of lead and my prayers were bouncing off. But on my knees that night, I humbled myself as I thought of many righteous people who have suffered more than us, and for the blessings that have come to us during this time: the chance for Kent and I to spend time together and develop a sweeter working relationship, the personal histories we've compiled on the children and our parents, the compassion we've felt for others who are suffering similar financial despair, and the redefined monetary goals we've set in the future.

Monday morning the 29th about ten o'clock I received a call from the realtor Deanne Tibbets that the escrow on our big rectangular lot in Val Verde would finally close that afternoon. I drove over to pick up the check for $16,335.30 in between helping Chad at the library find information for his Winter Olympics report on Free Style Skiing. It not only seemed almost anti climatic to have our financial woes finally resolved, but the check seemed so puny as I contemplated how fast it would go. When we left the library it was after 6:00pm, Kent was not home from his parents yet, and we needed to eat soon since Rachel and I were going to a Mother/Daughter night at Rosedale. So Chad, Ashley and I drove through the McDonald's Drive Thru Window on the way home and got 2 McDLT's, one 9 piece chicken McNuggets, 3 hamburgers, and 3 large fries. Even with our new found wealth I could not splurge too much after such dire straights not so previously, so I could not justify buying soft drinks or any Duck Tales' "Happy Meals".

Tuesday I was in charge of the Relief Society Birthday Dinner. For center pieces, I got blue/white/yellow helium balloons, tied through a yellow birthday hat onto a jam jar underneath. I got yellow napkins and used inexpensive pastel blue paper plates. It was festive, attractive, yet simple. We served French bread, lasagna, Jell-O-salad, and ice cream cake roll for dessert. By selling the center pieces (sans jam jars) for $1.00 each and buying back unused food, we were able to keep within the budget of S$75.00. Robin Conkling, Georgene Hamill, Patty Biddle, Shirley Rich, Marjorie Rodela, Eileen Summerhays and DeAnn Ferrari, served on the committee with me.

That night I got a lovely surprise when Robin Conkling chose me to be the sister of the month and gave a spotlight on me. She didn't give my name until the end, but I am sure that my red face and embarrassment gave me away. I had wondered why she and her husband Chris were being so chummy with Kent earlier in the day by phone. Then I found out: Kent supplied all of the information. She said:

The reason I chose this sister is because she and her family sat behind my parents when they came to here me talk in Sacrament meeting and they found out that they knew her parents. In fact both families had lived in the same ward when our parents were first married. We probably played together in the nursery. My dad was their family milkman and their home teacher for many years in El Monte. Her dad is my family's doctor and he delivered some of my nieces and nephews. My dad told me after that meeting that I should really get to know this sister because she would be someone worth knowing.

This sister delivered all of her children in the same hospital room and bed that she was delivered in and had the same doctor, who coincidentally is her father. She is one of six children. Her husband said that an early memory that he knew of was when she and her sister were arguing over a metal object and her sister got hurt. She felt very bad about it for many years, and this shows that she is a very sensitive person.


Trip


On Tuesday March 29th

We took the children for a drive up San Francisquito Canyon to South Portals Campground. There the children explored the campgrounds and Kent videotaped them. They found a rope swing from one of the oak trees that swung out over a ravine or wash. Kent was videotaping Eric swinging on the rope when suddenly Eric let go of the rope and dropped fifteen feet to the ground. It was a very frightening moment wondering if he was all right. Kent ran down the embankment, carried him to the top, and lay him on the ground on a blanket next to me. Fortunately, he only had a few scrapes, scratches, and bruises. Most of this is immortalized on videotape. A ten year old boy named Jarrett came with us. He is a friend of Eric's, but I think he developed a crush on Rachel. He spent most of his time playing with her. Ryan slid up and down the dirt slopes on his bottom and was covered with a layer of dirt.


On Friday April 1, 1988

Elisha Chalgren came with us to drive out 138 highway from Interstate 5 to the 14 Freeway. We were going to Aunt Judy's for dinner and wanted to look at the wild flowers on the way. The fields were bright orange with California poppies. Ashley got very excited whenever we passed some cows, and she would cry out "Cows...TWO cows!" Anything more than one is two for her. Kent pulled off the road at one patch and we ate a snack, played tag, and picked all the different types of flowers in bloom. When we got to Judy's we had a nice visit and dinner.

Dear Chad,



We are very proud of you on your twelfth birthday. You are a very wholesome, fine young man. You are smart, kind, good looking, a good example to your peer group, and have a lot together. We are especially proud of you for your worthiness to be ordained to the priesthood. That is the greatest attribute of all, and it will carry you through your life to the top.

The age of twelve is a milestone in your life. In the Jewish religion they give the boys a "Bar Mitzvah" when they turn twelve, to mark their entrance into manhood. The ordination to the priesthood is your entrance into manhood. As you honor it, it will prepare you to follow in the footsteps of the Greatest Man of all, our Heavenly Father.

We love you very, very much, and couldn't ask for a finer oldest son. Dad and Mom

This is a coupon for a free frozen yogurt sundae, redeemable any time.

Last Sunday May 1 1988

Brother Dave Riffo suggested to us that we have Chad's ordination the following Sunday at home in a family meeting rather than at church. The Deacon's quorum room is so small, and it is over with so quickly. At your home you can make your son the star of the program. It is more intimate and spiritual. He told about another family in the ward who did this and said he was going to recommend this to everyone from now on.

I called Bishop Parkinson to get approval but he was out of town until Friday. Both of his counselors, Brother Frank Balena and Brother Kevin Large were planning to spend Sunday afternoon with their mothers since it was Mother's Day. I wasn't sure what to do, but I prayed that Chad's ordination would be pleasing to the Lord, and that we could plan a very spiritual and memorable event in his life. I called the Bishop Friday evening after he returned to see if Sunday afternoon at three o'clock was okay and if he would be able to come also. He said that he would.

I wasn't sure about everyone's schedule since they were all planning to come in the morning to go to church with us, but when I called them all on Saturday, most of them said Sunday afternoon was better, then they could attend their own meetings in the morning or before coming here. Grandpa Brown, David Brown, Grandma Great Breiten, Grandpa and Grandma Gardiner, Aunt Audrey, and Uncle Mark and Karen Gardiner planned to attend.

Meanwhile Chad, Kent, Chris Harrison and another boy in the ward were up at Henninger Flats camping out so Chad to pass off his Environmental Merit Badge. I was really sweating this one out for him it's the toughest required Eagle Merit Badge. He had spent 8 hours over the last month studying the ecology at the Placerita Nature Center. On Sunday May 1, we went over the first part of the book together and logged in his observations. Then on Monday I took he and Chris and all the kids back to the Nature Center to make a map of the area to help put all of his notes of the plant and animal life, climate, topography, and geology into context. Also to help me understand the area so I could help him. I made a map too, really struggled with all the kids, and prayed for help. On Tuesday I helped him type up his 500 word report. On Wednesday we went over the last requirements in the book. On Thursday after Mother's Day and birthday shopping he packed, added to his map, and we reviewed the requirement questions again. I also helped Chris Harrison with his report

I gave the grandmas and Audrey their corsages and cards after they came, and kissed them. Chad's ordination seemed appropriate on Mother's Day, with all of getting together, and acknowledging our dependency on both the priesthood and motherhood.

I wanted to tape record the meeting. Kent set it up, showed me how to start it, and then I forgot to turn it on. Kent had been standing right by it and I assumed he had turned it on. I kept thinking during the meeting that I hoped the mike was picking everything up and that the dumb dog next door would shut up. I even considered shutting the window in the middle of Chad's ordination to muffle the barking on the tape, which wasn't even going. I was sitting clear across the room with everyone in between me and the Mike, so it was difficult to go check on the tape recorder anyway.

Kent conducted. He welcomed everyone, announced the opening song as "Come Follow Me". I quickly excused myself, grabbed a song book, and led everyone in the first verse. Uncle David Brown gave the opening prayer.

The Bishop welcomed Chad as the newest Aaronic Priesthood holder into the ward, and said that he would have the quorum sustain him next Sunday in church. Kent asked me if I wanted to say a few words as his mother and I said that I was very happy; this was a very nice Mother's Day for me. I felt the sweet peace of the Spirit in our home and hearts. We sang "Shall the Youth of Zion Falter" for the closing song, and the closing prayer and blessing on the food was given by Uncle Mark Gardiner.

I bought some first watermelon of the season and served it for dinner last week. As soon as she saw it her eyes got big and she pointed and exclaimed excitedly: "I want that!" She usually is so uninterested in dinner, but that day she got right up to the table and ate about three pieces. She must remember liking it so much last summer. She saw me dressing yesterday, pointed at my breasts and wanted a drink of milk. She's nearly 27 months and remembers nursing! I weaned her at 16 months, almost a year ago.

Today after church she went "potty" for the first time in her little potty next to ours. She saw me go, then wanted to try herself. I clapped, called her a big girl, and gave her a piece of "bum" (gum), which is a sacred reward around here.

On a typical day she wakes up shortly after the noisy boys are up and wants to be held (quite insistently) for about the next ten minutes. She commandeers my lap all during scripture reading, and likes to say "prayers" afterwards. The older children are quite jealous to be the one to help her and have her mimic their words. Then she wants to watch "Da' Duck" on TV. We always tell her no, not until after Breakfast and the others are off to school, because even though they have all seen the taped Disney cartoons hundreds of times, they will watch them and not get ready. She usually picks at a bit of cereal and milk. Life and Wheat Chex have fallen in and out of favor with her the last few weeks. Then she wants to snack on crackers and cookies the rest of the morning.

As the older children leave for school, she calls after them, "Bye Chachel (or Chad or Eric), I luv you!" to each one individually, even running up to the front door and calling after them. They love to hear her say goodbye to them, and even if one of them has had a bad morning, her attention and manifestation of love will soften them and bring smiles and returning expressions of love.

After they leave I turn on Sesame Street. She likes Ernie and Bert and Big Bird. She watches that while we get dressed and clean up. She LOVES to go in the car, and is never so heartbroken as when she doesn't get to go somewhere with Daddy or I. It doesn't even matter where, so long as she can get out and see and do stuff. She likes to bring along a lunch pail like Ryan when I take him to Preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the park. Lately she hasn't seemed to mind being babysat by other women in the ward (like Sandy Burks, Marjorie Rodela, Laurine Mefford) so long as her lunch pail is in tow. And she is very proud of "her teacher" Sister Davis in the nursery at church. The Davis family usually sits behind us in church on Sunday, and she waves at Pam and smiles.

During the day she follows Ryan around and mimics everything he does and says, whether it's both of them sitting in an apple box or milk crate, or digging in the back yard. Sometimes when I am talking to someone and she is right by me or in my lap, she will repeat the sounds of my words like a faint echo, all the time smiling coyly.

She likes to say "Stop it" and thrust out her chin or lower her head and pout when she's being teased. She runs away from me when its time to dress or change her and we play a little game of it. I sit and pretend that I don't care, not even looking at her while she tries to sneak past me very slowly. Then when she is within reach I grab her and she giggles with delight and tries to wriggle away. Then we play "This little piggy went to grandma's house" or "where's your shoulders?" to distract her rebellion. Lately she's been wanting to dress herself, especially putting on her shoes, and a dress or shirt, and I've been hearing "Ashley do it!" with the lip and eyebrows down and a little stamp of the foot. One morning she got one arm through the sleeve of a striped top, and the other arm and her head through the neck opening. She walked around the house half the morning that way, quite proud of herself.

Her favorite place to go is still Lucky's. She likes to ride the $.25 boat, car, or Donald Duck (they switch them around every couple of months) and get a free cookie from the bakery. And she likes the toys and book aisle across from the cereal. She's recognized a few toys from the Doctor's office and has wanted to get them. One time I bought her a "basket" ball. (She calls all balls basketballs.) She chose an orange yellow one. The few times that I have taken her to First Care she has chosen an orange sucker. Orange must be a favorite color of hers. Maybe it stems from the times last summer when I always gave her the orange popsicles because Ryan coveted the red ones.

Saturday when she came with me to K Mart, she spied a pink "donut" inner tube on sale and immediately wanted it. She'd seen some like it at the pool and had borrowed one from Allison Turney. I confess I love to please her and I got it for her. She carried it all around the house with her until we went to the pool in the afternoon. She'd say "that's Ashley's!" and stamp her foot whenever anyone else wanted to see it. At the pool she loaned it out for short times to Rachel and Ryan (after coaching from me) then reluctantly let me swish her around the big pool in it. At first, her feet wrapped around my leg and I had to pry her loose, but she loosened up and enjoyed it with time, especially after seeing Ryan swim around with it. She likes to walk around the little wading pool with it around her waist, holding on to it with her hands. Because it was a little windy, she began crouching down in the water in the middle of the pool with just her little head peering above it. When Kent comes home and wrestles and hugs her she says, "I wan' see mommy" and if I hold her, it's "yucky, daddy". But when Kent goes outside to the garage, she's right behind him.


What every woman fears 1988

In late March I thought I discovered what every woman fears a breast lump in my left breast on the inside. I kept checking it over and over again to be sure and feeling a little surface panic. Then it seemed to go away, but I rediscovered it in April. I finally talked to Kent about it and we decided that I better get to a doctor as soon as possible, and while I was concerned about it, in my heart I found it impossible to believe that it was very serious. I called the Pru Net office and got the name of a Dr. Rodriguez here in Valencia who is an OB GYN. I'd heard his name before from some other LDS women in Canyon Country who had him deliver their babies. I went to him and told him that my husband and I were planning to have another baby but that this lump was nothing first. He said that it was probably okay, but that it would be good to have a baseline mammogram to be sure and for future reference. He said that many young women have these small fibro somas which are nothing, and that I was not a high risk patient for cancer. I had my mammogram done at Valencia Radiology and talked to the girl who took the X rays about my film. She showed the pictures to me and said that the lump had clearly defined edges and was not attached to any bone which were good signs. The cancerous lumps usually have webby edges and/or were attached to bone. She said that they would send the results to the doctor. I felt a great sense of relief.

She (Ashley) is very articulate in her speech, and her expressions are so cute. For some reason she calls a sandwich a "faice". When she wants you to come, she puts her hands on her hips and says "Pum 'ere!" And about ten times a day she bothers you for a "bink of milk", which she want you to put on the "patle" (table) for her. She also always wants to check my purse for a "piece of bum", and when she gets one she goes around showing everyone by opening her mouth wide. When she likes something she says "tastes goooood!" or "that's nice," or she claps her hands and says "I wuv it". When she doesn't want to do something she says "I juuuust did!", or "it's too hot", or "you do it!". If you want something from her, "it's all gone", and she'll shrug her shoulders. One time I teasingly called her my "Pookyhah", and she said "I not bukihah, I Ashley Maybelle!"

When she is excited, she opens her mouth and her eyes real big and raises her eyebrows. Rachel's strawberry shortcake doll (that Grandma Great made for her) has become her baby, which she carries around and hums to in bed sometimes. One day during her nap she scribbled on the doll's face with a pen, and was tearfully chagrin when I gently told her "no," and washed most of it off. She is very sensitive to criticism.

She has one little lock of hair that falls down to the middle of her back in a ringlet. Her daddy says he will be sorry if it is ever cut. Sometimes she pretends that she is hurt and fake cries, and then she smiles and says "Just kidding!" She likes to pretend that she and daddy are different animals. She'll say "I a doggie, you a kitty cat." And they'll act out the animals. She loves to run, especially in the evening near bedtime. She still follows Ryan around and mimics the sound of his phrases sometimes when he talks to others. She'll smile coyly, rattle something incomprehensible but sounding similar to something he just said, and then run off after him.

This week when we stayed with the Goodman’s and camped out she was sick to her stomach after eating some cheese flavored goldfish crackers. She slept on the floor in the same room with Rachel and Jessica. She adores Rachel and always wants to be with her or "go see" her. She loved playing outside and around the lakes and rivers we went to, but got very upset when she saw her hands were dirty. She always wanted to "wash hands". When we bought ice cream cones to eat on the way, she just wanted to hold them and put her tongue on it occasionally. The ice cream melted all over her and we had to finish them for her.

Camping

When we were camping at the King's River, and waiting to take our turn water skiing, Chad taught Ashley to stick out her hand and say "Gimme five!" and then after you slapped her hand, clench her fist with her thumb up, move it back and forth, and say, "awright!" Everyone laughed she was so cute. Everyone loves Ashley's interpretation of Queen's famous song: "We will rock you". Ashley sings, "We will, we will, rocking chair". It is so cute that we don't want her to say it the right way.

Friday night when everyone was standing on a little platform fishing in a lake by the river, Ashley fell down in the space between the platform and bank of the lake. She was trapped there until I ran to rescue her. She sat on my lap and hugged me the rest of the time we stayed there.

Two summers ago I noticed some grading going on the West of the Freeway and a sign advertising Sunset Pointe. I called the number on the sign and found out that they were releasing the first phase of homes the next day. I went down and looked at the floor plans and put a deposit on a house. Kent and I talked about it over the next two weeks. We decided that even though it was a very good price ($175,000.00 for 2150 square feet) it had very poor access into it and we didn't care for the Mediterranean exterior design. Also we needed the cash since we had just bought the Val Verde lots. But I called my friends the Whites and the Garns who I knew were looking for a new larger home and told them about it. We backed out but they went for the first two homes released in the second phase even camping out for a week to guarantee their position.



Stevenson Ranch Off Ramp

I noticed some more grading just north of them in a better location with better freeway access and a construction trailer out with a sign. I said that is the place for me. I called the number on the sign and they told me that they were building for Dale Poe and gave me a number to call. After a few calls I ended up talking to a Bob Morrison, a sales rep for DP out in Agoura. He said that they would be setting up an 800 information number in the future to take interested calls for the area which would be called Stevenson Ranch, and to keep in touch. I did so for almost a year until last summer when they put the 800 information number into action. I called it all weekend until I finally got to talk to Sig Sigler, who was going to be the sales rep in charge of the new project. I asked him what number I was going to be on his interest list and he said about 40th, and I said that I had called so many times over the last 8 or 9 months that I was mad I wasn't #1. He was very charming and I talked to him many times over the next few months. We stopped by to see him in Agoura a few weeks after our first call on our way to the beach and brought him some homemade bread. We went through one of the models and peeked inside some of the others that were sold. Dale Poe was just finishing up a big project there in Agoura and was going to be building similar homes in his Stevenson Ranch project. Kent and I fell in love with the Tudor design, the hard wood floors, and large floor plan. We especially liked one floor plan which had a little guest room separate from the house in front.

I talked to Sig several times about our area and at his request sent him pricing information on all of the other new homes being built in our area, with a map and my own personal evaluation of them. (He was so impressed that he kept it and showed it to me a year later, he had it in his briefcase in the car.) They were supposed to have some model homes go up and be releasing sometime that Fall, and I called him from the airport on our way to England and begged him not to release them without me. I later talked to Barbara Sanford, the sales rep directly over the homes I wanted, and sent her a phone book for our area.

During this time and throughout the past year with all of our financial stress and difficulty, my dream of getting a larger home seemed more and more remote; however I never gave up hope and I filled out questionnaires from the company as if everything were going to resolve itself. As it got closer to the time that they were going to release the homes, as the interest in them grew by tens of thousands of prospective homebuyers, as they decided to release them by lottery (I've never won anything in my life!), and as our money woes drug on, I reluctantly began to relinquish all hope of ever getting in even after Lance closed in June. Kent and I went to see the models when they opened and we were still in love with them so much that it almost hurt. We filled out to lottery cards, one for each of us (a salesperson for some different models told us to do that), picking out a different model on each one. I turned in one just to a salesperson standing there, and the other one directly to Barbara, giving her a flyer from the YMCA open house we'd just attended also. The lottery for the homes was to be held July 20. I remember driving by the area on the 19th and silently praying "Oh, Heavenly Father, you know how much and how long I have wanted to live over there. But I've learned better than to counsel you regarding my life. If that is where you want us to live, then I trust that you will bless us. It is up to you." Wednesday evening when I got home from someplace (Frankie Biehahn's for a perm?) Kent greeted me with the astounding news that he had received a call from Barbara we'd been chosen by the lottery (5th) for a new home, we were to go down on Saturday and choose a lot. I was in shock. I could hardly grasp that it had happened. We didn't even know if we could afford the nearly $300,000.00 that the home would cost, but we decided to go down Saturday and do it. We would just pretend like it was going to work and see if it did. If it was right, then we knew that somehow it would all work out.


Saturday July 23 1988

Before celebrating Ryan's birthday, we went down to the models and sales office. We decided that we still liked the model with the guest house best, even though it was only a two car garage. Next we agonized over a lot; all the ones on the view side were taken, and our choices were between the busy end of the street with a bigger lot or the cull de sac end. We chose the quieter cull de sac end. We could see that the homes to be released in the second phase would be in the cull de sac and had bigger, premium lots. We would have liked one of them (I wanted a pool), but we decided we'd better not press our luck. We put our $3,000.00 deposit down, filled out a credit report, and decided to hope for the best. One advantage is that while that home price is secure, our own present home price is going up in value until we need to sell it. It is conceivable that we could make $100,000.00 in appreciation over the next year. We can hardly dare to dream that it is possible, but with the Lord's help, we'll try for it

When it is time for Ashley to go to bed, we'll "hum" for awhile first. She lies on my chest with her blanket over her while I hum Braham’s lullaby, I am a Child of God, and Teach Me to Walk in the Light. Then I hum "one last time" Braham’s lullaby. Then I put her on her pillow, tuck her blanket over her, and give her a "tickly" hug and kiss, and go out and shut the door. Lately she has been following this same exact ritual with the big white bear "Snowball" that Grandma Great gave to Rachel and she in turn to Ashley. She hums in a monotone, gently places the bear on the pillow, carefully lays the blanket across it, gives it a hug and kiss, then quietly goes out the door and announces, "ALL DONE".

She's been a little constipated lately, and complaining of a tummy ache. "Don't touch it" she said as I felt her tummy during the movie Bambi last Saturday for Ryan's birthday party. She was real fussy that day. I think the iron in the vitamins may be giving her problems.

Suzanne July 25 1988 Sacrament Meeting Speakers

Last Thursday Kevin Large called and wanted us to be substitute Sacrament Meeting Speakers this coming Sunday (7/24/88), with Chad as the Youth Speaker. Chad was reluctant, but I talked him into telling about his 3rd or 4th Great Grandpa Benjamin Brown and how he saw two of the three Nephite disciples, joined the church, went on many missions for the church, and was faithful to it his whole life. Chad said that he was grateful to Benjamin for joining the church, and for the Book of Mormon, which he knew was true.

I spoke right afterwards and shared the Preface to Benjamin Brown's "Testimonies for the Truth" which had the account of his conversion and had been published in 1853 in London, England. He said that he was writing this for his posterity and to add his testimony to many others concerning God's unchangeableness and goodness to true believers.

I said that we stand on the shoulders of countless ancestors, and that the Lord wants us to remember our great heritage that we have received. I said that the month of July was a great month with Independence Day and Pioneer Day, and that it gave us an opportunity to recall the sacrifices, values, struggles and blessings given us by our forebears. The Old Testament and Book of Mormon are full of tragic accounts of the consequences when the Lord's people forget, or are slow to remember the Lord's goodness to them. We could expect similar tragedy in our Nation's Future if we follow suit.

Keep My Memory Green

I tried to tell as near as possible a story I heard on a record album once many years ago, (which I looked for desperately on Saturday and called everyone I knew to see if I could find it) called "Keep My Memory Green". It is the story of a young man who has had a bitter childhood, and disillusioned with life and the unhappiness he sees around him, believes that the world would be a happier place if people could forget the past. On Christmas Eve he gets this wish and sees the consequences of it. Without remembering the past, people no longer have the capacity to repent and have hope for a better future. There is no compassion for others in their suffering. People are selfish, and there is no goodness in the world. He remembers that great past event of the Savior's atoning sacrifice and the message of hope and Divine Love that he offers to the world, and he prays to have his wish undone. The next morning, Christmas, his housekeeper comes in and he realizes that everything is back to normal. He is grateful, and bows his head and prays, Oh, Lord, ever keep my memory green.

I said that the Lord wants us to keep our memories green both our collective memories of the past which we share with others, as well as our personal memories of the Lord's goodness to us. I told about a collective memory which my brothers and sisters and I were able to help preserve of my mother's history through videotapes and interviews. We recorded my parents struggles to make right decisions regarding prayer and tithing during their early married life, their gratitude to the Lord for his great blessings in spite of imminent death and separation, and their hopes for their children to be true to their family ties.

Then I shared an excerpt of my journal dated Dec 31, 1987, regarding my feelings about recording her history, and my testimony of the Lord's great blessings to my family and for the principle of tithing during our tremendous financial struggles. I closed by saying that the only ones who would survive the future would be those who had a strong commitment to their family ties who strove to be true and keep their memory "green" of their ancestral roots and their personal memories for their branches of posterity.

Kent talked on Journal writing, and shared a very dramatic contrast between Captain Scott's journal "The Last Expedition" and the only thing which he has written from his mother a postcard sent to him while at Boy Scout Camp. He read some journal excerpts from our first date, Chad's account of Grandma's death, and my account of Ryan escaping electrocution. It was very good. We seemed to have hit a common thread of Spirit in the audience; nearly everyone told us how much they enjoyed our family's Sacrament Meeting talks.

Ryan

(Ryan)He always comes home from school feeling good about himself. Having him in afternoon kindergarten is good for him because he is such a slow mover in the morning. He takes an hour to put on his shoes. He has a crush on Mrs. Martin, the morning kindergarten teacher though He says he thinks she is the nicest teacher. (She tested him for kindergarten in May or June.) He likes to say "hi" to her. Ms. Hankla, his teacher, says that he has lots of girlfriends in the class. He likes Hannah (who wears earrings), Andrea, and Ashley. His big school brother is named Eric. He is in Mrs. Harrison's class and a week ago on Friday he and Ryan ate celery and carrot sticks with "Pokey", Ryan's teddy bear with the hands that Velcro together. He wanted to have Rachel, but he couldn't. Rachel delivers milk to him and the other kindergartners every day. a He surely is a sweet child, blowing me kisses and patiently helping Ashley. Last night he showed Ashley how to eat a carrot stick so that she could get some pudding for dessert. She had resisted all of my coaxing, but after watching Ryan, she decided to try it and succeeded. He is certainly very sweet and unselfish with her.

Uncle David gave Chad some aftershave cologne. Chad decided he didn't like Old Spice and so he gave it to Ryan. Ryan splashes it on before school and church. He's quite fragrant these days. His old speech teacher told me that one time he asked her if she smelled anything good. She sniffed and said yes. He beamed, patted his neck, and said, "It's me!"

Dear Chad,

This morning Rachel folded your papers and Eric threw them out of the Volvo while I drove him around the street. We remembered that the people across the street do not want a paper but we couldn't remember who else so we gave everyone a paper. Eric remembered to walk up to the doorstep the ones who like that done at the end of Hyssop. He only got one in the gutter which got all wet, so he gave them a new one. It was the people in Kara Moody's old house. I called the Signal and told them you would be gone until Saturday, and needed someone to deliver Tuesday thru Friday. They said "Thank you".

Today in Sunday school class there were only three girls there (tm)Jessica, Rebecca Mefford, and Amber Blair. Since it was Fast Sunday all the Melchezidek Priesthood blessed and passed the Sacrament. After Primary was over, I kept feeling like I was missing someone and should wait for them. I guess it was you.

Last night after you left we went swimming, cleaned up the house, ate hamburgers, and watched "Airwolf". Today we are going to watch a movie and have dinner early.

I love you very much. I am proud of you because you try hard to do what's right. Have a nice time. I hope you can finish your fishing merit badge and archery and canoeing and shot gun, so you can pass them off too. Be sure to not tank up on sugar but rather eat healthy snacks so you feel better. Lots of love, Mom

Dear Kent,

Yesterday afternoon after you left I took a nice nap, then went swimming with the kids. When we got home, we made the beds, cleaned the house, ate hamburgers for dinner, watched "Airwolf", read some books and went to bed. This morning, Eric and Rachel did Chad's route and I called the Signal.

This afternoon the children are watching Fawlty Towers; there's nothing really on TV. We've already done journals. At 4:00 pm we're going to eat and take a walk around the tract to deliver swimming cards, then come home for a bowl of ice cream and Disney.

In church today, Kevin Large bore a very moving testimony about his decision to go on a mission and how grateful he was for the church's true principles, including no paid ministry, which allowed him to serve in the Bishopric and fumble around. Then Shandra Forinash told about her doubts about her marriage outside the church and her fiance's interest in the Book of Mormon, fascination with her family, and friendship with another LDS young man on his ship. They are holding meetings, praying and studying together. She expressed her love for her brothers and sisters and her parents in a very sweet way.

We had only three girls in class today: Amber, Jessica, and Rebecca M. Today is Corey Greenlaw's farewell. Terry Beitler showed up with about 8 of his scouts on their way to scout camp in Catalina. The Conkling and Andrus babies were blessed. Chris Conkling didn't know what to say and so he and the Bishop had a hurried up whispered conference while his male family members all stood around the circle and everyone in the audience waited with baited breaths. Lorna and Rich bore very sweet testimonies about the joy of having another child in their homes.

Ryan is bored and hungry. Eric broke his fast early with my okay. (He sure gets in a bad mood when he is hungry.) Everybody is safe and healthy. I wish I'd thought of your pants and belt early enough for you to have them up with you. I'll write you again tomorrow; right at this moment Ryan is setting the timer on me to fix dinner.


I love you very much and I miss you too (especially at night). Suzanne


Suzanne 8/7/1988

Kent is up at Scout camp this week. He has really grown in his confidence and leadership ability this past year. Last year at this time he was the Varsity Scout Leader and went with them down to Mexico. He really didn't like that calling, because he had to run the whole show himself, with no support from other ward priesthood leaders, the scout committee, the parents, or the boys themselves. Even his stake leader called him up and chewed him out for about 15 minutes on the phone for missing a stake Varsity party to help me out at a Blazer campout. Then he was called to work with me in the Blazer program and in the Primary class. We enjoyed working together and he saw how it was supposed to work and could with workable, willing young men. He went with me to regional scout leadership meeting and I got him to go to Scout Training in June. Then when he was asked to be the Scoutmaster he said he would on condition he get the priesthood direction and support the way the church stated the scouting was supposed to get as the Aaronic Priesthood activity arm. So they put in a new Deacon's Quorum Advisor, Kerry Davis, who has a scout age son, who agreed to be assistant scout master while Kent was his assistant Deacon's quorum advisor. I was also put in as Troop Committee Chairman. Kent was released as Sunday School Teacher but he comes into the class to help support me. I'm going to continue to teach that class and try to be Blazer scout leader until January. We get to continue to work together and he feels a lot better about working in the Scouting program, now he doesn't have to carry all the weight on his own shoulders. I predict that he is going to become a great priesthood youth leader. He already works well with the boys, having established a good rapport previously when working with me. His teaching and behavior modification skills are really useful as well.

My patriarchal blessing states that the Lord has a great work for me to do in connection with my family. Maybe it is just in helping Kent to realize his talents and potential as a youth leader. My patriarchal blessing also warns me to be humble and sweet about ten times. It seems that pride is my greatest weakness. Today I taught only 3 Merrie Miss B girls in Sunday School a lesson on "Be Thou Humble". C.S. Lewis wrote:” Pride is essentially competitive.....Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than any other man." The opposite of pride is humility, which is the ability to recognize one's dependence on God for everything we have and are. It is essentially the outcome of gratitude for the Lord's goodness in our lives, and the realization of the Lord's love for all his children. It is the precursor to all Godly attributes including Faith, Hope, and that greatest of all gifts charity, true Christ like love. It is the ability to say:” I will go where you want me to go, dear Lord....I'll say what you want me to say...." When we are not humble, we do not want to be guided by the Lord and his Spirit leaves us. This was the downfall of the Nephites, and is the greatest problem in the church today.

We are reading in 3 Nephi now with the children in our family scripture reading. It is so poignantly tragic to read of the Nephites quick return to evil and the destruction of their society before the Savior's birth and again before his visit after his resurrection. I cannot help but believe that we may witness a similar downfall of our own society in this great land of America before the Savior's second coming. Drugs, immorality and political corruption are so rampant now, I fear for my children and grandchildren. On the other hand, great political improvements are happening in countries that were once considered America's enemies China and the Iron curtain countries, so that now missionaries can teach the people who are largely innocent and sheltered by their once oppressive governments. We may someday see them become more righteous than us, just like the Lamanites did during Book of Mormon times before the Savior's birth. The nickname "Mormon" is actually a great compliment. To be called after that great lonely righteous leader and father, who stayed true with his son, despite depravity all around him is indeed symbolic of the kind of life we would want our children to lead.

We discussed this today after scripture reading. Eric wanted to know if the righteous would die during the tough times ahead. I said that some of them would, but that both the living and the dead who were righteous would be caught up to meet Jesus as he returned to the earth, and that the important thing was that we be among those who were part of either group. Sometimes those who are good do suffer, but if we are trying to do what's right, we will be blessed and comforted by the Lord. So he prayed very sweetly and sincerely both in morning and evening prayers today that our family would endure to the end. That is the greatest prayer of my heart as well.

Marjorie’s Death

Tomorrow I am going to my dad's to be there when the cleaners clean the house, and to return a green silk temple apron my Great Step grandmother Wilcox made for my dad. I took it home and mended part of it, re died it, ironed it, and sewed on some new ribbon. It looks quite pretty now. I'm going to clear off the kitchen window ledge, put the food jars up in the cupboards, clear the breakfast room counter, and take care of the dishes out on the counters and sink so that Roger can clean better. I was so excited that my dad agreed to hire him and the floor man for the house I almost cried. Sweet Felice Smith and Joyce Osborn talked my dad into doing this and I know my mother wants it done too.

Remarriage

My dad is getting remarried in just over a week. I confess to being somewhat resistant emotionally at first, even though intellectually I knew that this was the right move for him to make.

Just after my mother's death he was on a kind of spiritual high that sustained him for a few weeks. Then in the fall, the depression really hit. He'd go through mother's pictures and things and cry, and not sleep at night but sleep in the daytime. He was a basket case. I'd put his name on the prayer roll and point out sweet widows like Mary Ogden...etc. Then one night I had a dream in which dad said the escrow had just closed and that he was ready to start dating again. He needed someone to care for and give his life meaning. I remember feeling so overwhelmingly happy for him. I thought about this dream for some time afterwards and even told him about it on the phone. He said that it would be nice to feel that way, because right then all he wanted was for mother to come back. When the dream mentioned "escrow closing" I thought it meant his escrow on his property; we expected our Acton escrow to close any day.

He never really went out with anyone until in the Springtime, just before his 50th High School Reunion, at the suggestion of John Allen (counselor in Hacienda Heights Stake Presidency) he looked up a former high school sweetheart Elaine Spilsbury Phelps. He'd gone with her before the war, but didn't ask her to wait. Later she married Rex Phelps and they had five children, 4 boys and 1 girl (one boy drowned at 18). When he passed away, she married Pres. Allen's cousin named Millet. He died too, and she was widowed again. Dad took her out to lunch and saw her again at the reunion. He felt very comfortable around her because of their common friends, background, knowledge, etc., and so he began flying over to see her about every Wednesday (his day off from the office). He liked her more and more, but was overwhelmed at the obstacles in their relationship primarily that all her friends, family, and possessions were in Arizona, and all his were here in California, including his job and church responsibilities. I was very pessimistic about it and tried to talk him into dating some women around here, remembering that mother said that she had someone at the temple picked out for him. I thought that the merger of a second marriage would be easier if they had more territory in common here around the L.A. temple. I also selfishly didn't want him to move to Arizona, and was emotionally opposed to a move or upheaval at the folk’s home. Reading about the breakup of Lee Iacocca’s 2nd marriage didn't help my attitude about this one. But he said he felt more comfortable around her than any other women, would be crushed if she told him to get lost, and felt that he wanted to play this relationship out before associating with anyone else. Pres. Allen told dad he ought to marry her and not worry about the obstacles (which made me mad I thought he was pretty presumptuous to tell my dad that).


June (11, 12, & 13)

In June Janna and Jim were coming down and we planned a big get-together. Coincidentally it was also Hacienda Heights stake conference and Dad was speaking in the Saturday evening session. Pres. Allen convinced dad to invite Elaine over that same weekend to stay with the Allens and meet us. It was a lovely weekend. We had a Brown cousins birthday party and gift exchange on Saturday and met Elaine. She was very shy, but lovely and gracious. That evening we all went out to Stake Conference to hear dad speak on Developing True Christ like love (we got a copy of this on videotape from Gary Chasteen, H.H. stake custodian); then we went to The Old World Delicatessen for Frozen Yogurt on dad's treat. Mark and Karen Gardiner watched our children and we spent the night with them.

Sunday morning we all went to stake conference and met again afterwards for lunch and a Father's Day celebration (a week early since we were all together). Barbara had made Dad a tie and embroidered all the names of the grandchildren on it. Then we went through some craft things in the workroom and Bedroom armoire while dad and Elaine went visiting and he played the organ. We all noticed how happy and radiant dad was. Elaine went home that evening.

Monday everyone but Judy and Grandma came out to our place to swim, eat, and discuss genealogy. Dad was back to his usual glum self and slept most of the time on the floor in the front room. I think he realized then he was at the point of no return, and was going to have to move on from the past. We all noticed he was back to his old glum self again. Tuesday morning we talked on the phone and he told me that if things kept going the way they were, it looked like he and Elaine were going to get married. He said that she was a whole person, one whom he didn't feel as if he had to prop up. He also said that she was so pleasant and easy to be around, and very optimistic about the future, wanting to go on a mission with him, etc. I said that those were very important qualities in a wife, and that I appreciated her for how she made him feel. He told me this the very week our Acton escrow problems were resolved and it successfully closed. I remembered the dream I had last November and marveled and quieted my personal doubts.

July 1, 1988

On July 1, we went to see him for check ups and he gave me a hug in the hallway and said that he never thought that he could be happy again, like he was with Elaine. The following Wednesday, while we were visiting with Johanna in Yuba City, he went to Mesa and proposed to her. She accepted and agreed to come here and live. They decided to put each other's properties before marriage into a trust fund for their own posterity with the exception of the income from the five acres of his (that he is splitting off in escrow) which he and Elaine will live on. When we got back in town we found all this out.

Dad also decided to have a big open house at the home. Elaine really didn't want this but Judy encouraged it. At first I thought that Judy had talked him into this and I tried to talk him out of it again if Elaine really didn't want it. I was really concerned about Elaine's feelings coming over here to live in mom's house and leaving everything behind. I was also concerned about my dad who seemed to just want someone to take mother's place, not make any concessions or changes in his life. I talked about it with him on Sunday July 17 when we were all together sorting out the rest of the workroom. He was quite disturbed, but told me on Monday over the phone that he'd thought about it during the night and decided that he really wanted to show Elaine off, and did want to have a big open house. I decided maybe I was being Devil's Advocate because I was emotionally still opposed to the changes coming up. I also don't like feeling pressured into doing things myself, and so am sensitive if I think others are doing that to him.

Judy, Felice Smith, Barbara and I talked about cleaning the house up some more for Elaine. We all felt that it really needed some professional work done. But before this, we needed to go through some more drawers, files, closets, and cupboards etc. Barbara Judy and I got together Friday and Saturday 7/29 & 30 to go through the Christmas closet, books, upstairs file boxes, mother's desk, and address envelopes. Felice Smith came over to help. I called Roger Burks, an LDS man who owns a professional cleaning service to come over and give an estimate Tuesday morning to dad. Felice got a floor man to come over also, and said that she would be there too. She has been very sweet and supportive. I never appreciated her so much as I have since mother's death. I woke up very early Friday morning the 29th and couldn't go back to sleep. I kept thinking about the furniture, genealogy and jewelry, and how dad ought to divide this up as soon as possible or it wouldn't get done, or at least, not done fairly. Dad still wasn't ready to let go of very many things. Judy did talk him into letting us go over mom's jewelry the Sunday before the wedding which was a big step. And he gave out most of the genealogy to me to sort through, although he kept all the personal history boxes (which I hope he moves from his bedroom before the wedding). But he said that he wanted to keep everything else until after the wedding so that Elaine could see it all and decide what she wanted to keep or not. Dad said Elaine really didn't like antiques (except for him) and didn't like the dark wood in the bedroom. She wanted to bring over her own bedroom set and he thought he would sell his. I was glad to hear that Elaine and he would not be using the bed my mother died in. The bedroom set was too big and dark for me too, but as I realized that they would be weeding out things and giving things away as they combined households, went on a mission, sold the big house and bought or built a new one, I began making a list of things my brothers and sisters and I were interested in. I confess that I did swipe a bud vase that had deep sentimental attachment for me, and gave Barbara mom's desk set (porcelain tape dispenser, letter opener). Felice said that we could probably take several things and he wouldn't even know that they were gone, but I felt guilty taking anything else.

Judy and I talked Dad into letting us girls have the two music boxes and the rocker (in name only he's not ready to part with them yet). Judy took the rocker, Janna the little music box, and I got the big music box which was my favorite. Charlie said that if we girls all got a choice like that (he liked the big music box too,) then the boys should also get an extra choice item. Kent thought that was fair and I had to agree. David and Jim didn't really care, but Charlie wanted the wall clock with the brass pendulum and weight, which was one of my very favorite things. I guess we'll have to stay in touch and he can come visit the music box at my house and I can come see the clock at his.

As I talked to everyone about the other things they liked I stewed about the best way to handle this. Monday morning early I woke up again and knew that I had to go out to the folks and list everything I could in the house and mail everyone a copy so that they could vote on the items they wanted by assigning them numbers in order of priority to them. Then I could compile the lists, and give them to dad. I'll actually make two lists one by individual that can be attached to his will, and one by room so that as he and Elaine start eliminating stuff he'll know who to give certain items to. My brother Jim was very sensitive about not wanting to grab the stuff out from under dad and Elaine, but I think he saw the fairness and equality of this method (tm)otherwise those who were shy or lived far away may not get anything as the years go by. Also, as I told my dad, the sentimental attachment we have to some of the furnishings and knickknacks means more to us than the money we will inherit someday, and it is a way of preserving mother's memory in our homes and emotionally adjusting to the changes in his life.

Kent and I spent about 5 hours listing everything I would call the items out by room and he would type it in to the computer. I've also run up a fortune in phone bills talking to everyone. But I would like everyone to be happy and I think this will help to avoid regrets and hard feelings later. I believe that this is what my mother would want us to do. I've revised my list several times, even coming up with substitute items as my list shrinks because others have chosen the same things. I think I'll call the others and let them choose additional items to add to their shrunken lists so that we still all get twenty items. There were some things on mine (like the cranberry pickle jar) that were the same numbers on one of my brothers or sisters' lists, but I've let them have it because I think my mother would want me to. I am going to ask my grandmother to will me her cranberry pickle jar though (fortunately she has one similar to mom's).

The List

Judy is coming tomorrow to help me compile the lists. I think its because she is very anxious about her list. I confess to feeling somewhat competitive with her over some things. I hope that working together on this will help her see how fair I'm trying to be, and help us be close together. Friday night the 29th she and I had a nice chat in the Breakfast room about the house and dad's marriage and then about herself and our relationship. She said that she knew that sometimes she wasn't very sensitive to those around her it was usually because she was feeling so stressed out, and that she always worried that I hadn't quite forgiven her for the last time she had stuck her foot in her mouth (which was true, unfortunately, I do harbor grudges). We had a very nice open chat and I felt closer, more sympathetic towards her than I have in a long time. My mother would have been glad. I even gave her a kiss on the cheek before bed......We watched her kids for her last Friday while she and Michael went to Magic Mountain together. She was very grateful. She is so very appreciative of little niceties. Kent says she needs to be forgiven daily, and gently taught skills to increase her confidence and social ability. He's right.

Jim feeling better

Dad told me last Sunday that he was feeling better about being ready for the marriage. He said he and Elaine had driven up to Prescott together and he thought about how often he and my mother had done that together. He said he sure wished mother would come back. He said he enjoyed Elaine as a good friend and companion to help him muddle along until he and mother could be together again. I said that if she made him happy and enjoy life and want to hang around here on earth a little bit longer, she would forever hold a special place in my heart. August 18, 1988 Yesterday was my dad's wedding. Kent and I got up early to go through the 7:00 am session with Charlie and Barbara, but we got stuck in traffic and ended up going through the 7:30 session as the witness couple. That was very special. When we came into the celestial room, my grandmother and Barbara and Charlie were there waiting for us. (Charlie was wearing his Rolls Royce tie pin, much to Barbara's dismay.) As more people came we went into the sealing room just off the celestial room to the right. It was so fun to greet everyone family and old friends of my parents, as well as Elaine's family, that I'm afraid we had to be reminded to keep our voices down. We had to wait several minutes for Dad and Elaine, and we joked about them being late. (I wondered if Dad had got cold feet and decided not to go through with it).

Holding hands at a Temple Marriage

Finally they came in holding hands and looking radiant. Temple President Jack McEwan explained that the sealing room with the altar was the most sacred room in the temple, and that was why we needed to be reverent and quiet there. He had everyone in the room introduce themselves and explain their relationship to Dad or Elaine. Most of the sisters in the room were sitting, while the brethren were standing behind the chairs. The room was full of dear family and friends. As he motioned for one other sister to find a seat I got up and let her have mine while I went and sat next to Dad, and held and squeezed his hand for support. I was grateful for that privilege. My brother Jim and her youngest son Reed Phelps were the witnesses.

I thought that Pres. McEwan gave my dad some inspired advice. He told him to be sensitive to Elaine and in making adjustments (tm)that Elaine was a different, separate individual than mother. He said that they should be kind to each other. That Dad held the keys of the priesthood to bless the home. Their job was to get the other person to the celestial kingdom. They both had lots of church service left.... He said that they should say pray together every day, that if they could always talk to the lord, they could always work things out. He said that they should pray for the other person, and have the actions follow the prayer.

Then he talked about civil marriage (since Dad and Elaine are each sealed to their first spouses they were only going to be married in the temple for time, not eternity). He said that in the outside world there were many who had the authority to perform civil marriages for time without necessarily knowing or realizing the full import of what they were doing. But when a couple came to the temple to be married even though it was only for time, they were having their marriage sanctioned and blessed by the Lord. He said that the man is not without the woman and the woman is not without the man in the Lord. They needed each other, and they should continue to court and romance each other to keep each other happy. They should hold hands and kiss each other frequently on the lips. He had them both stand up apart from each other and look at each other in the mirror. He said they should always look at each other and be unselfish towards each other.

Then he asked them both to say a few remarks. My dad said that he felt that he was doing what was right, and was following his priesthood council in marrying her (referring to Pres. Allen's advice). He said that he appreciated her sacrifice in giving up everything to come and take care of him. He also said how much he loved his children. Elaine, who was very shy, said only that she loved the Lord, and was grateful to be a temple worker (she was a temple worker in the Mesa temple, and Pres. McEwan just called her to be a temple worker in the L.A. temple so she could come with Dad to the temple and work when he did).

Then they knelt across the altar and held hands in a regular hand clasp for the marriage ceremony. Pres. McEwan blessed them with all of the blessings pertaining to marriage for time in this life only. Then they kissed across the altar. Dad showed off Elaine's ring, and then they stood at the door and greeted everyone. I passed out the maps to the catering place outside the sealing room for dad (he was going to do it as people greeted him) but it was so noisy in the celestial room that I wished I'd done it down in the lobby. I didn't want to destroy the sacred spirit of that occasion.

Kent wanted to go to a special map shop to pick up a map to help him with his property investments and I didn't want to be late for the luncheon since I had a part on the program. So I hitched a ride with Jim and Carol and David in their van. They went the way Jim told them too up the San Diego Freeway and over the 134 to Arcadia, with all of the Phelps family caravanning behind us. I don't know if it was the best way to go I'm afraid her children must think all we do in L.A. is just drive around on freeways.

Special Buffet

We got to the Arcadia House where they had a beautiful buffet luncheon spread for us. I got some food and was going to sit by grandma at Dad's table, but saw most of Elaine's children and friends sitting by themselves at a separate table, so I got up and went and sat by them, saving a place for Kent who got there just before the program. I was glad that I did that, so they wouldn't feel so segregated from everyone else who were with the Browns and sitting at other tables. I visited with them Ron and Sharon Phelps, Gregg Phelps (his wife Debra, a nonmember, stayed home) Kathy and Randall Adams and some neighbors who used to collect Packards (name?) during the luncheon (her other son Reed and his wife Metcie were sitting at Dad's table with Metcie's parents the Lamoreaux.) During the program part, Elaine's daughter Kathy introduced her family to us, and then it was my turn to introduce my family to them. I told cute funny things about each of us from Grandma down to David, including spouses. The family friends who were present and knew us well especially loved it. I said all of us were products of our parents Jim and Margie, but that we never realized until this year how much my mother did. My dad was the hero while we were growing up, charging in with his white hat but he came galloping in on my mother's shoulders. He was the great leader who could see and direct others to the far off distant shore but it was my mother who maneuvered him around the rocks at his feet. He could heal men's souls, but he is at a loss when faced with a broken dishwasher pump. He can organize stakes, but not his own desk. He has five vehicles in his driveway, of which he is the sole driver, but he doesn't have enough money for living room drapes. (This got a big laugh from everyone and dad said "Well, there is such a thing as priorities!") My brother in(tm)law Glenn says that my mother used to keep Dad in line. I know that she fretted so about leaving him; she knew how helpless he is in some areas. She admonished him to remarry right away; she knew he couldn't make it alone. And she admonished us to receive with open arms his future companion out of our love for him and our desire to see him achieve his potential in life.

Marjorie Pleased

I said that I knew that my mother was very pleased this day. Elaine would bring fine polishing to her efforts with my dad, and be a companion and friend to her children. I assured Elaine's children that there was no one more truly Christ like in their love and obedient than my father, and that he would cherish Elaine and take good care of her for them. I asked Elaine to be patient with us, some of us were still missing my mother, but that we realized what a special person Elaine was. She is far better than we deserve, and we pledge our efforts to be worthy of her sacrifice for us. She would always hold a special place in our hearts for the happiness and meaning she will bring to our father's life.

I told them about our Brown wedding gift of a portrait of the two of them, with a wish to have everyone receive a copy of it for Christmas (including her children). It was something they didn't have, and one that all of us could enjoy too. It is symbolic of our desires that they have a long and happy union together. (I also suggested before sitting down that it wouldn't hurt for her to get chummy with a few repairmen and drapers as well.)

After the luncheon, we picked the children up at the Hiltons, got ready, ate a quick dinner, and went out to the Browns for the reception. It was lovely. Dad and Elaine greeted guests at the bottom of the stairs, then people walked through the living room out the French doors into the back yard for refreshments, put on by the ward Relief Society. Unfortunately, since the Brown house is turned around with the back nearest the driveway and the front overlooking the valley, most people came in the backyard first asking where the married couple were. Chad and Eric helped direct traffic. Kent came late because he ran down to Target to pick something up. Rachel and Ashley were cute as could be in their matching black silk dresses. Ryan wandered around wondering where Grandpa was. Elaine's children left early to catch a plane. We all (Brown family and friends) had kneeling prayer before going home afterwards. Dad was going to take Elaine up to Big Bear to the Smith's cabin for a little honeymoon. I wish them well, but I confess to being a little worried about my dad. The last time he went to that cabin was with my mom and all of us for a Brown reunion one summer.

The next day Jim and his family came by the house to help me with genealogy, but I was lying down for a nap after helping all morning at Rosedale for picture day and I missed him. Oh, well, I was too tired to work on genealogy anyway. Friday we are going to leave to go waterskiing on the King's River with Kent's friend Craig Cunningham.

September 16, 1988

Ryan was the Yankee Doodle Dandee this week in school. He brought his blanket, his big red plastic car that he got at a garage sale for 50 cents, his little crocheted lamb made by Grandma Great, and his money box full of pennies and English coins. He also shared a family picture, a baby picture and a recent picture of himself. He told the class that he liked all the colors best, he was good at jokes, and he could teach others to be nice.

He is in Ms. Hankla's afternoon kindergarten. Ms. Hankla was all of the older children's kindergarten teacher. She even remembers when Rachel brought Ryan for sharing one day five years ago and showed her classmates how to change a paper diaper. I believe that she is the finest K teacher in the district. Ryan's been sort of luke warm towards her personally thought. He was initially tested for kindergarten by Mrs. Martin. She used to be a traditional kindergarten teacher but now teaches 4 Vacation morning overlapping Ms. Hankla's afternoon class. She's quite pretty, and I think Ryan got a crush on her from the first. He sometimes tells me he wishes that he came in the morning so he could be in her class. But it has really worked out well having him in the afternoon class. He entertains Ashley in the morning, and in the afternoon while he's in school she and I can take a nap. Also, Debbie and I trade off babysitting in the morning if we have some place to go.

Ryan was released from the Remedial Speech Program a few weeks ago, because the only speech patterns he had difficulty with were sounds that most children could not pronounce well until seven years old, and he was schedulable in them. They were the "R" sounds in rabbit, better, and early. This is surely a miracle, and the opportunity he had to be in this preschool speech program was an answer to prayer. Two and three years ago he was nearly incoherent in his speech, particularly in his consonants, which he omitted or pronounced incorrectly. He has advanced from being severely speech impaired to being only mildly impaired. I am grateful to Debbie Hilton for telling me about the Preschool Speech Program for Ryan and suggesting that I call Mrs. Ramieri for an appointment. Mrs. R. was his teacher the first year, Ms. McQuirk the second, and Ms. Rolls a few weeks of this year before discharging him.

Eric is the best

Eric is one of the best soccer players on his team "Cougars". This is his third year playing and he says that FINALLY they got good uniform colors (mint green and grey). His coach is Bill Barrett, who coached him in T Ball 1 1/2 years ago. Eric always plays Forward or Goalie. He's real aware of the ball and directs the other players and gets right in with it. I think he falls down or gets tripped up more than any other player on the field.

I sure agonized over his teacher and classroom placement this year. At first I wanted him to be in a third or a 2/3 class so that he could really shine as a leader of his peers since he is always the underdog at home. I thought the straight 3rd grade class teacher was too nose to the grindstone for Eric and so I asked for the 2/3 teacher until I heard she played favorites in the class and was not approachable at all on problems. So I asked for the 3/4 teacher, Ms. Rightman. She is a very positive, even(tm)tempered teacher who does lots of fun and creative things with her classes. She gives out sourballs to the kids for rewards sometimes, lets them watch educational movies on Friday, plays math games, loves parent helpers and is very approachable on anything. Eric is very content in her class this year, and never complains about school only the homework, which he says is too much. She used to be a first grade teacher and he used to wish that he had had her then.

Ashley

Ashley came with me today to help at school picture day for the Traditional school kids. She ran around saying peek a boo to the kids and lay her head on my feet. She quite captured the heart of the ladies from Thompson Photography who let her push the flash and sit next to them on the stage for awhile. She loves Debbie Hilton, and always runs up to her and giggles, waiting for Debbie to give her some attention.

Rachel

Rachel has really blossomed these past few months. She is very content in her class under Mrs. Harrison, who doesn't use traditional textbooks and passes out tickets (redeemable for candy on Friday) for good behavior, etc. She has been nominated for Teacher of the Year, and has real copasetic classroom environment. Rachel's been cracking jokes, standing up under pressure better, and more affectionate since being out of Ms. Seidita's class (who was a nose to the grindstone teacher). We make Rachel give us kisses for punishment and she gets tickled regularly and often by her dad. It's helped her loosen up a lot. She's just finished reading the Yellow, Brown, and Green Fairy Tale Books, which were my favorite books when I was her age. I got them from my folk this summer. She wants to read the Blue and Red Fairy Tale books that I think my sister Janna has. I also hope to get for her half of my old Nancy Drew collection from my sister Judy.

Girl Scouts

She's decided to join girl scouts and chorus like her best friend Kim Faulconer. I was shocked. Before this I had to force her to join in different activities but this year she decided to join them on her own. Kim is definitely a good influence. (I have volunteered to be a parent helper with her troop. Her Troop leader is Debbie Adams, a member of the church.) Kim has invited her to the beach for a week with her family to her grandmother's beach house in Ventura. Kent and I have mixed emotions about this since Kim's family is not LDS and we don't know very much about her father. Rachel is the dearest girl in the world to us and we wouldn't trust her care to just anyone.


Chad in 7th grade

Chad started seventh grade at Arroyo Seco Junior High last week. He was both nervous and excited. I bought him some crazy bone shorts and 3 T shirts at Miller's Outpost (on sale). Then we went to Beach Street and he paid a lavender "Sims" shirt and I bought grey "Bones" shirt for him. The first day of school the bus got there late and first period had already started before Chad even had his class schedule. He said it was very confusing. He seems to be doing well, though. He walks to the bus stop with Doug McDermott who used to be his chum in kindergarten/first grade before moving to Alameda for about 5 years. Now his family has moved back to the same house. He's a nice kid and Chad and he do everything together, even walk home from school cross-country. Last Wednesday, Chad invited him to a Court of honor where Chad got his Life rank and three merit badges: cooking, canoeing, and fishing. (Doug is in a different troop).

Paper route

Chad has also been faithfully doing his paper route every day, even with school. I hear him getting up early to check to see if the paper has arrived yet, then going back to sleep on the couch when it's late. He got a little discouraged the other night when someone chewed him out, but now he puts it on the man's doorstep and keeps on trying. I'm impressed with his responsibility and high self esteem. He likes having extra money to spend from the paper route. He bought himself a real nice skateboard with his money and likes to buy himself a drink at school everyday. He still has a little hard time settling down to do his homework in the afternoon and one day was on a real sugar low before dinner because he and Doug ate candy in the afternoon, but overall he's a great kid and I am so proud of his progress and ability. This is also a miracle considering the struggles he's had over the years with his attention deficit disorder.

Appendicitis

A week ago Tuesday (the day after we returned from Mammoth) we thought that he had appendicitis because he was complaining of stomach cramps and had a high fever. We took him to the pediatrician who had him checked by a surgeon too. It turned out to be Strep throat that had swollen the lymph glands in his abdomen. He was on penicillin for ten days, finishing on Friday. Today Sunday the 18th of September he complained of a sore throat and not feeling well again. I took him to First Care right after Stake Conference and he has strep again. He's on stronger medication now.

Tuesday night he dressed in his scout uniform and went with me to introduce scouting to Joshua Legere, who comes from a part member family. I was very proud of the mature way he conducted himself. He went over all of the requirements for joining scouts and told him how scouts got started in America. He did this for his Den Chief Award. Later that night he went to Denny Beitler's to pass off his Fishing Merit Badge. Denny said that Chad was the most prepared of any boy who has come to him over the years.

Proud

I feel very pleased about the growth of all of my children this year and their placement in school. I know that all of this is an answer to prayer, and I am grateful. They mean more to me than anything else in this world.

VP

Last Spring I was nominated and elected to be the 1st V. Pres. of the PTA at Rosedale, with Debbie Hilton as President. I knew it would be a good learning experience and I hoped it would give me clout when I requested that my children stay at Rosedale another year instead of going to Highlands where they belong.

Each year I thought it would be our last year at Rosedale and that we would be moving on by moving to a larger house but it never seemed to happen. And so I would try to figure out how to stay there one more year. I hated to see the children switch to Highlands and then have to adjust to a new school after we moved.

I was really shocked when I got notice to report at Highlands on July 18 to register the kids. I tried to be optimistic about it but the kids were really upset. I wrote a letter to the Superintendent requesting a reconsideration based on the "emotional and psychological damage" such a move would be to my children, and asked my dad to write a letter as a family physician verifying this. I also did mention that I was the first VP of the PTA and asked a few key school personnel and PTA members to write letters of support in my behalf. The new principal, Mr. Dixon, also put in a call for me, and on July 18 I got a call from Dr. Helmers saying we could stay one more year because of the medical reason only. Boy, was Rachel happy. I tried to encourage the kids to pray that the Lord would bless them to be able to go to school wherever was best, but she only prayed "bless us that we'll be able to go to Rosedale". She had answered the phone when Dr. Helmers first called and she told him I "was teaching Backyard Swim lessons for Rosedale". I called him back when she was at her swim lessons to find out the answer; so, when Kent went to pick her up he pretended that we got kicked out and had to go to Highlands, and pointed out all the good that would come from making new friends etc. Then when he confessed the truth, she was absolutely ecstatic with joy. Her best friend Kim Faulconer goes to Rosedale.

I thought that I would be much busier in the PTA than I am, but working with Debbie Hilton is a piece of cake because she does most of the work (which is fine with me). Before Mr. Moloznik (principal for last two years) left Rosedale, he called me into his office and said that he wished that he had nominated me for President because I have a much better way with people and he hoped that I would play a real strong roll in the new PTA board during the coming year. I know that I would do things differently than Debbie I would delegate more, involve more people, be more democratic, and do less. But I certainly wouldn't work any harder, and would probably accomplish less. With all of the things happening in my life, I am more than happy to let Debbie be the heavy while I go around and be nice to everyone and soothe any ruffled feathers.


A Perfectionist

Debbie does come across a little strong sometimes. She's a type A perfectionist with not a lot of finesse in front of a group. I'm just the opposite, so we compliment each other well. I felt so sorry for her this past week, though, when the past PTA president and Laura LeBlanc, who ran for President against Debbie and lost(tm) went gunning for Debbie at the first PTA association meeting. They kept brandishing "PTA bylaws" against her, and she broke down afterwards. So next week, she and I are meeting with the state PTA president to go over the bylaws with her, and then at the next PTA board meeting I will probably go over them with everyone as a "Leadership Spotlight". I have no ambitious desires for the Future I only want to learn and serve my community. If I help Debbie to be more effective, promote a feeling of unity and good will among the board members and community, set a good example for the church, and learn how to work in the PTA myself (tm)I've accomplished my goals.

Between scouts, PTA, the family, foreclosures, and now girl scouts, I barely have time for myself, let alone family records, which I really need to do.

Scoutmaster

This Summer Kent was approached on being the Scoutmaster in the ward. He said he would on condition that they get a Deacon's quorum adviser who would support the troop and serve as assistant scoutmaster (since scouting is really supposed to be directed by the Aaronic Priesthood leadership in the ward) and that I serve as Troop Chairman to help him out. The former Deacon's Quorum Advisor had his son in another troop and never came to any events and not even Deacon's quorum every week. They finally called Kerry Davis who is a great guy whose son is a deacon/scout. Kerry doesn't know anything about scouts, but he is willing to learn.

And they put me in as Troop chairman. Just the paperwork alone on this job is a killer. I finally decided at Blazer Day Camp last Saturday (feeling sick at the contemplation of eating roasted hot dogs for lunch) that I couldn't do that too, and so with mixed emotions I called the Bishopric that night to be released. I've enjoyed that calling a lot but I need to help Kent and the ward troop.

Our goals are to get a good troop committee going so that when we move next summer, they can carry on without us. We've been holding the meetings at the parents' homes and asking them to volunteer for outings, job assignments, etc. One of our best families is the Mechems, who are not LDS, but Catholic. The stepfather Will is a wonderful man and I may ask him to be the advancement chairman. I'd also like to give him a Book of Mormon this Christmas.


Marvelous Job

Kent is doing a marvelous job as scoutmaster. He was so discouraged last year as Varsity Coach with such tough boys and no support from the ward or stake priesthood leaders. But then he became my Co Blazer leader and saw how fun and easy it could be. I took him to a church Scout Leadership meeting with John Warnick who explained the relationship between scouting and the priesthood and made him go to a scout training workshop and his perspective began to change. He seems to need my support and encouragement in his work and callings, that's why he insisted that I be the Troop chairman with him.

He's a little bummed out right now though, particularly with one boy Chris Harrison who comes from a troubled family and has been defying him and not being truthful to his mother about it. Something like that takes all of the joy out of service.

Pregnant with Brett

Last week I found out for certain that I am pregnant with #6. I have always wanted six children, and in fact I chose my wedding band with six little diamonds around it for the six children I wanted to have. And I wanted to have this sixth child before I hit 34 1/2 next August when the chances for a Down syndrome child go up. If my calculations are right, this baby is due in May the supposed completion date for our next house in Stevenson Ranch. It seems that every third child I have I move into a new home about the same time (I had Eric 5 days after moving into this home. I think it's time to stop having children!) Actually May will be a good time for me it will be after the school fundraisers that I am in charge of and before the summer break so that I can still rest while the children are in school. I figure that I got pregnant the night Kent got home from Boy Scout Camp at Camp Whitsett, so I suppose that it would be appropriate if this was a little boy (Sean Robert?)

Pinworms

Another thing that happened after scout camp that was not so pleasant was that Chad got pinworms. Everyone in the family was supposed to take some "Vermox" (a very toxic substance that kills the pinworms), in case we had got it too. I didn't take any because I knew that we had been trying for a baby and I suspected that it would be harmful. Dr. Rodriguez confirmed that it would have killed the fetus if I had taken it.

Health concerns

I want to have a healthy whole child, but I am also a little concerned about my own health too. I got an ulcer last year with all of our financial problems and from the moment that I found out that I was pregnant, I've had a dull sick feeling in my abdomen and stomach ever since. I also discovered a breast lump in my left breast last April. It appears to be benign (after a mammogram and talk with the radiologist and Dr. Rodriguez) but I am a little concerned about it. I am also concerned about who should deliver this child. I would prefer my dad to deliver this last one, since he's delivered all of my other children. But he hasn't delivered any babies since Ashley and he's so far away. Dr. Rodriguez is the closest Pru Net doctor and seems nice, but he doesn't have a very good medical reputation among some nurses that I've talked to. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

Prayer roll 1988

I put my name and "baby Gardiner" on the prayer roll at the temple this morning 9/17/88 after the 6:00am Tonganese session. I had a very spiritual experience at the veil over the name of the second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood. I wept so that I could hardly repeat it and the two people assisting me felt the spirit as well. The sister hugged me and the brother said "God bless you". I think that there is no greater blessing in all the world than the gift of Eternal Lives.

I asked Kent to give me a blessing at the beginning of this pregnancy mainly because I was a little concerned about my own health. I think that it was Brother Mefford who assisted. I remember Kent saying that the Lord was pleased with my desire to have children. He also admonished me to study the scriptures to find answers and know the Lord's will. I kept waiting to hear a blessing of health and strength, but it was not given.

Special Experience 1988

Something interesting happened before I got pregnant with this baby.....I felt an urgency to conceive this child soon not to put it off any longer. But in June after putting my diaphragm away, I felt no desire for sex and was fearful of conceiving. I felt that there must be something to do with my breast lump that I must check out. We had been so emotionally consumed with Lance closing escrow and his lawsuit that I hadn't really followed up on this. So in July I talked to Dr. Rodriguez by phone, and he again assured me that everything was most likely just fine and not to worry. I went by his office and obtained a copy of my mammogram report. The radiologist's report stated that the lump was probably benign, but recommended a follow up study in six months. I talked to my dad about it and he suggested that I wait before getting pregnant until after the six month follow up. But I did not feel that I had that much time to wait.

So I got on my knees and prayed to heavenly father. I told him that I wanted to have another child and felt that there was one that I was supposed to have, but that I was concerned about my health. The doctor did not seem to think that it was anything serious, and yet in my heart, I suspected that there might be something. I was afraid that if I waited to have it checked out more thoroughly, that I might not ever have this child, and so I asked for his protection. I asked him to preserve my life, and if this was pleasing to him if he had a special child that he wanted to send to our family would he bless me with the desire and ability to conceive immediately. Otherwise, would he please take away this desire and ability.....I conceived my very next cycle. I was gratified to know in my priesthood blessing that he was pleased with my desire to have children. It is something special to know that the Lord is pleased with you.

Last year was the most trying year of our lives with no money and escrows not closing.

Ryan

Ryan jumped on the exercise trampoline while the sprinklers were going. He certainly has a lot of energy and a very loud voice these days. And he asks a million questions. His friend Matthew McGuire moved to a new house across the street in the end of a cull de sac. It is the Harmon's old house and has a spa. He still loves popsicles, gum, playing in the dirt on the side of the house, and riding bikes and hot wheels around. In the back on the porch and sidewalk along the side of the house the children drew "Stop" signs and traffic lines and they like to ride the bikes and hot wheels around. Ryan likes to play the policeman. He and Ashley and his little friends also love the play house. They climb up there to eat and play and stack the grey milk crates around.


Ashley’s Prayers

When it is time for prayers, Ashley says "Hey guys, how 'bout I say pwayers!" and then she mimics very sweetly everything you say until she hears you say the name "Jesus", and then she announces "Amen!" and that's that. Her life still revolves around the TV, the other children, "Bink o' milk, PWEASE!" and going poo poo. She loves to ride a little Big Bird hot wheels that we got at a garage sale. She can count up to ten perfectly and gives a good try at the ABC's.

Birthday party

Today I called my dad and stepmother Elaine to talk about plans for a birthday party for my grandmother next weekend. During the week I'd talked to all my brothers and sisters and had tried to get things planned out including for Thanksgiving and Christmas, when my older sister and family were coming in. I told Elaine we'd try and send her home for Thanksgiving to be with her grandchildren and she got very defensive. She said she could speak up for herself and that she and my dad would decide together what they would do and no one was sending her anywhere. I felt very badly about it afterwards. I surely didn't mean to offend I was only trying to be helpful. My family is so indecisive it's herculean to get them pinned down to anything. If you don't speak up about certain things nothing happens. But I'll have to try and be more tactful in the future and let her learn and fumble for herself.

I've been feeling very punk these last few days. I rallied just enough with the Lord's help to go over the PTA by laws and some human relation skills with the PTA board on Tuesday night. Debbie Hilton, the PTA president has been getting a lot of criticism from the former PTA president and someone who opposed her in the elections last March. They publicly embarrassed her at the PTA association meeting, questioning her right to lead on several points of "by laws". So she and I met with the California State PTA president and her Vice President over leadership at Marie Callendars to go over the by laws and other questions about governing. Debbie wanted to set the record straight at the next board meeting and so I suggested that I do it as a "leadership spotlight" in a low key sort of way, taking the pressure off Debbie, and they all liked that idea.

6 Blind Men

Tuesday night I opened with the poem by John Saxe about the 6 blind men and the Elephant, who each examined different parts of the elephant and argued about what it really was, and said that the elephant in this case was PTA and that while I didn't have all the answers, we would try to examine "the elephant" all together. Then we went through most of the by laws together, I clarified and corrected many formerly disputed items, and pointed that many of the problems that our present board struggled with were conditions inherited by us from the previous board, and that certain changes needed to take place so that next year's board would not be so handicapped. I closed with explaining that there was a difference between rules of governing and style of governing, which was determined by the personalities of the leaders. I said that we needed to treat each other with courtesy and respect, the way we would want to be treated. To go to someone in private if there was a disagreement rather than embarrassing them publicly or talking about them behind their back. And that even though we wouldn't do things the same as another, we needed to be tolerant of differences when working towards the common goals of what's best for the school and our children. I concluded with Aesop's Fable about the dying father who wanted to teach his sons unity regarding the governing of his estate. He gave each of them a stick to break which they did quite easily. Next he gave each of them a bundle of sticks and challenged them again. They could not break the bundle. Likewise, if we are divided we will break, if we are united, we will withstand anything.

Sue Harrison, the teacher rep and assistant principal said that she thought I had handled things in just the right positive, upbeat manner. But I was a little worried about the former president, who is now the parliamentarian being offended. At the end of the meeting she started to boss Debbie around again, telling her she had to do this or that, but the next morning she called Debbie up and said she was going to resign because she felt the others were critical of her actions when it became clear that she had not done everything right when she was president. Debbie then called me up and said she felt she should resign but fortunately I talked her out of it. I most certainly don't want her to resign because then ÓIÔ would be president, and I certainly don't want that headache. I feel that it is my job just to help Debbie make it through this year.

Surprise Call

Suzanne: In the middle of September, I came home (I think from Girl Scouts) to get a surprise phone call from Bo Christopher Bêtise. Bo was a very dear friend of mine my second semester of BYU. He was a nonmember athlete on scholarship from Sweden who stayed in Helaman Halls like myself. We palled around and talked a lot about the church. He was very open and receptive, a very spiritually sensitive young man who was already keeping the commandments despite the peer pressure he had received from fellow athletes in Sweden. He went home that summer and joined the church, and later went on a medical mission to Chile. He came home and met his wife Nancy in Sweden, they got married in the Swiss temple and are now expecting their fifth child (almost unheard of in Sweden). He is a family doctor and first counselor in the Stockholm stake presidency. He is studying to be a sports physician and so came to America to visit different sports clinics and doctors and go to General Conference in Salt Lake.

He called me when they got to Los Angeles, and they came over Monday night (I think it was September 19) and had a snack and slept on our front room floor. It was so nice to see him and his sweet wife so strong in the church. They were so cute with our children too. (I look upon his conversion as one of the high points in my life.) We gave him a Scout handbook and Scoutmaster's Handbook to take back to Sweden to help the church program back there. We also gave him some maps and helped him plan out his itinerary for the two and a half days he was here. We sent him off to Universal Studios Tuesday morning, with Disneyland planned for Wednesday.

A few weeks later I got a package from him with three bars of Swedish chocolate and a nice letter. He said that the chocolate was an apology for coming empty handed on Family Home Evening Night. We ate one bar when we went to Universal Studios for Scout Career Day (Rachel's Girl Scouts) and another bar down in Tijuana. The children love the sweet creamy taste, and have tried to buy the remaining bar from me (without success).

October 23, 1988

It was our Primary Sacrament Meeting Program. Ryan gave his first talk "The children loved Jesus". I gave a talk on how reading the Book of Mormon has helped my family. (The Primary sponsored a Book of Mormon reading program, with participants advancing in the ranks of the armies of Helaman to General, and receiving an "I love the Book of Mormon T Shirt. Everyone in the family except Ashley got to be General. We had to do some hurry up reading and memorizing scriptures (for Chad and Ryan) in order to finish in time, but it was worth it for the spirit it brought into our home and the feeling of accomplishment it gave the children.

It was our second time through the Book of Mormon as a family. Three and a half years ago I came home from a regional Young Women's Leadership Conference and talked to Kent about what Sister Maurine J. Turley had said about the blessings of scripture reading as a family. She said that if she could put all her marbles in one jar it would be scripture reading because it would do more to bringing the Spirit of the Lord into your home and keeping your children faithful than any other thing that you might do. Kent and I thought about this and decided that we would do this too. We started on the Book of Mormon just before the ward had a three month Book of Mormon reading program, kicked off with fast and kneeling prayer. Well, we didn't read it in three months, but we did read it all the way through, and then read most of the Old Testament and the Four Gospels. Then we started over on the Book of Mormon just before the Primary program started.

In my talk I told how Kent and I made this commitment to read the scriptures, how we got the children up at 6:30 in the morning to read and pray with them before Kent had to leave for work, and how we took the Book of Mormon with us in the car and read it around the campfire with us. It started each day for us and carried the Spirit of the Lord into our home. We missed it when we forgot or didn't take the time to read.

Peace

There was a great peace and faith in our home and hearts this past year despite tremendous financial trials. We knew what to do, what course of action we should take, and we had the courage to hang on and continue to pay our tithing and trust in the Lord until things did work out. There was a great spirit of love in our home as well, like a bit of heaven here on earth. I clearly remembered one Sunday morning about a week before we were sued by Lance for 1.4 million dollars, the great outpouring of the Spirit and Love I felt in our family. I felt close to tears all day. I remembering holding hands with Kent in church with our children all around us and saying "I know what the Celestial Kingdom is like, it's just like what we have right here." This special sweet spirit stayed with us the next few weeks to help us through our ordeal.

There has been greater obedience and honesty on the part of our children, greater feeling of self esteem and confidence on everyone's part. We feel more like repenting of our mistakes, and forgiving others, not holding grudges, and more helpful. It has stimulated many gospel discussions, so that every morning feels like Family Home Evening. Kent and I and even the children have been able to see things more clearly, and we have found the answers to many pressing personal problems.

Greatest Decision as Parents

Reading the scriptures daily with our children is the single greatest decision that we've made as parents. I have a testimony that those families who do this will draw closer to Christ, receive great blessings, have the ability to resolve their problems and be better parents and family members. I think that the greatest thing that parents and ward members can do is to encourage consistent ongoing study of the Book of Mormon. There is no greater legacy that you can leave with your children than a testimony of its truth and the knowledge that God lives and guides his children who strive to keep hi
s commandments.


Sunday, November 13, 1988

Thursday after school the children helped pack and clean up the house and we headed down to our cousins the Blocks who live in a new house near San Diego. We got down there just before 9:00pm. They have a lovely 5 bedroom home in Penasquitos. We watched "The Devil's Foot" on Mystery, a Sherlock Holmes adventure. Then the girls and Kent and I slept in Karolee's room, while the boys slept downstairs in the Family Room. We slept in until 8:00 the next morning, got up and ate waffles, then packed up and left for Sea World with Cindy and Ryan Blunck. It was rainy and cold in the morning, but the afternoon was sunny and warm. The kids really liked "Shamu", especially when he jumped in the air and splashed water over everyone. We sat near the front on the top row of blue bleachers but luckily didn't get wet. Ashley clapped her hands and laughed during the show.

Another favorite show was the Kooky Castle Sea lion and Otter show. They had a mime do tricks beforehand and a cute "play" with two sea lions and a walrus that spat water at the audience. Ryan held Cindy's hand part of the time walking around. We passed out the last remaining Halloween candy to the children, who all had fun together. They also liked Captain Kid's Play area. Ryan and Ashley liked playing in the room full of balls, the jumping trampoline area, the slides, and crawl thru gyms. We lost Chad and Ryan both in the Kid's area, but found them again. I counted to seven on the children about twenty times to make sure we were not leaving anyone behind.

Ryan and Ashley fell asleep on the way back to Aunt Sandy's, but the older children played games all they home. We ate sloppy Joes and then took the lloonngg way to Richard's. (We started going the wrong way on the freeway and had to double back.) We all slept in Richard's front room. It was nice to see the house getting fixed up after so many years of horrible living conditions. His new wife Billy is raising their standard of living, but they are really missing the gospel in their lives, that Spirit of the Lord which changes people from the inside out.

The next morning we ate English muffins and Shredded Wheat, then took off with Nathaniel and Joshua to the Mexican border to go to Tijuana. We found a place to park and then walked across the border into downtown Tijuana. It was quite heart wrenching to see the beggars and little children in the street pleading for money and trying to sell their cheap wares. Next time we want to bring some small change with us for the children to give to them. It opened their eyes to the many advantages we have in the United States.

Kent and I prayed that no one would be lost and that we could all find some little trinkets to be happy with. Again I found myself counting to seven every few minutes to be sure we were all together. We lost Nathaniel for just a few minutes once, but the rest of the time we did pretty good. We all stopped whenever anyone wanted to look at anything. The boys all wanted to look at knives, Eric the hats, Ryan wanted to look at the musical toys and bags, Kent the chess sets, and Rachel and I the dresses. Ryan and Ashley got kind of tired and weepy, so we stopped at a shaded bench to eat our sandwiches and drinks and Swedish chocolate. Kent took a picture of all of us on the bench while several Mexicans leaned out of a dilapidated bus to grin encouragingly at us. We later bought some orange soda pop (except for Ryan who got Squirt, which he liked because it was so "spicy")

Knives 1988

Well, the boys got their knives (Chad even got a switchblade comb), Kent his wooden chess set, Ryan got a colorful bag to hang over his shoulder, Rachel and Chad got hammocks, and all of us girls got embroidered dresses at the same little shop #109 in a basement mall of shops off Diaz Morin. Rachel got a very pretty white dress with intricate blue embroidery. Ashley looked as cute as a button in a pink dress with lovely hand embroidery and crotchet, which she wore home since her clothes were all wet from the orange soda pop. I got a long pink dress with puff sleeves similar in style to my favorite red dress that I got four years ago. The embroidery was machine stitched, not hand like the girls, but Kent liked the color and the fit was good. The woman gave us a good price on all three and it was a relief to have nearly all of our shopping done. The last thing we got was a colorful guitar for Ryan who paid only $2.00 for it along with a $5,000.00 peso note, which he got from Rachel (who had saved it from Kent and my trip down there four years ago). The man gave Ryan two Mexican coins as change and he was very happy, especially as it chinked along in his back while he walked.

Are they all yours?

Lots of people counted our children as we went by, some wanting to know if they were all ours, and one telling me to come buy something for our next child. On the way back to the border, Ashley sang from my hand in her pretty pink dress and many Mexican men irresistibly put their hand out to pat her blond curls. At the border as we went through customs, the officer asked each one of us what our nationality was. We all answered "the United States" or "American" until he got to Ryan, who was the last one, and he answered uncertainly, "I live at the same place as they do," while showing the officer his guitar and bag.


We visit Richard Watson 1988

We got back to Richard's about 5:00, ate some spaghetti, French bread and soda pop, and then headed home. Ashley, who'd fallen asleep between the border and Richard's house, was the only one who didn't go to sleep right away on the way home; she kept pretending to call Grandpa and Uncle David and Grandma Great up on the telephone. When we got home, Ryan and the boys went right to sleep, Rachel took a bath, and Ashley didn't "wanna go to bed" until she'd had some cereal and milk. I washed and dried my hair, then threw up the last of my spaghetti. It was gross, but I had held up pretty well the last two strenuous days and was glad for the fun time we'd had with the children. Sunday morning Ashley woke up with her eyes all caked over like pink eye, so I stayed home from church with her. We called Grandpa Brown to be sure some eye drops that we had on hand were okay, and Ashley said,” I, Grandpa how ya doing?". She talked about her new pink dress, sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to him and grinned ear to ear the whole time. She was as cute as a button.


Feeling down 1988

I've been feeling so good the last 3 or 4 weeks, I can't complain too much for feeling down this last week. PTA and Scouts has kept me busy and worked up. Last Monday was the PTA association meeting and a few people had to criticize the number of fundraisers that we were having this year, saying that "the state PTA says we are only supposed to have two per year". Well, being as I am the First Vice President over Fundraisers this put me on the spot. I called the State PTA vice president and she said that this was completely false there was no number stated in the PTA guidelines for fundraisers, which had not changed from the previous year. It seems that we have two members of our association who currently serve on the PTA council who consistently criticize and spread false information regarding PTA policy as it relates to our actions. I lay awake that night stewing for a couple of hours and threw up the next morning.

Controversy 1988




The next night I was getting ready for our Scout Board of Review, which was going to be controversial because it involved the question of advancement for a young man who has very poor scout spirit and very pushy parents. I talked to Will Mechem, a very fine nonmember parent who is going to be the advancement chairman. He took charge of the Board of Review, along with Kerry Davis, the Deacon's Quorum Advisor, and Kevin Large, the Bishopric Counselor. I counseled the Board to be united, to open with prayer, and to get the boy to evaluate his own performance. So, Fortunately, when this young man came through, he publicly acknowledged that he needed to improve, and it was the united decision of the board to encourage him to wait and work on his leadership and scout spirit. They were very positive and kind to him as well. But unfortunately, his parents, who were waiting outside, became very upset and angry over that decision. (I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will soften their hearts, and also work with Will Mechem and his wife and stepson Daniel King to bring them into the church.) Anyhow, I've spent some sleepless hours during the night over this as well, and paid for it the next day too.


Money 1988

Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, Susan Simmons called to tell us that we are to meet her this Tuesday at an escrow company in Lancaster to sign over the deed to her property and collect a check for $10,000.00. She has not paid on her note for over three years (except for a few months last Spring when her bankruptcy lawyer collected her payments and sent them on to us). She has been trying to refinance her home for more than one year. I remember last November receiving a call from a loan broker that escrow would close in about two weeks, and laying my head down on my computer (where I was typing my mother's history) and crying, and breathing a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father. We needed the money so badly since Lance was not closing. But the loan didn't go through, she filed bankruptcy the day before the first was to foreclose on her in February, and has been through numerous attempts to refinance since then. I can hardly believe the end may finally be in sight; this is the closest it has come to finalizing. I don't think I will believe it until a check is handed to me. I told Kent, that even if this money is put back into our investment business, we should pay $1,000.00 tithing just as if it were personal income because it is surely a gift and miracle from God. If it does come through, we are going to take the remaining $9,000.00 and get braces started for Rachel, Chad's 12 year molars sealed, and look for an upgraded van for the family. Then we'll sell our current van and use the money to fix up our house ready to sell.

SLC

Last Thursday for Thanksgiving my dad went to Salt Lake to be with Elaine's daughter and her family, and give the dad and two oldest children patriarchal blessings. So, we invited David and Kent's folks and Aunt Audrey and Gerry over for the feast at our house. Judy called up Wednesday night and in the conversation I found out they were not going to Nevada to be with Mike's folks as planned since they were helping to take care of a premature grandchild. So, even though I was afraid I wouldn't have enough turkey (I only bought a 14 pounder) I talked them into coming out for dinner as well. I knew that they would be sad and lonely spending it by themselves, and that my mother would have wanted me to invite them. Kent's stepmother and her mother Irene didn't come after all since Irene is so ill with cancer, but Kent's brother Jeff showed up later in the evening with some more computer software for us and spent the night on the floor in the living room. I ran out of turkey, but we had plenty of other good food and a nice visit. The children played Grandpa in chess and watched Star Wars in the evening. David and Audrey did the dishes for me and won permanent places in my heart.

Baby shower

Friday was a baby shower at Gayle Reese's for Kris Davis Gardiner (JT's wife who had twin boys) by all the Gardiner girls and granddaughters. I didn't know I was supposed to bring Rachel she would have liked it. We ate chicken salad croissants and played games (I won the two brain teasers) and had a nice warm, friendly visit with everyone. Kent's mother's eyes and arms were swollen and red from an allergic reaction probably to soap from bathing her ill mother.

Christmas Shopping

Saturday (yesterday) I did some more Christmas shopping and went to the baptism of the twin daughters of Cathy Gundy, a woman I have visit taught for several years about half the time that I have lived in this ward, in fact. She has been inactive and gone through a messy divorce during that time. She just won legal custody of her children and was able to have them baptized. I hope that this experience will help to reawaken her commitment to the church and its gospel precepts. I was able to help her children in and out of the font and get them dressed. I was glad that I could be of service. Who knows but maybe my faithful visiting teaching all those many months over the past few years has laid the groundwork for this occasion?

Today I am home from church with Ashley who had a fever in the night and has a rash on her body and cheeks this morning. I think that it is rosella. She wanted to go to church and see her teacher in the nursery this morning. She spent the morning watching "Winnie the Pooh" and "Donald Duck" and calling Grandpa and Daddy up on her play phone to come home and see her. She just now crawled up into my bed, pulled the covers up, and went to sleep on my pillow while I am typing away beside her.


Grateful

I have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving time. Mostly for my rich spiritual heritage in the church, for my loving relationship with Kent, and my good, beautiful children. I have also been very blessed financially this past year. If Susan Simmons closes, we will have a little more than $50,000.00 in the bank, a year's income. With Lance's note to us we make $6,000 a month, at least $2,000 a month more than we need to use. We are expecting our sixth child and will be able to move into a new home twice the size of our present home this coming year. Compared to what we had last year at this time (speaking financially) the Lord has really opened up the windows of heaven to us. I must always remember how much I owe Him and be more sensitive to the spiritual and physical needs of others around me.

Temple

When I went to the temple this month I ran into WillaRae Walker, GlennaRae White's mother, who is temple matron. She told me to wait a moment while she finished talking to someone she had something to share with me. Then she told me about what had happened at the sealers' special meeting in the temple (it had been shared with her by her husband). Pres. McEwan had called on my dad to speak and he said,” If I had known earlier what I know now, I never would have let my sweetheart Marjorie out of my sight. Brethren, love and cherish your wives." It brought tears to my eyes to hear he felt that way about my mother. She said that Pres. McEwan told the sisters later that he wished that he had included the sisters in that special meeting if for no other reason than to hear Brother Jim Brown's expression of love for his wife. WillaRae said that her own husband came home afterwards and held her in his arms and told her how much he loved and appreciated her. She had thought about telling her daughter about this to tell me, but thought that something this special should be told to me personally. I was very grateful to have heard it.

My secret garden

My dad told me a few weeks ago that he was playing the organ and came to the song "In my Secret Garden" (?), an old song, with words to the effect: that in my secret garden, the flowers do not smell so sweet, nor look so lovely without you there. He said that it made him think of Mother, and he was so overcome, that he couldn't finish the song. Elaine heard him stop playing, and sensing that he was hurting emotionally, came up and put her hand on his shoulder to show him that she understood. I am glad that my mother is pre eminent in my father's life; but I am also glad, since she is gone, that he has someone like Elaine to comfort him and keep him company.

December 29, 1988

Well, Christopher Harrison has decided to join Wayne Hammil in Troop 2 (and this right after the Scout Committee Meeting at his house and the announcement that he would be the Assistant Patrol Leader!) and Daniel Summerhays, the Patrol Leader doesn't want to be the patrol leader anymore and won't come to scouts because he feels so insecure without Wayne and Chris, and his parents won't insist on his following through anyway. It is hard not to take all of this personally. I know that it is not a reflection on us, but rather one on the families' lack of support for leaders and lack of commitment to the gospel generally. It seems that while we were tried financially last year, this year we are being tried emotionally. I think that the Lord is trying to help me to learn to have compassion on people in and out of the church this year through scouting and PTA. It sure is painful. I am grateful for the support of the Bishopric, Kevin Large, Kerry Davis and the Mechems, however. We took the Mechems to the Glendale Center Theater to see Scrooge on Dec. 5.

It was a big surprise for Kent during tithing settlement it looked like our income was $63,000.00. In actuality, $10,000 was from paying off our debts the previous year, and another $10,000 was SS's money which we will spend during the coming year. But it was something to see our church contributions more than doubled over the previous year and contemplate how richly we have been blessed this year as compared to last. I know that it is because we have striven to be faithful to all of the Lord's commandments through the thin and thick of things.

This has been a far happier Christmas for us too, with money not so tight and wonderful family get togethers on the Brown side.


Presents

We bought the children several presents instead of just one Chad got a Mach 7 Boogie board and strap, Churchill fins, a notebook, tennis balls, and the Narnia book series; Rachel got jeans (which she later exchanged for black knit leggings and a blue knit dress), jeans jacket, sweater and skirt, jeans purse, jewelry, hair ribbons and a notebook; Eric got Uncle David's old money collection, a fishing tackle box, Kent's fishing pole, a bike lock, and a watch (we spent the least money on him and he was the easiest to please); Ryan got a big Lego train set, basic Lego small building set, erase board and markers, water color paints (we agonized the most over his finally deciding just a few days before Christmas); Ashley got a FP play purse and two sets of play dishes and play food (which she loves and had told everyone Santa was going to bring her for weeks in advance); For Christmas and anniversary, Kent got a sweater, tie, dress shirt and pants, wallet, watch, and manicure set. I got some slippers, garnet earrings, and a pocket camera. We looked at silverware, but I had a hard time spending the money on a nice stainless set. We spent 3 or 4 times as much this Christmas as we did the last one.


Friday December 23rd 1988

We went to the Browns for a big get together; it was the first time all of us children had been together for Christmas since my marriage 14 years ago. There were 34 of us for a sit down dinner (not counting the 3 babies). We had a big turkey dinner and afterwards dad read an anecdotal letter about the 12 days of Christmas followed by family skits and songs. Our family sang "Up on the House Top" and "You better watch out", Rachel read "T'was the Night Before Christmas", and Ashley said "Ho, ho, ho!". (Ashley also sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and the "ABC song" for everyone in an impromptu performance with her cousin Noelle although Ashley was the only one who sang.) We had kneeling prayer afterwards and passed out presents to everyone who wouldn't be staying for Christmas. Elaine was a very gracious hostess and had done so many nice things to fix up the house. It was not the same without my mother there, but I felt that she was there in Spirit, and it surely made a difference to have a woman in the home. This get together was more joyous than last year's. We also went through mom's brass and iron collection (which I saved from being sold) and I chose a big old iron and iron stand trivet, a small Dutch oven, and some brass pots to put plants in.

My dad let us each pick out two pieces of mom's jewelry as Christmas and birthday presents this year. I chose her silver conch belt and her garnet bracelet. I toyed with her big garnet earrings and ring, but since Kent had given me some I hesitated until Johanna pointed out the bracelet and I immediately grabbed that. I love it's delicate feminine beauty, and I felt that it was a present from my mother to me.

Jim and Carol

Jim and Carol were the only ones staying over for Christmas and Grandma asked if we were too. I said no, we never did there was no room in the inn with everyone else staying over, so we always went home to sleep in the stable. She must have had compassion on us because she invited us to spend Saturday night with her so we could spend Christmas with my dad something I haven't done in 14 years. I wasn't sure whether to accept because I knew the children were looking forward to opening their presents at home Christmas morning, but I knew that it would be a memorable experience, and that my grandmother would not be around much longer. So we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and tell the children that Santa would visit Grandma Great's, Grandpa Brown's, and our house Christmas Eve.

Cold and rainy

Saturday was cold and rainy, but we stopped at the Home Depot on the way out to the Browns again to buy some tile to redo our house. (We bought some marble look tile which Kent is putting in the bathrooms, entryway and kitchen this week it looks really nice.) We had left overs for dinner and then met in the living room for a little program. I told the Christmas story from the Bible and Book of Mormon and my brother Jim read from Ezra Taft Benson's Christmas memories. Grandpa Brown said that the greatest gift that we could give others is the gift of being good. We sang "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night". Kent gave the closing prayer. Then we went to Grandma's to spend the night. Elaine wasn't feeling well, she went to lie down before dinner. Grandma put Rachel in the single bed next to her, Chad and Eric in the pull out bed in the front room, Ryan on the loveseat, and Ashley on the floor. Kent and I slept in her guest bed. We snuck some presents for the children in a big box, and during the night I was Santa's helper and put the presents on the dining room table. We told the children that they couldn't wake us up before 7:00 in the morning, and at 7:00 sharp they were rapping on the door for us to get up. We each opened one present (the rest were waiting for us at home around the tree and in our stockings) and ate some cereal and waffles for breakfast. Then we got ready for Sacrament meeting with Grandpa Brown. Before leaving, Grandma gave me a long garnet necklace (since it was the only garnet piece of jewelry I didn't have) and let me choose one of her needlework pictures. I chose the little church one that she has in the front room.

Sacrament

Sacrament Meeting was nice, the most memorable part being a talk by a recent convert who talked about the gifts that God gave us, while having children unwrap pictures representing these gifts (the scriptures, the restoration of the gospel, prophets, the priesthood, eternal life, temples for sealing ordinances). The children remembered these things. I wept during the Sacrament as I thought about the kind of son that Jesus was to his Father in Heaven, and how I would like to be that kind of child to my earthly parents. I greeted the Waits and the Mayo Smiths after church.


A Brown Christmas

We opened gifts at the Browns after church. Grandma gave me a crocheted collar, and Elaine gave me a Christmas book by Elaine Cannon. David gave us the videotape ET and a big tub of popcorn. Kent received a beautiful cardigan from my folks and a model A with cologne in it. Dad had earlier given Kent and I $100.00 for the children's birthday and Christmas money which we will use to buy Season Passes at Magic Mountain. Grandma had a gift for each of the children my favorite being a turquoise Mexican dress for Rachel. We had tamales for lunch, and Kent and my brother Charles talked a long time about a train layout for our board and track that Nebs Fairbanks had just given us. I also talked to my cousin Delbert on the phone in Tennessee. I confess to wishing I had more time to spend on the family history. My life just seems to get more and more complicated with nearly six children, scouts, PTA, and a new house on the way, but I pray that the Lord will help me to do what I can.

We got home about 4:30, cleaned out the van, then looked in our stockings and opened all our presents here at the house. We had a good time. (Ashley later told me, quite pleased, that she got a lot of presents.) We caroled a few neighbors and left candy cane reindeer in the bitter cold evening and then barely cleaned up before my brother Jim and his family arrived about 8:00pm to go over the family's genealogy and spend the night. I was cold and tired, but I helped for about 1 1/2 2 hours filling in a giant pedigree chart according to my brothers and sisters and I while he wrote down the appropriate numbering system on various other pedigree charts. Just organizing all of the information is a mammoth task, let alone researching and verifying it all. It should be done a little bit every day or every other day in order to make any real progress. I don't think that it is my time and season for this right now.

Jim and Carol

We put Jim and Carol's family on the floor in sleeping bags, and were surprised Monday morning to find them packed and ready to leave when we got up I thought that they were going to stay and work on the records some more. But they had someone to visit and wanted to get on home early, and we needed to get ready for the Gardiner Christmas party. I called Grandpa Gardiner to find out when the party was only to find out it was up in the air since Grandma was sick in bed with the flu and 101 temperature. We didn't want to get that so we decided to stay home and Kent went to town on the tile in our bathroom.

He has worked non stop laying tile everywhere for four days now. It looks very nice, and will look even better with new carpet too. I've been achy, tired, and slow the last three days like I'm fighting something off. I took down the Christmas decorations yesterday. It was such a good Christmas, and I got just about everything done, so I didn't feel bad about taking the stuff down. Besides, it was fun to put away my mother's Christmas things and think about her. The only thing I haven't done yet is print up our picture and testimony of the Book of Mormon to send Salt Lake for the Family to Family Book of Mormon placement program (I'll do that Sunday) and pass out these two Book of Mormons that I got last month. I think I'll send one to Susan Simmons with our best wishes, and the other to the Mechems, the nonmember family in our scout troop.
New Years Eve

I haven't figured out how to give it to the Mechems yet, but I did invite them to the stake New Year's Eve dance along with her brother. I sort of doubt that they will accept, but it would be nice. Richard and Billy Sue Watson probably won't come up from San Diego this year either. If Mechems don't go, we'll talk the Larges into going with us or go alone. We have agreed to help the Meffords out by preparing some Hors d'eaurves before the dance at the stake center. I would rather not do so, but we owe the Meffords many favors, he's been such a faithful home teacher and good friend to us for many years in this ward.

1989

Saturday and Sunday the 28th & 29th Charlie and Barbara and their three children came over to spend the night and work on a train layout with us. We had such a nice visit. I felt a lot closer to them. Monday for Family Home Evening we had the missionaries for dinner and then went to the Gary's in our ward to see his train set up in his garage. His is N gauge, and multi-tiered or leveled with mountains and trees, an engine terminal, little town, everything. It was the best model train layout I've ever seen. The kids were really impressed and more excited about our own.

Wednesday 2/1 Kent took off from school and went to the tax sale. We both had spent the last week going over the list of properties, narrowing it down to a few that looked promising. All of the ones that we had researched however were made up before the sale except for one imperfect one in Sylmar that went for $220,000. It did make us more determined to find another investment piece though, particularly after talking to Reid Alexander. Reid told Kent that Lance is behind in his payments, one of his checks has bounced, he was injured while working as a stunt man (kicked in the stomach by a horse), has been in a lot of pain and has been doped up. (We suspect that he was doped up before the accident). Lance has been regular in his payments to us SO FAR, but Kent and I fear that we can not count on his reliability. And we will never qualify for our home without his payments unless we have some additional investment income. It would seem a cruel joke to have that dream yanked from us now. We are surely in the hands of the Lord and will need His help in our future and current investment plans.


Tomorrow I turn 34 years old.

For my birthday Kent and I went out Wednesday 2/1 and split a boysenberry yogurt and rented the video "Children of a Lesser God". Kent gave me "7 scents", samples of seven of the world's most popular perfumes. Chad got me Mrs. Polifax on Safari, by Dorothy Gilman, Rachel gave me some thank you cards, a book mark, and See's orange bon bons. Eric gave me some little faux pearl earrings he bought on a field trip to the San Fernando mission and some chocolate-covered cherries. Ryan gave me a really cute picture of a snowman and some film for my camera. My dad let me pick a piece of my mother's jewelry at Christmas time. I guess her silver conch belt that I chose is my present, but I'll have to wait until after the baby is born to wear it.

My dad called me on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday. It was a good day for me--I felt good about where I was in my life. I went out to lunch with Nancee Large to Marie Calendar's. I had the turkey pot pie, some vegetable soup and rhubarb pie for dessert. We had a nice visit. It was the Relief Society Circle of Sisters Day (where we were supposed to do something with another sister) and we decided to go out together.

Snow

On February 8, 1989 it snowed! I woke up at 5:00 and thought that Kent had overslept--it was so light outside. I looked more closely and realized that everything was a brilliant white. I woke Kent up to see also. We went back to sleep and were awakened about 6:30 by a call from Debbie Hilton saying that the schools were closed and so were all the freeways and roads out of the valley. It was a snow holiday for everyone. The children went outside to play right after breakfast. Rachel made a snowman in the front yard; Ryan made one in the back. Eric and Chad went up to the park and slid down the embankment on their bogey boards. Ashley would go out for a bit, get cold and wet, and come in for a warm bath and change. Then she'd want to go out again. Everyone went through more change of clothes that day than they usually do in a week. We got lots of cute pictures--it was fun. Rachel prayed for snow the next day so that they could skip school again, but I think her prayers were overrided by all the parents and educators praying that it wouldn't.

On February 2/18 we went out to my folks for dinner and so Rachel could interview my grandmother and my dad and Elaine about their Arizona memories and experience for her state report. My grandmother told a lot about early life with the Indians. They all said that they didn't miss the heat there in the summer. And they gave us some good ideas of places to visit should we go back there some day (Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Roosevelt Dam, painted dessert, petrified forest, etc.) I also want to take the family to Camp Verde where the Jones and Humans first settled and to the family ranch at Dewey where they used to have family rodeos. I found lots of family pictures and an article in the Arizona Highways (June 1955) for her report. I did the pictures up from some negatives we found in mother's jewelry chest last summer. I was able to get some of them identified from her old picture albums, but there are still several which have yet to be identified. Perhaps I can discover their identity during a longer visit over Easter. We also planned out a get-together in March to celebrate Dad and Elaine's birthdays. My sister Judy's husband won a trip to Amsterdam through a computer software company in April--and she kept asking Kent and I in front of everyone if we would watch her kids for them like she watched Chad, Rachel and Eric at the folks while she was staying there before Julia was born. She doesn't need our help--Michael's parents are coming in town to watch the children. I think she was just trying to be one up on us (even though we got her husband the job and did lots of babysitting for them while they were house-hunting). I thought she was kind of annoying. I look forward to the day she learns to be more sensitive to others.


Belva or Grandma Great

Things have been going smoother in PTA since we went over the budget with everyone and have planned out the rest of the year together. Misinformation and people's fears and insecurities have been put to rest. I was pretty upset about the proposed boundary changes at Rosedale which initially would have sent our entire PTA board (excepting 3 individuals--2 of whom are on the boundary committee) to different schools. It seemed like some more politicking on the part of those two--especially Judy Luskleet, the former president, who also got herself elected to the nominating committee for the new PTA board. Because of all the public outcry, the boundaries now proposed will be essentially the same as before; I will still need to apply for an intradistrict transfer so my children can continue there one more year until we move, but the rest of the PTA leaders can stay at Rosedale as well. One of the boundary committee people (Char Larkin) called me aside in private to talk because she heard I was upset and wondered why I didn't go to her in private as I made a big deal about doing that to resolve differences in the PTA. I told her that I had not gone behind her back to rally the others against her, I was just trying to find out what was really going on (which was true). I told her that while I was upset in the beginning with the original proposal and the manner in which it was presented, I was not upset about the final outcome and that I admired her efforts to resolve the conflict and the courage to talk to people about their feelings (like me). My real differences of opinion are with Mrs. Luskleet, and the manner in which she has conducted herself as our PTA representative on that committee. I suppose I should talk to her because I have told others about my disapproval of her actions, but I'm not really sure that it would accomplish any good. It is too late for her to undo anything, it may only cause further hurt feelings. I think she knows she blew it, and perhaps some things are better left unsaid.

Things seem to be going much better in scouts too. Daniel King and his father Will Mechem conducted a very nice court of honor, and we had an excellent scout committee meeting 2/26 at the Rodriguez home where Chad presented his eagle project and we went over Summer camps (we decided on Camp Kern on Huntington Lake in the Southern Sierra Council during the third week of August) and religious scouting awards. There was a good, warm spirit there among everyone, so different from the cold resentment we were feeling in the fall. I think the difference is in the quality of the parents who are becoming more involved in the program. With Hamills gone, Harrisons being scarce, and Summerhays subdued, and Davises, Lungrens, Mechems, Nebs Fairbanks and us leading out things are going much more smoothly and positively. Christopher Harrison has rejoined our troop; he was only allowed to go on the stake skills campout if he called troop 2's scoutmaster to tell them he was not coming anymore and took the 2 off his sleeve and replaced it with 581. His mother was very defensive and rude about it, but he did it. She must have been embarrassed later because she didn't come to our committee meeting, even though I gritted my teeth and called their family to tell them about it. One certainly has to have the Lord's spirit with you to keep things in perspective and be above the pettiness of some people's actions and attitudes.

I have been writing letters regarding the school and road funds over at Stevenson Ranch where we hope to move. I even got a letter back this week from Supervisor Antonovich about the new proposed road tax (I want SR exempt from it). I've also been following up on different investment properties, and trying to help Chad move forward on his eagle project and requirements. But I have been feeling quite poorly the past two weeks with a bad cold (stuffy, runny nose and cough), and touch of the flu (weak and very tired). I don't have the energy to get done everything I want to do and I'm kind of depressed--especially about the dirty run-down condition of the house. Kent says he doesn't want to do any painting until after the baby is born and has been sublimating a lot of his energies into the train layout in the front room. I think he's frittering away his time on a C item and I am overwhelmed with the task of keeping this small nine-year-old house up and in shape with seven (soon to be eight) people living in it.....Whops! my dear man must have been reading my thoughts, he just came home with paint for the inside and outside of the house, the cabinets, and the tile floor, with plans to do it all between now and Easter. He said he was so depressed about the way the grout in the kitchen and bathroom came out (discolored and dark grey in spots) that he couldn't face it for awhile.

In January our Family got the Stake missionary award "Feed My Sheep" for working on 12 missionary-type activities during the past year. The following is a testimony of the Book of Mormon that we typed up and put below our picture and sent to the church's family-to-family Book of Mormon placement program:

"This book is a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, and that He works with all mankind to bring them salvation. We have read the Book of Mormon and know that it is true. It helps you understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the meaning and purpose of life better. The Lord's Spirit has come into our hearts and home, and filled us with a desire to come unto Christ and follow His commandments.


--The Kent H. Gardiner family"

In April when I go in for my temple recommend interview I am going to talk to the Bishop and Stake President about getting a tubal litigation after the birth of this baby. I've been praying about it and I feel that considering my health (breast lumps in my left breast must be watched closely for cancer), how poorly I feel during my pregnancies and the increasing demands of my growing family, Kent's nine-year age difference and approaching retirement (and our desire to serve a mission together after the children are raised)--that such a course of action is acceptable to the Lord for me. I have always felt that six children was the number for me. I have loved and wanted each child that I have but I feel that my child bearing time here in mortality is coming to a close. I love the plan of procreation, and hope to be worthy to continue to have children with Kent in the eternities. I want to be sure that my decision and feelings are in harmony with the counsel of my priesthood leaders, though, and so will discuss it further with them before pursuing it with my doctor.

I am very proud of the way my children are turning out. On Tuesday February 28 I went with Chad to his quarterly exam with Dr. Greenwald. Right after that I dropped him off and went over to Rosedale to conference with Rachel, Eric and Ryan's teachers. The following is a summary of those interviews:

(Chad) His report cards are good, the last one showing a 3.17 grade point average and satisfactory behavior in all of his classes. He is in an "enriched math class" (I suspect preparatory to pre-algebra for next year) this semester and has been getting an A- average on weekly basis. Both he and his father were a little bit worried at first about his ability to handle the increased difficulty of the class but he seems to conceptually understand everything and be able to keep his grade up. The 40 mg. time release Ritalin does seem to be effective in helping him in his school work, and he has gained 5 pounds in four months, so it's not repressing his appetite too much. He is still faithful on his Signal paper route and has been giving me half of his income to save for his mission. I told him that if he saved $50.00 every month he would have $3,000.00 by his 17 the birthday, almost enough for a mission. As long as he pays his tithing, saves for his mission, and helps out with extra money for his lunches or special purchases for himself I allow him to spend the rest however he wants to. It has really helped him to develop a sense of responsibility and a positive self-image, and I appreciate that. He told Dr. Greenwald that he didn't like piano lessons (he told me he wants to play the drums) and I said that he isn't going to win on that one. I want him to take piano lessons for at least one more year. The musical foundation that it will give him will benefit him his whole life. He also told Dr. G. that he wanted to lift weights and his dad wouldn't let him. I said that it was just because Kent had heard that it may stunt his growth. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with it as long as he did it on a gradual work-up basis, so Chad says that he wants weights for his 13th birthday. His dad was real concerned about the lead figures he paints, but the doctor said that they could only hurt a small child who may put them in their mouth. He told him about his Eagle project to reconstruct 3 drinking fountains at Placerita Nature Center. (I want to see Chad finish his Eagle Project before the baby is born, and complete all requirements for his Eagle Scout by the end of this Summer). And he also showed him his poison oak that he got up at Verdugo Oaks Campground last weekend at the winter skills competition. The doctor wasn't too impressed with the small amount of lesions that he had until I told him about its history with him of gradually increasing in severity over a 2-3 week period until he was in absolute agony. The doctor said that this was unusual, but fortunately wrote me out some prescriptions identical to those Dr. Strick (the allergist) had given him last time he had it. I hope that the poison oak doesn't slow him up in his scouting this month--we want to get his eagle project approved and started and finish at least two merit badges. I told Dr. G. that Chad was getting 2 religious scouting awards this spring--the Award of Nephi and On My Honor. The doctor was impressed with Chad's progress and said that he would send me a report.



Rachel: Mrs. Harrison said that the only reason she called me in for these conferences is to tell me how wonderful Rachel is. She wrote on the report card: "Rachel continues to go beyond the expected in all areas. She is challenged by enrichment activities. She is a leader in our class and others." and she gave her 13 O's for Outstanding in work and study habits and her effort in academics. She said that Rachel was very mature in her perspective which contributed to group discussion, had tremendous conceptual understanding in reading and math, and was very directed and disciplined in her approach to her daily work. (Rachel told me that one time Mrs. Harrison explained something in math wrong and when the class did the assignment she was the only one who did it right, so the teacher gave her an A+. Now the teacher has given her a booklet on how to play a game and told her to read it and explain it to the rest of the class.) She is well-liked by her classmates and is viewed as a leader and resource person by others who needed help. I was particularly pleased to hear this latter part as I felt that this was the area she most needed to work on in order to increase her confidence with her peer group. I have noticed such a difference in her attitude and confidence level this year. She is much happier, much more willing to try new experiences and challenges, like the Coastal Sealife intercession class that she asked me to sign her up for during Spring break (they're going to Catalina on the last day).

I feel that her teacher's positive environment and public recognition of her has been invaluable in her growth and positive self-esteem this year. Mrs. Harrison says that she frequently designates her as the math expert for the day for others to turn to for help and also sends her to Mrs. Larrabee's classroom to help a boy who needs extra one-on-one tutoring. She works well with others and is respected by them. Rachel has completed six Girl Scout merit badges so far and needs two more to achieve her personal goal this year. She told me that she thought that she could get the other two "easy", and the neat thing is that she feels so confident about her ability to follow through on a challenge and goal. She's already memorized all but one or two Articles of Faith and has finished most of her Gospel in Action goals (and she's only been a Merrie Miss for two months!) At the Merrie Miss Memorandum she had two parts on the program. She is more confident in front of a group this year too. In piano she is learning Brahms Cradle Song for her piano recital in front of the parents. On her state report she has gone the extra mile researching and writing, typing everything up--all I've done is help her find materials. She complained that I didn't help her very much, she had to do everything herself, but if she only knew: What a joy and relief it is to have such a responsible daughter! I know that she'll get an A+ on her Arizona report, and when she finishes her two additional state projects and completes those two extra merit badges I'm going to take her out for buffet breakfast at the Village Inn--her favorite place to go because she likes to chow down on the Bacon.

Eric Gardiner in Cub Scouts

Eric: Eric's teacher just had a miscarriage, and was very disappointed about it because she was really looking forward to having a family, so we talked about that for awhile. She is very positive and even with the students and I've noticed how Eric's confidence and good feelings have grown this year. He still rushes through his work and is sloppy in his writing. When she tries to get him to do it over again neater--he just gets frustrated. His spelling scores are low, despite the fact that he completes a spelling assignment every night. It may be part of his hurrying--just getting through the job and not really learning the words. (She said that he may be a visual learner, not an auditory one, and should try to visualize each word as he studies it.) He seems to have a little driving force in him pushing him all the time. After listening to a scout court of honor talk on personality types, Kent and I decided that Eric (who is just like his father) is a controller/driver. He wants to get things done and get others to do things also. He is well-liked by his classmates and talks a lot in class, which is why he got a U (Unsatisfactory) for his self control in citizenship. His reading and math skills are very good and he has tested well in both. He got 86 on his reading competency test and 80 on his math--the highest in the class (the district average is only 40, and the class average is 60). I was very pleased and surprised to hear this about him--particularly about his reading, which had been quite hesitant and slow last year. His interest and perseverance in reading have really picked up since they have put the reading text books aside and are reading literature books. He just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at school and is reading How to Eat Fried Worms at home to me. I just finished reading to him The Castle in the Attic and we have started Treasure Island together. He reads a chapter from his book to me and then I read a chapter to him from the other book. He is such a boy's boy, so interested in boy-type activities that it is fun to read adventure stories to him. He is playing basketball through the parks and recreation right now. This is his first year playing it and he is a little hesitant on the court, but when he plays one on one with the coach's son--he always wins. I told him that God made him to be good in sports because he is so competitive and aggressive, coordinated and quick in his movements. I've been encouraging him to practice everyday after school. He is also the one most interested in our train layout that Kent has been building in the front room. He has all these ideas on what to add to it and build next. He's already built several model buildings for it and is looking forward to designing the landscape too. I want him to get one more (his third) silver arrow on his Wolf in Cub Scouts before starting on his Bear the end of this month when he turns 9. He Cub leader now is Lynette Shardlow (It was Patty Hatton until December when she was put in the Primary presidency). It will be Judy Larry after his birthday. He wants to play Softball this spring with the Parks (he's No. 2 on the waiting list) and finish off his little minibike that he got at a garage sale with his dad. For his birthday I think we will get him a train engine and some cars and a nice triple combination set to go in his scripture case and replace the missionary Book of Mormon that he has been using.

Dear Ryan,

You are important to our family because you bring us so much love and goodness.

I remember how excited we were to have you come and live with us from Heavenly Father. I knew even before you were born that you were a special son of God who would grow up to be a great missionary and leader in the church.

You were such a good little baby--you hardly ever cried. You were a joy to care for. You are very loving to everyone in the family, always sharing your toys and treats, and giving great hugs and kisses. And you are very kind and patient, especially to your little sister Ashley who can sometimes be a pest. At school you have stayed in the green zone for three whole weeks straight. Your teacher Ms. Hankla says that you have been very good in class and are very loving to her.

You are a good worker. You like to help your dad; you take care of the trash for us everyday and you stack the milk your dad brings home. You also clean up the backyard for us.

You like to learn new things. You try to read books to me and write letters. You make little model houses for our family's train set. You just learned how to ride your two-wheeler bike and like to practice riding it everyday.

We are so glad that you are an important part of our family, Ryan. You are very special, and we know that Heavenly Father has lots of good work for you to do someday.


Lots of love, Mom and Dad

I wrote this letter to Ryan March 5, 1989 for his Primary Class (he's a Star B) lesson "You are Important". His teacher was Sister Pam Davis.

At school he had been having a difficult time. He was getting in the red zone about 2 times a week and being "sassy" his teacher said, and yet he did not seem to know what he had done that was wrong. His teacher said that he had been sitting next to a little hyperactive boy, which was not good for Ryan, who is very socially distractible. At my request, she moved him away. Also, I've begun checking with him everyday to see if he brought home a green star or not. If he does everyday for a week then I take him to 7-11 on Friday afternoon to buy whatever he wants. He did it straight for three weeks in a row, but this Friday (3/10/89) he brought home yellow star--Scott and he got into a pushing match. He was quite heartbroken about it. I called his teacher and she said that she felt he was partly to blame and needed to learn to move away in the future. I gave him some M&M's for the other days during the week he was in the green, but that he needed to wait and try real hard this coming week so he could go to 7-11 on Friday. At least now he is very conscious of his behavior at school. He seemed to need a little more follow-thru. He's been so good-natured and loving his whole life that I am afraid that I may have taken him for granted. I have tried to be more conscientious about reading to him and with him before bed, and listening to his private prayers. Since Ashley usually takes a nap, he is the first one to bed most nights and I think he has been feeling a little slighted. I was so very grateful that on February 17 th, "Grandparents Day", my dad and Elaine, as well as Kent's father came out to a class presentation and party with him. He was so proud and happy to have so much individual attention, more than any other child there. And I was so very happy for him that it brought tears to my eyes. He is a dear boy. Ms. Hankla said that he is a very loving child. She also said that when she tested him on his academic skills that he mixed up his lower case alphabet letters p, q, and y, and also b and d, which is very common. She said that he is doing very well and that she is not concerned with his academic abilities. She gave me A Bug in a Jug for him to practice his reading skills.

Ashley: On February 21, 1989

I brought Ashley in for her three year old check up with Dr. Greenwald. She gained 5 pounds in the last year (she weighs 27.8 lbs)--very good since she was such a slow gainer in her first two years of life. This moved her weight up from the 10 percentile to I think the 30 percentile. I remember last year she cried and wouldn't even stand on the scale by herself. She kept hugging me while standing on the bench in the waiting room with nothing on but her "big girl" underpants. Her height is 38 1/4 inches tall (70 percentile?). She had a TB tine, HGB test (finger prick for anemia) and urine test. I was surprised that she would do the latter. But I held the cup under her while she sat on the toilet and she went. Dr. Greenwald said that she shouldn't eat in between meal snacks--if I made her wait then she would eat better meals. But I don't think that children can wait four or five hours a day to eat just three meals. Ashley seems to do better when she eats at least four meals a day. She's always more or less hungry, but if I insist that she eat healthy snacks and wait about an hour and a half before a meal she does okay. She doesn't eat a good dinner, but she must eat at least one bite of everything for dessert, and she has a bowl of cereal before bed.

Tuesday evening I took the children shopping at Target for her birthday presents. We wrapped them when we got home, and set them in the front room by the train set so that she would see them in the morning. On Wednesday the 22nd when she got up we let her open them before Kent went to work. Ryan gave her some chap stick, which was her favorite present (he had to go to bed the night before but he told me to get that for her and one for himself. I got her Lady Lovelylocks and him GI cherry flavored Joe Chap Stick.) Ashley smeared that Chap Stick all over her mouth for the longest time. Eric gave her some terry pony tail bands and some sugarless bubblegum. Rachel gave her some skittles candy and paper confetti in a cute decorated envelope and a "Draw 'n' Glow" set. (You draw with a stick on a fluorescent red sheet of plastic which you lift to erase.) Chad gave her some trident cinnamon gum and a water squirt gun. Kent and I gave her a Fisher-Price school set with play figures. I think that the older children had the most fun with this figuring out all the things you could do with it. Ashley didn't want to eat any breakfast. Instead she and Ryan consumed all 30 pieces of gum and all of the skittles during the next hour and a half.

After I got the kids off to school and Ryan down to the Hiltons then Ashley and I went to her preschool with cupcakes and suckers to share with everyone. The teacher made her a birthday hat and had her stand on a chair while everyone sang Happy Birthday to her. She smiled so cute over all the attention: all the mothers oohed and ahhed over her and told me what a beautiful smile she had, and how sweet and feminine she was with her blond hair and dainty, girlish ways. Her preschool teacher Miss Sue told me that one time her husband had come to the school and absolutely fell in love with her, she was so coquettish. He said that she stole his heart.

Ashley quite likes her little school ("Terrific Tots" for 2 1/2 -4 year olds) which meets every Wednesday 9:30 to 11:30 am at Meadows Park in Valencia. She usually plays with the play phones, puzzles, play dough, dishes and "house" things, and paints a picture during the first 45 minutes. Then they all sit on the tumbling mat and sing songs and do finger plays (like "Twinkle, twinkle little star", the "A,B,C song", "Mary had a little lamb", "Flag of America", "Sammy went to the store to buy bread" and Five little Monkeys), then discuss the weather and shapes or colors. After this they line up to play outside. She likes to dig in the sand or swing--but not go down the slide. (I think she's afraid of the height.) Then they go to the bathroom and wash their hands for lunch. I send a sandwich (tuna or peanut butter), water or milk, fruit (usually raisins), and crackers or cookies. I have to be careful about the cookies though, because she wants to eat them first and not her sandwich. Miss Sue or a mother reads them a story during lunch, and then they get ready to go home. I have been car pooling with Peg McDermott--I usually drive Ashley and Shauna there, while Peg drives them home. Sometimes they go on field trips. They've been to the pumpkin patch, the library, Roundtable pizza, and Hart Park. I have difficulty getting her to sit still while having her hair brushed except on Wednesdays, when she says "Miss Sue will say I look soooo pretty". (Lately we've been trying "hair-brushing pills--M & M's, which does seem to help.) We invited Shauna, Katie Manning, and Jill Schock from her preschool to come to her party. Only the first two could come.

We had her party Saturday February 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 so that her dad could be there too (the scouts had Winter Skills that weekend). We made up a banner, blew up balloons, and then dressed her in her red velvet dress, Rachel's white bow in her hair, and her tennis shoes, because we couldn't find her black dress shoes. When her friends arrived, we played balloon toss, ring around the rosey, "Doggy, doggy, where's your bone?", London Bridge, and duck, duck, goose. Her daddy videotaped this with the Hilton's camera. Then she opened her presents. She received from:

Jesse Hatton--yellow/pink play dough and shape cutters
Andrea Hilton--"Sweet Secrets comb/bed, pad and pen/living room
Jessica (Bee-zoo) Shardlow--Disney characters and play set
Shauna McDermott--"My first Barbie" in white leotard and skirt
Katie Manning--Bubble bath, hair clips, and purple bows

(Her favorite present was the Bubble bath, and she has wanted to take a bath every night.) They played with the toys and watched the tail-end of "Wonderful World of Disney" while I made dinner. We had hot dogs, root beer and punch, chips, and popsicles. Shauna was feeling shy away from her mother and went home right after dinner. But the rest of the children watched a little "Winnie the Pooh" and enjoyed their goody bags which consisted of a plastic bracelet, a sucker, 2 balloons, a tootsie roll, and a pack of gum.

I do have to say that for all that she was kind of a pest when she was very little--she has grown into an adorable little girl. Sometimes I kneel by her bed, so touched by her cherubic beauty, grace, and innocence. Her fair skin, pink cheeks, blue sparkling eyes, wispy blond hair, engaging smile and feminine precocious manner are quite beguiling. She loves to say prayers to "heavenly Jesus" for the family. She says "How 'bout I say prayers!" I've been trying to say private prayers at night with her too. I showed her the picture of Jesus in the family room one night when she was afraid to go to bed by herself when Rachel wasn't home (because there was a monster under her bed who was going to "grab her foot".)

She quite adores Rachel, and always wants to sleep in her bed during naptime and at night if Rachel isn't home or goes to bed later than she does (like on Sundays when Ashley doesn't take a nap and goes to bed at 7:00 like Ryan).

Donald Duck is still her favorite thing to watch on TV (we have videotapes of some Disney cartoons), although lately she's been enjoying more Sesame Street. She plays with her imaginary friends Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street, and sometimes, Big Bird, Goofy, and Donald Duck (and occasionally it's Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Dumbo too). Sometimes when I watch her she'll say to me very sternly, "Quiet, I'm talking to my friends!" One time when we got out of the van she said, "But what about my friends?!" And we had to call off all their names to come into the house or else get a spanking. She thought that was real funny. Lately she has liked "driving" the van to Ernie and Bert's house, after calling them on the phone to ask them how to get there.

She likes to change her clothes several times a day, and she has stuff all over the house. Rachel has been complaining about the mess and even wrote a little note "to her roommate" to please clean up her stuff. When she plays she has been getting out her blanket and all of her babies and stuffed animals and bringing them with her. And when she takes a nap, she wants to have them all in Rachel's bed with her so that there is hardly room for her to lie down too. Her favorite toy these days is a little battery operated bear that used to walk on skis to the music "It's a small World". It has a bow by one ear and is wearing red overalls. Ashley calls it her "Red Bear". Eric found it for her in the trash behind Saugus Drug Store one day. The music was really annoying, so we took the batteries out and removed the skis and she just plays with it like a doll.

She loves to play with the other children, especially Ryan, and Andrea Hilton too if she is here. Now that the weather is warm and nice she loves to play in the backyard in the play house or ride her Big Bird hot wheels or run around the grass. She likes to draw, cut paper with scissors, paint, or cuddle with her dad. She is very affectionate, climbing on the others' backs during prayers and wrestling with Ryan.

She is definitely a little girl, and she is very proud of it. She was quite indignant one day after playing with Shauna because Shauna wanted her to be the Daddy. She said, "I told Shauna we can BOTH be the mommy!". She also doesn't like it when people call her a baby. She says "I not a baby! Baby's don't go to school or play with their friends!". Because I'm expecting and don't like to have her lean on my tummy or breasts, she sometimes tells me not to lean against her because I "will hurt her baby". What an adorable child she is. I can't imagine life without her.

Thursday 3/9 I helped with Duet Pictures at School and attended a PTA meeting. I have been so achy and down this week, like I was with Rachel and Ashley sometimes. When I went to the library a lady came up to me and said that I must be carrying a little girl because I was carrying the baby so high. It made me think that was probably true, especially when I remember being awakened from an afternoon nap about a month before I conceived Ashley by a male authoritative voice announcing that I would have two daughters. (two more or two altogether?) I decided that I like the name Christal Marie. I don't have a boys name in mind, but it would be just if it was a boy since I got pregnant right after Boy Scout Camp the year Kent and I both were in the Scouting program. If it was a boy, it would be easier to work out the bedroom space--I could pair the children up two and two.

Towards the end of the week my lumps in my left breast became sore and swollen, the skin on the outside even seeming pink in color. I confess to being very concerned about it, which doesn't help my down spirits any. I know that I was supposed to have six children and that I was fore-ordained to be the mother of this last child as well as my five beautiful living children. I hope that I have not endangered my health by having this baby before really checking out these lumps more thoroughly. I guess I am in the hands of the Lord. He has ever been good to me. I should keep in mind his goodness to me and not fear. I am going to talk to the doctor about it more on Monday. I took some of Kent's consecrated oil and rubbed it on my lump and prayed that through my faith on my Savior that He would preserve my life so that I could have and raise this child to maturity.

Tomorrow I help Chad get his Eagle Project application typed up.

Ashley had me call Shauna McDermott on the phone so she could talk to her and invite her over to ride "bikes" (hot wheels) on the back porch. They have enjoyed doing that lately, only Ashley has decided that she likes Shauna's bike better (which is bigger), and so there has been some confrontation since Shauna likes her bike better also. So I had them in to play with Ashley's Fisher-Price Preschool set in her room, then fixed them tuna sandwiches, apple slices, milk, a chocolate chip cookie, and a popsicle. Yesterday she went next door to Nancy and Keith Fingerett's while I went to the doctor's. They are quite in love with her cute smiles and winsome ways. Nancy babysits young babies and Ashley would repeat something Nancy said by going over and whispering it to them. When Nancy asked her if she wanted some milk, she repeated the ad slogan: "Milk does a body good." Nancy thought that it was so cute that she called her husband in to hear it too. They were impressed by how articulate and smart she is for her age. She's been talking more and more about the baby in my tummy, wondering what it has been doing, etc. She says that it is going to be a little girl baby. Perhaps she's in "the know". I am making arrangements for her to go to Wendy Tell's to be babysat from for three hours a morning twice a week beginning the first week of May through the first week of June so that I can rest after the baby comes. She is such a social child, she really enjoys visiting and interacting with others. She reminds me of Eric that way and in the way she smiles from ear to ear. Nancy asked me if she smiled all the time.

Only 19 more days until the baby is due. I can hardly wait, although there is so much left to do still. Saturday we got new carpet--Bisque, Royalty carpet's Harmony line. It is kind of a champagne or light fawn color, very pretty. It looks real nice with the white walls that Kent repainted. Slowly but surely the house is getting fixed up. But the garage is a huge disaster. I would like to get it better organized, including finding all of the baby things and getting them ready for the baby. I need to recharter our scout troop, get the camp fund raisers off the ground and organize our troop records. I also need to help Chad get his Eagle Project finished off. And in if that's not enough, I'd like to help Kent find a good investment property that would net us about $50,000.00 before we move into our new home. Seriously, I feel like an ostrich, and would like to bury my head in the ground and hope that all of this will just resolve itself and the baby would hurry up and come.

Last Friday I had the stomach flu all day and was very miserable. Fortunately Kent was home from school that day and helped take care of the kids and ran Eric's birthday party. In between trips to the bathroom, drinks, and doses of Tums, I alternately dozed in bed or sat up in the rocking chair reading Len Deighton's spy thriller Mexico Set, second in his trilogy Game, Set and Match, which is also being produced by PBS as their "Mystery", my favorite show. It is very intriguing, but kind of depressing too, because it seems so worldly. The characters have no faith in eternity, which elevates us to higher plains.

I have been so uncomfortable this pregnancy. The baby presses on my ribs, my legs, and my hemorrhoids. I can hardly walk or move around. I can only sleep on my left side at night (if I lie on my right side I can't breathe) for short periods of time because of the stress on my hips that position gives me, despite the six inches of foam and two "egg crates" (convoluted mattress pads--for bedridden patients) that I sleep on. (My brother Jim asked me if I felt a little like "The Princess and the Pea".) I don't think that I can endure another pregnancy.

I talked to Dr. Umezaki yesterday at my doctor's appointment. He felt certain that Dr. Lim would want to do a breast biopsy after the baby is born and I quit nursing (I hope to nurse about six months if the mammogram that I'm supposed to get right after the baby is born does not look too abnormal). Fortunately my lumps have gone down and are no longer so sore. Dr. Umezaki said that he could give me a tubal at the same time I had the biopsy, because they use a general anesthetic (put you to sleep) for both. He said that he felt that it made more sense to do it that way rather than put me out on two separate occasions. I confess to being more afraid of the general anesthesia than I am the results of the biopsy, since hearing so many stories of adverse reactions to it. I also really want to nurse this baby since it is probably going to be my last here in mortality. Unless there is real cause for alarm, I am going to do so, and hope for the best.


Crazy to Want 6 Children

Sometimes I think that I am crazy to have wanted six children and to have gotten pregnant again, but I know that there was another child who was supposed to come to our home. At other times I agonize, wondering--couldn't I have just one more? And I think of all the righteous women I know who have had more children than I, from Mother Eve down to Nancy Miller in Aqua Dulce who had her twelfth. But I feel such a blank or void when I ask that question. I don't think that there are any more children that I am supposed to have, and that for physical reasons involving my health and our ages, it would be unwise for me to try to have another child. I always think of Kent's mother who died (just two years older than I am now), shortly after having another child, and the tragic consequence that it was to Kent, leaving him the oldest of seven children at only fourteen years of age, just one year older than my Chad. No one can replace "Mother" in a child's life. I have talked to the Bishop and stake president about this during my temple recommend interviews, and Kent and I have prayed about it and feel at peace concerning our decision to stop having children. In a way I am sad though. Procreation is so very sacred to me. I love the whole process. In no way can a man and woman draw closer to Deity than through this divine process. I dearly hope that Kent and I can be worthy to continue having posterity in the next life, or after the resurrection. I hope that all of my children want to be parents in Zion and in eternity someday also, for it is a central part of learning to be like our Heavenly Father.

During my temple recommend interview with President Mckeon when he asked me if I believed in Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ, the tears welled up in my eyes as I said "yes!" I felt an overwhelming burning testimony within me as to their divinity and actuality. Pres. McKeon felt the spirit too.

Suzanne: 4/27/89:

Pizza Sales

Sunday we had scout committee meeting to go over the pizza sales and none of the parents wanted to do anything; they seemed to think that Kent and I ought to do it all. Not only that but one parent thought that we (Kent and I and our nonmember advancement chairman) ought to be in charge of the Blazer Scout advancement and fund raisers as well. I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the coming birth of this sixth child and rechartering for our unit due this week. Then today I got a call (from Georgene Hamill who left our troop, of all people!) about our scout troop doing a service project in two days. I told her no. I'm not out to save the world, I just want to save myself, my family, and radiate out to those around me when and where possible. But I'm not abandoning my own ship to bail out everyone else.

Monday Kent and I went to the doctor's office and to see the hospital. My tummy was real hard and the doctor measured it and asked if I was having contractions. I said all the time. He looked at his chart and said that instead of May 7, the baby would probably come before the end of this month (that's this week!). Kent and I got hamburgers at McDonald's for Family Home Evening, stopped by the library to get a name book and Target to get film and batteries for pictures of the new baby. That night about 2 am I had some strong contractions and wondered if the baby would be coming that day. Kent left for work late, called me several times during the day to be sure I was all right. The children all thought that the baby was coming Tuesday, but Ryan wanted it to be AFTER Open House so he could show me all of his things in his classroom. We went to the school and I walked around real miserable, thinking that this was the night. When we got home, I finished up the scout rechartering packet in case we had to turn it over to someone else before it was due Thursday, and Kent and Michael Hilton gave me a wonderful blessing. Kent blessed me with a comfortable night's sleep, an enjoyable delivery, the baby getting in the right position to facilitate its birth, and that I would love and enjoy raising this baby who would enjoy the blessings of the gospel and priesthood in its life. He also said that the Lord was pleased with my desire to have and raise children righteously. He mouthed the desire of my heart and I was much comforted. I slept the best I have done in a long time that night, and have felt pretty good since then. Except for some more contractions Wednesday afternoon, my tummy has been pretty quiet. But the baby has been stretching and flexing its muscles a lot. I just hope that I can make it to the hospital in time. Today (Thursday) I am off to my hair appointment and dropping the children off at Piano Master class.

Sunday April 30th. Well here I am, still hanging around waiting for the big moment. I am getting tired of everyone asking why I'm still here after we announced that the doctor said it could be this week. The children keep asking me when I think the baby is coming and I keep saying "I don't know." Yesterday I finished adding things to the 1988 file, went through the boy baby clothes, took a nap, went to Stevenson Ranch to see our "new home" (they have the roads in, the slabs poured, and the wood ready to start framing), cut everyone's hair, and helped deliver pizza. I was very tired after going to the temple Friday night and over to the Conklings for a ward get-together afterwards. I was glad that I could go to the temple, however I did have a few contractions while sitting there. We brought our hospital box with us in the trunk just in case. Today I am going to work on Scout records most of the time.

April 30, 1989

Dear Family,

We are at the "almost" part of our lives. We are almost going to buy a bigger house--they are almost ready (6 months), Suzanne is almost ready to have the baby, I'm almost going to be released as scoutmaster, we're almost ready for a new van, we're almost into our next investment. With so many "want-to-be's" we find life interesting, but have a growing impatience at waiting for these things to happen.

Suzanne went in to the Doctor on Monday and he said that the baby would probably come before the end of the month. We immediately got ready as it had been previously worded around that it wouldn't be until May 11th. Her tummy is hard as a football and she's been having contractions and walking funny all week. Well, it is the end of the month now and we are sitting on the edge of our seats watching her and waiting for the big moment. She is getting tired of everyone asking her why she's still hanging around. She says she is just faking all this so she can get out of doing stuff. I don't believe her.

Chad’s Eagle

We have found that when you work in scouting it quickly becomes primary and everything else secondary. We had a pizza sale last night, camporee last weekend, Chad's eagle project of cementing rocks around drinking fountains in a county park two weeks ago, a scout letter/calendar last Sunday along with a Committee meeting, unit rechartering this week, lost canteens, sleeping bags, impatient parents, scouts that need this or that, a scouting activity nearly every weekend and parents complaining you still aren't doing enough (why aren't you taking over the Blazer Program as well our own? when is our next court of honor? why aren't you heading up Scoutorama sales as well as running the pizza sale and unit rechartering the week your wife's baby is due? how come you don't offer more merit badges as well as skill awards? why weren't the boys in our sons' patrol notified about such and such?, we are too busy to help you but we are certain you aren't doing everything you should be doing, blah blah blah) Scouting leadership is an excellent opportunity to exercise compassion on a regular basis, and it affords husbands and wives who work together in it many communication opportunities. We finally made a rule after a few late and sleepless nights: no talking about scouts or anything related after 8:00pm.

We would enjoy a family get together or two this summer. Is anyone else interested? If all goes well we plan to bless the baby June 11th, as that is our Fast Sunday (Ward Conference is the week before). Church is from 1:00 to 4:00, with Sacrament at 2:50pm. We will have dinner afterwards for all family members who wish to stay.

We hope that this letter finds you thriving.


Kent, Suzanne, Chad, Rachel, Eric, Ryan, Ashley, ?

Friday May 5: Well, here I am, still hanging around, tummy and all. A few days ago, Kent stuck his head down by my abdomen and said, "WHEN ARE YOU COMING OUT!" Now I sort of wish the doctor hadn't said anything about the baby coming earlier and getting my hopes up. The children and everyone keep asking me WHEN, and I'm getting almost as tired of that as I am of being pregnant.

I went in to see him on Monday again. He checked me and I wasn't dilated at all. He said that I must have been having Braxton Hixson contractions, and that maybe he'd see me next week. I sincerely hope not. My ribs hurt, I can't move or bend over or sleep, and I want this to be over. I woke up yesterday morning early with lower back pain and worries about a posterior birth, and this morning with soreness in my left hip from sleeping in the same position.

On Tuesday night I asked Kent to give me a blessing because I felt so uncomfortable and I felt the baby's birth was imminent. He and Michael Hilton gave me one. On Wednesday I felt better than I'd felt in weeks, and the contractions seemed to stop.

Only Gained 20 Pounds

I've only gained 20 pounds which I know is all baby weight. My tummy is HUGE. This is going to be a big baby--at least an 8 pounder. It was so hot last night I put my hair up in some combs and was lounging on the couch in my lavender Mexican dress, looking like a purple blimp, while the children were cleaning up. Ryan came by and said, "You look better with your hair up when you're skinny." And I said, "I look better when I'm skinny--period!"

I looked in the mirror last night before showering at my distended tummy and thought: I'm 34 years old and still an attractive woman. Most people in this world, given the choices that I have, would think me crazy for doing this. Only a celestial Being would think that I was beautiful in this condition, making this kind of sacrifice. But then I thought: I don't want to feel a martyr, because I really wouldn't trade places with anyone. I have the "riches of eternity" right here in my fat tummy. If this little child grows up to be a God or Goddess, and spreads his or her righteous influence worlds without end upon countless other spirits, then I will have been the one that made it possible. I am, in a way, a "Savior" to this child. Not all of the worldly wealth, fame, clothes, beauty, and position that I could have in exchange for this baby would even come close to compensating for this child's value, or the joy I will have if it grows up to be true to the Gospel. I know that I am doing the right thing.

I remember after Ryan's birth thinking what a relief it would be if I were "done" with childbearing. And I remember what a pest Ashley was for the first year and a half of her life and my ambivalent feelings for her because of it. Now I look at what a beautiful, delightful, precious child she has become, such a joy and source of love to everyone, and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. I wouldn't trade in any of my children. I cherish each one, and am grateful for the privilege of being their mother.

Saturday May 6 we took Chad out to Marie Callendars to celebrate his birthday since I didn't think we'd be able to if we waited until his birthday. I think Chad had a fresco burger and fries and German Chocolate Pie. Kent and I shared chicken calendula and a strawberry sour cream pie.

That night I didn't sleep well--my left hip hurt from lying in the same position all night, and I was up early when it hurt too much to stay in bed any longer. I sat up in the rocking chair and read through 3 Relief Society lessons because I knew that I would be missing church for the next few weeks. I helped Chad type out his Eagle project a little bit in the morning before church. I went to see Rachel get her gospel in action pendant, then I came home and took a nap--I was so tired. We celebrated Chad's birthday that evening after church, one day early. Kent and I gave him a surf watch and a home gym set with weights. I got some calls from Judy, Jim and Carol, Grandma Great about my condition--I told them it would probably be tomorrow since I was having some contractions all day. Kent and Chad went to the stake center to watch the General Priesthood broadcast commemorating the restoration of the priesthood. I did a little scouting in the evening and then went to bed. Kent had his Sunday headache.

I had contractions all through the night. I finally got up around 2:00 a.m. and went to lie down on the family room couch where I could open one eye and look at the VCR to see how far apart they were. My left hip was aching again, but seemed to do so less while lying on the couch. I dozed off and on in between the contractions and worried about how Chad would feel having his youngest brother born on his birthday. I really wanted to have the baby in the middle of the night so that Kent could come home and get the children off to school and Chad wouldn't have to miss his field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in order to watch Ashley and Ryan. By 6:45 the contractions were about 20 minutes apart. When I got up I told Kent that he better not go into work yet, but should hang around and see if the baby was going to come. I fixed breakfast for the school children and a lunch for Ryan and Ashley just in case they had to go somewhere. Then I went in to the bedroom to reread my Lamaze instructions regarding true labor symptoms. It said that it was true labor if the contractions became stronger and closer together as you moved around and changed positions. Well, that is what was happening all right--the contractions were now 6 minutes apart and it was becoming difficult to move about. I sat or lay on the couch and watched the children get ready for school and Kent got out the Hilton's video camera. We sent Chad off to school, Eric called Debbie about watching Ryan, and I called Nancy next door to watch Ashley. As soon as the children left for school with Debbie Hilton, Kent walked Ashley next door while I grabbed a few last minute things like my pillow and my reading book (London Match by Len Deighton).

We left for the hospital about 8:10. Everything worked out very well with the children. Hopefully I would have the baby in the morning and Kent could be home before the children got out of school. I worried about traffic on Bouquet Canyon, which is usually very congested, but it was not too bad this morning, fortunately. I always worry about my labor being a false alarm and having everyone all excited over nothing, but Kent and I both knew that this was it and the baby would very likely come before lunch. Kent talked about the Priesthood broadcast the night before, and how moved he was by Boyd K. Packer's talk. Elder Packer said that the Priesthood and Motherhood are a team. Helpmeet means "help equal". Priesthood is the power to bless and rule, Motherhood is the power to teach and influence. Sexual interest was good because it kept bringing a husband and wife back to each other to renew and comfort each other. Fulfillment can only come through an eternal bond between husband and wife. He said that words could not describe how he felt about his wife who bore him 10 children. It was only through her that he achieved his highest office in the Priesthood--that of Father. Kent said that was how he felt about me. He was so impressed with Elder Packer's talk that he asked me what I thought about the name Boyd. He said that he'd already asked Chad and Rachel and that they had said "no".

We arrived at the hospital about 8:40 and were finally admitted into the labor room about 9:00 am. The nurse Mali checked me and I was 5 cms. already and the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I was surprised to be dilated so much. I knew that it would be this morning for sure. They were very busy that morning with 5 women in labor. I shared my room with a "Mama Mia" just like I did when I was in labor with Chad. Mali said that she had been a delivery nurse for 25 years and was very relaxed. She said that if the doctor didn't get there in time that she would deliver the baby herself and so I didn't need to worry. she put on the fetal monitor but it seemed like the contractions slowed up. Thirty minutes later when she checked me I was still only 5-6 centimeters dilated but was much more effaced and the baby was lower. She put in an IV on my left arm (the first time I ever had one with any of my children) and things speeded up again. My back began to really hurt and I had Kent rub it for me. I prayed that this baby would not be born posterior like Rachel was. The next check was about 10:00 and I was 8 centimeters dilated. I asked Mali if the baby was facing anterior and she said yes. I was surprised because the back pain was strong although manageable.

Suzanne in Labor

Mali called Dr. Umezaki and found out that Dr. Jon Rich was taking his patients that morning instead. I was really disappointed and said that I wanted my dad to deliver this baby. Mali said that Dr. Rich was very good and not to worry. At 10:15, when I felt the urge to push, she called Dr. Rich. He said that he would come over as soon as he finished with one last patient, and that I could have some pain medication if I wanted. I considered it because of the back pain but Kent talked me out of it since I hadn't had any for the other children. I worried about the doctor making it in time but Mali said she could do it with me right there in the bed if necessary. At 10:30 am Dr. Rich came in to check me and the bag of water was bulging. He broke it and it seemed like a gallon of warm water came gushing out on my legs. Then the contractions seemed to slow up. I told Dr. Rich that he was supposed to deliver one of my children since he came very close to being Ashley's doctor when my dad went down to San Diego the day she was born.

After a couple of more contractions, they wheeled me into the delivery room about 10:45 am and prepped me. I told Dr. Rich that I knew that this was going to be a good sized baby--at least 8 pounds. It was going to be bigger than Ashley, but not as big as Ryan. He said that he liked Ashley's size better. My back really ached and the contractions and pushing were difficult because I did not feel the urge to push. After the contractions were over the baby kept turning to his side and sliding back up the birth canal. It seemed to take forever. The doctor kept cracking jokes, saying that you could tell if it was a girl because she would put her hand out palm up; if it was a boy he would wave his fist. Kent was videotaping it but I was not really aware of what was going on. I just wanted the baby to COME OUT! and prayed that it would be over soon. The doctor was very encouraging, kept saying it was almost there and he could see the blackish/blondish hair. FINALLY, at 11:07 he came out, a BIG beautiful baby boy, so pretty the doctor thought he was a girl at first.


He was 8 pounds, 11 ounces. I told Kent it had to be a boy with him being scoutmaster this year, but I was surprised. I'd been so sure it was a girl towards the end, although I really always preferred four boys and two girls for some reason. Somehow it just seemed "right". His facial features are so pretty and perfectly formed. He's darker like Ryan, and his head is round like Eric's, and he was born on Chad's birthday. He has such a pretty little mouth and nose, and his ears are small and perfectly shaped, close to his head. I kept thinking what a pretty round face he had. I remembered Kent's blessing to me 2 weeks before his birth, in which he promised in the name of the Lord that this child would enjoy all the blessings of the priesthood. And I thought now it makes sense. Kent said now we don't have to use the guest room in our new house (I had agonized over bedroom space if it was a girl). I guess because I had wanted a boy so much I psyched myself up for a girl instead. But a boy will be better for us because as soon as he is on his mission at 19 then Kent and I can leave on ours.

1989, May 8

Brett is born. I’ve only gained 20 pounds, which I knew is all baby weight. My tummy is HUGE. This is going to be a big baby – at least an 8 pounder. It was so hot last night I put my hair up in some combs and was lounging on the couch in my lavender Mexican dress, looking like a purple blimp, while the children were cleaning up. Ryan came by and said, “You look better with your hair up when you’re skinny.” And I said, “I look better when I’m skinny—period!”

Kent was videotaping it but I was not really aware of what was going on. I just wanted the baby to COME OUT! AND PRAYED THAT IT WOULD BE OVER SOON. The doctor was very encouraging, kept saying it was almost there and he could see the blackish/blondish hair. FINALLY, at 11:07 he came out, BIG beautiful baby boy, so pretty the doctor thought he was a girl at first. He was 8 pounds, 11 ounces. I told Kent it had to be a boy with him being scoutmaster this year, but I was surprised. His facial features are so pretty and perfectly formed. He’s darker like Ryan, and his head is round like Eric’s and he was born on Chad’s birthday. He has such a pretty little mouth and nose, and his ears are small and perfectly

Kent meets Brett

We talked about these things in the recovery room after the nurse cleaned me up a little bit and we held the baby and recounted the wonder and awe of its birth and we discussed names. We liked Brett and Kevin and decided to think about those two names. Kent likes the sound of the name Brett--its short and strong. Kevin is the name of his best friend Kevin Large. I tried to nurse him but all he wanted to do was suck on his fingers. Kent said that he felt kind of nostalgic--like we'd come to the end of an era with our first and last baby born on the same day. I told him that I didn't want to go through this with anyone else but him and he said that he wouldn't want to either, and kissed me. I was very touched by his attention to my needs. He helped the nurse with my pads and cleaning up the blood, etc. and was very tender with me. He went to take pictures of the baby in the nursery while the nurse kept pushing down on my tummy so hard it hurt. Then they took me into Room 246. Kent got all my stuff, kissed me, and left a little after 12 noon as they brought in lunch to go get Ashley. I asked for pain medication to help with the afterbirth cramps.

They brought the baby in about 1:30 to nurse and he did a little better than the first time. Then about 4:00 Kent brought the children in to see the baby and me. When they came in they were all interested in the bed, bathroom and TV. Eric liked to flush the toilet with its long pull down lever. They all liked taking turns sitting on the bed and lowering and raising it. They couldn't wait to see the baby. When he came in they crowded all around to see and touch him. They held him with our assistance in this order: Ashley, Rachel, Ryan, Eric and Chad. I asked Chad how he felt about sharing his birthday and he said that he thought that it would be okay if everyone liked the baby and gave him lots of presents maybe he would get more too. When we talked about names they said they liked Kevin best as a first name. Ashley said that she wants me to come home.

Kent told about how he had let the children know about their new little brother. He had called Debbie as soon as he got home, but had asked her not to tell the children when she picked them up from school. Then Kent showed them the video of the baby's birth in order for them to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Eric said that I said a bad word in it because I said "Oh, God!" (I told him that I was praying.) Rachel hid her eyes and said that she doesn't want to have children. (I told them that each one of them was worth all the pain and discomfort.) After they watched it they went to pick up Chad from school and weren't going to tell him where they were going or what had happened but the two youngest ones gave it away. Ashley said, "We're going to see Mommy", and Ryan said, "We're not going to tell you what he is", and gave it away.

Kent said that he had called everyone to tell them about the baby's birth, but that night as I lay there I thought about my mother, and how I missed her special loving touch. I wondered if Kent had remembered to call my Grandmother, and so I called her and had a nice chat with her. I was glad that I did because Kent had forgotten. She was very happy for me, and I felt a real kinship towards her. She sort of helped fill the void of my mother's absence. She was the only one that I called that night.

Brett up Late

Brett stayed with me until about 10:30 that night. He fell asleep on my chest and I dozed off too. I had them bring him in to me at about 2:00 in the morning or when he got hungry, and asked them to wake me up and bring me a pain pill about a half hour before. Then again in the morning about 5:30 and 6:00. Dr. Umezaki circumcised him Tuesday morning and Dr. Greenwald came to see him too, and said that he was a nice big healthy looking baby.

After breakfast I called my friend Nancee Large, my sister Judy, and my stepmother Elaine. The baby seemed to nurse well, about 20 to 30 minutes steady, spitting out the nipple when done. The nurse told me he was very good in the nursery--sleeping most of the time or going at his fingers, trying to find a flavor that he liked. I prayed about his name: he looked like a Kevin to me and the children preferred that name, but I felt that he should be a Brett or Brett, and Kent had his heart set on that name. I like the Br sound, and have kept trying to come up with a name beginning with it for each of my last three children. I hesitated just a little, since Brett is an unusual name--it's just a little bit different, Brent being more common. But Brett is short, strong, and simple. I've known only two Brets or Bretts, neither as fine a young man as I know mine will become. A name is whatever you make it, and I know that my Brett will make it a great and good name because he will be a great and good man. And the more I said it to myself, the more I felt right about it. I felt that I should also be considerate of Kent's feelings since he was going to bless and baptize him and ordain him to the priesthood. So we decided definitely on Brett, although at this time I was spelling it with only one T--Brett, probably because I was reading a book about a man named Brett and I knew a boy in my folks' ward named Brett Hartman. Kent was thinking about Brett Maverick--a Western series popular in the 60's starring James Garner, and Brett Beitler, the son of his friend Denny. He also taught a boy named Brett whom he liked and as he took pictures of the baby he met another family from Lancaster who just had a baby girl named Meghan and their older child was a little boy named Brett. I know that our Brett will make his name mean something as special and unique as his own personality.

When Kent brought the children to see me Tuesday afternoon the nurse didn't want anyone to hold the baby at all except for Kent and I, so I let them hold the bottle of water to feed him. He hadn't urinated since being circumcised and the nurses wanted to make sure that he did. Ryan brought me some flowers and Ashley had her little doll that we all named Christy--the name I would have named Brett if he'd been a girl. (Ashley had spent the day with Kent shopping at Price Club for a school field trip and visiting Grandma Gardiner.) Kent videotaped the children with him and we talked about a middle name. I tried to think of family names and we deliberated over Thomas (a great grandfather's name and Uncle Charles' middle name) and David (my youngest brother's name). All the boys liked David and so Brett David it became, with Chad casting the final decision that night by phone. He'd been a little put out earlier because we made him go stand in the hall for interrupting us while we were trying to discuss it. Brett was very wet that night when I remembered to change him before the nurse came to get him at 10:00. I reread King Benjamin's great address in Mosiah chapters 2-5 before going to sleep.

Wednesday morning Kent stayed home with Ryan and they painted and did things together before taking him to kindergarten. I could tell that Ryan needed a little extra attention, he'd been a little whiny lately, feeling just a little displaced I think. Then Kent and Ashley came to bring Brett and I home from the hospital. I had signed the birth certificate Brett David, but when Kent came we decided to change it to Brett with two t's. It sounded stronger and more definite, and he'll need a strong name if he is going to be the youngest of 6 children. Fortunately we caught the gal in charge of public records there at the hospital before she had mailed it off and we were able to get it changed. The nurse wheeled me out to the car with Brett and Ashley on my lap and Kent brought us home about 2:00. I changed and lay down for just a bit when my dad and Elaine and my Grandmother came to visit. My Grandmother was particularly happy and came into the bedroom to see me and her newest great grandson with tears in her eyes. I was pleased that she was able to come. She made him a beautiful blue shell baby Afghan. Elaine gave him a bath towel, wash cloths and adorable dinosaur play suit. It was exactly the sort of gift my mother would have brought--in fact she did bring something very similar to that when Ashley was born. I was very touched by her thoughtfulness. My dad held Brett while he slept and he hunched down on his chest and looked rather uncomfortable. My dad seemed hesitant to move him and so I gave him to my grandmother to hold. Dad and Elaine talked about their coming trip to England with us--they were leaving on Friday, and Grandma discussed coin collecting with Eric. I was very tired when they left and took a nap until dinner. Brett was up during the night off and on between 11 and 3.

Thursday Brett ate every 2-3 hours. I kept him up for short periods during the day hoping he would change his schedule and sleep for me better that night. I watched the video of his birth and felt very blessed indeed with his birth. My prayers were answered and overall his birth was very smooth. Life is as a dream passing before our eyes. I felt nostalgic remembering having Chad and looking ahead to having our last child, which seemed forever in the future. And now its here, and I look forward to Brett leaving on his mission so Kent and I can go on ours. In not to many years that will be a reality, and I'll look back and remember his birth, and look forward to being reunited with loved ones on the other side of the veil. Time passes so quickly, and each moment is precious. I wrote the following family letter to everyone.

May 13, 1989

Dear Family,

Well, we have an appendage to our family letter since we have just added an appendage to our family. Little Brett David Gardiner was born last Monday morning May 8, at 11:07 am. He wasn't sure that he wanted to leave his nice warm home in Suzanne's tummy, though; he kept turning sideways and sliding back up the birth canal. I have a classic video of his birth experience. It may not win any academy awards, but it is a priceless record of one of life's greatest miracles. Rachel and Eric came home from school not knowing what we had and saw the video of the birth. They were spell bound. They were amazed at the effort their mother went through to bring someone into the world. Suzanne broke blood vessels around her eyes from the effort at pushing. After Suzanne saw the video, she said that it was the first time she had ever seen any of her own children be born. We feel very blessed with Brett's birth. Overall everything went very smoothly, and our prayers were answered. The Lord has been very good to us to bless us with six healthy beautiful children; procreation is very sacred to us.
We felt very nostalgic having our youngest child born thirteen years and one hour later to the very day that our eldest child was born. We remember the euphoria we felt at that time standing on the threshold of childbearing and parenthood. Now at Brett's birth, we remember back thirteen years ago to that first special experience, and look forward our children going to the temple and on missions and going on a mission ourselves after Brett leaves on his. In just nineteen years, this will be a reality. We'll look back on the birth of each of our precious children, rejoice in their entering the adventure of parenthood, and will look forward to serving the Lord full time. Then in just a few more short years we'll be joining loved ones who have gone on beyond the veil. Someday we will say like Jacob that "the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream...." Each moment is priceless, and should be lived with no regrets, especially in regard to those most dear--our family members.

Hope this finds you all well.

Gratefully,
Kent, Suzanne, Chad, Rachel, Eric, Ryan, Ashley, and Brett.

Thursday night Rachel went down to the church to work on her Merrie Miss party and when she came back her Merrie Miss class brought us a chocolate cake and her teacher Patti McCune gave Brett a very pretty blue crocheted baby Afghan. The Relief Society had organized some meals to be brought in to us by various families in the ward, which surely made things easier for us as I tried to rest up and Kent tried to hold things together.

Friday 5/12 Kent went to a kindergarten picnic with Ryan. That evening Chad when to the Aaronic Priesthood Awards Banquet and got his Award of Nephi. Kent stayed home with the four youngest while I went with Rachel to her Merrie Miss and Mom Dinner Party in the Summerhays backyard. We got there a little late and Rachel was very anxious. We had a lovely buffet meal with finger sandwiches and hors d'hoeuves prepared by the girls, corsages, candles, and a little baby food jar filled with candy and a pink bonnet lid made by Rachel for Mother's Day.

Sunday May 14 Mother's Day. Kent gave me a nice desk calculator, Chad a patio napkin holder that he made in wood shop, Eric gave me a vase he made out of a seltzer bottle with big tissue flowers, Ryan gave me a construction paper bouquet and a cookbook he made in his kindergarten class (his favorite recipe is the edible play dough), and Ashley gave me a kiss.

Brett continued to want to sleep well in the daytime and eat all night and so I purposely woke him up to feed him every 2-3 hours and would put him out in the family room in his infant seat a couple of times a day to try to reverse that trend. (I needed my sleep!). I also started giving him his sponge baths just before trying to put him down for the night. He was very alert and quiet during his baths if he could hold onto a towel or blanket and have his arms wrapped up. He seemed to like to listen to the sound of the tap water running. Finally he began to sleep 4-5 hours a night by two weeks.

On Friday the 19th 1989

Brett came with me to Dr. Schweitzer's office with Chad and Rachel for their orthodontist appointments with Dr. Pair and I saw a friend of mine--Linda Gattegno, and she wanted to see my pretty little "girl in pink". I'm afraid he was wearing a little pink play suit that used to belong to Ashley. His face was cute enough to belong to a little girl, although it was no longer quite so round and plump. On Saturday I had Kent get me down the little boy clothes so that I could dress him in blue and no one would mistake him for a little girl anymore.

When Brett wanted to nurse and I had him up at my shoulder to burp, he would swing or throw his head to the side to get back into position. One time at three weeks when he was on his stomach, he raised himself up on his hands and threw his head to the side and turned over. I don't think that he was really conscious of what he did, and didn't do it again for about the many more weeks, but he does seem to know what he wants. He seems a sweet, good-natured baby, generally cuddly and "rag dollish". He loves to be wrapped up snug in his blanket like he's back in my womb. He seems to sleep best on his tummy, with his knees tucked up under him and his feet curled in. When he's awake and hungry, he likes to suck on his fingers, although he has not really taken to a pacifier. I love to hold him at my shoulder with his little head wobbling around, and kiss his velvety cheek. He turns his mouth towards the warm wet kisses. He smells sweet, and Ashley and I both like to rub our noses and mouths across the top of his fuzzy head. I told Kent that and he tried it too.

On Monday May 22 , 1989

Brett went in for his 2 week check and he weighed only 8 pounds 6 ounces--he was less than his birth weight. Although all babies lose weight after birth, and he left the hospital at 8 pounds 4 ounces, he was not bouncing back up very well (just like Ashley and Eric). I could tell that his cheeks were thinner than they were at birth. I was worried and Dr. Greenwald said that I may have to supplement with a bottle, which made me feel rebellious a bit. (I decided to have bacon and eggs for breakfast and eat an extra peanut butter sandwich every mid-morning in order to try to enrich the calories in my milk supply.) Dr. Greenwald told me to bring him back in a week for another weight check, and then checked Brett's ears, eyes, (he put his finger in Brett's mouth to get him to open his eyes--he had them squeezed tightly shut while crying), and his legs to make sure that they were straight (they looked bow-legged to me). He checked his grip and muscle tone, reflexes (a tap with a rubber-tipped hammer to the knees), put him face down to watch him turn his head to breath, and held him up to check his neck muscles (his head still lolled to one side--usually right). He also stroked his feet to see his toes spread, and "walked" him across the exam table.




I was bringing Ashley next door to Keith and Nancy Fingerett's house for her to babysit so that I could get a nap in during the day. I think that this was about the nicest present I could have had after having a baby--getting a nap in 2 or 3 times a week without having to feel guilty or worry about the child just older than the baby. Nancy adored Ashley and was very sweet and loving with her--just the extra little touch she and I needed.

On Wednesday 5/24 1989

Kent's folks got a morning away from caring for Carol's mother when her sister came out and so they came to see the new baby. Grandma loved holding Brett and gave him a cute baseball shirt and shorts which Ashley later put on herself and said they were for her when she went to play baseball. Grandpa took video camera shots of the baby and me, and they both watched Brett's birth video. It made me cry again to see the intense anguish and joy of his birth. Grandma suggested that I might want to "edit" it before passing it on to future generations. Perhaps.
On Wednesday May 31 I brought Brett back in to the doctor's office for a weight check and he was 8 pounds 10 ounces, he'd gained 6 ounces in 9 days, which was good. I felt relieved. His face is less round and more oval-shaped, with small delicate features. He is beginning to smile and "coo"

At 6 to 8 weeks he became fussier and harder to settle down for naps. He'd cry out in his sleep, sleep lightly, and almost refuse to go down in his bed at night. I had to let him cry himself to sleep most of the time after feedings, but he began to sleep about 6-8 hours a night by 8 weeks. He didn't go back to sleep very well after his middle of the night feeding (he would cry when I put him back in his own bed) and so he spent the remaining part of the night in bed with me. He is behaving a lot like Ashley did, but somehow it doesn't bother me quite so much. At his 2 month check (July 6) he had gained 2 pounds over his birth weight and over 4 inches. His face had become longer and more narrow like Chad and Ryan's. Someone told me that he had that Gardiner look, and Peg McDermott called him a long tall drink of water. He is more responsive--laughing and smiling at people. He got his first DPT shot and oral polio at this time. He didn't seem to have any adverse reaction other than a slight fever, although I gave him some Tylenol for about 24 hours just in case.


From mom:

Eric seems to get the least attention in the family and he works the hardest. He sold all of his book of Scoutorama tickets (10) the first day and rode his bike up to Judy Larry's with the money. Then a lady dropped off another book (without my knowledge) and he lost the book. Fortunately we didn't have to pay for it, but I was upset and he was heartbroken. At the May Cub Scout Pack Meeting they had a Cubanapolis. He made a car out of a card board box. The boys were supposed to race, staying in "car lanes" and making pit stops to "change tires" (take on and off his shoes), refuel (drink water?) etc. I reminded him just before he left not to wear his hi-top shoes--but to wear some loafers that he could take on and off easily. He came in first place in three heats and won 2 Giant Mr. Good bars, a star burst (for the most aerodynamic car) and a butterfingers. He has been trying to do some extra jobs to earn more money because he wants to save money for a 10-speed bike. He just finished his little minibike with his dad and Nebs Fairbanks. He also went to the Puppet Theater with his school class.

Ryan has pulled out his two bottom middle teeth by himself after his permanent teeth began growing in behind them. We told him that the tooth fairy was Kent's uncle Frank. So the kids were real interested in Uncle Frank when he came to Brett's blessing. Ryan has been very sweet and helpful with Ashley. When Brett was only one week old and I was in the shower, he got Ashley dressed to surprise me and help her. He is by nature very generous, and he wrapped up 3 little dinosaurs and gave them to Ashley as a present. He likes to wear a turquoise sweatshirt that the Hiltons gave him for Christmas everyday, even when it is warm. On May 26 he got "Citizen of the Month" in his school class. He has been very good about staying in the green zone all week and I have been taking him to 7-11 to get a treat as a reward. His favorite thing to choose is the "Big Chew" bubblegum. When he gets 15 stars for good behavior at school he turns them in for a prize. He lately chose a yellow boat and has been generously letting Ashley play with it during her bath. In the afternoon he has been a little cranky (since his lunch is so early before kindergarten) and we've had to insist that he make himself a peanut butter sandwich. He really wants to play tether ball with the older children (particularly Rachel) but has difficulty being a good sport about losing since they are bigger and better than he is. He is ready to begin learning how to read. He likes to write down all of the words he knows. He copied 3 sentences into a Class Dinosaur Composition Book. He brought home Travis Marsh's phone number and has been calling him up after school to talk. He also likes to belch, but we have told him he may not do that anymore. He enjoys playing in the sandbox in the backyard and making space ships with the older kids with his Lego’s.


Lego Ship

When Grandma and Grandpa Gardiner came to see Brett when he was about 2 weeks old Ashley was very happy to see them. It has been a little hard for her to share the limelight with Brett--especially since I must hold and give him so much attention. When Grandma gave Brett a cute little blue Baseball T-shirt and shorts (size 12 months) Ashley put it on as soon as they left and said it was for her to wear so she could play baseball. The shirt looked like a midriff on her. I was so tired after the grandparents left, I put on a Disney tape for her and fell asleep. I heard her clumping around during my nap, and then it was quiet for awhile. I got up and found her asleep in her bed now wearing Rachel's T-shirt, socks, and hi-top tennis shoes. She loves to dress up in our clothes and come out giggling, clamping her hand over her mouth and falling on the ground with laughter and delight. She has lately taken a fancy to my pink pajama top that used to belong to my mother. She has asked me to help her put it on, then she wears my high heels and carries my purse. I tell her she is a short mommy. She must like the feel of that nylon top, because she likes to just carry it around with her sometimes. Once when I went to 7-11 with Ryan she drug it along with her into the store, looking up at me so trustingly, I felt very protective towards her. She has been fascinated with pacifiers, claiming for herself all the ones I have for Brett, and wanting to sit in the infant seat, although I have told her she is too big, which upsets her. She wants to sit on my lap and have me hold her all the time, and when I am nursing Brett, she presses her lips and face against him and me until I feel like I am suffocating. But she is quite heart-broken when I push her away.

Picking Up Bugs

Ashley loves to pick up sow bugs and snails, but thinks ants are yucky. She likes her sandbox too. On teacher appreciation day the older children brought flowers to their teachers and Ashley wanted to bring flowers to someone so she brought some to Nancy Fingerett next door. Nancy has been watching Ashley a couple of times a week for me for about 2 hours in the morning so that I can get my rest and strength back after Brett. It has been a great sense of relief to know that she is safe and happy and well cared for during this hectic time after the new baby. Nancy and Keith (Ashley says "Keef") adore her and the cute things that she says. Nancy gave her a white teddy bear the day I had Brett and brought over some books for her later that her younger children that she babysits for couldn't appreciate. Ashley helps her mother the younger children and gets lots of attention, which she needs at this time.


Carol, Ashley and Suzanne

Ashley cut her face on a rose bush and I had to put band aids on her for weeks to keep her hands off the sores so that they could heal. She was picking off the scabs to "make them better", and I was afraid that her beautiful face would scar. She does have one straight scar about 1/2 inch long on her left cheek where she scratched away the scab. Hopefully it will fill in and fade out as she gets older.

Some of the cute things that she says that brings laughter and delight to everyone: When I turn 5 I'll be Ryan.... When I grow up, Chad will be the daddy and Eric will be the sister (she was trying to understand family relationships and maturity)....Milk does a body good....Way cool (with a thumbs up sign)....Stupid old pal (to me. I told her I was "a lovely old pal")....You, Stu-(after being reprimanded for saying stupid)....Fine, be that way (imitating Rachel).....Will somebody please help me?.....Thanks a lot guys! (when nobody helped her wash her hands).....I love it when you come home (to her Daddy).


Sunday June 11, 1989 Brett’s Blessing

Today we blessed Brett in church. He was blessed on the same day as Jeremy Todd Mefford, Brittany Dawn Large, and Spencer Barnes. His dad blessed him and he was assisted by Bishop Spencer Parkinson, Kevin Large, Grandpa Gardiner, Mark Gardiner, J.T. Gardiner, Uncle Frank Gardiner, Gerry Kroksh, Grandpa Brown, David Brown, and Mike Wooten.


Brett and Grandma Great

In the blessing Brett was promised that during his sojourn in life he would have the physical strength to withstand the travail of life. His Heavenly Father's Spirit would reside with him, and through the scriptures he would find answers to problems. The direction from his parents would guide him so that the Spirit of Heavenly Father could be with him. He was a choice son of Heavenly Father and would be able to accomplish the work that was given him. The Lord had great things for him to do. Many lives would be blessed by him. He would be blessed in his position in the family and be able to take his rightful place in the family. He would add to his family and be able to bless the lives of those around him. His parents were thankful for his calm sweet spirit, his patience with those around him. We were thankful for his strong beautiful body and for having him at this time.

I silently prayed throughout the blessing that Brett would be able to endure to the end, and receive every blessing of the gospel and priesthood. There is no greater blessing than this.


Testimonies

During the Fast and Testimony meeting Kent bore his testimony. He said that there are many things transitory in this life, but the priesthood is not one of them. It is eternal. He said that he was grateful for the feeling he has while performing a priesthood ordinance such as blessing a baby. He said that he is grateful for his extended family, and his sweet wife and children. He knows that the gospel is true.

I bore my testimony also. I said that I knew that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--was the Lord's true church upon the earth today. I said that I was grateful for the restored gospel, the power of the priesthood, the eternal family unit, and the plan of salvation. I was grateful for my six beautiful children, my extended family, and the ward members who were part of my extended family. I was particularly grateful for my parents and my fine husband, who was the best of all possible husbands.

After church we had everyone over for submarine sandwiches and a visit. Brett got some cute presents, and Kent took some video pictures of everyone.

For Father's Day, Kent and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke on imprinting and imaging. I shared the story of Horton Hatches and Egg, and how Father's imprint their image on their children. When we are converted we imprint the Savior's image on our countenance. The message of the restoration is that we are spirit children of God, capable of becoming like him. I told about Chris Saltonstall, and the courage I had to tell him goodbye, when he could not embrace the gospel, because of my testimony of the literal Fatherhood of God and my desire to have a righteous priesthood leader for the father of my children.


Discipline

Kent spoke on discipline and that the opposite of yelling is consequences.

I talked to my father earlier in the week. He told me that my Uncle Floyd had died that week and he was going up to arrange the funeral and settle his affairs. Now he would not be able to go on the cruise to Alaska with Bob and Ann and Louise and Howard (which they were doing on their inheritance from their parents). He said that Uncle Floyd had lived all of his life in Arizona and had never even been to the Grand Canyon. He said at the funeral that that is a little bit like living in the shadow of the temple and never entering it. Such a tragedy to be so close to Divine Beauty, and never see or partake of it.

When Brett was just a week or two old I went down for a second mammogram, and then when he was about six weeks old I went down to see Dr. Lim with copies of both mammograms and their reports. I had to collect my 2nd mammogram from Henry Mayo Hospital where the radiologist had taken it to ponder and get a second opinion. His report emphasized the suspicious calcifications, and the mammogram looked like it had a second lump under the nipple. I prayed all the way down that I could nurse Brett a little longer, and that the Lord would tell Dr. Lim to let me do it. I saw the new temple president Reeves with his wife there in the waiting room. When Dr. Lim looked at the reports and the mammograms, he had a kind of stupor of thought. He seemed confused, and said perhaps it was not serious and that it would be all right to nurse for two, maybe three months more, but no longer. He wanted me to come back in two months time for a follow-up check. I left his office elated, and went home to cuddle and nurse my baby. There is such a special bonding between mother and child during nursing, and I thanked my heavenly father for the privilege of being able to do this with Brett a little longer.

Stevenson Ranch Papers

July ?, we went to Stevenson Ranch, Winterset office to sign final contract papers, and lock our house price in at $295,000.00. The same house in 3rd phase is selling for $430,000.00. Barbara said that there was a lot of talk about raising all of the prices in the first and second phase homes too, but at the last Dale decided to leave them the same. I'm sure that we will make about $200,000.00 in appreciation on our new house and our present home by the time we move in, $60,000.00 in the bank, and $6,000.00 a month income. Kent said that for the first time he began to feel that it was all going to work out for us too. I know that the Lord is blessing us. They gave us November 16 as our tentative close of escrow date, moved it back to December 14 th, then up again to November 16. I don't know if they will keep to that or not. Somehow in my heart I feel that it will be January before we move in. Barbara says that we have 30 days before the close of escrow to prove we have the funds for financing. I am concerned that we don't get kicked out of our house with no place to go if our present house escrow closes before our new one does. Kent and I and Brett went to see the house after framing was up on July 17 with Linda Feldon from the office and I felt such a good feeling--I really felt that the Lord would bless us to be able to live there.

The children were approved to stay at Rosedale one more year. I will probably drive them after we move so that they can complete their school year. I feel that it will be important for them, although a hardship for me for about 4 1/2 to 6 months.

Chad went on his long-term 50 mile hike with Ron Nickle and Will Mechem chaperoning, Travis Lungren and Daniel King from the Scout troop, and Brandon Phelps, Sam and Aaron Mefford, and Sam's friend from the Varsity Scout Team. I am very proud of him for being such a good and compassionate, wholesome young man. Sometimes his Attention Deficit Disorder is very frustrating because he can't direct himself very productively at home; but I wouldn't trade him for any other young man in the scout troop. I was a little ticked that the boys voted 3 boys into the Order of the Arrow who are kind of problem boys with problem families and not my Chad; but I know that a title is only superficial, and it is personal character that is the real substance of life. Chad is head's above those other three boys. I wouldn't trade him for those other boys and their position in the order of the arrow at all.

He is going up to camp as Senior Patrol leader. He just finished his rifle merit badge, is almost done with writing up his Eagle Service Project (we talk about it and I type it under his direction), and he is almost done with the Waterskiing, Hiking, and Backpacking merit badges (he only needs two more to complete his Eagle Scout requirements). He has been practicing typing lessons on the computer each day this summer and it has been sheer agony for him. He goes back to Dr. Greenwald August 1 for evaluation.

Rachel Reads

Rachel just finished watching "Gone with the Wind" at Kim's house. She said that she cried during it and that Scarlet really acted dumb sometimes. I dropped her off at Mr. Video to rent it while I ran an errand and then I couldn't find her when I came back to pick her up. Boy was I panicky! I don't want anything to happen to that beautiful young lady. I love her dearly. On July 14, she got her hair spiral-permed. She curls her bangs and puts her hair up in a banana clip or ponytail, wears some white hoop earrings that she bought at Mervyn's, a Gitano black/white/coral shirt and some jean shorts, her sandals, and looks like a cute young teenager. She is reading Rilla, the last of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, has taught herself lower case calligraphy, and learned some cute magic tricks from a book and a video from the library. I made her a cute short sleeve, drop-waist, bouffant-skirt dress in a pale coral and lavender print. She said that she loves it. She is going out to the mall with her dad to buy some school clothes and supplies (she really wants an Esprit bag) and get a Sundae at Bob's.

Eric finished reading How to Eat Fried Worms and I finished reading Treasure Island to him. This afternoon we are going to Clark's Drug Store to buy a triple German Chocolate Ice Cream cone and rent the movie. He finished off his minibike for his big year goal and his dad bought him some lunch while they were out together. He has made a model airplane and two rockets this summer too. He sure is a neat kid. I got him into Mrs. Province's 4/5 class and I think that I did the right thing. They are going to be studying the Voyage of the Mimi this year along with Rachel's class. His teacher wants him (and the rest of the class) to keep a journal and she is going to take him out to lunch by himself to get to know him better. Last Sunday he gave a marvelous talk in church on following our leaders. He told the story of Naaman the leper and the prophet Elisha. He had it memorized and gave a good presentation. He is finishing up his Faith in God Award and almost has his Bear in Cubs.


Ryan Reads Tuggy

Ryan just finished reading Tuggy and taking Beginner 2 Swim lessons from Mrs. Schultz. He was very excited because he can read the book very well and passed the swim course. I took him to Rosedale after his last lesson and he got to meet Mrs. Geiran, his new first grade teacher (he says that she is the nicest teacher in the world) and see where his new class was going to be. Then we went to 7-11 and he bought a Hawaiian Punch Soda Pop and some six feet long Bubblegum rolled up in a tin, which he shared with Ashley. For his birthday dinner Kent and I (and Brett) took him to McDonald's in Canyon Country (where they have a playground) and he ordered a Happy Meal (which came with a Lego helicopter) and a soft chocolate ice cream cone. He really enjoyed himself and it was fun to be with him. He is a special boy. On Saturday, the 22nd, his birthday, we opened his presents as soon as his dad and Chad came back from Scout camp. Ashley gave him a 3 Musketeers bar, Rachel and Eric gave him some trucks and cars, Chad gave him some Muscles and sulphur balls, and we gave him a scooter. Then we had his party with his friends at the swimming pool and up at the park for a hamburger barbecue. Joshua Cook gave him three books. Andrea Hilton gave him some construction cars and a neat T-shirt and shorts set--which he loves and wears every day! Spencer Mefford gave him a water squirting camera, and Matthew McGuire gave him Chutes and Ladders game. Zizette, our next door neighbor didn't have a present that day, but on Sunday she brought over a race car set with a loop. For party favors we passed out bags with sunglasses, squirt guns, candy necklaces, gum, and balloons. The kids traded things back and forth between each other.

Ashley came with me to the store to get some last minute things for Ryan's birthday. We got a sucker at the Dry Cleaner's, rode the horsey, and got a cookie from the Deli just like old times. We bought a candy bar for Ryan's birthday, and some candy for her. She was so happy to have my attention again. I hadn't realized how much I had been ignoring her because of the baby. She crawled up on my lap Sunday morning the next day for scripture reading and I looked at her head, which she had been scratching and discovered that it was crawling with little bugs--lice! We checked everybody's heads and we all had them. Well, so much for church or family home evening that day. We spent the day shampooing, vacuuming and washing clothes. The lice seemed the most numerous in Ashley's head--but maybe just because she was so fair and they showed up more. Kent said that it made him sick to think of those in his little Maybelle's hair. Everyone kept looking at her head and saying "Oooh, yucck!" and so she went in her room, got the scissors, and began to cut her hair off. Fortunately we caught her before she had cut very much off. She has such beautiful white blond feathery hair.


Yes, We have Head lice

We tried to comb all of the little nits and dead bugs out of our hair but it seemed impossible--the combs were not fine enough and there were too many of them. On Wednesday I found a louse crawling along one of my hairs on the bathroom counter. And it looked like there was more in Ashley, Rachel's and Chad's hair. So we rewashed our hair again and on Friday Kent brought home a Derbac fine-tooth comb. My scalp felt so itchy I thought I could feel lice crawling all of the time. We combed and combed and combed. On Sunday I took off a few live ones from Ryan and we shampooed again. Kent said that this was getting very old and I agreed.

We took time out from all of this to go to Kent's 25th high school reunion family picnic. There I saw Sheri Scott, Kent's old girlfriend for the first time. I confess that I was surprised. She was friendly enough, but she seemed nervous and flighty--I could tell in talking to her that her family life and children were not as secure as mine were, nor was her commitment to the church as firm. In addition, she was overweight and haggard-looking, her skin all blotchy with brown marks. My scalp might be crawling with lice, but I need never fear about Kent leaving me for an old flame.

It seemed like all we did was comb hair. And yet we felt very close together as a family while we combed each other's hair. We joked about it and the children played games together while waiting for their turn. While each of the children were sitting in the bathtub letting the shampoo "set" for 10 minutes I read to them part of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, a book given to my family by Grandma Helen. (She was a friend of my parents who used to have us over one at a time to spend the night in her marvelous big old home with its large over-grown garden in the back. I remember her reading a fairy tale to me in her big old bed, serving me oatmeal in the morning, and letting me choose a trinket from a box before going home.)

Even Chad and Rachel liked the gentle, nonsensical humor of the book. The part they seemed to like the best was the beginning about Winnie-the-Pooh's name. Milne writes:

"When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, 'But I thought he was a boy?'
'So did I,' said Christopher Robin.
'Then you can't call him Winnie?'
'I don't.'
'But you said--'
'He's Winnie-the-Pooh. Don't you know what 'their' means?'
'Ah, yes, now I do,' I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get."

The kids all chuckled at this--as if "their" explained everything nonsensical. It also seemed a lot like our family favorite expression of "Dough!", which seems to sum up idiocy and carelessness in general. We started saying "Chad-there-Gardiner" and "Don't you know what their means?......Dough!" quite a bit to each other.

Well I didn't think that we would ever be rid of that vermin plague of lice. I developed new respect for the term "nit-picker". My scalp was sore and raw and chaffed from Kent tearing the hair out by trying to comb through it. I have so much hair, and I couldn't comb it all out myself. I kept telling Kent,” thank you, thank you," as he pulled and it hurt so bad the tears would come out of my eyes. I think I lost 25% of my hair. It has been shedding everywhere all the time and I thought that we'd be doing this for the rest of our lives. Every spare moment was spent looking through someone's hair. Miraculously Brett escaped it.

Disaster

In the midst of all this I was in charge of Relief Society Homemaking Meeting Taster's table and it was a disaster. I did most of it by myself without any help until I asked two gals on the committee with me to wash the dishes. When I came back to the church because I forgot my food, I found one of them in the kitchen crying and throwing the dishes on the counter. Then she got in her car and charged out of there mad as blazes. I found out that she hated Homemaking meeting, hadn't come in a year, and had been roped into teaching a mini-class the night before. One of the Relief Society Presidency said that I drove her away because of my insensitivity and that she'd probably never come again. Oh, well. I didn't know or mean to offend her. I wrote her the following letter.

Dear Jackie,

Thank you so much for your help at Homemaking meeting. The muffins were delicious. I hope that Gesell got the extra muffins and gallon of milk and $10.00 back to you.

I am sincerely sorry for offending you that night by leaving you to do the dishes with no hot water or dish towels on your first night out in a year--after teaching one of the mini classes too. I didn't realize what you were going through. I was under so much stress myself, that I was not aware that you were feeling some too.


Wild Story

Last night reminded me of a Relief Society meeting I attended some ten years ago at the Van Nuys Stake Center while we were living in a tiny two bedroom house. We only had one car and the only time I got out during the week away from the children was to day Relief Society with a friend. On this occasion my pregnant older sister and her husband and her three somewhat unruly children were staying with us in our tiny house and I was going stir crazy with claustrophobia. I couldn't wait for a nice serene Spiritual Living lesson in Relief Society to calm my nerves. Five children five years old and younger and four adults in a 900 square foot house is enough to drive anyone to the funny farm. Anyway I straggled into Relief Society feeling a little shell-shocked when the Relief Society counselor exclaimed: "Oh, Suzanne! I'm so glad you're here. We don't have anyone for the nursery today and we need you to take it over. Here's the manual, it's lesson number...." I thought I was going to faint on the spot. (Being in charge of the Relief Society Nursery was a fate worse than death in my book) I walked into the Nursery absolutely numb, while my sister who had the bratty kids got to go in and enjoy a lovely uplifting lesson. I sat down on the floor, put my hand over my mouth and screamed as loud as I could. (The only reason I put my hand over my mouth was because the stake presidency's office was just a few feet away and they were often there during the day.) I alternated between biting my hand until it nearly bled, crying, pulling my hair and clenching my teeth, and laughing hysterically. I kept imagining myself charging into the Relief Society room, shrieking obscenities into all of their shocked faces, and getting in my car and making a run for the border. For some reason Tijuana stuck in my head as the place to go (probably because I'd never been there before--I'd certainly never choose that place now....I think Paris or London would be nice, don't you?). The only thing that kept me from flying off the deep end and behaving like a complete idiot was the fact that I knew that eventually I'd run out of gas and money and I'd have to come back home and face everyone again. Somehow I survived the experience, managed to stay on friendly terms with my sister (although I still cringe when she comes to stay with us--she now has seven unruly children), and I kept most of the women in the ward from knowing how close I came to having a nervous breakdown and making a public fool of myself. (I much prefer behaving foolishly in private.) Years later I talked to the R.S. counselor again about that day and she didn't even remember it. She said that she had no idea that I was feeling that way; the nursery leader had called in sick, and she was just desperately trying to make it through herself. If she'd known how upset I was she would have asked someone else to do it or done it herself.

I realize now that I should have opened up and told her what I was going through. On the other hand, she was under a lot of stress and pressure and needed help too. We are all volunteers in the church. None of us are perfect, but we do the best we can. Somehow with a little long suffering, patience, and charity, we can make it through. It looks like both you and I were having a tough time last night. Let me tell you about it from my perspective.



Food Chairman

Linda Mason is the food chairman. She is a new convert to the church of less than a year, and this is her first calling. She called me about three weeks ago and said that I might have to be the chairman because she thought that the one who had been assigned it was unable to do so. She gave me Margaret War’s name and you and Katie's name at that time and suggested that I call you. I told her that I was under so much pressure with six children, one of them an infant nursing baby, being in charge of dinner for 150 cub scouts and their families the week before Homemaking as well as Boy Scout Camp the week afterwards--that I really couldn't deal with it at all until maybe the Sunday before. Then to top it off our family got lice.

I thought that I was going to go CRAZY! I have done nothing but wash hair, comb out nits, vacuum, do laundry, nurse the baby, and sob for 1 1/2 weeks straight. I haven't been to church for two Sundays in a row. I've been so exhausted by the time I'd fall into bed about midnight and my head was so sore from Kent combing it out (I've lost 25% of my hair from Kent tearing it out with a fine tooth comb and my scalp is raw from the harsh prescription shampoos and scrubbing) I thought that I couldn't endure one more thing. (Yes, I've done my share of throwing dishes and crying.) I wouldn't wish what I've been through this past week on my worst enemy.

Anyway Sunday morning I found out for sure that I was in charge of the Taster's table. I know that it would have been nice if I could have met with you and Katie and Margaret and we could have worked it all out together, but I wasn't even planning to go to church, let alone have time for a meeting. So, I talked to Linda about it and decided to just make assignments and try to keep it as simple as possible. She said that she would help me set up and send some muffins too, but then she got the flu and couldn't do anything. Margaret War had a stake meeting to go to and you had said that you weren't planning to come and so I thought that I was the WHOLE THING! Great. This was all I needed.

Wild Day

I had a wild day Tuesday between doctor's appointments, and my family, and a much-needed nap, and the refreshment preparations, etc. I dashed down to the church leaving Brett in the swing (it was the first time I'd left him so long in the evening), set up the table, cut the melon, and put everything out on the table by myself. The Relief Society presidency didn't even help. They probably didn't realize that I had to do everything alone or perhaps they were under so much pressure and work themselves they couldn't see it. I called my husband and Brett was screaming so loud he couldn't hear me. Well, there was still all of the cleanup to do. I kept trying to tell myself that service was a sign of true greatness but I confess to not feeling too great. I cleared the table, threw away all the trash, divided up the left over food, and stacked all of the dirty dishes in the sink. I knew that I had to get home, so I thought to myself: Margaret's come back, and Jackie's here, and they are on the committee with me.....maybe they can wash the dishes. I've done everything else--that's all there is left to do. I had no idea that there was no hot water or dish towels, and I certainly didn't mean to dump it all on you after teaching the miniclass--I was feeling kind of dumped on myself.

Please call me so that I know that we are still friends. I think that you are a lovely talented woman, and I really like and admire you. In fact, I've always had you up on a pedestal--you always seemed so serene and in control all the time. It never occurred to me that you were struggling along with your own set of problems just like me. It pains me greatly to think that I've offended you. Next time, let's just talk about it or else run away to Paris together, okay?

My love and best wishes,

Suzanne Gardiner

Jackie never called me and won't talk to me in church.

Her husband, who is Ryan's soccer coach has been rude and belligerent. I hope that I can be Christ like and wade this thing out with them.)

August 8, 1989

Brett went to see Dr. Greenwald for his 3 month check up today. He is 26 inches long and 11 pounds, 10 ounces. He has grown a pound a month--the same rate in weight that Ashley did, although he is growing in length faster than she did. He is in the 95th percentile in height and 30th percentile in weight. He is long and skinny, and a bonnie young prince. When I go to pick him up early in the morning for his feeding I find him turned over on his back. He is so happy to see me; he smiles, thrashes his arms and thrusts his legs out, makes a pass at his mouth with his fist (thumb tucked between fore and middle finger), coos, giggles, contorts, and flirts with me. He loves to stand up (supported by my hands under his arms) with his feet on my lap. I stand him that way and lean him forward so that I can kiss his cheeks and bite his ear. He is getting so strong now, and he wriggles and writhes and pushes with his feet when I nurse him now. Sometimes he arches his back, cranes his neck and looks at me, then smiles. His short straight hair is just a little bit reddish brown, his long face looks a bit like Ryan and Chad. His eyes are deep blue, and may stay that color or turn hazel. His sleep schedule is off--some days all he wants to do is sleep, other days he is awake a lot and goes down for the night at 6:00, but then is awake for awhile late at night. He still loves his bath when I can give it to him before he goes down for the night. And he loves to go outside and lay on a blanket in the shade, or be carried around over my shoulder.

Wednesday 8/9 1989


Bugs Bunny World

Brett went with Kent to Bugs Bunny World at Magic Mountain while he watched Ashley and Ryan go on the rides. He drank a little milk, fell asleep for a bit, and then was real happy to see me when I came back from the Tidal Wave with Chad, Rachel, and Eric. I held him wrapped in a blanket even though I was soaking wet. He laughed at the lady next to me on the tram ride back to the car in the evening.

Thursday 8/10 we went to the beach. Brett didn't like it at all until I put the blanket over my shoulder and nursed him. Kent said that he had never heard him do so much yelling as he did on that day.


Sunday 8/13 1989

I gave him a bottle during Sacrament meeting. He was very good. He fussed a little so I picked him up to burp him. He then messed all over my black sweater and skirt. I had to go home and change, during which time he fell asleep in the swing. I had to wake him up to go back to church and nursed him through Relief Society. He fell asleep when we got home until 9:30 when I got him up to eat before bed. He then wanted to stay awake for awhile. I heard him cooing and complaining a little still when I went to bed at 11:45. It sure is hard to struggle through church with him since he can't nap very well and just wants to nurse the whole time. It is also hard at home during the day finding a quiet place for him to sleep undisturbed in our small house. Lately he's been sleeping in the bassinet in our walk in closet during the day.

Kent and Chad are up at scout camp. I wrote them the following letters.

Dear Kent and Chad,

Well, we love and miss you both, but know that you are having a great time.

Sunday there was only Clint, Chris T. and the Summerhays boys to pass the Sacrament. Wayne came to get his Nephi Award and advance to Teacher, but he did not do the Sacrament. The youth speakers were girls about girls' camp. Maybe the Bishop will ask the boys to tell about scout camp. Greg Adams and Judy Larry spoke on faith and their conversion. Judy's was very dramatic and Eric said it was a great talk. Brett messed his pants all over my sweater and skirt and I had to go home and change. Relief Society lesson was by Cheri Stoddard on eternal marriage. She had a picture of her daughter Wendy outside the Salt lake Temple with Elder Mincks, whom she met and married at BYU after he taught her mother the gospel down here. It was a very spiritual lesson, Cheri was full of the Spirit after just seeing her oldest son Rick (Shayne's stepbrother) ordained an elder before leaving for BYU (he is planning on going on a mission this Spring.) Rich Nichols and his daughter Tracy came to see Rick being ordained. Rick and Tracy have been going to gather for the last few months. Brother Nichols' son was also ordained and is going up to BYU with Rick.

I talked to Rose next door on Saturday and she and Zizette were planning to go to church and have fried chicken with us on Sunday, but her friend who came over Saturday night didn't go home until late Sunday night so they didn't come. It would have been a good meeting for her to attend but I didn't feel like pushing her--I wanted her to feel that the door was always open for her and Zizette whenever they wanted to come. Rose says that she really admires how close the families in our church are. She remembers coming over one morning we had our scriptures out. She says that she wants that for her family. She said that she told Nagi that she wanted to go to our church and he said that was okay but not to expect him to go too. She said that when Nagi comes back from his trip his father will stay with them for 3 months and then it will be hard for her to go to church with us or do anything. She said that Nagi's father is very strict Orthodox--carries his scriptures around all the time, etc., but is not a very good Christian. I told her to be patient, that if he came with us and started sharing what she did and learned with Nagi that eventually he would become interested and come with her too. And Nagi's father wouldn't stay forever (although it might seem like it).

Ryan and Ashley are disappointed

Ryan and Ashley were very disappointed that Zizette wasn't coming over but we watched "Little Lord Flauntleroy" with Freddie Bartholomew and C. Auberry Smith instead. And had "green" ice cream to boot. It was a nice evening. I called Randy Pastor to tell him you were at scout camp and find out about Soccer. He says that you can check with him when you get back--then you and he can set up practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also called my cousin Delbert (it was the Jones reunion Sunday) and my Grandmother Breiten. My dad called on Saturday to tell me about his Alaska cruise. They flew to Vancouver Canada to pick up the boat and saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. He said that it is the only cruise to take. I'd like to go there with you someday. I also called your sister Gayle last night. They had just returned from Lake Powell four hours earlier and were expecting Janice any moment. We are going to meet them all on Saturday at Reeses with Jell-O salad, cookies and swim suits. Gayle is planning to serve dinner too, so we will probably still be there when you come--call first.

Eric finished his wigwam and took it into class today. Tonight we are going to finish reading Benjamin Franklin and start his puppet. Rachel had Jolene over for dinner on Saturday and to watch "Miss Marple" with Margaret Rutherford. Today she is at Jennifer's house. Ashley sat by her teacher Sunday in Sacrament meeting and went swimming in her little pool today with Jessica Hatton (we're going to the park on Wednesday with Shauna and Kate). Ryan and Eric had such a hard time getting along yesterday that I made them sit together in the front seat going to and from church. Ryan sure had his bark on--arguing and complaining about everything. He is calmer today with school. I'll be glad when he outgrows this stage. Brett is his usual bonnie lusty self.

Keith across the street just brought over a bag of ripe figs...I am typing in the 1989 Family journal about Brett's birth. Then I am off to mail letters and babysit Hiltons and another little girl for Backyard Swim. (Saturday there were 9 children here 11 years old and younger.) We are having the missionaries over for dinner for Family Home Evening and I am taping "The Sea of Grass" on TNT.

Take care of everybody, physically and spiritually. Love you both,

Suzanne

Last Thursday while helping Kent check off the boys for camp, Chris Harrison and Travis Lungren came tripping in with 3 times more stuff than anyone else. Christopher is staying with the Lungrens until after camp because his family has moved back to Utah. In addition to a duffel bag and sleeping bag, Christopher had a tent, backpack, footlocker, and lawn chair. I told him "no way" after nearly passing out, and Kent did also. He started crying and said that he didn't want to go then. He had his heart set on bringing certain things. He called his dad who called Kent and they worked it out. He kept trying to perseverate on everything but the duffel bag. While I was adamantly against all of these additional items, I did really feel sorry for him. I saw him as I think he really is--a new kid on the block still, overweight, wanting to be liked and accepted, the foil and scapegoat of most of his peers, having little self-confidence or knowledge of what to do or how to make real friends. I thought back to when we accosted him about the cut tent pole rope, and realized that it probably wasn't him--but was Wayne Hamill, with Christopher watching, assisting, hoping to be accepted by Wayne, and covering for him. I felt sorry that Christopher had taken the full brunt of the blame, while Wayne, whose idea it probably was and who is so very vindictive and lied more convincingly, got off scot-free. It wasn't fair, and I understood a little bit of Barbara's resentment towards us and how self righteous I probably was towards the Harrisons. I wish now that I had done nothing about that tent pole experience rather than to have been somewhat unjust towards Christopher and his family. God has a way of requiting sins. Some of the anguish that happened this year was surely from my lack of compassion, the Hamill's dishonesty and meanness (they will suffer in the future still for this), and the Harrison's bumbling and lack of humility. But for all these nerdy little boys' annoying tendencies--they are all sons of God with potential to become like him. I am glad that Kent is going with them to camp and I pray that he will be able to help them and Will Mechem grow a little bit in their understanding, etc.


Kent,




Eric Gets Sliced

This is Tuesday afternoon, minimum day. Patty Hatton came by (yesterday) for the Introduction to Joy School, which I have in the Sewing Patterns/Teaching Children box. I went out to the garage to look for it three times and can't find it. Then I discovered thousands of ants pouring in under a crack in the sliding glass door and making a nest or something in our dishwasher. I've searched the house and garage over and can't find any ant spray. Eric said he had a new project of making a bow an arrow for school and he got out the saw and started using it on some tree limbs. When that wasn't satisfactory, he took my bread knife to it. I told him to please stop and not do anything until I could supervise. I went out into the garage to look for the ant spray some more, then walked in and Brett started crying to eat. When I started nursing him Eric started screaming "Oh! my finger" and crying. I ran out to the kitchen and there was blood everywhere--he'd sliced his finger open. I had him staunch it with a rag while I nursed the baby. Then I called up Peg McDermott and borrowed her ant spray. Then I called my dad and made a splint for his finger to hold it in place. He said he felt faint and went to lie down. Then Rachel said she needed a "how to" book for school. I have plenty of them in my "Teaching Children" box which I can't find. Now Eric is feeling better and wants to go to Soccer but we can't find the sports box in the garage with the shin guards, and since I'm babysitting a little girl I can't go out and buy him some so I guess he's not going to soccer this week. I am having a rotten afternoon and I can't find a damn thing anywhere in the garage. Other than that everything is fine!

Suzanne

P.S. tonight is back to school night and Thursday is Pack Meeting at Summerhays.

Saturday 19th while we were at the Reeses for a Gardiner family reunion Kent and Chad came in from their week at camp. We were all happy to be reunited. Today, Sunday 20th we are all gathered in the bedroom to listen to camp stories.

Will Mechem whittled at camp, making a nice walking stick. Some of the kids thought that they would like to buy a knife and waddle too. Shayne Stoddard bought a scout knife for $9.00. On the way back from the trading post he changed his mind. So, he sold it to Will Mechem for $5.00. Then Chad came into camp and started whittling, and said he would buy the knife for $5.00. Then he discovered it only had one big blade, not a small one too. So Will bought it back for $5.00. Then Matt Mason decided to buy it for $5.00. Later Kent found it on the ground. He saved it until the next morning and asked who it was. Everyone decided it must still be Will's since Matt never gave him any money. Then Kent decided he still liked it and he bought it for $5.00. Later everyone started buying $14.00 whittling knives. Then the last day they had a sale at the trading post, and were selling the knives for $8.50. Kent told the boys he could make a deal with them, and he went and bought 2 whittling knives for $15.00. Then he negotiated with them for 15 scout knives. He went back 3 times to talk to them about it, and finally settled on all 15 for $50.00. He decided that they would make good presents.

Chad told about Matt Mason, who brought $30.00 of his own money and $20.00 from his mother. He bought himself a clip-on earring for $9.00 at an arts fair before he even got to camp. Then the first day the trading post opened. He spent all of the rest of the money before the day was over except for $5.00. He bought a bow, a whittling knife, an arrow (which he lost in the lake on the way home, a flint and steel (which he sold to Daniel King for $3.00), and the rest on candy. He spent the remaining $5.00 on motor boating merit badge and leather work merit badge.

On Wednesday we canoed to Pirates Cove. It was very tipsy. Chris, Jakob and I were the last ones to make it over. We decided that we wanted to go swimming but since I was wearing pants, not shorts, I hiked back to camp (about a mile), got my shorts, and hiked back to camp. I saw the boys over by a giant rock, taller than a high dive. Jakob jumped off the top with his life jacket and without it a couple of times. And then Matt Mason decided to go. Chris Harrison jumped off in his pants. Finally Chad decided to jump. It seemed forever that you were falling, without control over you body. I jumped off three times. We had a treasure hunt--only the staff took the prize. We threw water on the leader at the campfire.

On Friday there was triathlon races. We were team 8. Jakob Conkling ran a 1/4 mile to a buoy and back and tagged Travis Lungren who ran up a mountain about 1/2 mile. Then Chris and Shayne canoed 1/2 mile. After this they had an "Iron Man" race which one person had to do all three. Chad decided that he would try to do that. Chad was about the last to start. He kept right with everyone, doing t he breaststroke the whole way. When they came back in, there were four people behind him. Then when he had to put his shoes on for the running, he took so long, he was the last one to finish that. Then during the foot race, he caught up and passed a boy. Then he got into a row boat and only got crooked one time. He then passed another boy in the row boat. So he came in 9th out of 11. He would have come in 7th if he could have dressed faster. At the campfire they had all participants come up, get cheered and receive a special certificate.

Bear

One evening while Will and Kent were hiking around the lake to go fishing. Kent looked down the trail and saw a giant reddish bear on the trail coming straight towards them. They stopped and watched him for a few minutes. Then as the bear started coming towards them again along the trail they decided to leave in a hurry. Will and Kent looked up where they had been standing and the bear was right where they had been, sniffing around. They hurried back to camp and found out that there was a mean reddish bear that liked to bother people. One bear wrecked a supposed bear-proof trash bin.

Chad worked on his sailboat merit badge. On the second day Chris and Chad tipped it over and put it back up again. Then they went canoeing and swamped the canoe. On the third day, they did man overboard. Chad went with Daniel King. Daniel was overboard. Chad went three feet, turned around, slowed down and got Daniel back in. When it was Chad's turn, Danile went about 100 feet, turned around and came back and missed him. Daniel tried again, and went by full speed; Chad latched on, was drug in the water and finally had to let go. Then Chris and Matt's boat ran into ours and everybody had capsized and was out of the boats. I had to swim and finally caught the boat. Then Daniel got in, and then Chris and Matt. They were the last ones to get into their boats. I chided Daniel for missing me all the time. I told him next time to wear his glasses.

Licking a flashlight--having a "light snack"

I think I ran over your cat. What did it look like? (On it's back feet in air) No I mean before you ran over it? (Cringing)

A play about a knight and a princess with two people playing all the parts.

AT the campfire they had all the leaders come down and do this crazy fun thing in front of everyone. "Hey you patrol leaders you're real cool cats. You do a lot of this and a lot of that. So come on down and do the chiggy chiggy bogey. Up, chiggy chiggy, down, chiggy chiggy, right, chiggy chiggy, left, chiggy chiggy. etc.

Presents: Lemon drops and sucker sticks for all. Ashley: Santa Claus Pez candy. Ryan: Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles squirter glasses. Rachel: water bottle. Eric: scout knife (he wanted a water bottle like Rachel). Chad: whittler’s knife (for doing the iron man) and a lanyard craft. Mom: a pocket manicure set.

Sunday August 20 1989

Chad gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting about camp. In Priesthood, Kevin Large (with dad assisting) set Chad apart as the Deacon's Quorum Class President. Chad was promised that he would set a good example for the boys and be able to lead the deacons to do good work. He was also promised that he would do well in his schoolwork. Kent said that he felt that Kevin was very Christ like in his manner.

Daniel Summerhays, who didn't go to camp with the boys and was feeling left out, sat around and ate paper in class.

Rachel was elected class president in her 6th grade class. (We now have 2 President Gardiners in the family.) She is thinking of running for a student council office. Eric says that she is the most popular girl in the school. While that is nice, I am more proud that she seems to be a very thoughtful and kind young lady, and a good friend, as well as smart and self-sufficient.

Sunday August 27 1989

Eric is to be the Star person in Primary. I wrote this about him and gave it to Sister Lungren the Primary president:

When I was in the hospital ready to give birth to Eric, I felt a very strong feeling of peace and assurance that everything would be all right and that this spirit coming into my family was a very special valiant child of God. He was born on the birthday of his grandfather and his great grandfather, and his grandpa delivered him in the same hospital room his mother was born in.

He was an adorable child, so full of energy, he reminded me of a little puppy dog. He always used to wear his cowboy boots and superman cape everywhere, and loved cars and trucks.

Now he is older he has so many hobbies. He likes his minibike that he and his dad bought at a garage sale and fixed up. He has a train set that he and his dad built. He builds and flies model airplanes and rockets. He loves to take things apart and see how they are made. He enjoys all kinds of sports like soccer, football, basketball and baseball. He likes to hike and camp and go to garage sales. He is learning to water ski.

He makes friends easily and has a lot of leadership ability. He figures things out quickly and takes charge of any situation he is in. He is nearly finished with his Faith in God and his Bear in Cub Scouts. He is a very fine young man and I am proud to be his mother.

1989
Dear Esther,

Thanks for your letter and identifying those pictures. You've helped to solve a great family mystery around here. I am glad all seems to be going well for you.

My dad and Elaine just got back from an Alaskan cruise which they took with my dad's brother Bob and his wife Ann, and his sister Louise and her husband Howard. They went on the money settled after the death of my dad's father. It was the first time they had all been together for a really good visit in forty or fifty years. They had a marvelous time, and saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Speaking of reunions, I just called Delbert Jones on Sunday, August 12th, the day of the Jones' Reunion. I look forward to going back there to Tennessee again some day. The Jones' family are wonderful people. Some of Francis Blaylock Jones' children have gone back, and I believe that Jim Jones went back to see Delbert in January.

My husband and oldest son just got home from Boy Scout Camp. My son Chad, who is 13 1/2, is the Senior Patrol leader and a very fine young man. He is just finishing up his Eagle Scout requirements and should be getting his Eagle this fall. He is president of his church class.

Rachel, my oldest daughter, 11 1/2, is president of her sixth grade class and is thinking about running for a student council office. She is very smart, and a real beauty; but even better, seems to be a real nice, unaffected young lady. She is a popular babysitter and recently spiral-permed her hair, which she washes and styles every morning now.

Eric, my 9 1/2 year old, is a cross between Tom Sawyer and little Lord Flauntleroy. He loves to dress snappy, but is all boy, loving sports, model airplanes and trains, and fixing up his little minibike with his dad. I am going to have to watch him though, all the girls his age have crushes on him and he was lately the only boy at a little 9-year old girl's birthday party.
Ryan, who just turned 6, is very proud of his reading skills. He has a few favorite clothes which he wants to wear night and day all the time. He tries very hard to keep up with the others in tether ball and soccer, and is upset when he can't. But he is a knight in shining armor to his little sister, helping her dress, pick up her toys, and sharing his things with her.

Ashley "Maybelle" is a storybook princess with her blond curls, blue eyes and dazzling smile. She is three years old, and the delight of everyone in the family, especially her father. It is difficult not to spoil her. She loves to dress up in her clothes and everyone else (about five or six times a day she changes her clothes). She always wants to call up her friends to come play, and drags all her favorite possessions (teddy bears, clothes, dolls, purses, dishes, etc.) all over the house.

Brett is 3 1/2 months now, and is a bonnie young lad. He is in the 95th percentile in his height, and the 30th percentile in his weight, so you can see he is a long tall glass of water. He smiles and coos a lot now, and loves to stand up on his legs (with assist under the arms). The children love him and he is frequently mauled by the younger ones and bounced by the older ones.

Life is very busy with six children, as you can no doubt imagine, but they are very good children and we enjoy them very much. My husband is still teaching elementary school but is getting his real estate license this fall as well. He is the Scoutmaster for Chad's troop and is helping to coach Ryan's soccer team.

I am busy with Brett most of the time. I really don't mind cuddling up with the baby and a good book, (I just read Conrad Richter's The Sea of Grass) but I will soon have to wean the baby so I can get my breast lump biopsied. We are getting ready to move into a new house this winter also. It is twice as big as our current one, and our payments will be twice as much as well.

Life is challenging, but I think that you must enjoy what you are doing, and have hope that things will continue to get better in the future if you work for it.

We are going camping at the beach with my sister Judy and her family this weekend, and at Mammoth with Kent's brother over Labor Day Weekend. Next year, we'd like to take the children to Arizona since it is so much a part of their Brown grandparents heritage. Rachel did a state report on Arizona and included the article in Arizona Highways about Perry and the ranch. She would like to see the ranch some day.

My brothers and sisters seem to be doing well. Janna is busy with her kids and really enjoys her youngest daughter Andrea (she has five boys and two girls). Jim has one year left in the Navy and can't wait to get out. Judy and her husband are refinancing their house and paying off debts and buying a new car. Charles took his bar exam over again and hopes to pass this time. David is dating a lovely girl who is a friend of Judy and her husband. My dad and Elaine seem to be getting along well--she takes good care of him and my brother David. My grandmother Belva's sister Judy Lind was down for a visit. She had cataract surgery in March, and has slowed down a little but not much.

Thanks for your letter and for keeping in touch. We hope to visit you someday. Best wishes to Helen and the girls. Love,


Suzanne


Thursday and Friday August 24 and 25

We camped out at McGrath State Beach near the Standley/Colemans. We made our campsite under the trees next to the bathrooms and showers. Rachel and Ashley slept in the frog tent, the three boys slept in the big 4-man dome tent (except Eric slept with Sean Standley and David Coleman Friday night), and Kent and Brett and I slept in the other frog tent (boy, were we squashed!) We went to a campfire program that night all about the Chumash Indians. Very late that night (about 9:30) Judy and Mike and their kids arrived.

McGrath State Beach Camping

The next morning Ryan and Ashley went over to a story time with their cousins Noelle and Julia, and then the older kids from our family, the Wootens and the Stanley/Colemans went on a Nature Hike around the area. That afternoon everyone just sort of lazed around and goofed off. They made bamboo walking sticks and climbed the trees. Brett and I dozed off and I read Arthur Liebman's Classic Detective stories. That evening several other ward members arrived for the campout--Conklings, Blairs, Larges, Parkinsons, Meffords, Billidemoires. We had a big campfire and all visited. The next morning after breakfast we went to Channel Islands Beach to meet some more ward members. Brett took a nap in the car and I read Echoes of the Macabre by Daphne DuMaurier. I get a lot of reading on vacations and while nursing.

Sunday night Kent and I and the Larges spoke on our courtship and marriage to the young Adult ward. There is nothing too terribly spectacular about us except the many little blessings that came to us ordinary people who were trying to do what's right. In the end, the beauty of the gospel is how it makes ordinary people extra-ordinary. We left right afterwards because Brett was screaming and wouldn't settle down.

On the 28 th Monday we went to the children's goal setting conferences. Eric's teacher Mrs. Province has an interesting and stimulating class. She says Eric completes his assignments in time, demonstrates perseverance, is eager to learn and is enthusiastic about school. But he is weak in his multiplication facts, spelling, and handwriting. We decided to help him review his multiplication facts, modify his spelling to working on just the ones he has trouble with, and encouraging handwriting skills while practicing his spelling. Eric gets very frustrated with the spelling and sometimes panic-outs over the reports that are due.

Rachel's teacher Mrs. Chestnut is everybody's perfect mother-teacher image. She makes me want to go back to school. She says that Rachel has excellent work and study habits, is motivated and positive in her attitude. Her math, reading and writing skills are very strong, and her citizenship is splendid. We told her that we thought Rachel was just about perfect, but we wanted her to work on areas of compassion through a tutoring experience. She is a kind of private person, yet seems to be popular with her peers. We want her to be a whole person with depth of character. We also want her to develop skills in physical activities.

Ryan's teacher Mrs. Geiran, used to have Chad and Rachel, and sometimes calls him Chad in class. She says that Ryan is a very enthusiastic student. He is eager to learn, but he hurries through his written work. He needs to be praised for his progress and practice his skills. He helps some of the other students in class who don't understand. He loves tether ball, and plays it every recess.

On Tuesday the 29 th we went to the design center to pick out tile for our counter tops. We missed the electrical appointment; no one called us. We were disappointed since there are some things that we would like to do such as add a whole house fan, put over-head lights in the children's bedrooms, etc. But, we only heard that there was supposed to be an electrical options appointment the day before--I guess if we hadn't known about it we wouldn't have been disappointed, right?

We spent about a $1,000 in upgrades, $600 of it in mirrored wardrobes for the downstairs bedroom and guest house. The rest was in smaller tiles and colored grout in the wet bar and vanity areas of the bathroom. We are going to get par quay wood floor entry and the stock pad and carpet (ocean blue) and vinyl flooring for the bathrooms, but we may upgrade the kitchen floor to tile like the model. We've been trying to spend our money wisely.

Rachel brought home a note from school saying that she was getting an award at the assembly on Thursday (for scholarship) but we weren't planning to be in town then. We were going to take advantage of no school on Wednesday, Friday, and Monday, and minimum day Thursday to leave to go up to Mammoth. We packed up and left after lunch Wednesday afternoon. We got into Bishop about 6:00 and had hot dogs for dinner at Terry Beitler's. Kent was feeling kind of punk with a touch of the flu. We slept on the floor at Terry's (Brett and I in their den) and drove into Devils Post pile and found a campsite Thursday morning.

We camped just below the showers on the side opposite where we stayed last year. It was not far from the trash bin which the bear likes to dig into at night, and there were lots of wasps that hovered about and came to visit anytime we ate, especially dinner. It seems like every time we crawled into our tents that a wasp flew in with us. Kent and Ashley were stung by some. On the last day, the boys made a trap for the wasps using some fish entrails as bait. They must have caught nearly a hundred of them.
Eric and Chad slept in a frog tent and Rachel and Ryan slept in the other one. Kent, Ashley, Brett and I slept in the big tent. Ashley always slept well, but the first night Kent didn't because of the pads underneath weren't thick enough for him. The second night (Friday) he rearranged the tent and I didn't sleep well because Brett kept waking up and crying out. But at least it was roomy enough for us.

Thursday after camp was set up, Eric, Rachel and I rode the tram up to Reds Meadow store so I could call the design center at Stevenson Ranch to see about changing our kitchen counter tile from pebbly white to smooth white. When we got back, Kent and the oldest four children went fishing at Sotcher Lake. They were going to try to be back by 2:00 so that we could go to "Nomads of the Great Basin" at the Mammoth Visitor's Center about the Indians. Well, none of us brought up a watch except for Kent's grandfather's pocket watch which didn't work very well. In fact it stopped and they got back late. Kent still wasn't feeling up to par and so he took a nap. I tried to cook Dutch oven stew and cherry cobbler in the old antique cast iron Dutch ovens we brought along. The small 8" one was too small for the cobbler and it didn't cook right and overflowed. The stew was tasty except the meat was too tough, and when I tried to cut it up before cooking it the wasps nearly ate me and it up alive. We shared some of our meal with a nice older couple next to us (Don and Sandy Nuremburg from Anaheim). Don helped Eric clean some fish he caught and Sandy visited with Ashley a lot--said she had a granddaughter named Ashley.

Friday morning after breakfast we went into Mammoth to find Mark and replace the brake pad on the van. We finally connected with Mark about Noon, after fixing the van, and we ate Kentucky Fried Chicken together. Then Kent, Mark, Roger and Craig Buckmiller, and all of the oldest children went fishing at Convict Lake while Karen, Heather, Charise, Ashley, Brett and I stayed home in the Condo. Brett napped most of the afternoon, I dozed off too and read Echoes of the Macabre, while Karen took the little girls to the spa. We ordered out for pizza that evening and watched a crazy movie on TV with Dom Deluize about a chimp named Bonzo.

Brett Sleeps Well

That night Brett didn't sleep well at all, it seemed as if he cried out every half hour or so. It seemed like it was the longest night of my life--I nursed him constantly. Saturday morning I took a shower to try and relax while Kent supervised breakfast and then he and all of the children went fishing at Minaret Falls except for Brett--he stayed with me and napped rather fitfully. He had a very hoarse cough, which worried us. I finished my book and dozed off too. Then I got up when I heard some people camped on the other side of us talking about a bear and putting away all food. The bear had come down in the broad daylight and was rummaging through the trash. Several campers from around had gathered nearby and were taking snapshots. I snuck up behind some trees and took two pictures from different sides of him. He was a medium-sized black bear. After awhile, I had a snack and through away our trash (in a different bin) and hid the rest of the food, so as not to invite any unwanted company. Then I decided to clean the small Dutch oven (which still had cobbler caked on it) with a pumice stone. While I was sitting down doing this with my back turned to the trash bin, I heard the campers exclaim "There he goes, watch out!" and he lumbered through our camp right past me about six feet from where I was sitting and went off into the bushes above the next campsite. Boy, was I surprised!

Brett slept through this excitement. The kids returned shortly afterwards, all excited about the many fish they had caught. Chad caught the most with 8 (he let one go), Eric caught 6, Rachel 2, Ryan 4, and Ashley reeled in four fish. Ryan was particularly pleased with himself since this was his first time and he did everything himself.

Brett was getting congested and I was worried about spending another fitful night up there in the freezing cold. I called my dad up at Janna and Glenn's (it was Daniel's baptism) and started him on Ledercillin. We decided to pack up after dinner (Dutch oven creamy rice and chicken), go to the campfire with Ranger Gary at Devils Post pile (I stayed in the van with Brett--who could hardly breath by this time) and then went down into Bishop to spend the night with the Beitlers. It was a good thing that we did because about 4 am Brett started burning a fever and Kent had t o run out to Arco's am/pm mart and buy some liquiprin. We came home Sunday after breakfast because I was worried about Brett. We cleaned up when we got home and I started Brett on some Naldecon for his congestion. He immediately began sleeping peacefully three hours at a stretch.

Hurt Feelings

Tuesday I got a letter from my sister Joanna about the garnet ring we both wanted. I wanted her to let me have it for Rachel since it was her birthstone. I had hurt her feelings when in asking for it I brought up times I'd let her have stuff that I wanted. I wounded her pride by my tactlessness. I wrote her a sweet note of apology and she wrote me back very graciously. I was sorry for my insensitivity, but I think it will all work out.

I took Brett and Ashley into the doctor, and he said it was just a virus and to wade it out with decongestant. Friday Eric got real sick and had trouble breathing. We took him into first care and he had bronchitis. We were going to the beach the next day but decided to leave him home and Ashley at the Gardiners since she was still feeling punk too.

Saturday we went out to Charlie and Barbara’s for breakfast and to bring her all the baby girl clothes. We are cleaning out the garage preparatory for moving and she hopes to have a baby girl. It was hard to part with some of the clothes, because I have such sweet memories of my little girls who wore them, but it is the girls I want to keep and not the clothes. Barbara is bedridden these last few weeks of the pregnancy, so Charlie fixed us breakfast and we saw their house for the first time. I also brought her out some books to read--The Lonesome Gods, The Black Swan, Mrs. Polifax on Safari, Ann of Cambray.

We decided not to go to the beach since Eric couldn't come, and went to Grandma Breiten's instead. She treated us to lunch at Jack in the Box. Then we went to La Petite Factory and I got a gorgeous white linen and lace dress and Rachel got a pretty pink cotton one. We also got some hair ornaments at Jeans and Things nearby.


Back in Control

Sunday the 10th we went with the Larges to an excellent fireside called Back in Control, based on the book of the same name by Gregory Bodenheimer. It made me realize the problem we were having with Ashley competing for attention with Brett and acting like a baby (earlier that day at church, besides mauling him and jumping around and begging to be held--she lifted his eyelid up and stuck her finger in his eyeball. I decided right then and there to give her more responsibility (changing her jobs to setting t he table) and talking up what a big girl she was and the things she could do. Starting Joy School this week with Jesse Hatton, Jessica Shardlow, Tori Conkling, and Brittan Brown should help too.

I started reading Dragon Seed by Pearl Buck, becoming interested in China after reading The Black rose by Thomas Costain. I thought that it was one of the finest books I'd ever read, that Chinese family of Ling Tan sounding just like my own, and I laughed and cried with them and was sobered by the horror and hope and perseverance they had. There were many truths in it, particularly when Lao Er comforts his wife Jade, who is pregnant with their second child, by telling her that the work she does bearing children may have less glory than that of freedom fighters--but is more noble, as she bears sons to hold the land from the enemy, something no man can do.

I went in to see Dr. Lim on the 12th, praying that he would give me good advice and I would know what I should do. This time he did not seem confused at all. He was very definite. He counseled me very strongly to stop nursing as soon as possible so that my lump could be biopsied. He felt it was potentially much too serious to be put off any longer. I was a little sad, but I felt that what he said was true and the right thing to do. I immediately began to try to wean Brett--trying to get him to drink a couple of more ounces each day from the bottle.


On Thursday the 14 1989

I took Brett into see Dr. Greenwald. He was 26 3/8 inches and weighed 12 lbs 6 ounces. His weight growth had slowed--he hadn't gained even a full pound since his last visit. He also wasn't sleeping through the night like he used to. Dr. G suggested I start him on rice cereal 2 times a day up to a cup a day and continue to wean him. Eventually adding apple juice once a day also. I again felt that I was pursuing the right course although it makes me sad to think that I will never again nurse any of my babies here in mortality.

It is now Friday Sept 22. Brett still wakes up about 1 or 2, which I put him in bed and nurse him for as well as the 5 or 6 am one. Then I only nurse him twice more during the day--once in the middle of the day and again before bed. I have been trying to give him as many bottles as I can in between and more and more cereal morning noon and night. At first he hated the cereal and arched his back and cried and gagged and spat it out. Now he is beginning to open his mouth and coo at me as I shovel it in as much as possible.


Ashley at Joy School



This week I taught Ashley's Joy School group on Obedience and Decisions. Tuesday we visited the bakery at Lucky's and got a cookie. Thursday we read books and played "Duck, duck, goose" and "Red light, green light". Ashley made a lovely picture of a rainbow. She is acting more grown up and feeling better about herself all the time. She is much better than Brittan Brown, the baby of her family who really acts like it and won't do anything she's supposed to do. All of the other girls have younger babies at home and are pretty grown up, helpful little girls.

This week I put advertisements for our house in the papers. We got one call on Wednesday from our sign while I was watching the Large's children for them while they went to the La Petite Factory and the Pomona Fair. Little Brittany was screaming and the house was a mess and I couldn't think straight. But I made up a book to take calls in and with the Lord's help, we will sell this house. We need to in order to secure ourselves in the new home--especially since I found out today from Wes Coleman that the deal Lance was trying to do on our Acton property fell through and that he may falter in his payments to us. We are also trying to go through two loan companies to be sure we don't paint ourselves into a corner with our loan for our new house.

Rachel lost today as Vice-President of Student Council. She said that all of the traditional kids won because there are more of them. She was very disappointed. Tomorrow she and Ryan practice for the Primary Sacrament Meeting. Ryan's part is "Because Heavenly Father and Jesus love me, they have given me special talents." Rachel wrote out this testimony to give on being a child of God:
Being a child of God means to me that
we are all one great big family here on Earth.
I have heavenly parents and Earthly parents
God will help me out
death is not the end
Someday become just like him


Kent, October 29, 1989, Family Letter

Dear Family,

We are well and happy here in the confines of The City of Santa Clarita. Many things have occurred since we last penned a letter. Last week we sold our home. We put a sign up a few weeks ago and advertised in several newspapers. Each weekend we dutifully cleaned each nook and cranny and made the home look clean and presentable. This took much time and effort. We put up open house signs all over the neighborhood with accompanying balloons. We had quite a few people through it but no offers. Then a close friend of the family sent her friends down one afternoon while Suzanne was out shopping. Rachel let them in and showed them the house which had the usual accumulation of toys and clutter. Suzanne was horrified to come home and find prospective buyers in the home amid the mess and yet a week later it was in escrow. I guess Rachel's sales ability was the key element.

Each weekend we go over to Stevenson Ranch to check on the progress of our new home. It will double the size of our home and double our house payment. And yet we're very excited about the new location, more space (Brett can come out of the closet), and the new ward we'll be in.

This summer Kent decided to go ahead and get his Real Estate license. With our constant dabbling in this area he felt it would be good to have the license and work a little more directly in the field. He studied, took a correspondence course and took the difficult real estate exam. Last week we got the results and happily found that he has passed and will be working for Century 21 in Val Verde in about a month. For the time being this will be part time.


Eric Playing Soccer

The children are all thriving. Eric plays soccer and is the junior coach of the team. Ryan plays too, can kick the ball as far as anyone and is the star of his team. Rachel is doing a lot of babysitting both here and for outside friends and will soon be our second child in Mutual. Brett is kicking the heck out of his sleepers in readiness for crawling. Ashley enjoys joy school, her friends, and Barbie’s. Chad just completed all the requirements for his Eagle and is Deacon's quorum president and Senior Patrol Leader, and is very conscientious with his 6:00 am paper route each morning. We're very proud to have a wonderful group of children.

We wish each of you the best and look for ward to seeing you over the Christmas vacation. Kent, Suzanne and Co.

On October 11, We had a court of honor where we passed out all of the awards that the boys earned during camp, and Robert Lawrence advanced to Star, Daniel King to Life, and Randy Bivens to Tenderfoot. Kent told how wonderful camp had been, and Daniel Summerhays, the only active boy who hadn't gone was very complimentary and charming that evening (unusual for him) while his parents were subdued and dour faced. I think that they realized that their nonsupport and involvement had left them and their son on the outskirts. I felt sorry for them, but I hope that remorse and regret work resentence in their lives. That night also Kevin Large introduced Chuck Lungren as new scoutmaster, Robin Conkling as troop committee chairman, Dick Mumford as Blazer Leader, and Roger Wheeler as Assistant Scoutmaster. They were all planning to be trained that coming Saturday in Encino. Kent and I felt a sweet benediction to all of our efforts--we were leaving the troop more united, and the parents more involved, and the leadership better staffed and trained than when we came in. We gathered and organized all of the materials, discussed them and gave them to Robin and Chuck the following Sunday with our best wishes.

Chad is Responsible

It was a hard road we plowed through, but I am very proud of the fine leader and responsible boy that Chad has become. It has been worth it because of that. He has become a very outstanding young man because of our involvement and follow-thru with him in scouting. And we have learned quite a bit about scouting which will help us with our other sons when they reach that age.

I think that it was so very tough for us because we were dealing with a troop that traditionally was unsupported by either the ward leaders of the parents. We got Kevin (the bishopric counselor) more involved by having him sit in on the board of reviews and help with the boys on Wednesdays, we also got the Young Men's Presidency's support by insisting that the Deacon's Quorum Advisor be one who's son was in the troop and that he attend whenever possible, as well as sit on the board of review. We got more parents involved by holding scout committee meetings at different parents' homes, and by having them serve in different capacities on the committee and in the fund raising.

But the hardest part was dealing with families who were not really living the gospel, but who were active in scouting and the church and wanted to run the troop their way, or according to their own benefit. These families got into a power struggle with us and nearly destroyed the troop. But in the end, it was their sons who suffered. As an example, Wayne Hamill, who is now in Troop 2 with an older and younger brother, came in drag to the mutual Halloween party. He came dressed as a French maid in a miniskirt with hose, high heels, a wig, makeup, and painted fingernails. And his dad came down too, to hang around and make sure no one picked on his son to tell him he was dressed inappropriately. And this is a future Eagle Scout?

Or Chris Harrison, who joined troop 2 like Wayne, but then came back to the church troop because he had no friends. Before camp he cried because we wouldn't let him take up all his stuff (3 times more than anyone else), then he cried because camp was so wonderful and he'd never come back--his family, on church assistance and unable to make a living or raise their children properly here had moved back to Utah.

Or Daniel Summerhays, at one time patrol leader and most popular boy in troop, now left out because his parents stood back and waited for us to fail and didn't encourage him.

The hardest part for me, however, is to not take their actions as a personal affront. In fact, I consider myself a failure in the area of Christ like love and compassion. I am sorry for these families, but I am a little too bitter to be as forgiving as I know that I should be. It sort of dampens what should have been a year of triumph for having performed a minor miracle in a way. I feel that while things are going well for us, Kent and I need to be more Christ-centered in our lives, and I am trying to get back into daily scripture study, prayers, and exercising.

We Sold Our House

We sold our house! While it would have been nice to have hung on to the house, I was concerned about the negative payment after renting it out, and being short on funds should Lance default on his note. So we prayed about it, ran advertisements, stuck out signs and balloons on weekends, and cleaned the house everyday for about 5 weeks. Then one afternoon I came home from running boys around to Soccer practice, the house was a mess, Rachel was holding Brett and watching TV with Ashley with toys all over the floor and dishes on the table and counter and Denise Sims and her boyfriend Del Mar Errington looking at the house. They are friends of Debbie Hilton and had put an offer on Jim and Denise White's house in the ward when Debbie told them that they should look at our house. They came down and Denise begged Rachel to let her in so that they could see it. They really liked the house and a week later they made us a really low offer. At first I didn't really want to sell them the house because I always envisioned selling it to a nice young family, and even picked one out that I liked and thought I would like to sell it to. I called that couple, told them we were getting an offer and invited them back that coming weekend. Then I told Del Marr and Deneice we were getting another offer and would get back to them. Well it rained that weekend and our phone wasn't working so we didn't get any calls in. Deneice tried to call us Sunday afternoon when we said that we would get back to them and nearly went crazy when she couldn't get through. She even had Debbie try. The next morning she called us (I figured out what was wrong with our phone--the ringer wasn't working on low.) She said they could go to $203k, which was halfway in between their beginning price and our asking. I told them about the house next door which was smaller yet listed for $214k, and without giving them a number, told them we just wanted a reasonable offer. That night they called and asked for our bottom line, saying that they were tired of fooling around. We talked about it and told them $205,500, which would give us $100k over the loan balance. They said okay, and we officially opened escrow on Friday Oct 27 at Coldwater Banker Escrow. We felt like we got a fair amount for our house in a slow season with a glutted market. And we are asking for concurrent closing with our new home. Since he is renting he can be flexible on the date. We are asking for one week to rent back so that we can get our flooring in. I told Debbie that we owed her a commission. I think that we will take she and Mike out to dinner. We feel that we have been really blessed.

The Drywall is Up

Our house is really coming along nicely. It seems so big and spacious. I can't believe that we're getting such a nice big home. It seems too good to be true. They have the dry wall up, the cabinets in, the stucco and roof and doors on, and the driveway and sidewalk formed up. We are busy trying to decide on wood entryway, carpet, and tile.

Brett:

6-7 am Feed him about 6 ounces of formula, change diapers

8-8:30 Feed him about 2 ounces of formula with cereal

8:30-9 Change him, feed him 4-6 ounces of formula and put him down for a nap (about 2 hours)

11-12Noon Feed Brett 4-6 ounces of formula and change his pants

About 1 pm feed him 2 ounces of formula with cereal

About 2 pm change him and feed him about 4-6 ounces of formula and put him down for a nap (about 2-3 hours)

Approx 5 pm change him and feed him 4-6 ounces of formula

About 6 pm feed him approx 3 ounces of apple juice.

About 7 pm feed him 2 ounces of formula with cereal. Bathe and change him feed him some more formula, and put him down to bed about 8 pm. If his bedtime is delayed, he'll need more to drink.

Even though I offer all of this, he drinks about 32 ounces formula total, and eats 4-5 ounces of formula with cereal. He sleeps about 9 hours at night. He has been teething lately and so is sometimes cranky, hard to settle, or crying out in his sleep, and so I give him a little Tylenol.

Brett is at a cute Age

Brett is at a real cute age. He lies on the floor and kicks his legs and moves his arms back and forth like he's trying to swim. Then he pushes him self up on his arms and looks down, like he's trying to see how far he went. He is also rolling all over the floor, front to back and back to front, pushing himself back on his knees and rocking back and forth. He even scooting himself forward a little to get objects. He loves keys and paper because they make noise. He's making goo-gooing noises when he's happy and squealing noises when he wants attention or is happy. He is a very contented, beautiful, happy baby. He is always sucking on his forefingers of either hand, tries to grab things if you wave them in front of him and then put them in his mouth. He uses his thumbs--especially his right thumb--as a pivot on the ground, and sometimes will stick it in my mouth when I am standing him on my lap. I suck on it until he pulls it out again. Reminds me of the nursery rhyme about the boy who pulled out a plum and said:” What a good boy am I". He likes to stand up in and scoot around in his walker, and can even push himself forward to get at things on the couch or chair. He has such pretty round plump features. His face is shaped like Rachel's was at this age, although he is more fair. His hair is soft and blond-light brown. His eyes blue. He is sweet to hold. I am glad that I have him.

(I typed this up for Kent to take into Dr. Greenwald for Brett's 6 month check up the morning of my mastectomy.)

Ashley: She has been wanting a necklace, a boy Barbie and some Barbie clothes (with shoes!) and so I have been paying her allowance and extra money for jobs so that she can go buy these things at the store or from us. She has been wanting these things after playing with Shauna McDermott once or twice a week and playing with her things. She is real cute as she gives play by play accounts of "discussions" with Shauna--like the time she was stuck in the room and Shauna just stood there and wouldn't open the door, and Shauna's mother said "naughty,naughty" and they both started to cry. She is so articulate and imaginative, and has excellent recall of words. The other night at dinner she said "That really chaffs my hide", quoting a Salsa commercial on TV. She's crazy about Batman and dreams about him and monsters at night. Lately she's been asking about Jesus. She loves the nursery at church (she's in an older class with Cynda Kasem and Linda Ambridge as her teachers) and Joy-School Co-op Preschool. Tomorrow she is going to Joy School at Tori Conkling's.

To The Temple

On Friday night Kent and I went to the temple to do an endowment. It was warm and stuffy and I was so sleepy I didn't feel very spiritual. My knee really hurt too (from tripping on some boxes in front of Tori Brown's house). I noticed a sweet older couple making eyes at each other and I was touched by that and wished Kent and I were closer to each other.

On Saturday I was gone most of the day getting my lab work done at Henry Mayo and having my bruised knees looked at by First Care. I was nervous about Monday. Kent and I were very short with each other and said some unkind things. I was very upset and came into our room to clean it up and pray about it and gradually I was softened. Before bed I offered the prayer and asked H. Father for forgiveness for both of us and was glad that we ended it.

On Sunday morning I asked Kent to give me a blessing that night before I went in for surgery. I didn't feel that there would be any problem but I didn't want to take Him or His help for granted. While I was worried, I believed that the breast lumps would prove benign. I pondered again whether we were making the right decision to have my tubes cut and felt very strongly that for us it was right--if I was a different person, and my life circumstances different, then I could have more children.

We had our pictures taken at Jeffry Allen and in front of our new house, and that night our home teacher Brother Mefford came over to assist Kent. I noticed a real softening in Kent all day. In the blessing he admonished me to listen to the advice of my doctors, which seemed a little strange at the time, and that I should study the scriptures, for in them the Lord's will would be revealed (the second time I was admonished to study the scriptures in a blessing). He also said that I would enjoy the Holidays. Kent and I shared affection and felt closer together.

On Monday morning Kent set the alarm for 5:15 am. We got up, dressed, and he drove me over to the hospital at 6:00. Then he went home to get the kids off to school. Rachel stayed home to care for Ashley and Brett. He made it back about 7:30 and held my hand and talked to me until about 8:00 when I was pushed into the surgery room. Dr. Lim was in there looking over his material. Dr. Umezaki said he would let Dr. Lim go first. I had an IV already in my wrist. They put sensors on me and a clip on my thumb. Before I knew it I realized that my eyelids were very heavy and I couldn't keep them open. I tried to--even wriggled my feet to resist it, but soon closed my eyes. When I woke up from the anesthesia, Dr. Lim was holding my hand and telling me that the lumps were very large, much larger than anticipated and that they had to remove quite a bit of my breast. He was concerned because it was so extensive and because it had been present so long in my breast. I said, "But the mammograms showed them so small." He said that was just the tip of the iceberg. I asked him how big they were and he said, "Were you born in Texas?" I asked him if they were malignant and he said that he would know more tomorrow about the results. I knew that he felt that it was cancerous. He went out to talk to Kent more about my history. As I painfully drifted in and out of consciousness I was aware of how potentially serious my situation was. My throat was very hoarse and dry from the anesthesia and my abdomen was very sore. I noticed I was wearing a kotex pad and that there was some vaginal bleeding--more than I thought there would be even though I was on the tail end of my period. I dozed off and on until about 12 Noon, when I dizzily pulled on my sweats to go home.

I was very shaky and out of it when I came home that afternoon, and I struggled with tears and prayers, hoping that it would prove to be benign. I even began to wonder if I had done the right thing in having Brett--until I looked at him, and I knew that it was right. I know that I can look Mother Eve, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel in the eye someday and know that I have done my part. I prayed that the Lord will really bless Brett and Ashley, and bless me for wanting them. As I was drifting off to sleep I felt in my mind that I was guided all along to have Brett and come to the doctors I did (who were certainly more on top of things than Dr. Rodriguez who initially told me that the tumor was most likely okay and to go ahead and have the baby). I also sensed a hand laid across mine and a sweet voice saying "You will be well". This and Kent's blessing that I would enjoy the holidays have gave me some hope. I called my dad that night because I have faith in his faith and asked him to pray for me.

Tuesday Dr. Lim called to tell me that the tumors were multiple cancers and that more extensive surgery was recommended as soon as possible (Thursday afternoon). I was shocked. As soon as he hung up my dad called and I told him. He kept assuring me that it would all work out, but I was afraid. I asked him to be there with me at the hospital, and then he and Kent could give me a blessing.

I have been on my knees a lot today (Tuesday). Praying the Lord's forgiveness for not being more sensitive to the Spirit and seeking his guidance ahead of time, and sorry for rash thoughts and prayers in the past. I feel that the Lord loves me and I believe that He will forgive me and bless me, but it looks like I'm in for a rough go of it. I am going to put myself into his care and hope that I can endure it well. I have been playing with Ashley and caring for Brett today, as well as helping Ryan with his homework. I want to LIVE to raise my children, go on a mission and work in the temple with Kent, and do some more family genealogy. God bless me to be able to do this and endure to the end I pray. My children and my husband need me. I want to be here for them. Kent and I read through my Patriarchal Blessing and felt encouraged by the promise that I would see my children grow up in righteousness, and that I would endure trials and grow strong in the gospel.

Insurance

I made some calls on homeowners insurance and carpet for our new home, had Kent call the Relief Society President (Genell Jones, my visiting Teacher) and ask for meals for two weeks, and made up a feeding, nap schedule for Brett's care. That night the Bishop came over to give me a hug and over his support. He said that the ward would hold a fast for me on Thursday. He came over while I was on the phone with Becky Wexler (friend of Laurine Mefford's) who had gone through a similar experience 3 years ago, including chemotherapy and breast reconstruction. She wrote a book about her experience, called In God's Hands, A Woman's Experience. She said that in her underwear now no one could tell that she had had a mastectomy. I felt encouraged after talking to her. The hospital also called to Pre-Admit me, and for some reason they had down Friday the 17 th as the operation date. She had to double check with surgery to confirm that it was the 16th.

I slept fitfully that night, cutting back on the pain pills (knowing that I was going back into the hospital and not wanting to become dependent on anything). I had a strange dream about a baby balanced precariously out on a limb and I reached out to pull him in to safety (Brett?). Then I dreamed that I was being chased by a giant bear and that I barely made it inside a tree for safety. As the bear roared and shook the tree with me inside it I said "That was a BIG bear!" (my big breast lump?) Next I dreamed I saw two bald people in a house. That part of the dream was dark and fuzzy. (Am I one of those bald people, having lost my hair to chemotherapy?) My chest was beginning to ache and my abdomen was very tender. It hurt when Brett kicked me as I changed or bathed him.

Nancee Cleans the Kitchen

Kent went in to work that day (Wednesday) and made arrangements to take the next week off. Nancee Large came over and cleaned up my kitchen for me as I got Brett down for his nap (he's been teething and is very cranky, fitful). Then she took Ashley to play with Nate since her Joy School was canceled (Willie Conkling has croup) and I had a dentist appointment to have a cavity filled. She gave me a hug before she left and told me I was her best friend. While she was here Judy and Grandma called to talk and then just seconds after I hung up Johanna called, but I was too emotionally wrung out to talk to her about it. After Nancee and Ashley left I went into my closet and bowed my face to the ground and pled again with the Lord to bless me. I remember praying, "If thou wilt, thou canst heal me." Then I felt the soft calming feeling, "I Will", and I got up and took care of my business. I tried to call Keith Carpenter across the street to see if we could send over some food for him, but he wasn't home. Then I called some ward members to help me by fellow shipping my neighbor Rose if she came to church. I called the Pastors and the Hamills--who in the past have been upset with me for some little things--and they were both very sweet and solicitous after my welfare. Then I made some calls about my medical care, read my scriptures, and got ready for the dentist.

I had moved my dentist appointment up from Monday to Wednesday, because I didn't know when I could get back in again to have my cavity filled. I dropped Brett off at Genell Jones' and drove down to Dr. Fine's. I was feeling so sleepy and weak, I began to think I should have had someone come with me. In the dentist's office they were a little consternated when I told them I was going in for a mastectomy the next day. They let me alone for awhile while the Novocain was trying to start working and I just lay there resting so still and calm and weak. My chest was hurting, and as they passed the tools back and forth across me, one dropped on my left shoulder. I instinctively kept my left hand up across my breast to kind of shield me. They seemed to take for ever to finish off the cavity, but kindly wished me good luck in the hospital (they sent me a card later too). On the way home I stopped at the Christian bookstore to ask for Becky's book. It was crowded and it took a long time to get help--I was afraid I'd pass out there in the store. They didn't have it but said that they would order it for me. I drove home very carefully.

Genell said that she would keep Brett an extra hour for me and pick up Ashley so that I could get a nap in. I lay down on the bed and answered the phone about 5 times during that hour--hoping that one of the calls was going to be Dr. Lim answering some questions I had. That afternoon I wrote out the children's schedule (doctor's appointments, joy school, soccer games, etc.) for Kent, played strategic with Rachel, sewed a button on my blouse, and packed my bag for the hospital. That night after dinner I lay on the couch and watched the first segment of "Mystery" (Albert Campion solving an artist's death) that Kent had taped for me (so that we could possibly watch the second half Thursday night together if I felt up to it). I went to bed about 9:00, exhausted, and slept very peacefully.


Scripture Reading

Thursday morning (the 16th) after scripture reading (we're reading Alma's advice to his children) and family prayers, I called each of the children in privately to talk with me in the bedroom. I told each of them that this operation was very serious because we didn't know how far the cancer had spread. I told them that it was possible that I could die, but if it was the Lord's will that I live to raise them that He would bless me so that I could. I told them that in my heart I felt that everything would work out, but that I would probably be ill for a long time, and have to go in for treatments over the next few months. I told each of them that I loved them and how special they were to me, and that I needed their extra help over the next few days. And I gave each of them a kiss and hug and answered any questions they might have. I felt that this was important to be totally honest with them. I kept remembering dear Norryn Lowe, former stake Young Women's President, who discovered that she had breast cancer. She kept claiming she was going to have a miracle and be healed. Yet she died and her death was very hard on her children. (She didn't have follow-up chemotherapy right after her first surgery, and resisted following through with consistent treatment after its recurrence.) Whatever happens, I want my children to maintain their faith in the Lord and trust in his care. I am willing to do whatever is required of me. As I told Rachel, I don't want to lose my breast--but I'd rather lose my breast than lose my life. I'd even be willing to lose my hair, although I hope that I don't have to. I'm learning a lot about what it means to have a contrite spirit.

We got the kids off to school and Ashley ready for Joy school. Kent walked her down to Hattons about 9:00 to play before going over to the Conklings. The appraisers for our house came by (from the loan company for our buyer) and about 10:00 Kent took Brett in to see Dr. Greenwald for his 6 month check-up and to get a prescription refill for Chad. I had copied off Brett's schedule (which I had done up earlier for Kent) plus a description of his actions from my journal for Kent to give Dr. G. on his progress. While Kent was gone, I finished making the 2nd carousel horse for Mark and Karen Gardiner (I was afraid Kent would throw away the dried flowers) and called my brother-in-law John Reese to ask for his prayers in my behalf. I thought about calling a few friends like Jan McGuire, Melinda Romney, Carolyn Hill, and Anna Manwaring (I got as far as hearing Anna's chirpy voice on her answering machine) but felt kind of funny about saying, "Oh hi, I have cancer and am on my way to the hospital....just thought you'd like to know...." I didn't want to bother them so I didn't. I figured that they could just hear about it later if it all worked out. So I lay on the couch in the family room and read through my Patriarchal Blessing again. I felt much encouraged by it.

Kent came back with Eric from school who was going to watch Brett that afternoon for us. Brett had just had his DTP immunization, and I was worried about him being cranky for Eric. We gave him some Tylenol and I went in to the boy’s room with Brett and gave him his bottle (he drank all the 6 oz. of formula) and put him to sleep one last time before going off to the hospital. Then Kent drove me over to the hospital about 12:15. We talked about Brett's checkup on the way. Dr. Greenwald was pleased he had gained 5 pounds, and was normal in weight, high in height and we met my dad there by the admission's window.

We walked up to the old "father's waiting room", which is now the surgery waiting room, to wait for them to call me in to get ready. We visited for awhile, and then about 1:00, when they still hadn't called me, decided to take advantage of the opportunity to give me my blessing. Kent shut the door, and I sat up in a wheel chair that was in the room so that Kent and my dad could stand behind me and administer to me. I had told Kent earlier that he was my husband and was in charge of this--he could do it any way he felt best. He decided that he would anoint me this time and have my dad seal the blessing, since he had given the blessing Sunday night. My dad had been a little emotional before the blessing, but when he spoke during it, I felt the strength of priesthood power and authority in his voice and through my body like an electric current. I knew that he was speaking for the Lord.

The Lord Loves Me

He began by giving me the assurance that the Lord loves me, and I thought in my mind, "Yes, but will I LIVE?" He went on to say that I was in the Lord's hands and that His Will would be accomplished. My doctors would be blessed through me in using their skill and expertise, and that I would be blessed in listening to their advice and in making decisions regarding my welfare. He blessed me with the Faith to be Healed, and the promise that I would live to fulfill my mission in life and all the righteous desires of my heart (my heart leaped at this--because I have a lot of righteous desires, and if they are all accomplished, it will be a long time before I die). My family and children would be blessed through me as well and I would know what to do for their care. He said that I would grow closer to my family, and that these ties would grow sweeter over the years ahead (I loved the word "years"). He closed by again giving me the assurance that I was greatly loved by the Lord, my family and friends, and by those on the other side of the veil.

There were tears in our eyes and a calm, peaceful, even elated feeling when he finished. My dad said that some people never have this (assurance that they are loved, faith that the Lord will take care of them). We went in to surgery prep room. I got dressed into the hospital gown and answered the nurse’s questions (we had a real pretty nurse who looked like Paula Prentiss) and we chatted and even joked around in a calm, relaxed matter. I'm sure that the hospital staff marveled at our pleasant manner before such a serious, scary operation and outcome. Ann Sweetnam, a surgical nurse from Solemint ward popped in to say that she would be assisting with the operation. Dr. Umezaki came early and popped in to say hello and assure me that all had gone well during the tubal--that my ovaries and uterus looked good and that there wasn't anything visible that didn't belong there. (Which was a relief.)

When Dr. Lim arrived, my dad went to change and assured me before he left that he would be with me the whole time. They pushed me into the room and the anesthesiologist put the IV in the crook of my arm. Dr. Umezaki was sitting in there quietly waiting with his arms folded, and while the anesthesiologist was working he held my hand reassuringly. I bit my lip, but felt again the assurance of the Lord's care, remembering again the words of the blessing, that my doctors would be blessed and that I would have the faith to be healed.


Sylmar

I can't remember too much what happened after I awoke. I know that Kent was there for a little bit when they took me to my room, 156A. I heard that the cancer had been found in some of my lymph glands and so, after consulting with my dad and Dr. Umezaki, Dr. Lim had removed them along with the breast. Dr. Lim promised to look in on me every day during my stay in the hospital.

I dozed off and on into the early evening. The IV in my arm bothered me. The nurses kept checking my temperature and blood pressure, and had me drinking water, getting up to go to the bathroom, etc. In the evening, I can't remember if Kent came back to see me or not. I think he just called a little after 8 and said he thought that he'd better stay with the kids. I had turned on the Harold Lloyd special and tried to wake up enough to watch it and Mystery following. It was hard to stay awake and I didn't really understand Mystery--with so many interruptions it was hard to follow the story line. I took some pain shots and tried to sleep without the offered sleeping pills, but all my neighbors' late visitors bothered me somewhat.

I had a real nice large room on the end with windows on two sides; it was formerly the director's office and had been converted into a hospital room. (Later I called it the Presidential suite, but when I was first brought in I was too sleepy to notice much.) My first roommate was named Rita; she was a nurse there. She had lots of visitors from the hospital staff who talked a lot at all hours of the day or night. She had a hysterectomy for endometriosis and a small cancer growth was found on the uterus, and so she was naturally upset about that. Later on Saturday before she went home I told her about my dream of the baby, the bear, and the two bald-headed women and asked her if that was going to be both of us during Chemotherapy. She and I got to be good friends, and on Friday night before she left we walked up to where the nursery was to look at the babies. We saw just one little guy with a flat nose and short hair like a buzz. He was alert and looking around. He reminded us of an army sergeant ready to start barking out orders.

On Friday morning they took out my IV (yea!) and I got a phone call from my Grandmother checking on me. A technician injected me with some radioactive substance to glob onto my bones so they could do a bone scan in 3 to 4 hours. For breakfast they only let me have a liquid diet, so I had beef broth and Jell-O and juice--yuck! Debbie Hilton sent over some balloons and a box with Jelly-bellies in it. I got some flowers from my brother Jim and his wife Carol, and Ron and Christy Nickle sent a lovely pink bouquet. The Mechems sent a big beautiful plant. Kent came over in the morning with some green and orange balloons from Sheri Watson (who was watching Brett) which he attached to my medical chart. I was still sleepy and I dozed off and on while he sat next to the bed and held my hand. He left me some of his notes from the blessing the night before and told me that as he went home he felt full to overflowing with the Lord's Spirit and knowledge that He loved me.

Just as they brought me my lunch around 12:45 and before I could eat it, a nurse took me for my bone scan. I felt so weak and submissive lying on the hospital table with a blanket over me. I could barely move. I just lay there thinking of my mother's bone scan and putting my trust in the Lord. After what seemed like for ever, the doctor (Al) over Nuclear Medicine said I could go back to my room. Then he added in a low, confidential voice, "This isn't really official, but I did hear the radiologist say that your bones looked absolutely normal to him.....and they looked normal to me too." I bit back my tears and told him, "Thank you, I have six children to raise."

Back in My Room

Back in my room after a healthy lunch, I began to perk up. I called Kent and told him the good news, which he passed on to Genell Jones (the Bishop announced the results of my bone scan at the Relief Society Thanksgiving Dinner that night at the church). Later Kent came back with all the children (who had obviously been primed on being quiet and well-mannered). He brought a bottle for Brett and Rachel handed him to me and let me feed him a bottle which Kent had fixed up ahead of time. I let each of the children in turn choose five jellybeans and ask me questions. Chad had a bag full of presents from Nancee Large, which he passed out to each of the other children to open for me. He was so grown up and handled being in charge nicely. Kent just stood back and let the children do what he had coached them on doing. Nancee had about 7 presents--enough for everyone to open at least one. She gave me some good Agatha Christie books, a Lazy Sunday Calvin and Hobbes comic book (which the children love) some Christmas ornament earrings, some candy money, a post-it note pad and pencil, some tissues--and cute little notes on each present. Ryan and some of the children wrote me notes right away. (Ryan wrote me a note everyday he came to see me and even one at school.) After all of the presents were open, Kent said that it was time to go (before I got too tired and the children forgot their good behavior). I was so touched by that sweet visit I put my hand to my chest and almost wept. Kent saw me as he was leaving and wondered if I was okay. I told him I was fine and thanked him for that beautiful experience with my children. He said he didn't think that he could come over later that night, but that he would see me the next day.

That night Mark and Karen came to see me with a goody basket and a poinsettia plant, and while they were there GlennaRae White came with a plant. I joked around with them, telling them I was learning a lot about what it meant to have a contrite spirit, and although I was losing all of my vanities (my breast, my hair, etc.), I was planning to live long enough to get them all back again. Mark said that he was glad to see me in such good spirits. Glenna Rae offered to help me during my treatments if I needed it.


Night time Talk with the Doctor

Around 10:00 that night the nurse came in to tell me that Dr. Lim had called and was on his way over in a little bit. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and fell asleep waiting for him. Around midnight he came and sat on the edge of the bed to talk to me about the surgery and answer any questions I might have. It was so sweet of him to do so, I told him to give his wife a big kiss for me (for letting him come out so late at night to check on me).

The next morning they took some blood for some tests. I got dressed in my robe and slippers, put my hair up, and wore Nancee's earrings so I would look more cheerful. I wrote down what I could remember about the priesthood blessing and skimmed through my scriptures again. Everyday that I was in the hospital I skimmed through a different Gospel in the New Testament. I found much comfort in the stories of Jesus' healing those who besought him in faith, particularly the one of the woman who touched the hem of his garment, after having an issue of blood 12 years. I also was really touched by the account of Mary and the angel Gabriel, and the trust she put in the Lord. I was touched by the Lord's words on those who receive a little child in his name receive him and his Father, and by John 15, about every branch that beareth fruit, he (the Father) purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit.

My roommate went home and in the afternoon I sat in a big rocker in the corner of the nice big room by the windows and made notes to ask the doctor, etc. Kent brought the children by to see me again. This time as I fed Brett he fell asleep in my arms. The children were less restrained also, and were checking out the automatic beds, the bathroom, etc. After they left Judy Larry came by with a cute framed picture, "Friendship multiples our joy, divides our sorrow." I shared with her about my blessing, and she shared with me about a near death experience in which she had and her desire to return to life because her husband needed her. We both felt that the Lord honored the righteous desires of his children. While she was there, Dr. Lim came by. I rose and gave him a kiss hello, and Judy a hug bye. He answered many of my questions, some of which were about the position of the tumors, which were on the inside portion of my breast. Most tumors are on the outside half, nearest the lymph nodes. I told him that I felt that having the tumors further away from the lymph nodes had bought me more time. He mentioned Dr. Barstis, an oncologist who works out of Henry Mayo, as a possible next specialist I should see, and said he would try to arrange it before I left the hospital.

That evening I called my dad and talked to him about the bone scan results, and he sighed with relief. He said that he had been thinking about me all day, wanting to call me, and wondering how things were going. We talked for a long time about the surgery and everything, and I felt full of peace. After I hung up, while sitting alone in my "presidential suite" and saying my private prayers, I thought about what it meant to be loved by the Lord (perhaps I felt guilty about having initially brushed through this pronouncement in my priesthood blessing) . I thought about his very great goodness to me in so many things connected with this cancer: having Brett, my good doctors, having the surgery apparently in time before it had spread, the good test results, my nice room to myself, the show of love from the ward members and my friends, and I really felt an outpouring of the Lord's spirit, even to the consuming almost of my whole being, like Alma and the four sons of Mosiah felt in Alma 26. I felt clean and accepted of the Lord. And I felt a great desire to please him, to live worthy of that great love by showing more Christ like love towards others, because of his great goodness to me.

Sunday I read all I could from the pamphlets on cancer. Kent and some of the children came to see me after picking out our picture from Jeffrey Allen. Then later that afternoon my dad and Elaine came by to see me just before Kent came back with just Brett during Sunday School time (while the other children were in their classes). After church the entire Mauricio Rodriguez family (the dad, Ofelia the mother, and Mauricio Jr., Christina and Teresa) came to see me to say they were saddened to hear about my illness and would pray for me. The father in his broken English, assured me of his testimony and his gratitude for me and my family. I was very deeply touched. Later, Frankie Biehahn came by with some popcorn and Hershey kisses, to say she was surprised (she remembered me talking about my biopsy during my hair appointment the week before).

Monday morning the nurses began giving my new roommate (Carla, a receptionist from my dentist Dr. Fine) three enemas in a row beginning at 4:30 in the morning. I couldn't sleep during all of the commotion, and the poor thing got so cold. I got up and gave her one of my blankets and an extra one I found on a table. Then before breakfast they gave me a shot for the liver scan and wheeled me in to the Nuclear Medicine department. I met Dr. Lim over there and he gave me a kiss. After it was over he wheeled me back to the room. He changed my dressing and was going to take out my drains and release me, but I told him #2 drain was still taking in a lot of fluid, so he decided to wait one more day. I gave him a thank you note that I had written for him earlier that morning. He was surprised by my graciousness, I think.


Insurance

I called my insurance company to make sure they would authorize my stay beyond the initial two days they gave me, and also called UCLA medical benefits to see if they would send a contract to Dr. Barstis, whom Dr. Lim recommended. I needed an oncologist, and I decided to try to get Prudential to let Dr. Barstis be a Preferred Pru-Net Provider, and gamble that Dr. Barstis would agree. Fortunately they all seemed willing. Dr. Barstis came by to see me and was very positive. I had the impression that the cancer was caught in time and that its chances of recurrence after chemo were reduced (even slim). With the liver scan coming back negative as well, I was on quite a high, and began to come down and feel quite sleepy when my sister Judy came by to visit that afternoon and brought me some persimmon cookies. In fact, I confess I fell asleep after she had only been there a few minutes. Fortunately she was very understanding and left. That night I visited with my roommate a little, (she said I had a very good personality....I was wishing I could have shared the gospel with her more) and got my period. I had to use the "surfboard" OB pads for new mothers.

Tuesday I got all ready to go quite early. Kent came by about 11, but Dr. Lim wasn't there yet, so he went to go pick up some carpet samples for me to look at (we were trying to decide what to get for our new home). Then Dr. Lim came in about 10 minutes after he left. He took out the drains, gave me some pads, and told me to come see him in a week. Then Kent came back and took me home. I think that he was relieved to have me home. I was sure happy to see Brett and the children again.

Happy to See the Kids Again

Wednesday morning I got up and fixed French toast, fed Brett and tried to get ready to go to Eric's Thanksgiving program. Kent wasn't ready to take me so I was just going to go down with Ashley. But as I was just pulling up to the school, I realized how tired I was and so I came home in tears. Kent told me to take it easy and he would go down to Eric's program, and then take me to Ryan's in the afternoon. It was hard for me to accept my limitations. I wanted to get back in there and do everything for the children like I used to.

Thursday, Thanksgiving, we went out to the folks and saw Charlie and Barbara there. (Charlie was waiting to find out if he passed the Bar--he found out the next day that he did.) Elaine had a lovely meal planned. Rachel helped set out hors d'heauvres. We had turkey, dressing, potatoes, yams, rolls (from a recipe by Felice Smith) carrots, Jell-O, and pie for dessert. The boys and Grandpa cleaned up, and Brett and I tried to take a nap upstairs in the old girls' room. Brett would hardly settle down but he did finally drift off for about an hour and so did I. It felt wonderful, I didn't realize how tired I was. We visited some more later in the evening, decided to all get together on December 30th, and said family prayers. I sure appreciate Elaine encouraging our family togetherness.

December 1, 1989

Brett scoots everywhere in the walker we borrowed from Charlie and Barbara. He sort of ambles off down the hallway towards the kids' rooms or into the living room, dining room, or kitchen, trying to grab whatever is about two feet off the ground and isn't stationary. He likes the wastebasket in the kitchen when it's placed beside the sliding door and dishwasher, the windows in the front room, the children's beds, closets and any drawers left open. He pants and grins excitedly when I come into check on him and pull him into the family room where we can watch him. He has such a zest for life, he brings joy to the whole family. This morning as I was feeding him some baby cereal and applesauce, I sang to him to distract him from sticking his tongue out to block the food. I sang the song from Sleeping Beauty--"I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream....I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam.....(Ashley had watched the movie earlier--borrowed from the Hiltons) As I did so the tears came to my eyes and I knew that I was foreordained to be his mother. I did know and walk with him once upon a dream in the preexistence.

12/5

Tuesday I took Chad into see Dr. Greenwald for his 4-month check up. He seems to be doing fine, his grade in History dropped because I haven't been looking over his reports, but I'm going to from now on. I was very tired, I think I'd overdone it the day before shopping with Eric for shoes, T&C shirts for him and black jackets for me. When I got home and put Brett down for his nap, and let Ashley watch Cinderella after she got home I lay down with a headache and zonked for an hour. Then the phone rang and the termite inspector came and Ryan came home and it was time to get up. I left after the children came home to go to Dr. Lim's. On the way I stopped by Granary square, thinking about getting a black jacket I found at "Sweats Plus" the day before. Still uncertain, I ran in "Revelation" next door to see what they had and ran into Susan Doughman who manages the place. She gave me a hug, told me about Julie Ann Dulcik (in one of the Valencia wards) who had breast cancer at 26 years and jogs every day for her life. She also told me about a beautiful black sweater they just got in that day (and only had one left) and I bought it--it was just what I wanted and had been looking for. I was feeling guilty about having ordered a black wool coat and buying and black casual jacket too, but this sweater will work for casual or dressy wear, and look good with a black felt hat-and-scarf set I ordered thru Penney’s.

Tears

Then I drove over to Dr. Lim's, and while I was waiting to be seen by him I read over all of the medical reports from my surgery on the 13th and 16th. They were cold and sobering, starting with Dr. Lim's, who wrote about how I insisted on nursing Brett against the advice of my doctors, and then stopped after their repeated admonition in order to arrange the biopsy. I wondered if my headstrong determination last June to continue nursing Brett through the Summer had been totally uninspired. Then Dr. Barstis report really humbled me as he talked about the high rate of recurrence, and how the chemotherapy program he was going to recommend may actually only delay the recurrence, not prevent it. He also mentioned my seizing upon the fact that the tumors were highly estrogen-receptive as being very positive when in reality it was not that much of an added bonus, but he did not feel that now was the time to force me to face the real situation. I felt quite deflated. Even Dr. Lim's description of me as a "pleasant Caucasian female", and Dr. Barstis' note that I was a "nice woman", and all of the other tests showing me as being in good health otherwise didn't cheer me up. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and began to feel quite weepy. During my exam I asked Dr. Lim about the lumpy scar tissue at the ends of the incision, the swollen feeling in my chest under my arm pit, my tender ribs (the nerve endings), and the extended cord in my armpit. As he finished examining me and told me to check carefully for lumps and let him know immediately if I found one, the tears coursed down my cheeks as I thought I may well have to go through this all over again in the future, and that every day of additional life may be a bonus. He said that he would pray for me every day, and I just cried the more and all of the way home. Kent gave me a hug when I got home and was very consoling. I've been thinking a lot about my priesthood blessing, and hoping that my faith to be healed means faith to be healed completely. Time to stop now, Brett is calling me from his morning nap.

Caring for Brett

Caring for Brett is very "healing" to me, both body and soul. He is such a sweet natured baby, with a real zest for life. He scoots himself all over the house in his walker, and wants to grab and taste everything. He is so happy to see me. He comes charging in to me with an elated grin on his face--especially when I've been away or when he needs a change or something to eat. When he's whimpering for me to pick him up and I lift him to my shoulder, his breathing slows down, he relaxes and cuddles into my arms. He knows everything will be all right and that I will take care of his needs. I should feel that way about my Heavenly Father.

One evening we were all kneeling down for prayers when we heard Brett giving some delightful squeals in the bathroom. We all looked up at each other and said "the toilet!" All seven of us rushed in to the bathroom as Kent lifted him up, walker and all, away from the open toilet bowl and washed his hands. The children and I stood in the doorway and laughed at him, while he gave us a delighted grin in response to all of the attention he was getting. He sure is adorable.


12/10 Talks,

Suzanne: Sunday we gave talks in church. Actually, two weeks previously I had asked the Bishop for a few minutes in Sacrament meeting to thank everyone for all of the many kind cards, food, prayers, etc. in my behalf. And he then asked Kent and I to speak on this date since we would be moving from the ward shortly. When Irene Mechem called to see how I was doing and I told her that we were speaking and would be honored if she and Will would like to come, to my delight and surprise she said they would. I really prayed about what to say for their sakes, then worried that they wouldn't show up while sitting on the stand at the beginning of the meeting. But they did come in after the opening prayer. And in answer to my own private prayer, the Spirit of the Lord was there in attendance also.

We all sat on the stand, and Chad was the youth speaker. He told from memory the story of Joseph Smith's First Vision. And did a very nice job too. Then I got up to speak.

In my talk I told everyone that we were practicing our talks for our new ward on them. But seriously we did want to thank everyone for all of the kindnesses shown us during the past few weeks since my surgery. We knew that most of the ward members were eating a lot better than we were generally if the food that was brought in to us was any indication.

I said that I had a testimony of Joseph Smith's Vision because of what it told us about the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of Man. It revealed our relationship to him as our literal Spirit Father and our relationship to each other as our brothers and sisters. And how we ought to love and worship God and love each other.

I told about the fine example my own father and mother had set in my home, and how it was easy for me to believe that I could someday be like them and in turn be like my Father in Heaven. I told about my mother's illness and the sanctifying power of the gospel her life and ours through this adversity and our Faith in the Lord.


Wanting 6 Children

I described how Kent and I met, how we wanted six children, and how we had come to know of the Lord's goodness to us because of experiencing his blessings to us in times past (such as blessing us during and after our financial difficulty and in blessing us in our new home).

I told about my breast lump, the decision to have Brett, which we felt was right, and the joy which he brought to us. Then I told about the biopsy results, how I was scared but believing, and the Priesthood blessing I had before my surgery. I told them also about the surgery and its results, and the relief I felt when the bone scan came back normal.

Feeling the Lords Love

I told them about how I felt the Lord's great love for me and the transforming affect it was to me--creating in me a great desire to be more compassionate to others because of his great goodness to me. I did not find it inconsistent to be told to listen to my doctors and promised that I would have the faith to be healed. I know of God's goodness to me in the past and I believe that He will bless me in the future. To be loved of God does not mean that your life will be easy; but it does mean that He will bless you, that His will shall be done, and someday you will be with Him and your loved ones.

The scriptures are a record of God’s goodness to us. All of the problems of mankind come when we forget and fail to keep in remembrance His great mercy unto us. From the Israelites in the Old Testament through the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, when the Lord's people humbled themselves and remembered Him they were blessed; when they forgot, they stumbled and were destroyed. (Perhaps this is the primary reason we are commanded to keep journals: so that we will remember the Lord's goodness in our own lives.)

One of the Greatest Sermons

One of the greatest sermons ever given was by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon. He said that in the first place God has created us and this world and given us everything. In the second place He has sent his Son to show us the way and atone for those who would believe and follow Him. In return, all He asks of us is that we keep His commandments, which if we do, He immediately blesses us and prospers us. And so we are still in His debt. And so we ought to humble ourselves as children to our Father, and yield to His Spirit and become saints through the atonement. We must retain in remembrance His goodness to us through humility, prayer, being steadfast, and having a remission of our sins. If we did this we would live peaceably. We would teach our children to walk uprightly and we would help those in need, because all of us are beggars before our Father in Heaven. Through our covenant with Christ to be obedient in all things we will be born again, begotten sons and daughters unto him, partakers of his divine nature.

I closed by bearing my testimony of God and His Son Jesus Christ, and of the restoration of the gospel.

After my talk, Margie Allejandro sand "Jesu Bambino" in an angelic voice. Then Kent stood up and gave a shortened version of his talk. I'm afraid that I didn't leave him much time. But there were many damp eyes in the audience and a strong Spirit present. Later Lynette Shardlow said that it was one of the most spiritual Sacrament meetings we had had in a long time in our ward. The Mechems came up and gave me a teary hug. I know that they felt the Spirit too, although they might not have known what it was. I pray that they will someday become part of the great missionary movement of the church, by joining the church and sharing the gospel with others. They both have so much to offer.

12/12/89 Tuesday I ran around finishing up last minute Christmas shopping today with Brett while Ashley was at Joy school. In the evening, Eileen Nance, Ashley's Nursery teacher called to tell me some cute things. She said that I was the first person her daughter had ever really fasted and prayed for, and so when I came to church the Sunday after Thanksgiving her daughter felt that her prayers had been answered. She also told me that Sunday in class while they were all sitting around the blanket Ashley said, "Everyone who watches "Batman" raise their hand......Every time I see Batman I want to hug him and kiss him and marry him." Then she put her hand over her mouth and giggled. Eileen said it was so cute. She remembered the dream I told her about Ashley sharing her blanket with Batman, but Robin had to sleep in the other room.

Wednesday 12/13. Today is the last day I have any medical appointments on the 13th of the month. On October 13th I ran Chad and Rachel over to orthodontist appointments at 9:45 in the morning and ran out of gas with no money in my wallet in the middle of Lyons Ave. just before Apple St. And I had Brett and Ashley in the van with me. Fortunately a good Samaritan named Marilyn saw me get out of the van with the kids and pulled over to help drive me and the children back to the orthodontist (so Chad and Rachel could watch them and I could write Toni a check for $10.00 for gas), and then to a gas station for a can of gas. (To add insult to injury, it turned out that children's appointments weren't at 9:45, but at 2:45 in the afternoon!)......Then on November 13 I had my breast lump biopsy that turned out to be malignant.

Then today I went in to have a Groshan catheter put in for ease during Chemotherapy. I slept fitfully, waking up every time Kent got up with Brett during the night (2:30 and 4:30am), finally just staying awake and getting up at 5:10 to dress and get ready for the hospital. Kent drove Chad around his paper route while I wrote out instructions for the kids. Chad and Ashley were going to the McDermotts for Breakfast and school (or babysitting), Rachel and Ryan to the Hiltons, and Eric was staying home with Brett. We said prayers with Chad and told him to say prayers with the other children.

Operation

Then Kent drove me down to Holy Cross Hospital. They wanted me there by 6:00, but I was there by 6:40am in plenty of time. After I checked in, Kent kissed me goodbye and I went in to the short stay surgery department. As I was changing into my gown, I noticed that my period was just starting and the tampon machine didn't work. Great.

Dr. Lim was going to be there to meet in the surgery but he couldn't make it until later. I met Dr. Min Sauk in the operating room and his two nurse assistants Mary Jane and Estelita. (The two nurses live in Newhall and have 17-year old sons who attend Hart High School). They draped cloth over my head so that I couldn't see what they were doing, and Dr. Sauk gave me some shots of Zylocain. Then he put this tube under my right collar bone into my vein leading into my heart, and then tunneled it under the skin to about the level of my breasts, then had several inches extending below that with an injection-bud end for them to put needles in for injections or withdrawals. I could feel the uncomfortable pulling under my collar bone and so I practiced my deep breathing (from Lamaze) to help me stay calm and distract. He kept asking me how I was and said that I was very good. They took lots of (sonogram?) pictures to make sure it was positioned right and then at the end took an x-ray. Then they pushed me back to recovery just outside the nurse’s station where new-surgery patients wait also. While I was waiting to go back to short-stay patient room, word came back that the catheter tube was too far into the heart (all the way into the pulmonary artery I heard later). They began looking for Dr. Sauk to tell him. Unbeknownst to me, both he and Dr. Lim were looking for me back in short-stay patient room, and the nurse and Debbie Hilton who was there by now waiting for me began to get worried. Another guy there waiting for his surgery began to really freak out since it seemed they had lost me somewhere in the hospital. Anyway, Dr. Sauk found me and they put me in a different operating room to pull some of the tube out. Dr. Sauk was very apologetic. As he was pulling the tube out a little bit at my right collar bone, the sonogram picture showed it just about all of the way out of the vein. He realized then that he had put it in right in the first place, the radiologist must have confused the outside end of the tube with the inside end (the x-ray doesn't distinguish between skin in between). Dr. Sauk said that the radiologist wasn't on our side that morning. As Dr. Sauk tried to push the tube back in, it got bunched up and he had to use a guide wire. Rather than take another x-ray, he had all of the nurses and technicians verify that it was in the right position by the sonogram machine picture. I watched the picture too this time (they didn't cover my head). I told Dr. Sauk that I had prayed for him, I should have prayed for the radiologist too. He said why did this have to happen to you, and I said maybe I'd write a book someday. He said I should call it Doctors. I joked about his short name and Estelita's long name, and told them the joke about burying lawyers 30 feet down (because deep down, some of them might turn out to be good).

After Surgery

After surgery the new patient (David?) was wondering if I'd been found as he was wheeled past me. Dr. Lim and Dr. Sauk came in to see me in the short-stay patient room. My arm was sore and I was menstruating heavily by then and I couldn't wait to get home and change. After I was dressed I gave Dr. Sauk a kiss on the cheek and said that I was sure I wouldn't have any problem, and he said he felt sure too. The nurse, Michelle, who is going in for a biopsy next month with Dr. Lim said that I was an inspiration. I walked out with Debbie to the car in front and she drove me home, then took Eric to school.

While I was feeding Brett, Eric called, he forgot his mission, report, and math paper. I groaned but said I would be there in 10 minutes (Debbie had gone on to Mervyn's). I lugged Brett and my purse and Eric's projects out to the van, both arms sore (my left from the mastectomy and my right from the catheter), and turned the key in the ignition. Nothing happened. The van wouldn't start. I was really sore by now, and I just put my head down on the steering wheel and prayed for help. Then I got out, raised the hood, jiggled the battery connections, and tried again. This time it worked. I drove to school, walked to Eric's class with his things, and came home again ready to crash. I just dozed off on the couch though--Brett was up until the children got home. He's had runny bowels and diaper rash, and I wanted to make pumpkin bread for the children and Kent to give teachers.

BUT, I think that I will NOT make Doctor's appointments on the 13th of any month any more.

Thursday morning Kent and I got up a little after 6:00, got the children up and dressed and breakfasted, and then sent them off to various locations: Chad to Doug's, Rachel, Eric, and Ryan to Hiltons, Ashley to Hattons, and Brett to Sandy Burks. Then Kent and I fought traffic all the way down to UCLA Louis Factor Building, Bowyer Oncology Clinic. There we met first with a Doctor Lill, a resident doctor from Australia. He was young and very nice. He gave me a very thorough exam after going over my medical records. Then he laid out the prospects to us for someone with Breast Cancer as advanced as mine. He said that the recurrence rate for breast cancer (which recurs in the bone or liver) in someone who has 10 or more lymph nodes infected is nearly 100% within 10 years. Chemotherapy may only delay that recurrence, and the rate is about 90%. He brought up a new program being tried at UCLA for women with advanced cancer like mine (stage 3a--large operable tumor, 10 or more lymph nodes) which has been tried before on individuals in stage 4 cancer (metastasized to other parts of the body). This program is very intensive chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant (of your own bone marrow, taken about a month before the treatment. This has been effective in putting very advanced cancer into remission, and the hope is that it would effectively cure, or prevent stage 3 cancer from reaching stage 4. Kent and I were shocked at the dim forecast. I asked Dr. Lill if he was married. He said "yes." I then asked him if I were his wife, what would he want me to do. His face became emotional, and he said that he would want her to enter this program, as he felt that it offered the best hope available. He then excused himself and got Dr. Haskell.

Dr Haskell confirmed the worst

Dr. Haskell also examined me a bit, and then confirmed what Dr. Lill had said to us. He said that since he was not running this particular program, he had nothing to gain by recommending it, but if he had a 30-year old wife, he would want her to be in that program. During the interview he got a call from Dr. Barstis, who also enthusiastically endorsed this approach for me. When he went out to talk on the phone, Kent and I held hands as we absorbed the shock of what they were telling us. When he came back and finished talking to us, he recommended that we discuss it and if we were interested, that we come back down to UCLA to discuss it with Dr. Glaspy who was in charge of it. I said, well, if Dr. Glaspy is available, we'll discuss it with him right now. They found him, and he came in about 5 minutes later.

He explained to us that there are some cancers that stay at home, and some that go traveling. I have a cancer that goes traveling. Nursing Brett probably made no difference as to the lymph nodes involved. Because of the size of the tumors, I likely had this cancer for years, and there may well be millions of micro-organisms throughout my body that do not yet show up on the scans. Regular chemotherapy may kill some of them, and be effective in slowing up their development, but it is not effective in "curing" the cancer. This particular treatment involves two regular cycles of chemotherapy followed by two "killer-doses" of chemotherapy in the hospital. Only, before the second regular cycle, a bone marrow harvest is taken from the patient, split into two segments, and frozen for future transplants. Then after each Killer-dose, the patient is given back a transplant of their own bone marrow to replace that which will be damaged by the chemotherapy. They are kept in the hospital until their white blood cell count goes up to a safe enough level to go home. Sometimes (about 5-10% of the time) patients die of infections before their blood cell count goes up high enough. But that is about the same number who die through regular chemotherapy for the same reasons. After a few months, they repeat the same process with the second transplant. However, both the patient and the doctor have absolute veto power over the second round if they feel that the first one didn't go just right.

He said that there were only 3 places in the country doing this type of cancer treatment, and that while they have done this with about 100 type 4 cancers, they have only done two type 3 cancers. The problem was getting the insurance companies to pay for the transplant.....the minimum cost was $100,000. The maximum has so far been $900,000. So far, they have had some success in getting some insurance companies to pay for it, and would be willing to take a go at mine. I told them to go for it, so that at least I have that option available to me. We discussed the difficulty in getting someone to care the children while I was in the hospital (which would be tentatively in February). He asked Kent if it was possible for him to take a month off with pay. Kent said that he may be able to--he'd have to check and see.


Shock

Kent and I then left in a state of shock. We drove home via "El Pollo Loco", Emser tile, and 2 wig places (I bought "Super Disco" color #8 from Tres Bon Enterprises on Rye Canyon Rd. in Valencia Industrial Center). I had a super headache, and my period was just gushing out, very uncomfortable during the exams. We came home and watched parts 3 and 4 of "A Tale of Two Cities" from Masterpiece Theater.

We initially agreed to just pray about it and if it felt right and fell into place, figure that it was the right thing to do. But the more we both contemplated it, we felt that it must be right. It's the long shot, but if the Lord will bless us to get insurance approval, we are going to go for it. Kent has already talked to everyone at Seeds Elementary School and they were very supportive of him. I talked to my dad, Kent's mother, Debbie Hilton, Carolyn Hill, and Glenna Rae White, and I feel that it is the right avenue to pursue. Sunday night we are going to call Mr. Steckel, the head of the oncology department at UCLA, whose son David is a former student of Kent's. I am also going to get a blessing Sunday before I start my regular chemo on Tuesday.

There are "miracle" patients in science and medicine; why not me? I do not believe that my mission on this earth is complete. I want to live to serve my children, my ancestors, and those around me in and out of the church. I know that I have the Faith to be Healed, and that I am worthy to receive the Lord's Blessing. So I must trust in the Lord, that He will take care of me and that everything will work out for me. I know of His great goodness to us in the past, in our Acton property and our new home. And I believe that He will continue to bless us in my physical health and well being. I have been finding a lot of encouragement in my studies of the scriptures on Faith. I love the story of the 3 Nephites who, through their faith, did not die in order that they might continue serving the Lord's children through the ages. Maybe I can have a portion of that same blessing, so that I can continue serving others, especially my own family.

Kent told me about a strange dream he has been having over and over again lately. He is wandering through a meadow when suddenly he comes face to face with the stake president (President Larkins). He is surprised, and wakes up. Is this a portent of something to come?

Dear Family and Friends,

Here we are, standing in front of our new, almost-finished home. We plan to move in between the 3rd and 10th of January. Our new address will be 25307 Keats Lane, Stevenson Ranch, Ca. 91381. We are very excited about finally getting a larger home.

We thank you for all of your love and prayers in Suzanne's behalf. The surgery went well and she is fine. We would sincerely appreciate your continued prayers in her behalf as this cancer has a very high recurrence rate. We hope to be approved by our insurance company for a special UCLA oncology program which may be successful in treating advanced breast cancer like she has.

Chad has completed his Eagle Scout requirements; he has only to submit his paper work, which we hope to do this Summer after Suzanne's treatments. Rachel is entering Young Women in January, and can't wait to get her ears pierced when she turns 12. Eric is our all-star soccer player. Ryan practices his penmanship skills by writing long notes about how he loves everyone. Ashley dreams about Batman at night and watches Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty during the day. Brett scoots everywhere in his walker, grabbing everything within reach and putting it in his mouth.

We are very grateful at this Christmas time for our Savior's love, for our family, and for each of you. God bless you.

Kent, Suzanne, Chad, Rachel, Eric, Ryan, Ashley, and Brett Gardiner

Ashley

Sunday 12/17/89 Today I stayed home from church with Ashley (who has a bad cold) and Brett. This evening we went down for Tithing Settlement at 6:30pm, after watching "Miracle on 34th Street" and playing computer monopoly. Then this evening Kevin Large came by to help Kent give me a blessing. Brett kept crying every time he saw Kevin which was kind of funny. We had Chad take him into the bedroom. We sat in the front room and visited for a few minutes, sharing our concerns after talking to the doctors, our hopes and belief in the Lord's goodness. I shared a part of my Patriarchal Blessing in which I was told that my Heavenly Father would give me experiences in life which would strengthen my testimony so that I would know without any shadow of a doubt that He lived and that Jesus was the Christ. I also said that I felt that my mission in life wasn't over, and while I didn't know how the lord was going to bless me, nevertheless I did believe that he would bless me to raise these children that I wanted to have, and that my Patriarchal Blessing promises me I would be able to raise. But we needed a miracle.

Kevin said that on the way over here he wondered if he was worthy to participate in the blessing and yet as he knocked on the door the feeling came to him that he had the Priesthood, and that was how the Lord worked to bless people. He anointed me, and then turned to Kent who sealed the blessing.

I was again assured of the Lord's great love and concern and caring for me. He appreciated my sweetness and goodness to my children and those around me. I was promised that the doctors would be blessed in their care for me. I was blessed that the cancer would be cleansed from my body. (He said that twice--so I'm sure that it is the Lord's will) I would be able to raise my children and give each of them the care that they needed. I would be an example to others, and my testimony of God and the Savior would be an inspiration to those around me. I would be able to do those things that the Lord wanted me to do. I would feel the Lord's Spirit with me, comforting me and assuring me of His love during this time, and I would be able to sleep comfortably at night. I would enjoy those around me and be treated by them as the queen that I am.

Afterwards I cried and Kent and I hugged each other. Kevin had tears in his eyes too. He said that was a great blessing. I believed that I would be healed; but it was nice to have it confirmed to me by the Priesthood. I am grateful that my husband holds it. Motherhood is such a joy to me; I am glad that my husband can bless us and experience the power of God through the priesthood.

Suz. I did sleep comfortably that night, and have ever since. Before this time, I was waking up about 4 am to go to the bathroom or when Brett cried, and then lying awake for the next couple of hours worrying about things. But I slept like a top Sunday night and felt at peace all day on Monday. We went to see Dr. Raskin about our skin and to look at the house again in the morning.

On Tuesday Kent took me to Dr. Barstis for my first chemo appointment. He called the phone company just before to get our new number for when we move, and spent about 1/2 an hour on the phone while I was trying to fix breakfast, feed Brett and get ready to go. It was a little tense there for a few minutes, as I didn't appreciate the timing. But we made it over to the doctor's office, sat around, and then went in to visit with him. He seemed a little tentative about wholeheartedly endorsing the bone marrow program, but did finally agree that it offered the best hope for a possible cure for the cancer. I told him that I thought we should plan on it and that he should go ahead with the bone marrow biopsy and first regular cycle of chemo as planned.

I was not nervous at all as he did the bone marrow biopsy. I talked about each of the children while lying on my stomach as he drilled into my left pelvic bone (it felt sort of like having a tooth drilled by the dentist). Then he put in about four hypodermic needles full of chemo and a stomach relaxer medicine into my catheter. The deadly adriamycin was red (it would be). I came home, watched Sherlock Holmes and took a nap. That night I slept well again also.

Wednesday I was more tired and felt strangely antsy, like he said that I would. I tried to wrap some presents with Rachel to keep busy and take my mind off things, but it was hard. I took a nap in the afternoon. Then when my dad and Elaine came out to see us (my dad is feeling very emotional about seeing me go through this), we took them out to see our new home and the models. I was glad because it gave us something to do instead of mooning about over my condition. I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sit or lie down, and when we got back I fell asleep again before dinner. That night I felt tightly strung, the muscles in my neck and shoulders were sore and taut, and I couldn't relax. I took 2 "avitan" pills he had given me and a Tylenol, and after Kent rubbed my neck slept through the night fine. Before dropping off to sleep, Dr. Robert Steckel called (following up on Kent's call Sunday) to say that I would be the test case, to see whether or not the insurance would pay for my bone marrow treatments. He said that Dr. Glaspy was an excellent doctor and that he hoped I tolerated the chemo well.

Thursday was our anniversary. In the morning Rachel and I finished wrapping presents, then Kent and I exchanged our anniversary presents. He gave me a cedar chest for all my sweaters and wool things, and I gave him five pairs of garments, a new large print Bible (charged and home delivered from Salt Lake) and some Levi Officer Corps. pants. Afterwards we went down to the Hiltons for spaghetti and a Christmas party. Debbie is so sweet. She fed all of us and had a little program planned for our family, the Sims, and Glenda Johnson's family (a former neighbor). She read a paper on the different symbols of Christmas and their meaning, then gave a short prayer thanking the Lord for His Son's birth and asking a special blessing to be upon me. Then she passed out presents to all of the children. She gave Chad a cassette tape holder with some tapes (including the sound track from the movie "Batman"). She gave Rachel 3 novels from the church book store. She gave Eric a wood building kit. She gave Ryan a Voltran man you can build from several smaller machines. She gave Ashley a Popples stuffed toy, and she gave Brett a push toy. Kent and I were quite humbled by her generosity. We had sent over earlier 3 little candy trains for the kids, and as a second thought, brought down the new Primary children's song book as a family gift.

My stomach had been cramping severely that morning, and the French bread and milk at Debbie's seemed to soothe it a little. I didn't know if it was from the chemo (I had run out of stomach pills on Wednesday) or if it was the stomach flu that Ryan and Chad had had earlier in the week. I took a nap in the afternoon, and that night ate half an apple and some Rolaids before going out with Kent for our anniversary. We went to the Blue Moon to try out our two for one coupon there. It was nice to dress up and go out with Kent, but the only thing we felt like eating was the bread and cream of asparagus soup (which soothed my stomach). The chicken was some Italian pasta mix which was too spicy for us. We usually do best ordering one meal and splitting it, which we will do next time. After we paid our bill ($16.00!) we went to Mervyn's to exchange one of Kent's pants. While there, I talked him into getting a long velour black and green robe (He looks like Father Christmas in it) and a pinpoint oxford shirt that he has been wanting. He felt guilty about it but I told him that he hardly ever goes shopping for himself, and I may not get out later to buy him anything since I was probably going to end up in the hospital in six weeks. I told him the robe was really for two: for he and Brett (when he got up with him in the night) and for he and me (when we cuddle).

On the way home we tried to deliver a Book of Mormon to the Mechems (but they had company, so we'll try later), and shopped a little at Lucky's. When we got home, we watched Rumpole of the Bailey on Mystery with Leo McKern and cuddled in Kent's new robe.

Friday (today) my stomach has hurt all day. I think that it must be the stomach flu. Rachel and I packed up all the presents and cleaned up my room while Kent and the boys did the garage. Then Kent took the kids to Magic Mountain. I threw up twice, but managed to make some rolls and chicken soup, pack my sweaters into my new cedar chest, and get in an hour nap. That evening I got a lovely bouquet of flowers from Anna Manwaring and Carolyn Hill.

Saturday my stomach did not hurt so much, but I ate only cereal and milk all day (Honey nut Cheerios and special k). I threw up once in the evening.

Sunday, Christmas Eve, I woke up dreaming about tapioca pudding. When Kent came home from his walk he brought me an egg from the Conklings so that I could make some pudding. I made a batch, ate some, and took a nap while the kids went to Sacrament Meeting with Kent. I slept lightly, woke up and felt better.

Kent said that the Bishopric spoke during Sacrament Meeting and the Primary children sang. He said that during the meeting he had the feeling that everything would be all right with us. He stood out in the foyer with Brett and talked to Nancee Large part of the time. She is sick and tired of kids with the flu and was very apologetic about not helping me out more. She is such a sweetheart.

When Kent and the children got home, they changed their clothes, packed up, and we left for Grandma's. When we got there, Ryan put on his Santa costume that he made in school and "ho, ho, ho-ed" for Grandma, who loved it. My brother David was there too. Grandma fixed us a delicious turkey dinner with dressing, roles, gravy, Jell-O, and pumpkin and mincemeat pie. The children all helped with setting and cleaning up--each doing their regular jobs at home, with Ashley helping Ryan.

After dinner, Grandma conducted a little Christmas program, with Kent reading the Christmas story in the Bible, Uncle David from the Book of Mormon, and she a story from Especially for Mormons. Then we sang four Christmas songs and had a prayer. Afterwards, she passed out her presents to us. She gave to me a lovely crocheted doily, to Kent a Paul Dunn book on Christmas, to Chad a model Porsche, to Rachel a stuffed giant koala bear with a baby bear in its pouch and a birthstone necklace, to Eric a model Ferrari (?), to Ryan a big police car and helicopter (his favorite toys), to Ashley a doll in a dress with many pockets full of fun surprises for her like bubbles, a candy cane, gum, perfume, toothpaste, etc., and to Brett a stuffed doggy. We all had fun with our presents, and opening up them alone the night before made hers stand out special. I hadn't brought anything for David, but I remembered the 1990 planner that I had wrapped and brought along as an extra gift. He seemed to really like it. Some of the children gave Grandma their gifts Christmas Eve as well.

We got the kids settled into the hide-a-bed and sleeping bags in the front room about 9:30 that night. I was going to sleep with Grandma and while getting ready for bed I told her all about my cancer and the hoped-for bone marrow transplant. She said that she would try to help us in February if we needed her. The children were restless in the front room. Ryan and Eric kept switching places and Ryan had such a hard time settling down (he was so excited) that I had to move him away from the others. Ashley couldn't go to sleep and started crying, so I put her in with Grandma and I. Kent went to sleep in the spare bedroom with Brett. I thought that I would get a good night's sleep and he would be up with Brett, but I was mistaken. Ashley ended up between Grandma and I and was all elbows and knees. Between her whimpering and wanting to go to the bathroom, get a drink, and Grandma's occasional snore--I think I may have got only about three or four hours sleep at most. I was somewhat envious of Kent who only had to get up with Brett once in the night.

We had told the children that they needed to let us sleep until 7:30 (big joke--what sleep?). About 7:20 my dad called from Utah to wish us all a Merry Christmas. I think that he was feeling bad for me and a little homesick.

Grandma fixed us bacon and eggs and English muffins and cereal and orange juice for breakfast. Then we opened our presents. Ryan, still playing the roll of Santa sans costume, passed the presents out and decided who got to open the next present. He and Chad wanted to wait until the end--savoring the last bit of anticipation, but then when it was all over Ryan especially felt a little let down or disappointed: the actual presents not as fun as dreaming about what they might be. The presents were:

Brett: a stuffed toy baby rabbit from Andrea Hilton, a baby crib from Kent and I (we left that home). The children did not really spend their money on him since he was not old enough to appreciate their gifts. He was most content with a little paper and some ribbon.

Ashley: 3 video movies: Cinderella, Bambi, Land Before Time; Barbie clothes, Barbie Ferrari, and Barbie dishes from Santa. Barbie clothes and a baby bottle from Rachel. Barbie piano concert from Chad and Eric.

Ryan: Crayola Caddy, books, T-ball set, and 3 Lego sets from Santa, jets from Rachel, dart gun from Eric, Star Wars space ship and storm trooper from Chad.

Eric: Cassette-clock-radio, camera, planner, watch and whiffle golf balls from Santa, 3 GI Joe guys from Chad, 1 GI Joe guy from Rachel, and a chalkboard box and pencil from Ryan.

Rachel: Planner, necklace, socks, denim skirt and vest, pink turtleneck and sweater, black turtleneck, books, and clock radio from Santa, slipper booties from Eric, 3 bags of candy from Chad.

Chad: Notebook, trapper keeper, metal mirror, planner, red hooded sweat jacket, socks, clock radio and ski album (joke) from Santa, and the Batman movie from Rachel, Eric and Ryan. Ryan couldn't keep their present to him a secret and so he had known about it for about a week or two before. Rachel and Eric said that in the future if they went in on a present with Ryan they weren't going to tell him what it was until Christmas.

Kent: Fishing assortment and trout power bait from Chad, Cordless telephone and answering machine from Santa, vertical fishing rod rack from Rachel.

Mom: Knives, electric razor, and electric pencil sharpener from Santa, 2 scarves: a red silk one and a red and black plaid neck wrap from Chad, red garnet earrings and a heart jewelry box from Rachel.

To Kent and I: fan and poem from Eric, hand prints and poem from Ryan, 12 Traps in Today's Marriage by Brent Barlow from Dad and Elaine.

To all of us: "Wind and the Willows" video movie, game Headache, and wooden "Welcome" sign from the Goodmans, cassettes and Sport Chalet pens from Santa.


After Christmas 1989

After we opened the presents, Kent went to see his brother Mark and get ideas for our garage, while the kids played with their toys. Chad helped Ryan set up his Lego’s and put the decals on Ashley's Barbie car. Eric played with his and Ryan's stuff and Rachel read her Witches book from Kim. Ryan played a little bit with everything. Kent forgot about the time in visiting with Mark and Karen and his brother Jeff who was staying with them, and we almost didn't make it to Charlie and Barbara's. Actually, I didn't think that we were going, since Grandma hadn't said anything about it, but Barbara called and said that they were expecting us. Kent got back about 12:30 and tried to fix Grandma's rocker leg which broke the night before but he was missing a bolt and nut, so we decided to get it from Barbara's dad.

About 1 pm we went over to Charlie and Barbara's for submarine sandwiches for lunch. The kids watched Batman on their VCR (the picture was all jumpy for some reason) and we saw all of their Christmas presents and visited with them and the kids and David. Her folks came over about 3:00 and her dad brought Kent the bolt he needed. We brought Grandma home and Kent fixed her rocker before we headed back to Saugus. Grandma said that this was her best Christmas, and that she was so excited about having us over. I told her I really appreciated her having us since I wasn't feeling too well and we were getting ready to move and all. She was very sweet to us and we had a lovely time.

On the way home we stopped by First Care since Ashley was so pale and slightly feverish (she had badly infected ears--that's why she hadn't slept) and also to check on Brett, who's cheeks were so rosy (he was fine).

Friday Dec 29 we picked up our loan docs, dropped Chad off for his basketball practice, and had the walk thru on our new house. It's going to be so wonderful to have a new larger home that it was hard to be too critical, but we did make a list of things that we wanted fixed. We were about 45 minutes late picking up Chad from his practice. We got home and Kent took the kids to Magic Mountain for the afternoon and I took a small nap. In the evening we went down to Stan Standley's to watch the BYU game. (BYU lost to Penn state.) I brought some yarn and a crotchet hook to practice crocheting, and visited with Nancee Large. After the game, the Standleys and Larges went with us to Marie Calendar's for a bite to eat. Kent had a humongous headache and felt sick to his stomach. He didn't get anything to eat, but I ordered a chicken pot pie like Stan, after changing my mind from chicken callendini and soup and cornbread. It really tasted good.

Saturday Dec 30 We went to my folks for a luncheon of Chinese chicken sundaes (Hawaiian Haystacks). It was supposed to be dinner and a Brown family Christmas get together since we didn't get together for Christmas this year, except that Janna and Jim couldn't come, we had to make it earlier in the day since Michael and Judy were going to the baptism of their babysitter, and everyone had already passed out Christmas presents. It didn't seem like much of a Christmas celebration. But we had a nice visit with everyone. My dad gave a shot of "liver and onions." That night Kent and I went to the stake New Year's Eve dance. The theme was a circus. There were entertainers walking around, one that made us balloons in animal shapes and twirled fiery batons while riding on a unicycle. We talked to the Amy's for a few minutes about chemotherapy and woodwork, then went over and talked to the Larges, Riffes, Parkinsons, and Blairs. We then went to the ring toss, ball throwing games and competed with each other. It was nice to be out with such lovely couples.

Sunday Dec 31 we went to our ward for the last time.


1990 Stevenson Ranch

Kent and Suzanne and all six children move into the Stevenson Ranch home at 25307 Keats Lane
Camping 1991


January 2, 1994 Fast Sunday

Sister Bond, who is moving with her family to Chicago, told in her testimony how they had sold their house in 11 days, so it must be the right thing to do to move and they were assured that the Lord was blessing and guiding them. It is hard to hear things like that, when we have been trying to sell our house for nearly a year and a half, and seeking as hard as we can to obtain the Lord's blessings and guidance in our lives. Brother French had born his testimony at the beginning of the meeting, and told of the increased strength that he believes comes into your life when you bear testimony. Since I am feeling in such need of strength this coming year, I bore my testimony. I was feeling so humble and full of emotion, it was hard to speak, but I told of my gratitude for the Savior, who is the center and source of all my hope, how I love all the prophets, but especially the prophet Joseph Smith for his restoration of the priesthood covenants and blessing particularly those revealed in the temple, and for the hope and assurance those promises give. I said I was grateful for my heritage in the gospel, and for the missionaries who brought it to them, and for my immediate family who were the love of my life. I felt the spirit as I bore that simple testimony and I think that others did too.

I came home afterwards to show the house. Only one couple came by. They were just “lookie loos”, not serious buyers. After dinner we watched "The Prodigal Son", a very touching video about a modern day prodigal, who was touched by the spirit and (and undoubtedly by his father's faithful prayers and love) to get off drugs and repent. It also told of the struggle an older faithful son had in repenting of his pride and forgiving his younger brother. In a way, we are all prodigals, of one sort or another, and are all in need of repentance and forgiveness. I plan to give the video to Donna Nuss, the oncology nurse at Dr. B's office, who wrestles with these same problems with her two sons. Kent took Eric Fast Offering collecting, and Ryan and I made popcorn and hot chocolate for everyone.

Monday 3rd Jan 1994

I went to Dr. B's after dropping off Brett and had a blood test. It turned out that my white blood counts were too low so they recommended I just have another 5FU injection and wait one more week before starting TAXOL. I then went to four different preschools, trying to find a place for Brett after Kris moves. It has turned out to be a great blessing to have Kris teach school, the lower price and convenience of extended care during my radiation treatments, and work pursuits. I asked Brett which Preschool he liked better his old one at St. Stephen's, or his new one at Miss Kris's. He said he liked his old school because of the neat slide and play equipment, but he liked his new teacher and new friends better. Now I am worried about what to do for the coming year. All of the good preschools are full, and are so expensive. Both he and I need something for him to go to. It would be nice if some of his new friends could go to it too.

Volvo

While driving around, I noticed that the car did not start easily, and that I could hear water boiling under the hood when I stopped. I worried that I might not get home.  In the evening, the full time missionaries in the ward, Elder Evans and Elder Peterson came for dinner. Afterwards they gave a short lesson on how the Liahona in the Book of Mormon is like listening to the word of God and his spirit today. Elder Evans told a story of how the spirit prompted him twice to knock on a particular door, and when he did he found someone wanting to hear more about the gospel. Elder Peterson told about his father, who has been in a coma since Thanksgiving, with serious intestinal infections and problems. He said that he had wanted to go home, but that when he had prayed about it, the Spirit had reassured him that everything would be all right. His family had been inactive before this, although they had started reading the Book of Mormon when he left. He knew they were praying now, and hoped that this experience would bring them closer to the church. I love the missionaries. I love their wholesome goodness and dedication. We played Rummikube with them afterwards, and Rachel talked to them about her friend Stephanie. At bedtime I talked to Brett about him going on a mission, and how he would be Elder Gardiner. Ryan, who was listening in, said he would be Elder Gardiner and Eric would too. I told them I hoped someday Chad would also be able to serve as a missionary and Ryan said he hoped the same thing. The missionaries bring a sweet spirit into the home.


Tuesday 1994

Kent took the van into work to see if he could tell what the problem was. It worked fine for him except late in the evening when he went to get Ryan, it overheated and spewed out steam so bad he didn't know if he'd make it home. He talked to his dad on the phone and determined it was a broken head gasket. I'll be without a car the rest of the week. I had the Volvo on Tuesday though. Spent the morning on bills, afternoon running errands and to Dr. B's for my shot. Brett wanted me to set the alarm, and on the way home, I realized that Ashley would get home ahead of us and not know how to turn it off. Sure enough, when we drove up, Ashley was sitting on the front lawn with tears running down her face. I felt so badly for causing her this worry and showed her how to deactivate the alarm. I spent the afternoon and evening running Eric and Ryan to/from Basketball, Webelos, going to a College Financial Aid seminar, which was cancelled (probably due to the Hart Basketball game) and the Nelson's to drop off loan info. We received $715.00 reimbursement on the Volvo from our car insurance from the dent in the driver's door we got 12/21. This will help with bills.

Wednesday January 5th


Brett on Conference Trip

Arranged rides for Brett and organized his clothes. Then turned off the phones and took a wonderful long nap. Read some very moving articles in the church news on Faith, a principle of power. In the evening when we took Eric and Rachel to Scouts/YW, Kent and I got new recommends since our old ones expired before we could get them signed by the Stake Presidency. During the interview, the Bishop told us that he had taught the priest quorum on Sunday, and that he could see that Chad had the light back in his eyes. That was gratifying to hear. I felt inspired to tell the Bishop how Chad argued and murmured about us "forcing" him to go to EFY at Ricks last Summer, about what wonderful time he had and how he wants to go to EFY again up there and then just stay and get a job there before school starts. I told him I felt that was an example of being guided by the Spirit in his behalf by sending him up there last summer. Kent then told about throwing Chad off the high dive when he was about 10, and how he spent the whole afternoon jumping off it afterwards. He is a child who needs a push in the right direction. The Bishop accepted this information well. Kent and I both noticed how open, humble, loving, and more people oriented the Bishop has become. He's not so quick to lecture or give advice.

Thursday January 6

Marjorie Rodela came over today to finish up DaNae's history. Marjorie had trouble remembering the sequence of events that happened the day DaNae died. She said it was so emotional, that she had not been able to write about it in her journal. We called Nancee Large to ask her if she remembered certain things, and she got her journal and read it to us. I typed the whole thing into DaNae's history, as Nancee read to us over the phone. It was an inspiring, detailed account, and a testimony to me of the value of journal keeping. It jogged Marjorie's memory and helped her to remember better what happened as well.

I felt moved near to tears several times as I typed in the account of events leading up to DaNae's death. Three things in particular were impressed upon my mind, in addition to the importance of personal record keeping. One was the closeness of the spirit world to this one, and how thin the veil can become as we near death. The Rodelas had many spiritual experiences, which increased their faith and buoyed them so they could endure this great sorrow. Many times Marjorie was aware of the presence of her Olsen grandparents. The second thing was the great importance of compassionate service to one another. Nancee was reluctant to impose but felt inspired to go their house, shortly before DaNae died. Marjorie hugged her and told her how glad she had come, since she had no family there to be with her at this time. Nancee held DaNae's hand and told her, as the spirit of prophecy fell upon her, that their was someone special waiting for her, and that she would raise her posterity in the Millennium when there was no wickedness or disease. She was afraid that she had spoken out of line until later when she read DaNae's patriarchal blessing which essentially promised her the same thing. Later when Marjorie's sister called, she wept with gratitude to know that Nancee had been there as a sister in her stead. The third thing I learned was a confirmation of the spirit living on after death. After DaNae took her last breath, lying in her mother's arms, Marjorie felt such a feeling of joy, elation, love and warmth radiating from the foot of the bed above DaNae's body. The whole family felt this overflowing feeling of love and happiness.

Later as the family was gathered together in a circle talking about this, Lance, the younger brother who was closest in age to DaNae and was struggling with guilt feelings for teasing his older sister, felt an arm around him giving him a squeeze. He asked his mother who hugged him, since he was standing on the outside edge of the circle away from the others. Marjorie told him it was DaNae. He asked why she would hug him, and his mother told him that it was because DaNae wanted him to know that she loved him. Later when the morticians came to carry DaNae's body out, and it was too hard on the parents to look, in fact the mother started to weep, Lance spoke up and told his mother that DaNae wasn't in her body, she was still there with them in the spirit, and he reminded them that she had given him a hug. He had his own person witness of life after death. It was very tender for me to write about these things, and I felt that it was pleasing both to DaNae and her mother. I had prayed at the time of her death that I could know of these special experiences and do something for her. I am grateful to be a part of this by writing DaNae's history through her mother's eyes.

This sweet experience was offset by a letter from Southern California Edison charging us with financial responsibility for the streetlight Chad knocked over Dec 5th. Probably about $8,000.00 to replace it. I called the gal and explained the situation to her and she asked me to put it in writing. I also called Ray Carlson who said not to worry about it, if they hassled us, he'd take care of the problem for us. I was touched by his compassionate generosity. I was also upset over a letter from GMAC informing us that they had paid our back taxes and set up an impound account to collect for future taxes, and that beginning February 1, our new house payments would be over $4,500.00, nearly a third more than Kent even grosses. When I called them, they said that Dorothy, whom I’d, communicated with before regarding this and who had told me to disregard the letters was no longer with the company and that someone new had taken over her department over taxes. And when I didn't respond to their latest letter in November, they'd gone ahead and paid the taxes. When I pleaded with the new one in charge, Mindy, to please just continue to accept our previous amount and hold the rest in escrow until the balance could be paid, she asked me write them a letter and she would go to her supervisor with her request. I told her that if they didn't do this, we would be unable to make our payments and the house would go into foreclosure. I am feeling the chains of financial indebtedness closing in around me.

Friday Jan 7

Still no van. Kent had the top half of the engine off waiting to replace the head gasket seal. Clyde Nelson had asked me to write up a good faith estimate that he could give to his seller's attorney. While going over the figures, I discovered that for 95% loans you need to add 1.125 to the fees. I was very upset at not knowing about this in advance. Neither Denise nor Stacy had told me even though I had previously gone over the good faith estimate with each of them. Clyde was very upset too and worried that this would kill the whole deal since now his points were 2 and 5/8 and he was negotiating to have the seller pay all nonrecurring-closing costs. After thinking about it, I called Clyde back and told him that I was very sorry, I had never done a 95% loan before but that I would drop my portion of the fees down from 1.5 pts to just 1 pt, making his total loan origination fee
3/8 pts counting a .25pt conversion option. He felt bad too, but thought that this was do-able.

Ann Norton came by for Brett in the morning. I turned off the phones and took a wonderful 2 1/2 hour nap. Karlyn came by for me about 12noon to go to the park to pick up Brett and talk to the other moms about Preschool after Kris moves. I am very concerned about finding something for Brett that he will enjoy and that I can afford.

In the afternoon, I took Eric to the dentist and went to SLC to go over the good faith estimate with Stacy the broker (and let her know I felt she had let me down which she denied). She typed up a cover letter explaining the fees. Stacy began to have pity on me when she saw how bummed out and stressed I was. While there, Chris Logan called to talk about the rates and say I was fourth highest in good faith estimates he had received, but since I was such a hard worker and was so diligent in getting back to him, he was willing to meet with me next week to go over the good faith estimates and loan application. We made an appointment to meet next week. I felt much relieved. But that evening as I typed out appeals for mercy to both GMAC and Southern Calif. Edison, I was very depressed again. Kent went to Nebs and Norma Fairbanks to get a torque wrench to fix the van and had a lovely visit with them and Nebs' brother and his children. They were playing their harmonicas, and visiting. It was a warm and lively family circle, full of warmth and love. I wished that I'd gone. Would've lifted my spirits. I cried in the bath again tonight.

Saturday January 8

Garage sales, (got 3 good outfits for $20.00, tall sizes 14) 1st basketball games for Eric and Ryan (both won) and Kent put the van back together again. No one for Open Houses. Eric bought some jeans at Mervyn's with store script from Christmas jeans return and missed his friends at the bike jumps. Ryan spent the day at Michael Crossman’s.


Sunday January 9

Children paid tithing on Christmas money. Rachel went to class presidency meeting before church. Lovely sacrament meeting with Bond farewell and Jennifer Pinkerton's missionary report home. I was particularly touched by Brother Bond's 3 admonitions: 1. That we welcome into the church other families like his (they was fellowshipped by Georges and others 13 years ago before joining the church) 2. That we pray and trust in the Lord to guide us in our lives, and 3. That we love one another.
After Sacrament, Eric went to Hansen's for Scout Patrol Planning meeting. Brother Burnham came by to home teach us. Kent had a headache and didn't feel like doing Family Home Evening. So we watched a video about Abraham Lincoln and had popcorn and chocolates.

Monday 1/10

After dropping off Brett at preschool I went in for a blood test and asked to have a chest x-ray since I've had a lingering cough and get winded climbing stairs, etc. My blood test showed that my counts were higher than last week, but my platelets were still low, so Dr. B wanted to wait one more week

The good news is that my chest x-ray showed that my lungs were clear it only picked up possible metastasis to my ribs, which I knew about. Donna was very bummed out with hassles from son and hubby. I really felt for her. I went by the office to get a gift letter for the Nelsons, leave the signed good faith there, and find out about rates.

I called Chris in the afternoon, and made arrangements to meet him at a Mexican restaurant in Mission Hills. Rates were going down to 6 7/8ths. Good news. In the evening Fred Havens and Phil Roth came by to talk about the Piatelli auction in February and the possibility of including our Acton property. Kent was skeptical about the property even pulling in any money and told them he wanted them to view the property first. I was cautiously optimistic. Burnham's brought by my Price Club order.

Tuesday 11

I had Ann Norton watch Brett while I went down to the office to get the latest rate sheets and go over the loan application with Jacques Hoan, new office manager. He didn't have a babysitter for his little girl 2 1/2 so he brought her along. She got candy and gum all over his suit and kept getting into stuff. I had been turned off him at first because he seemed so egotistical, but I was quite touched by his effort in coming to help me and his gentleness with his little girl who had a runny nose which was red from wiping it with her hand. I had a nice lunch with Chris. I copied the differences in good faith estimates. He made it clear that he was going with the lowest quoted rate. I filled out most of the loan application papers, and he gave me some of the tax and employment info, but no check for a credit report.

We talked about life and the world. He comes from a wonderful Irish Italian Catholic heritage. His grandfather had 8 children. But he is a fireman, lives with his girlfriend of 13 years and does not plan to marry or have children. He admitted that it was because he was selfish and just wanted to play. He had a lot of toys like motorcycle, motor home, seadogs, etc. I began to sense he would be a difficult person to work for very selfish and demanding, refusing to give out certain information, insisting that anything above the quoted prices come out the company’s pockets, etc. He did love our van though.


I went to get my 5FU shot in the afternoon. Donna doing better. I assured of the power that comes through prayer and she said she believed that. I made dinner for family and Stephanie, who came over and then went to office meeting. Went over some more things with Jacques about Chris' loan. Missionaries came by while I was gone to commit Stephanie to baptism next week. Couldn't sleep well this night.... woke up with sinus headache.

Wednesday 12

Ann Norton and I previewed Kastle Kids and Rise and Shine as possibilities for our children after Kris moves. We liked the warm and intimate feeling of Kastle Kids but were turned off by the rules and distance. Rise and Shine met in big auditorium. Both really too expensive for us right now. Afterwards I stopped by SLC to tell Jacques that I'd decided to tell Chris off, that he needed a good lecture, that I was honest and caring but if $250.00 meant more to him than personal integrity that he could just go elsewhere. Jacques said good, but Stacy overheard me and chastised me for letting Chris get me down. She offered to call him and teach me how to close the loan. She brought me into her office, sat me down and called him on the phone. After about five minutes on the phone she became exasperated by his dogged determination to bring her down on the escrow and underwriter fees that are set by other companies and have us pay any difference if those fees turned out to be higher than the lower rate we would quote him. She began to cover the receiver up and tell me what an asshole he was and finally after fifteen minutes told him his loan of $120,000.00 wasn't worth her trouble and handed the phone over to me, leaving the room in a huff. He told me he considered her very antagonistic and a detriment to my job and wondered if I would stand by the good faith estimate I'd given him earlier. I told him yes, I would. I also told him that I was honest, hard working, and would care about him and treat him not just like another piece of paper, but if $250.00 meant more to him he should go for it. He said he would. I said that was fine, and if he ever had any questions to feel free to call me. I went in and told Jacques I didn't have to tell Chris off, Stacy had done it for me and he laughed. Then Chris called me back and Jacques got the phone. With exaggerated facial expressions, he told me that Chris the fireman was on the phone. I went into the next room and got it and Chris very curtly told me that he wanted back the information he'd given to me yesterday. I sweetly offered to mail it for him. He thanked me and hung up. When I told Jacques this he really laughed then. I think that I can relate to him more than Stacy. Just goes to show that you can't superficially judge people.


In the afternoon I went to Frankie's to have her trim up my wig and my hair. Am not looking forward to losing my hair again, but as I told Ashley and Ryan, I'd rather lose my hair and be able to live a couple of years longer than keep my hair and die sooner. They agreed. I told them that I really wanted to live until they were grown up and I could tell that in their hearts they really desired this too. I purposely left my wig out that evening so that the children could see it and get used to this idea. I've had a sweet time reading to Ryan, Ashley and Brett Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. Stewart Easterday went ahead and filed notice of Trustee's Sale against my wishes. I'd talked to him a couple of weeks ago and asked him to hold off while I pursued some possible ways of selling it with some people who'd expressed interest in it, and his lawyer said no problem they were not in any hurry. I'd also told him we'd give him a deed in lieu of foreclosure so that there was no need to file. But for some reason he went ahead and did it anyway. I guess he's anxious to get this worthless piece of property back.


Thursday morning 12th

Brett told me that he wished that Dad hadn’t married me so that he could marry me. He said I'm his favorite. I know that he would be devastated if I died before he was on his own. I read again with teary eyes the Lord's promise to hear and grant unto Joseph Smith his prayers in D&C 98:1-3. I have turned frequently to the scriptures for comfort. My most favorite one is the prayer that the Brother of Jacob uttered when he asked the Lord to touch the stones so that they might have light during their passage to America. I have found myself pleading nearly every day in a similar fashion: "O Lord, do not be angry with me because of my weakness. But hast thou not commanded us that we should call upon thee that we might receive according to our desires? Then hear oh Lord, the desires of my heart. I know that thou art merciful unto all those who call upon thee in faith and keep thy commandments. And I know that thou hast all power and art able to do great and marvelous things, which seems small unto the children of men. Then hear me oh Lord, and touch my body that it might be healed sufficient that I may raise my children to maturity, especially my precious Brett. Preserve not only my life, but my health and strength until all my children are married, or on missions, or away at school, and I can have peace of mind knowing they are walking in paths of righteousness. And hear too, oh Lord, the desires of my children that my life be preserved to be there for them during their growing up years. Forgive me if I ask amiss, but I trust that if my desires are not contrary to thy will, that thou shalt bless me that I may accomplish them...." I know that preserving my life and health and strength for the next fourteen or fifteen years is impossible by medical science alone, but I think: "Who knows but what God shall grant this unto me, just like he granted power over death unto his apostle John, and the three Nephites? Oh, that I could have faith like unto them and the brother of Jared, and be granted such power!


Marjorie came over later and we added a few more things to DaNae’s history. I let her proof read it and I read DaNae’s patriarchal blessing and some books on nutrition that she had loaned me. She brought me some bee pollen that she used to give DaNae, and fixed some slurpees using ice and grape juice concentrate, which she blended in a mixer. We had a sweet visit together. I never used to pay attention to all this vitamin and herb cancer healing stuff, but now I do. Who knows? perhaps it helped to extend DaNae's life and strength. If it does mine too, then I'm interested. She told me about thymus and Vitamin K building up the blood counts and I bought some later in the afternoon after picking up Ashley.
I picked up Michael Cossman to play with Ryan. Unfortunately Ryan had lots of math homework and couldn't play the whole time. I fixed spaghetti in the evening. Eric made brownies for a Sunday school party at Sister Pattersons, and Ryan brought his "car" cake that he and his dad had made to Cub Scout Pack Meeting. His cake won for the most chocolatey, and Kent came home and said it was the best cake he'd ever tested. Eric said he never got to make a cool cake like that when he was in cub scouts, which made Ryan feel good.

Friday January 14, 1994

I called my dad to ask him to bring a syringe to give me another shot today and ask him when he was coming out with my uncle Bob to help me on a history of the Brown side of the family. I had also asked my dad earlier if he and my Uncle Bob would give me another blessing. As I sat there in the chair after calling him, I pleaded again my prayer, using similar language that the brother of Jared did, and wept. I wondered if in my blessing I would be given some hope that my desires would be granted.


I dropped Brett off at Kris Johnsons for his last day of preschool there with his friends Troy Norton, Kendall Myler, Stephanie Packer, Benjamin Johnson, Gregory May, Janese Loveland, Lisa Johnson, and two nonmember boys Danny and Peter. They were going to Chuck E. Cheese today and he was very excited about going, wanting to see the "mouse" there. Then I went to the bank and Xeroxed some registration forms for EFY for the older children. When I came home I started marking the names on the backs of the photos on my Brown and Jones side that were done by Clyde Nelson.

My dad and Uncle Bob arrived about 11:00 Am., both dressed in suits. My dad suggested that we start with the blessing, and he asked my Uncle Bob to anoint me. He was a little fumbling in his words, unsure of himself. I don't believe that he's participated in many priesthood blessings. But I had a feeling that my great grandfathers on my Brown side were participating in this blessing. When my dad went to seal the anointing it was very emotional to him, there were many pauses as he spoke and I could sense that he was weeping as he gave it. He said that the Lord knew the desires of my heart and that I was dear to him. After pausing a moment, he pleaded that like the brother of Jared pleaded with the Lord to touch the stones to give them light, that the Lord would touch my body with his finger and heal me so that I could raise my children. He called upon spirits in the spirit world that had the knowledge to instruct my spirit in how to have my body heal itself.

This blessing was a very sacred experience to me, and my father's reference to the brother of Jared and his pleading was a witness to me that my Father in Heaven had indeed heard my prayers and would grant them unto me. I told my father about how special that scriptural reference was to me and how I had referred to it numerous times in my prayers over the last several months. My dad told me that he had pondered and prayed a long time over the last few days that he might be guided in giving me this blessing. He said that he had heard Delbert L. Stapley once in a blessing to H. Burke Peterson's wife, who was very ill, command the spirits in the spirit world to teach her spirit how to heal its body, and he had felt inspired to do the same. My Uncle Bob said that this was one of those spiritual experiences that you probably wouldn't go around telling everyone about because it would diminish its sacredness. I think that he is right. Only those who read my journal shall know of it and the blessing's fulfillment in my life. After the blessing we finished labeling all of the pictures and I made two piles of them; one to keep and one to send home with him enough for each of my other brothers and sisters, Uncle Bob, Aunt Louise, and perhaps great Uncle David. Then we went downstairs and I let them each talk into microphones and taped them talking about their great grandfathers, grandparents and their own parents.

I left in the middle to go get Brett from Kris's. I let Brett watch some of his Shining Time Station tape upstairs in my room while they finished, then we went to eat at Kendall's, which was formally D'Litefully Yours. We got some hot air cooked potatoes for Brett, which we all enjoyed. I ordered a Chile rellano, which had a bitter taste to it. And they ordered some shrimp fettuccini, which also didn't taste that good. But the triple chocolate brownie glise' ice cream was excellent. I guess that we don't need to go there anymore. Before they left, my dad gave me a shot of liver iron and calcium, and Brett did some tricks for them.

Sunday 16 Ashley sang "I know my Father Lives" in Primary today while I accompanied on the piano, playing the right hand only. A few days earlier I had heard Ashley picking out the notes on the piano by ear. She got the first three or four figured out while I was putting Brett to bed. I taught her the rest of the song, a phrase at a time. She played it for us later for Family Home Evening. I believe that our Family Home Evening this night was on "Choosing the Right". I compared the stories of Samson and Daniel, and how making wrong choices caused Samson to fall short of his potential, while making right choices helped Daniel achieve his and the Lord preserved his life.

Chad came over and we worked on his Ricks application essays, then went to the Johnson's Open House at the French's since they were leaving. Brett had given Kris Johnson a hug goodbye after Sacrament Meeting and she told me it really melted her heart. Brett and I will certainly miss her teaching preschool 3 mornings a week and providing extended day care. The older kids went to a stake youth fireside, but Chad cut out with Rich Johnson.

I spent the day rereading the Pearl of Great Price. Two scriptures really stood out to me. The first one is Abraham 4:18, "And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed." This struck me as the key to righteous dominion and priesthood stewardship. It is very similar to Gregory Bodenhamer's advice: State the rule clearly, follow through till obeyed, be consistent. That's why Bodenhamer's Back in Control plan is so successful with juveniles, because it is based on priesthood principle.

Obedience is the first law of heaven, and Lucifer was cast out, not because he proposed an alternate plan, but because he refused to submit to the Father's Plan. Because he rebelled, and refused to obey, he had to be cast out or he would have destroyed the Plan of Salvation. Many people think his plan, which would have destroyed man's agency, would have prevented the freedom to choose. This is not so. Under his plan you could have chosen to do whatever you wanted. Like in Lehi's great sermon on Opposition in all things, it would have removed the punishment for breaking the law, as well as the blessing affixed to obedience to the law. He would have saved everyone and taken all the glory to himself. There would have been no accountability for one's choices that is why it destroyed man's agency. Mercy cannot rob justice. Mercy can only recompense justice when man chooses to be obedient, and he would have removed that contingency. You cannot compromise with disobedience, nor tolerate and build a relationship with evil without becoming tainted by those things yourself.
As parents and church leaders, you must watch over those in your stewardship to see that you are obeyed. When you are living a righteous life, and are guided by the spirit to teach and order with the spiritual welfare and Christ like love of those under your jurisdiction in mind, you are exercising righteous dominion. If you are sinful, and are enticed by Satan to order others for selfish reasons or personal gain, then you are exercising unrighteous dominion.

Some people feel that you must never "compel" anyone to do something, even if it is your own child and it is for righteous purposes. They take D&C 121:37 out of context. But the scripture says that we should not "exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unrighteousness..." But righteous control or dominion or compulsion is good, if directed by the Lord. Nephi, under the direction of the spirit, compelled Alban to forfeit his life so he could obtain the records. He compelled Zarma to accompany them into the Wilderness. And he compelled his wicked brothers to assist him in building a ship. And he exercised righteous dominion in doing so because he was directed by the Lord. We know that eventually every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Those who do so willingly, shall be blessed, where as those who are compelled to do so by their circumstances, will receive a lesser reward, if any. "he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." (D&C 58:26) If we are finally compelled to obey, where does the choice come in? In how we choose to obey.

Ultimately our fate is determined by whether we choose to obey willingly with full purpose of heart, half-heartedly, grudgingly, or kicking and screaming all the way like Lucifer. While we will all ultimately obey, God will not force eternal life on any man. Only those who use their agency to choose to obey are free to inherit all the blessings of eternity. Certainly it is better to "entice" your children to do good, and give them opportunities to choose to do so on their own. But parents, like Heavenly Father, cannot countenance rebellion in their homes and remain righteous stewards. God destroyed Eli and his household because Eli refused to restrain his sons in their wickedness. Parents have a right and a responsibility to establish a standard of obedience and righteousness in their homes, for the sake of their children. How strict they are with them may well be determined by the nature of their individual children. With some children you can have very few rules, because they have personal integrity, are highly motivated to do right, and have a high capacity for self-control. Others may not want to do right and have little integrity or self-control. These children need a highly structured framework of rules and follow thru, for their sakes as well as the rest of the children in the family.

It is like God's dealings with his children. To some he can say, The first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, and the second is like unto it to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the whole law and the prophets. And this would be sufficient to guide these righteous noble spirits. To others, like the children of Israel, he must establish an elaborate "schoolmaster" of laws and ordinances, to yoke them down and try to prepare them for a higher level of laws and living, since their very natures are so rebellious and stiff necked they cannot abide the higher laws yet. And to others he must warn them to repent or forfeit their freedom completely by being destroyed, such as the people in the day of Noah, who were drowned in the Flood. Even in the same family, one may find children of such varied natures that their parents must use different ways of parenting with each child. Take Jacob's family for instance. His older sons were so disobedient and hardhearted, he probably had to set up a mini Mosaic system of rules just to govern them. "Reuben, don't sleep with or even lust after other women....Levi and Simeon, don't seek revenge from others, turn the other cheek...etc." But Joseph was a goodly child who needed no such constant supervision or ordering. He was teachable and able to govern himself, and therefore, teach and govern others as he matured. No wonder Jacob favored him over the others. The fact that his older sons were resentful and jealous was not an indictment against Jacob, but a revealing indication of his older sons' weaknesses, which apparently they overcame as they matured, repented, and experienced compelling humbling circumstances.

The phrase by the prophet Joseph Smith: "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves..." assumes that those individuals involved have a high degree of motivation and self control. Not everyone does. As Gregory Bodenhamer noted, most human beings, when given a choice (with no accountability), will choose to do as they please. This life is a test, to "prove us" whether we will choose to obey. If we do, then we "keep" our second estate, and will be added upon.

Alma understood that people responded differently when he said that it was more blessed to humble yourself because of the word, rather than to be” compelled" to be humble because of circumstances. Often parents must provide such humbling circumstances by "reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" and restraining their children from unrighteousness. Parents of Josephs and Benjamin’s who need little direction or supervision are often insensitive and judgmental of parents who have Reubens, Simeons, Levis, and Judahs and need lots of both. But they are not accountable for those children before the Lord like their parents are and so should keep their mouths shut, or they may find themselves in the position of Job's friends by casting well meaning, unrighteous judgment.

Chad and Eric

More children are lost through lack of direction and supervision than too much. Parents and leaders who justify themselves by merely "telling" their children what they should do, then turn their backs and hope for the best, or stand and wring their hands helplessly when their children choose otherwise are not righteous stewards because they are not exercising their righteous dominion. I have been in a ward where many of the young people in the scouting program were more unrighteous and unruly than the nonmembers involved. This was because the parents and leaders did not hold those youth accountable for their behavior, but supposed that their children's right "to choose" for themselves and showing forth long suffering on their part were the all important factors. Unwittingly, these parents and leaders were upholding Satan's plan, not the Lord's, and will likely have the sins of those young people answered upon their own heads.

The challenge as church leaders and as parents is to get everyone moving in the same direction towards eternal life. Like rowing a boat. If they will not pull in the same direction, but are determined to pull in a different one, they will frustrate the plans and goals of everyone else on board (i.e. keep them from eternal life) unless they leave. That is why Satan was cast out, even though the heavens wept over him. And that is why even the most loving of parents, (and Bishops) must take a Tough-Love approach, with their older teenage children,(or adult members) when they adamantly refuse to obey or repent, even though it breaks their heart. It is an act of kindness, because in coming to terms with justice, they then have an opportunity to meet the terms of mercy, by repenting and obeying.

Such individuals are cast out not because they have a different opinion, but because they refused to yield to priesthood authority and for the good of the group. They are motivated by pride, selfishness and the desire for power or gain. This is the root of all evil. And they must be called on it and held accountable for their choices in order that they might repent and begin to obey.  (As you can see, I've been thinking about this a lot, especially since my experience with Chad and the Bishop this summer. I think that there is a great misunderstanding in the church about the importance of Obedience in the plan of Salvation. We spend too much time preaching the importance of the freedom to choose, and not enough about accountability, which is the key to understanding agency. When people say "you can't force me", what they are really saying is "I don't want to do right".
Communism is bad, not because it compelled or forced men, but because it was based on false principles and inspired by Satan. In the Book of Mormon, during the reign of their righteous kings and judges, people were compelled to keep the commandments because of their strict laws against those who should break them (although there were no laws against what a man should believe). Our government, which is not as good as a righteous monarchy or theocracy, protects freedom of choice in order to preserve man's freedom to choose to be righteous against unrighteous leaders who might force them to do wrong. In protecting that freedom to choose the right, many people have unwittingly felt that it also protected man's freedom to choose wrong, and that one should be able to choose wrong without any consequences or accountability for such action. They are trying to have mercy rob justice, and claim happiness from wickedness, which is impossible. They are seeking to excuse their actions. This is evident particularly in all the gay rights groups.)

The next scripture that really hit a reflective not with me was Moses 7:59 and 51, Enoch's great prayer unto the Lord to know concerning his coming to earth again. It is a pattern one may follow of faith and prayer, and obtaining answers in one's own life, like the brother of Jared's great prayer. Enoch prayed thus after asking his question: "Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee....." and he restated the question. The Lord immediately answers this question. Earlier in verse 51 it says "And the Lord could not withhold..." after Enoch's continued cry.
I thought much upon this scripture, and pleaded greatly for the Lord's blessing upon us financially. Just the very next morning, in the aftermath of the earthquake, I had reason to believe that "the Lord could not withhold" his help when our home received such little noticeable damage when compared with most of our neighbors. This was a great blessing, for we could not have afforded the cost of repairs. I was also able to get a 3 month moratorium on the increased monthly payment due to the escrow and impound accounts because of the earthquake as well.

Well, Monday morning January 17

I woke up around 4:30 to violent shaking and a roar like a freight train burrowing its way underneath our house. I thought, "This is it, this is the big one they've all been predicting. Kent yelled and tried to drag me off the bed, tearing my nightwear while I clung to the bed for dear life. The shaking only lasted for about 30 seconds, but it seemed like five minutes. When it was through, we ran to check on the children.

Rachel barely escaped flying trophies and her dresser as she ran from her room to get Ryan and Brett from their bunk-beds. Brett amazingly slept through the big quake and was awakened by our shouting. Fortunately, the top bunk did not fall on top of him or it would have crushed him. Ryan leapt from the top bunk and huddled under the desk chair amidst water and broken glass from his fish tank. Almost immediately the shaking began again, nearly as violently, but shorter in duration. We huddled together under the comforter from my bed as Kent went down to check on Ashley and Eric. Ashley woke up to Rachel and Kent's yelling and was confused; Eric's head banging against the wall woke him up. It was very dark and eerie outside; the streetlights were out because of loss of power. Children were running up and down the street, parents were yelling, flashlights flashed intermittently through our windows, and the house continued to shake wildly every few minutes. It was terrifying. We all gathered in our room and listened to the radio. We were surprised to hear it was only a 6.6 centered about 10 miles away. It seemed more violent. Kent couldn't find a single flashlight in the house and the way into the garage was blocked by knocked over file cabinets and boxes. We sat in the dark as dawn slowly broke upon an eerie world. Eric joked and chatted nervously nonstop. Brett, the youngest, suggested that we say a prayer, and offered one of the sweetest I've ever heard. The house interior was in shambles. Dressers and lamps turned over, TV's thrown off their stands, Potted plants, books, and broken dishes everywhere. The kitchen was a war zone as the refrigerator and cupboard contents were dumped in broken oozy heaps upon the floor. The cranberry Mary Gregory piece that Grandma gave me is the only broken dish in the secretary cabinet, and most of mother's German bird serving dishes are shattered (except for one big tureen) along with my Corell casserole dishes. Amazingly all my cheap Corell dishes just slid out of the cupboard underneath the stove and were unbroken.

Neighbors pounded on the door and told us to turn off the gas. Chad came by in the grey light of morning to see if we were all right. He said he was barely able to make it through since the street was all torn up. Amazingly the house itself appeared to have no significant damage. Most of our neighbors were not so lucky.
Vaughn Johnson was the first person to get through on the phone and check to see if we were all right. My sister Judy called soon afterwards. AT first, when we wondered if this was the big one on the San Andreas Fault, we worried that their house had been destroyed. As it turns out, they felt it slightly, no where near like we did. I had been trying to get a hold of the Gardiners in Glendale to find out how they fared, but couldn't get through so I asked her to try for me. She called back some time later and said she couldn't either, but she had been able to call my dad and others and assure them we were okay. Later I did get through to Kent's folks and my dad, and while they were awakened by the quake, sustained no damage other than a few things toppled over. Our home teacher called to check on us. Sandy Halverson hiked in to check on us since the road was broken up, and came back later with milk. Susan Gallego also brought over milk. Little Kelley Malloy, in our Primary class, came over to check on us with her mother because she was worried about us. This was very touching to me.

People camped outside their homes for the next several nights, afraid to go inside because of the strong almost continuous aftershocks. Rachel, Eric, and Ryan camped out front the first night, while the rest of us slept on the living room floor, everything around us cleared away, our heads under the dining room table. We slept better than those outside, who were constantly disturbed by passing helicopters, the streetlights going on as the power came back on, and crying children, yelling parents during the aftershocks. We all slept in our room the next few nights, no one wanting to sleep on the outside edge, everyone wanting to be in the middle. Gradually we moved the children back towards their rooms by the end of the week, making sure bunk beds were now separated, dressers rearranged, and all heavy objects placed down low, away from beds. We are working on having everyone sleep with a flashlight under their bed now too.

The gas company came around 3 days later to tell us that we'd never lost gas in the dark and confusion Kent had turned only the upstairs gas knob off. We didn't get water until the following Monday, a great trial and hardship for our teenage daughter and those who had to live with her. We had water in a 55 gallon drum to drink from until bottled water was brought in by Arrowhead and Miller's Brewery. We used our neighbor's pool water for flushing toilets and hygiene until Andy Gumps were placed at the end of the street and portable showers were brought in by the Army Corps. of Engineers. We also imposed upon other church members and friends across the freeway got their water and volunteered their showers and laundry machines. We ate meals like we were campers, eating cereal, sandwiches, and meals cooked on the camp stove until the Red Cross began serving up breakfast and dinner.

I wrenched my back during the initial quake and hobbled around sorely for a few days. My new treatment with taxol was postponed for a week and a half since the hospital had no power or water and were working with only half their staff. I stopped by to see Dr. Barstis, whose office was in shambles with no electricity still. I later got another shot of 5FU and had Kent drop a lunch off for Julie who was staying there all day by herself cleaning up files.

Tuesday I ran around with Eric and Rachel getting EFY registrations together with Stephanie Hardie and Jonathon Horton and Shane Hansen to mail off. It was difficult because so many
streets were torn up.

Wednesday Kent and Eric helped a family in our ward whose home was destroyed (they were trapped and had to literally break out of their home Monday move into a rental. I fixed sandwiches for the movers and watched two of the children who were deeply traumatized by the experience. The eleven year old boy said glumly that Monday was the worst day of his entire life, and their little four year old jabbered nonstop about the "earth shakes" (aftershocks).

There were two 5 point aftershocks Wednesday afternoon, within about five minutes of each other. In all there have been over 1500 aftershocks, more than three hundred of which are greater than 3 points. Scientists have since upgraded the earthquake to a 6.7 or 6.8. The epicenter was in Reseda, not Northridge, but it sent two shock waves one north along the fault line into our valley, and one south into Santa Monica. The fault line along underneath our valley is five miles closer to the surface. Because it is more shallow here, the shaking was more intense. There was also 30 percent more vertical shaking with this quake than with most other quakes. That may account for the extensive damage, which may total as high as 20 Billion dollars. Over 200 million of it from our valley alone. Because the Hart gym was totaled, the Winter Formal that Rachel was going to go to with Steve was cancelled. It was going to be her first official date, even though it was two days before her birthday. She was really bummed out about this. First no hot water, then this, the coup de grace. Friday Kent let her go on a double date with Steve and Troy and Stephanie out to dinner, then a movie.
All Basketball games were cancelled for two weeks.


Saturday January 22, 1994

There were few garage sales. I did pick up some mega broccoli and papaya enzymes for free though. We took the children shopping for Rachel's birthday in the afternoon, grocery shopped at Lucky's, and took showers at the home of Ryan's friend, Michael Cossman. His mother, Joann Steffen, did our laundry for us while we shopped. Very sweet of her. I was embarrassed though to have her do our temple garments.
Our neighbors the Ryans, became nervous about us using their pool water since it may be another week or two before we get water through the pipes, so Ann asked us not to take any more from the pool, but rather to walk down to the portable potties and to fill up tubs of water from the truck tanks. I don't think she was necessarily selfish as much as she just was limited in her experiences and empathy.


Sunday January 23, 1994

We had Sacrament meeting only. No Primary because there was no heat in the building. The back end of the building had severe damage, crack in the cultural hall by the stage and I guess the Stake Presidency's office shifted about 4 inches.

Several cracks in the driveway and the main entrance so broken up everyone had to use the other, less accessible one. The stake president spoke about the damage in the stake, saying that Valencia 1 and Newhall 1 seemed to have sustained the most damage. They are the wards closes to the I©5 freeway. I noticed that most homes on hills or on view sides of the street received the most damage (such as Sunset Pointe and Hidden Valley, Valencia Hills and Vista Ridge). All members in the stake had been contacted. (We received a call to check on two inactive families in Stevenson Ranch. Kent checked on one Terri of Terri's cookies in the Sommerset, I checked on the other Tim and Danielle McGinnis in Diamond Head).

Some touching stories came out of this experience. One family who lives in a trailer park and is suing another man across the street, were trapped inside their mobile home, which had probably been knocked off its foundation and had all the doors jam. They yelled for help and the only one who heard them was the fellow across from them, who came to their rescue and saved them. Another family who was out of state when it happened and had all their supplies in their garage including money, called their neighbor afterwards and told him to open their garage and let all the neighbors come and get whatever they needed. They helped sustain their whole street for a week. Another woman, seeing all the ward members check on her neighbor said to her, "I don't know what club you belong to but I want to join." The greatest thing that came out of the earthquake was all the compassion and neighborliness of people reaching out to each other and helping one another. Even the crime rate went way down.
After the Stake President spoke, the Bishop called on all the mothers of missionaries in our ward to tell about their youth on their missions. We are fortunate to live in a ward with so many worthy young people serving on missions. Then we all went into the cultural hall so that we could visit with one another while the other ward met for their Sacrament Meeting. Somehow it was very reassuring to visit with the other families in the ward and see how they all fared, and tell your own survival stories. The mutual concern everyone expressed for one another was very healing.

We celebrated Rachel's birthday that night. I made her a cake (she made a big deal about having to make her own cake last year when I had the flu real bad). Eric gave her mascara. Ryan and Ashley gave her perfume. Brett had bought her some candy corn, but somehow it disappeared. He was upset because he didn't have a present. So I gave him some left over M&Ms in a bag and he gave those to her, wanting to give her something. She was quite sweet about his present to her, sharing some with him. I promised to finish reworking the sleeves in the ginger colored knit dress that we had bought her for the Winter Formal the Saturday before the earthquake. It was $50.00, money we could ill afford, but I told her it would be part of her birthday present. I also gave her the amber pendant and bracelet that my dad had given me, along with a gold chain, to go with her dress.

Monday 24

Rachel's birthday. Ryan and Ashley were supposed to start back to school today (all schools were closed since the earthquake) but we got several calls about 7:30 saying that the school would be closed one more day because a water main broke and flooded the school. Michael Cossman, Ryan's friend was going to come over after school while his parents worked. I called and ran over and picked him up so that he wouldn't have to spend the day home alone. I picked up 3 videos for the kids to watch, including the old Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, which is better than the more recent one with Kevin Costner. Ryan had finished the book and was preparing to give a book report on it when he went back to school.

Throughout the day I worked on Rachel's dress, having moved the sewing machine downstairs to the dining room so that I could watch the kids better. The week previous I had raised the bodice up to make the dress more modest, and had reattached the sleeves by gathering them at the top. She didn't like the sleeves, so I was reworking them, this time taking in the excess rather than gathering it. A lot of work for someone who showed little gratitude.

I talked to her too about being careful not to be with Steve alone, or make out with him, keeping her relationship with him on a spiritual, emotional, intellectual level rather than physical, so that that nothing would come in the way of hers or his potential. I know she hates me to caution her in this way, but I feel that I would be negligent as a mother if I did not. I am concerned about Steve's freedom and lack of supervision by either his dad or mom (who are divorced), although he is a fine young man. I guess that I'll pray that his wonderful grandparents, Howard and Phyllis watch over him for me in the spirit world, and that my mom keep an eye on Rachel for me. I hope that Rachel and Steve's inner desires to do good, and the promptings of the spirit may help them to exercise self control and good sense.

Stephanie came over in the afternoon, and then Melinda Flick and Valerie kidnapped Rachel and took her for pizza and a movie. She also spent the night. Chad called to wish her a happy birthday but missed her. We got our water turned on this evening and I got the first shower. Yea! I'd been taking sponge baths mostly before this.

I received a very sweet and touching note from Lucy Goodman, my sister Johanna's mother in law. She had been a friend of my grandmother Brown. She wrote saying that she had heard that I had lost many lovely things which had belonged to my mother and since she had so much she wanted to send me a little something so I could by something pretty. She sent me $50.00 in cash. I was very moved by her kindness. I paid my tithing on it and gave it to Kent to use for my birthday present. I told him that I wanted my watch and my wedding band fixed and he said he would try to get both done for me.
Tuesday Ryan and Ashley started back to school again. Eric and Rachel were to start the next day Wednesday. I finished Rachel's dress for her and she liked it. Yea! The Red Cross stopped serving meals this week so we were on our own again. It wasn't so bad now we had running water again, even though we weren't supposed to drink it yet.

In the evening Kent and I went for our temple recommend interviews with Pres. Halverson and Pres. Hill. They are both lovely people. When I told Pres. Hill about our money problems, he said he that the only really important thing in life was how you were able to answer the questions in a temple recommend interview. If you could answer all of them correctly, then you could have peace of mind that you would pass that final interview with the Savior. That is the advice he would tell his lovely older unwed daughters when they became discouraged. I think he may be right. In the end, the only thing that can't be taken from you is your testimony and personal integrity. All else you leave behind.

Wednesday 26

Eric and Rachel start back to school minimum day. Stephanie Packer watched Brett for me while I stopped by to see Dr. Barstis and get a blood test. Planning for taxol on Friday at the hospital. Dr. Barstis indicated that my previous CA153 blood tests indicated that my cancer was stabilized, no longer rapidly progressing. My counts were 96, 80 and 87, respectively. This was encouraging. Dr. Young looked at my chest and was absolutely amazed at the results. After only 10 radiation, hyperthermia treatments, my chest had completely cleared. No one looking at just the skin would never know I'd had a recurrence, let alone one as red and raw as the one I'd had only 2 or 3 months ago. I wondered if the consecrated oil that I had rubbed on it had anything to do with how remarkably it had responded better than even the doctors had thought it would.
Thursday 27 Carolyn Payne and I went visiting teaching to Jackie Kemsley, missed Kathy Smith.

Brett

Afterwards Brett and I drove up to visit with Marjorie Rodela. I gave her the disk with DaNae's history on it, some clothes that Ashley had outgrown for her daughters, and a baby blanket that she had left behind. She loaded me up with vitamin and mineral supplements. I never used to pay such attention to these things but now I am. Who knows if maybe the extra Vitamin E I have been taking may have helped to stabilize it? She told me many sweet stories of visits she and her family felt they'd had with DaNae, the last one being Lance feeling his sister's presence at his ordination to the priesthood. No one else sensed her there, and Marjorie felt that this was his special gift at a special time in his life. I marveled at the closeness to the spirit world that family had. Brett and I stopped by the new SLC office in the Industrial Center. They moved after the old one was nearly destroyed.

In the evening Stephanie stayed for dinner and after dropping her off, Kent and I went to the Stake Emergency Disaster Information Workshop and met Rainette there. Afterwards I took some Dacadron and a spoonful of consecrated oil in preparation for starting the Taxol in the morning.

Friday January 28

I dropped Brett off at Nortons and drove to the hospital. Diana Dultz confirmed that the hospital would accept my insurance payment as payment in full. When I offered to pay the balance when my financial circumstances changed, she sweetly told me to forget it and let the hospital do it for me. I was humbled by the Lord's graciousness to me in this matter. I checked into a room down the hall from Susan Fitzpatrick who was also in for her Taxol treatment. I had some very nice nurses, but didn't get started on the premeds and taxol until 11:00. They put them in through I.V. in my right wrist. Susan came by to see me before they started. I dozed off after they gave me benadryl and ativan. Dr. B. came by to see me while I was asleep and woke me up. I read the newspaper and Ensign, ate lunch and stayed for dinner after I finished up. I stopped by to see Susan on my way home around 6:30. She was staying overnight for her treatment, receiving the same amount, but with a slower drip. Her husband Don was there, along with Donna who'd stopped by to say hi. When I got home, Kent was there with the kids and they'd already eaten a lovely meal that Carolyn Payne had brought by earlier. I took a long hot bath and slept like a log until two aftershocks woke me up around 3:30 and I had trouble getting back to sleep. But I know I got more rest than Susan did in the hospital.

January 29, 1994 Saturday

I awoke with a headache, and my face was slightly flushed. But my energy level was high and I went all day with no problem. Garage sales and Basketball pictures in the morning. Susan F called me in the morning to find out how I did and confirm that she got no sleep, in fact, they were evacuating some of the hospital since there was a water leak.


January 30

Sunday Primary classes were held again. I went home after Sacrament for an Open House. No one by of course. I need to find a way to capitalize in our advertising that we survived the earthquake. I did call everyone who had looked at our home in the last couple of months to tell them how well our home had come through. Chad came over for dinner and we finished up his Ricks' application and essays, as well as filled out an application for UVSC in Orem, Utah. He also called the Bishop and set up an appointment for his interview with him for the student confidentiality report. I'd tried to give the Bishop at church the form, but he wouldn't take it, telling me to give it to Chad and to have him make the appointment. I know that he's trying to encourage some responsibility and initiative in Chad. Chad helped put Brett to bed. Brett has been saying that if we get mad at him he's going to run away and live with Chad. One time he told Chad and Rachel that he would tell Dad to go in the back yard then he would get his stuff and run out the front door so Kent wouldn't see him. When they asked him what he would do if he couldn't carry all of his stuff, he said he would come back and tell Kent to go in the back yard again then sneak out a second time with everything. They thought it was funny, but it made me feel sad that now my children feel like running away is an option if they don't get along with us here at home. Chad said he would probably come back home again before going up to Ricks. I hope that he gets in.


Monday January 31

My right forearm is very swollen (like Popeye's) and sore on the inside a couple of inches above the elbow. I have Troy over to play in the morning trying to encourage Ann Norton to start up a plan for a little preschool. In the afternoon I take a nap and am moving a little slow.

Michael Cossman comes home with Ryan. That night I try to sleep with my arm straight and propped up on a pillow. It seems slightly better on

Tuesday.
February 1, 1994

Institute begins again. We are studying D&C 76, which is very inspiring. I bring Brett over to the Schramm's new house on Sarda. I stopped by Joann Steffen's, Michael's mother to tell her Ryan has a BB practice and I'll drop him off afterwards to play (she's home since her husband had his thumb operated on.) We have some herbal tea and a nice visit too long as I'm late to pick up Ryan. I get home just in time to visit with Sandi Hamilton about Rachel going into Laurels, then leave to pick up Ryan and Eric from Basketball, get bus passes, come home. Kent fixes dinner, drives Chad to his appointment and Ryan to scouts so I can run to SLC meeting with a rep from Countrywide Loans on House America program. When I get home I go with Kent to pick up Ryan from Scouts and home teach the Redfords. Ken has become a loan officer to and plans to get his Broker's license. I think I'd like working for him. He and his wife have mutual interests with Kent and I in Real Estate and genealogy. Perhaps we can help reactivate him. It was a long day and I am exhausted.

February 2 1994

Wednesday, my birthday. Eric gives me a birthday hug before school, and I get lots of kisses from the younger children. Troy and Stephanie Packer come over to play this morning and I made some peanut butter candy brownies for my birthday "cake". In the evening I work on bills, and order pizza for my birthday meal. This way everybody enjoys my birthday meal. Ashley gives me a lovely card, Brett a map he made of all his friends houses, Ryan gave me a dress I found at a garage sale, Eric two pair of tennis shoes I found at a garage sale, and Rachel some black mascara. Kent cleaned and fixed my watch, so it works, although the band needs replacing, and took my wedding ring in to be repaired using the money from Lucy Goodman. I'm going to get the little diamond replaced and the prongs reinforced on the big diamond. I invited Chad to have dinner with us, and at first he was going to, but decided to study with a friend instead. I miss him. He says that his interview with the Bishop went fine. My brother David called me in the evening to wish me a happy birthday and says for my present he'll send me the Mary Gregory that Grandma gave him since he and Colleen don't really care for it and they've heard mine broke. It was very sweet of him and I had a nice visit, telling him all about Chad. Later Jim and Janna called me and I told them all about the earthquake. They had seen all the news coverage and photos of broken freeway overpasses, destroyed homes, etc., and so were very interested.


Thursday February 3, 1994

Eric had acted up in his math class on Wednesday and had to go to the office. All year long he has complained about this teacher, who has little control over the class and poor teaching skills. We have tried to encourage him to make an appointment with his counselor to switch classes, but he insisted that it was impossible. Now with half the year gone and a new semester beginning in a week, I decided I'd better follow through on this one myself. So I called his counselor and told her he had to get out of that class. She found an opening with a male math teacher new to the school beginning Monday with the new semester, provided he move his P.E. period to last. Eric decided to take it rather than waste the last half of the year. I called his counselor this morning to confirm the move.

I spent the rest of the morning packing up for our trip to San Diego. Kent had an opportunity to attend a math convention there, and since all of the children except Rachel had the day off on Friday I thought I would go with Kent and take the children to my Dad's overnight. He said he would find jobs for them to do and pay them. Rachel was planning to spend the night at Stephanie's since she needed to go to school on Friday to register for her classes. I was grateful that things worked out so well and that my dad and Elaine were willing to do this for me and the children.

Kent got home around 1:30 and we left in the Volvo to go pick up the children from school. It was going to be a tight fit, but we didn't want to take the van since it's a gas hog. So when we picked up the children I got in the back with the three youngest and let Eric sit in front with Kent. We knew that Eric wouldn't be able to refrain from teasing or criticizing the younger ones and this way he and Kent got to talk all they way there. I told Ryan Ashley and Brett that we'd be a bit squished, but that was okay, because we liked each other. I sat by Ryan. It began sprinkling on the way out and the kids were worried about what to do if it rained.

When we got to my dad's, I got the kids settled and then we left. My dad was home waiting to go to the temple later that night. As it turns out, they called him and said he didn't have to go in. He put Eric and Ryan to work right away addressing envelopes for the Young family reunion. After dinner he played Uno and other games with the children until bedtime. He put Brett to bed first (as per our instructions) and Brett gave him 5 kisses and 5 hugs just like he gives me. (This was very touching to me, to have my father fill in for me.) Brett slept on a little couch in the old girls room, and later Ashley and Ryan slept in the big King bed in there. Eric got the boys room to himself. Ryan pulled his tooth and the tooth fairy visited him during the night. He wondered how the tooth fairy knew where he was. He got a dollar for his tooth. In the morning when Ryan and Ashley got up they tried to make the bed, Ryan finally taking over the job since he didn't think Ashley was doing it right.

Friday

Eric and Ryan spent most of the day finishing putting addresses on the envelopes. Ashley went shopping with Elaine to buy cookie makings and made cookies with her. One lady they visited while out thought Ashley such a cute girl she gave her three suckers, which she shared with Ryan and Brett. Brett played outside and they all got their shoes muddy and left them on the back porch. My dad and Elaine gave Ashley a white Valentine teddy bear, and Brett a helicopter that shoots off its circular blades. My dad paid Eric and Ryan $25.00 each for addressing the envelopes, but Ryan gave him back $5.00 saying it was too much for what he had done. I was proud of him for trying to be honest.

When we came back to pick them up, they were watching "Pollyanna" on the Disney channel. I was so grateful to my dad and Elaine for spending this special time with my children. They sent home some white bread, leftover Lucky Charms, and some chips.

Kent and I had a wonderful time together in San Diego. We seemed to bring the rain down with us. I'd been so busy trying to get the children settled, I hadn't thought about my own needs, and so less than a block away from my folks I realized I needed to go to the bathroom and get a drink so Kent stopped at a gas station before getting on the freeway, rather than turn around and go back. I read from some Guideposts that I had brought with me...sometimes aloud to Kent, and he played me some Carl Hauss classical music tapes.

Celestial Room

We got to Sandy's around 6:00.
We had a nice dinner Sandy made me a birthday cake for dessert, and then visited with them until time for bed. The next morning we left after breakfast and consulting a map, and headed for the convention center. I dropped Kent off and then headed up the 5 freeway to the San Diego temple to do a session while he went to the morning seminars. My hips were really sore and I moved slowly. The temple architecture was so breathtaking that it was almost distracting it was so beautiful. I made it to the 9:oo session in which an elderly couple were being sealed together. They had their children and grandchildren in attendance with them in the session. I followed the grandmother into the session and was behind her when she asked they temple matron and presidency if her husband was there yet. When they told her yes, she asked if he looked like an angel, and they assured her that he did. There was much hugging and kissing among family members greeting each other, most of whom were going through for family names. It turned out to be one of the sweetest endowment sessions I have ever gone on. I felt the spirit so sweet and strong, I wept many times during the ceremony. And the instruction and meaning of the endowment seemed to come to me with more clarity and understanding than I ever remember. It was a different movie than the one I usually see at the L.A. temple, and the interpretation by the actors seemed more realistic touching. I was particularly touched as Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden and looked back wistfully; then they looked into each others eyes and moved ahead with faith and determination, Adam holding Eve close in a protective embrace. I thought of the great sorrow and joy that lay ahead of them, and which we all must go through in our journey back to our Heavenly Father. The importance of the law of obedience and sacrifice in this telestial mortal existence was emphasized so strongly to me, as well as Adam's plea to his posterity that we hearken unto the counsel of the Lord's true messengers. After the session I lingered in the celestial room, just watching this happy family reunion as they embraced each other again and all wept with joy. It was so lovely just to witness it. It was a great day in heaven and earth for that family.

After the session I went out to the car and sat and reread D&C 76, our institute assignment, and pondered it in light of the endowment session and beautiful spirit, which I had felt. Then I took off to get Kent. Unfortunately, I was uncertain as to which exit I was to get off on and took a 15 minute detour before I got to him. We went to Seaport Village and had some fish and chips and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. It was okay, but I don't like clam chowder too much. I was wishing that instead I'd gotten some minestrone soup. But I knew Kent loved the fish and chips. We shared a Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge ice cream cone, looked at some hats, and bought the kids some suckers at the Lolly Jolly.

Kent found a parking spot by the Horton Plaza and hoofed it a couple of blocks to the convention center while I walked around the mall. My hips felt like rubbing against them, they were so sore walking was hard. But I walked through Nordstrom's and two levels of the mall, looking for hats to wear when my hair begins falling out. I found some I liked at Windsor Fashions and Robinson's May. I made it back to the car to sit a minute and wait for Kent. When he came, I showed him the hats and we picked out two at Robinsons May, which was closing (that store only) and I got them for 1/2 price. My favorite one is a black floppy velvet hat just like the one I saw and liked in Palm Springs. The other is a similar style out of cotton for the summer. We also got me a black leather watch band to finish off my watch. My grandmother's birthday money helped pay for these. I was really happy, although my hips were sure hurting me.

We shared a banana and an orange on the way back and I read some more from the Guideposts.

My favorite story was about an elderly couple who cared for each other despite ill health. It was entitled "When hard becomes easy" (because you love someone). On the way home we drove up La Mesita past the old Women's Club. I had awakened this morning thinking of how I used to walk home from school in the hot afternoons, and looked forward to reaching this building, as a kind of halfway mark. Back then there were no luxury homes, only rising fields of wild grasses and flowers. The hot afternoon stillness would be punctuated by the chirping of crickets and call of meadowlarks to each other. Hearing a familiar bird cry as I lay in bed at Sandy's earlier this morning, it I remembered walking the steep narrow road through those fields, sweating and breathless, towards that lone landmark halfway up the hill. I would rest in the shade of the few sparse trees by that old building and look out over the valley floor I had just ascended from, across to the hazy, snow capped San Gabriel mountains. The panoramic view, which was impossible to visualize down below, was breathtaking and refreshing. With renewed effort I would trudge forward the rest of the way up the hill until I came to Turnbull Canyon, and then the verdant little canyon with the stream, which I cut through to the driveway home. I'd wondered, as I lay in bed at Sandy's house and listened to a meadowlark's call, if I were at such a landmark milestone in my own life, halfway up the hill in the warm heat of the day. I look forward to reaching the cool, shade covered canyon before the final ascent home.
We made it to my dad's home about 7:30 and I wore my black velvet hat. They were all glad to see us.

My dad said Eric was a good older brother, which relieved my worry that he would tease or boss them too much. Eric always does come through. Elaine said that she thought Brett really missed me. I sat next to him on the way home and he whispered to me this secret,” I love you the most." It made my heart melt.

Saturday 5

We did garage sales in the morning. Because the ground was damp from the nearly inch of rain we'd received while we were gone, we postponed showing our property to Piatelli's. In the afternoon I ran Eric to his game, grocery shopped at Smart and Final, took Eric to a thrift shop were he found some "grunge" shirts (old men's shirts that are cool for kids to wear but dorky for old men to wear i.e. polo shirts with animals on them, baggy button front plaid shirts, etc.) Then I took Ryan to his game and sat in the car outside Long's Drug store 1/2 an hour trying to get the energy to go in and buy one or two things. I came home and crashed for about 3 hours in bed. My whole body shut down and I barely moved the next few days. Kent fixed dinner and that night he and I watched Part 1 Sherlock Holmes "The Last Vampire".

Sunday 6

The Bishop called in the morning as a follow up of my call earlier to see how Chad's Ricks application was going. He said he was working on it but that Chad had some things he was working on and was going to report back to him today. He also indicated that Chad some problems with his thinking and attitudes that he needed to work on some more. Kent spoke with him and told him that we supported him and that we knew that this was not an easy case.
I was so tired, I thought about staying home from church altogether but knew that the spirit in Sacrament meeting would revitalize me so I put on the new dress that Ryan gave me for my birthday and decided to go.

There was such a lovely spirit in our meeting as always. I am impressed by the number of truly dedicated faithful people in our ward and the marvelous spirit that is there each week. Such a difference from our previous ward. So many priesthood brethren and strong sisters get up each month to bear their testimony, with seldom any lags between. Dawn Downen spoke about her husband's father's death, and the vision he had shortly beforehand of an interview with Jesus. Marty is a convert to the church and his father hasn't joined, although he respects Marty's conversion and faithfulness. He told Marty that Jesus asked him lots of questions, and that Marty would be proud of him because he'd answered them all correctly. At first Marty was flabbergasted, because before his father had been having post ICU hallucinations during his recovery from a heart attack. Marty asked his dad if Jesus had said anything else, and his dad said, yes, he said that the family is the most important thing in this life. A short time later Marty had another dream of his mother who had died many years ago and for whom Marty had done the temple work for. She had appeared to him in dreams periodically dressed in her white temple clothes in a beautiful field of flowers, assuring him of her love for him. This time his father walked into the picture, all dressed in white, and stood beside his mother and held her hand. So Marty had a premonition that his father's time was near, and sure enough he died four days later. What a sweet witness and testimony this was of the eternal family unit. Stephanie Hardie also bore her testimony and told of her desire to be baptized, and the struggles she had with her step dad who became rather abusive when drunk on the weekends. I later told her of our love for her and assured her that she could come stay with us whenever this happened again....

I came home after church, put something in the oven and showed the house to a young couple. Later Chad called, Kent got the phone, and asked if he could move back in with us. Kent said they'd need to talk about it and set up an appointment on Wednesday. Well, well. this is a surprise. A mixed blessing. I want him back home with us again, but things are going so smoothly and well with the younger children who are really beginning to blossom. There is a sweet spirit in our home and Kent and I do not want to jeopardize this. Chad is welcome to come home, but only if he is going to contribute to this sweet, cooperative spirit, not work against it.


February 7, 1994 Monday

Brett went to the Nortons for Preschool playgroup today and Wednesday. It was rainy today. In the afternoon I slipped on the running board of the van and fell against the doorjamb, and the little metal knob, which catches the door lock, jammed into my back, below my left shoulder blade. I felt a sharp pain but brushed it off. I went on my errands, taking Eric to the dentist, picking up some meat at Smart and Final, which the clerks had put back when I left my cart on Saturday to go get Eric from his game, etc. I felt okay until we got back home and I lifted the grocery bags from the car and the whole left side of my back went out. To bend over at all, sit down or stand up, climb the stairs, anything, was excruciatingly painful, so much so it caught my breath away. I tried lying down all afternoon but it got no better. In the evening I just sat on the couch and told Kent to set out submarine sandwich makings for dinner and the children to make their own lunches. I couldn't move. My dad said I must have twisted a rib and suggested I take some parafon forte pills to help the muscles relax. I found out later I should have put some ice packs on it right away to reduce the swelling. I took a hot bath and aimed the jet sprays at it and it seemed to help some, but getting up in the night to go to the bathroom was a chore.



Tuesday February8, 1994

My back was still sore but I managed to hobble into Institute on D&C 76 and mail Easterday's attorney a certified letter requesting a full figure amount payable by the trustee sale which was to be held next Monday Valentine's Day. In the evening Rainette Usarslanyan (now Lyons) took me to homemaking for a potatoes and salad bar and earthquake preparedness seminar. I got handouts for Michael Cossman's mother. It was still very painful to stand up or sit down. I skipped the office meeting.

Wednesday February 9, 1994

I woke up feeling much better, and determined to try to go to the House America Seminar being held in Pasadena that morning. My gut feeling is that if I can become well versed in it that it will help me get loans from my old Real Estate office Century 21 Country that serves mostly Hasley Cyn. I got off to a late start trying to found out who else from the office was going and make arrangements for Brett to go to Nortons early. I sat in traffic a little bit until I got to the 210. I arrived about 20 minutes late, after parking in some handicapped parking in front of the city hall, and then walking about a block through the Doubletree Inn till I finally found the room. It was pretty boring. Actually Tim McGrath did a better job explaining it than the gal in charge in about a 1/6 the time at the office meeting a week previous. I sat by Jacques, Stacy and Annie the last half of the meeting. I got a certificate to administer the home study course and I feel more confidant in presenting it.

On the way back to the car there was a woman behind me trying to get some change to catch a bus home to Long Beach. No one would give it to her. I felt that I could not walk away from her so I waited until she caught up and asked her how much she needed. She said she thought maybe a dollar would do. I only had three dollars with me but I gave her one. I got in my van and wished (and felt in my heart) that I was precious to the Lord......I called DeAnne Tippets when I got home and got an appointment to come present it at their next office meeting on Tuesday!

Bruce Nahin called to tell me that the full figure amount was listed on the trustee sale ($14,000 plus $1,000 in legal fees) in addition to back taxes, which I'd have to find out from Easterday. I sure feel that he and Easterday have been sloppy about getting the full amount figured out together. He very defensive and said he was only the clerk and was doing Easterday's bidding. He had no ax to grind against us, implying that Easterday did. Which is probably true. I know that he blames us for the way it turned out. He said that he thought going through with the sale on Valentine's Day was a hell of a day to do it on and that he was open to postponing the sale if Easterday was. I determined that I would have to go and plead mercy from Easterday in person, and would probably do it tomorrow. I have prayed and worked so hard over this matter and for some reason the means have not been given to me to solve this problem. But I am not content to walk away from it if there is one last possible chance I can figure out a way to pay this obligation. I have been praying to know the Lord's will concerning this matter so that I can have peace of mind. I am concerned that this foreclosure will ruin our credit and that we will not be able to buy a home for several years.

In the evening Chad came over for dinner and then he and Kent talked while I read some Bible stories and a fairy tale to Ryan, Ashley and Brett. (That has become our favorite nighttime ritual before bed. Ryan and Ashley listen and ask questions while Brett plays or draws quietly and occasionally asks if this really happened if it is a TRUE story. We have a sweet time together. Kent talked to Chad about working with us, not against us. About letting us know where he was going (he said he always told Melba) and not playing "head banging" acid rock music in our home. Chad said he'd use his head set. Everything went fairly smoothly until after Kent said everyone was moving forward in positive ways then Chad asked with mild antagonism, "Are they doing so because you're forcing them to or because they want to?" And Kent said "I'm going to do everything I can to help everyone in this home move forward and do what's right." Chad backed down a little bit. He seemed overall fairly humble and amenable. He said he would move in Friday or Saturday. Interestingly enough, that's when the jewelers were going to be finished with repairing my ring (replacing the sixth little diamond). It's kind of symbolic in a way, losing the diamond about the time he moved out, and getting it replaced the week he moved back, almost exactly 6 months apart from each other. I certainly never would have thought all of this would resolve itself like it has these last six months. I felt very grateful to the Lord and his Spirit working through my Bishop and my son.


Thursday February 10, 1994

I washed my hair and about 10:30 I gathered up the stuff on Piatelli's auction, said a prayer, set the timer to tape Mr. Rogers and Shining time Station, and Brett and I set out to find Stewart Easterday. I didn't have his address, but I vaguely remembered the numbers, and Kent had pointed out his house to me when driving along Soledad Cyn Rd., towards Acton. Brett and I drove and drove until finally I came to it. I parked outside his gate and squaring my shoulders, Brett and I walked up to his house. His wife didn't seem to be home. He saw me at the window after I rang the doorbell and invited me in.
I talked to him about possibly holding off till the auction. He said he did not believe that it would fetch an adequate price to cover the indebtedness, and besides the auction was going to be after the proposed trustee sale anyway. He called Bruce Nahin and confirmed going ahead with the sale on the 14th. Although he was gracious enough to me, he was unyielding in his desire to be done with this business and said we should never have let it go like this or jacked the price so high with Lance or sold it on a wrap. I explained to him again that it was not our desire to hurt him, that hindsight was better than foresight and we had no idea the economy would turn like this, that we'd have to foreclose on Mr. Gordon and then not be able to resale it. I explained to him that with my husband's limited income as a school teacher, we were unable to keep up the payments that we were going into debt each month as it was and were facing possible foreclosure on our home. He softened somewhat when I said this to him. He said that the easements I wanted him to grant back to us (which he refused) were not such a big deal since there were easements granted across the property already; he just did not like the placement of the lower road which he thought cut up his property and the only possible building site. I said that the road could be changed, which he agreed. I then said that I had wanted to pay him back not only because I felt a moral obligation to do so, but also because I wished to preserve our credit, since we were selling our home and I did not want a foreclosure on our record to prevent us from buying another one (although since it was a private note, I told him, I had been advised that it was possible show up). I was a little tearful at this point and he said he didn't know anything about that but that he had his own troubles to worry about. I told him that I did not hold this against him because I knew he was within his rights and the demands of justice, and that we had foreclosed on Mr. Gordon ourselves. He said he thought we had a beautiful family and he did wish us well.

He walked me out to the car afterwards, directing me in backing up. I wept on the way home, knowing now that nothing would stop this foreclosure. But in the big picture, it must not matter or the Lord would have given me the means to prevent it. I think that if the visit accomplished anything good, it enabled me to forgive him face to face, and for him to bury his ax against us and realize that we weren't out to hurt him at all but were just down on our luck. If it did that I suppose it was worthwhile. I decided that since there was nothing more I could do that I would just trust that the Lord would yet take care of us and be at peace about this situation. I confess that I didn't get much done the rest of this day.
Rachel had her first tennis lesson this night, more up beat about it with Stephanie's encouragement and a determination to learn so that she could beat Steve sometime at it.

Friday February 11, 1994

No school for the children. Michael came over for the day. I went out at 10:15 for a check up with Dr. B. He I told him about my swollen arm (my forearm and is still slightly enlarged) and he said this sometimes happened with the taxol. He agreed that the risk for lymph-dema was greater on my left arm also. I had been hesitant about putting in a central line since I had so much cancer on my chest. But I told him I would do whatever he thought was wise. He said he would recommend going to the port-a-cath since my arm was still swollen. Also this new line is improved over the other lines I had had higher up, underneath the skin, low maintenance, less chance for infection, etc.
He told me my CA 153 blood test results were respectively 96, 80, 87, and 98. He said that although this was higher than the 5 , which I had last January, it was not rabidly progressing. He had some patients whose count was in the hundreds, even thousands. I told him about the tingling, sensitive feeling I had for a couple of days in various bone sites that I knew had cancer. He said that may be a good sign. He said he had a very good feeling about my case that he felt that it would respond to the taxol, go into remission, and that there would be something, perhaps some protocol at UCLA or something coming up in immune therapy that would help hold my cancer in remission. He echoed my heart felt prayers, which I breathed yet again as he spoke. He referred me to the names of some surgeons for the port-a-cath and I left his office feeling very encouraged about my health.

I stopped by Miranda's Printing to reorder some new business cards with new office address and phone numbers, and pick up some groceries and valentines for the children. Eric went to Aaron's on his bike but came home in time to watch the children for me while I went to Know Your Religion and Kent and Ryan went to the Hart Basketball game. Rachel went to Stephanie's. She was supposed to go to a laurel sleep over at Sister Hamilton's, but it got cancelled because of the Hart game.
The speaker at Know Your Religion is an institute instructor and stake president over the Jordan stake. He spoke about Faith, the governing power in the universe, which is the assurance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen. Our faith grows as we nourish the word of God planted in our hearts. He closed his talk by reading some of Elder Mc Conkie's closing address, one of the all time great talks, in which he said that there was no reason why we shouldn't be able to develop faith like unto Enoch and the Brother of Jared, etc. by regularly feasting on the word of God daily (particularly the Book of Mormon), praying and pondering over it, and by repenting of all our sins. But we have a tendency to take spiritual knives, which Satan hands to us, and stab ourselves by saying we can never gain that kind of faith because of this weakness or that weakness. We need to stop and believe the word of Christ that we can do it.

He had quite a cute way of speaking. He quoted Orson F. Whitney's moving remarks about children of the covenant feeling the divine tentacles drawing them back into the fold when the parents have been faithful, and told about his own daughter's four years of inactivity and their pain before she decided to prepare herself to go on a mission. He told some other touching stories, one about his nephew his was paralyzed from the waist down and endured numerous skin and muscle grafts to heal a gaping wound in his hip and thigh caused by his leg brace tearing his leg while in the MTC. He'd been promised his leg would heal, but after 9 surgeries he went for another blessing from Paul Dunn, who blessed him, but counseled him to draw down the powers of heaven to achieve this blessing through faith. It was touching to hear this about Paul Dunn, and also to hear that he was doing well, even regaining some use of his voice. Paul Dunn was a very popular church speaker, former institute teacher and member of the quorum of the seventy who was released and somewhat dis-fellowshipped because of some pride and inaccuracies in his stories. I was gratified to hear of his repentance. We all make mistakes, but we can all repent. He also told of blessing a woman who lay near death's door with cancer that she would live till her appointed time to die, and hearing she left the hospital three days later with no trace of cancer. He also told of his desire to heal his mentally impaired adult son, but unable to because it was no the Lord's will. He then told of a sweet encounter he had with Pres. Benson, who has trouble speaking because of an illness which makes it hard for him to articulate his thoughts. I didn't know this and it helped to explain why his remarks seemed repetitive at the area conference we heard him speak at around 5 years ago.

I sat by Bishop John McKeon and his wife and had a nice visit with them afterwards, updating him on all our struggles. He was amazed at the struggles we'd experienced in just the last 6 months. I told him that I felt these were trials of our faith, that for some reason God let us go through. It was really something to sit in church and hear people say, after our own house has been for sale for 18 months "It must be the Lord's will that we move, we sold our house in 11 days." Or "What a blessing it is to have a righteous older son decide to go on a mission and set a good example for my younger children, without much encouragement from me during my struggles with my divorce, etc." Or other such comments, while struggling with now incurable cancer, a rebellious son, monumental debt, and the knowledge that your own priesthood leaders feel that you have somehow brought some of this (rebellious son) upon yourself. I felt like Job. But like Job, I was going to hang on until I obtained the blessing. Janet asked me if that meant double children, and I told her that I would be content to have all of my children plus their spouses in the eternities.

February 12, 1994

After garage sales, I took Eric to his practice and picked up Chad and all of his stuff from the Allans. He filled up the whole van. I was appalled at how much of our stuff he'd taken with him as if it was his (lamps, buckets, duffel bags,). I dropped him off right at work afterwards so he wouldn't be late, and just left all of his things in the van. Kent had told him that it wouldn't be fair to displace any of the children out of their rooms, so he had to work out where he'd stay with them. He approached Eric about sharing the guesthouse. Eric very kindly made room in his closet and cupboards for Chad to have half the storage place, but Chad had enough stuff to fill the guesthouse. Eric worked on his talk in the afternoon and then went to a birthday party and then to Koby's for a party. Rachel went to Trisha Norton's for a birthday party. Chad went out with some friends, Chris White I think.

Sunday 2/13

Eric prepared and gave a well crafted and talk on why we did temple work for the dead in Sacrament Meeting. He did a nice job, but I think that he did not feel very confident however as he mostly read it. He stayed after church for a patrol meeting at the Hansens. Chad, Rachel and Eric later went to a music fireside at Vaughn Johnson's. Ryan, Ashley and Brett made up valentines to pass out to their friends. Kent and I watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Breathing Lessons" starring Joanne Woodward and James Garner about one day in the life of a couple married 29 years who drive each other nuts but are very devoted to each other. I made paper hearts with everyone's names written on them and attached them to candy bars and a heart shaped candy box for our family valentines. Carrie Horton and I talked about planning a joint family baptism for Katie and Ashley on March 5. This may work out better than going with the stake baptism since we'll need to get out to Palmdale for Noelle's baptism in the evening.

Monday 2/14

Valentine's Day and the day Easterday forecloses on some of our Acton property. I felt no longer weighed down with this last issue and barely thought about it in the morning as I ran around getting Chad a bus pass for March, got some loan info for my meeting with C21 Country next morning, and went to see Dr. Carpenter, surgeon, about putting in my port-a-cath. He decided to do it Tuesday, so I spent the rest of the day trying to be sure that he would be covered by my insurance, then at the hospital lab for blood test, chest x-ray, EKG, bleeding time test (last one I failed bled for over 15 minutes) and meeting with an anesthesiologist while agonizing over getting my business cards and other things together for tomorrow's meeting with C21 and worrying about dinner. Every place I went to I had to wait for 30 to 45 minutes. AAAUGH! I got home about 7pm. Ate and got Brett to bed. Then went out again with Kent to get gas in the van, juice and cinnamon rolls, Chad from work.

Tuesday 2/15

Rachel slept in since she had a cold, so I let Brett stay with her instead of running him over to Kevin Malloy's. I left about 7:40 to meet Jacques at the office and pick up the grease board for my presentation. I hadn't much time to think of anything, but I decided to pass out promotional folders with my card glued in, jot down about 12 main points of the House America loan program, then fill in more info and highlight differences between it and FHA. Fortunately, it was very well received. Hope to get some loans through it. After returning the grease board I arrived after Anne Burnham, who was here to drive me to the hospital. We dropped Rachel off at school, Brett at Norton's, then she took me to the Emergency Entrance (since main entrance earthquake damaged) of the hospital. I got there a few minutes after 10:00, nothing to eat or drink since midnight, and waited until around 1:00 for surgery.
Dr. Williams was the anesthesiologist and I had some very congenial nurses. I was awake during the surgery and able to converse with them and Dr. Carpenter. The doctor did a cut down, making two incisions about 1 1/2 inches long and about that deep to put in the port-a-cath. He said that he could control the bleeding better that way. Everything went very well, and when it was over they used the forbidden P word "perfect" to describe how it had gone.

I read some more of Chierko Okasaki's book "Lighten Up", which Anne Burnham had loaned me, while waiting for Kent to pick me up (he had a hard time finding me in the hospital). We picked up Brett from Ann Norton's, returned the book and retrieved Brett's blanket from Burnham's car, and she sent home some hamburgers, salads, and a pie for dinner. It was very nice. I woke up in a lot of pain and took some codeine with Tylenol , which I had left over from some other procedure. Kent was out of sorts because I was sore after the operation and didn't feel physically affectionate. He slept downstairs.

Wednesday 16 1994

Brett went to Packer's for play group. I puttered around, my shoulder very sore. I picked up my diamond ring, went to the bank, etc. Can't remember much else about this day except ministering to Kent's physical needs that evening. Sometimes I feel like he is my 7th child. Perhaps because of the death of his mother when he was 14 he has difficulty articulating his feelings and looking beyond his personal needs. How can I withhold my compassion from him, while yet praying that the Lord preserve my life for my children's sake? I think that I would be a hypocrite. I feel to be more compassionate these days towards the weaknesses and handicaps of others, including the less obvious emotional ones. I remember the difficult time I had relating to Jill Carlson while I was her visiting teaching companion, and I now see her as being handicapped emotionally, perhaps through no fault of her own. Should we not be as compassionate towards the emotionally handicapped as we would towards the physically handicapped? I do believe that it is possible to largely overcome such handicaps, however, through humility and faith. I hope that such will be the case with my husband over his lifetime. Certainly his father has mellowed and become more Christ like in his dealings with others. Just as Kent has suffered through my cancer bouts, shouldn't I suffer through his occasional bouts of self centeredness?

Thursday /17

Donna drew my blood in the morning repeat of Monday's since blood count was low. Called in the afternoon to tell me that I could go in for Taxol next day. In the evening Chad went to the Forston Center, run by stake R.S. president and her husband on stress management. He emphasizes forgiving and expressing gratitude daily, accepting responsibility for your actions and looking for ways of serving others. The Bishop paid for four sessions for Chad. He wanted it to be a private thing between Chad and him, but Chad was quite open about it with me. I think it will be good for him. However, he didn't remember where it was and about 7:20 Robert Forston called, asking where he was and Kent had to go search him down and take him to the right place. I hope it helps him learn to deal more effectively with his angers and frustrations. I don't know what can be done about his lack of awareness.

Friday February 18, 1994

Eric had the day off school and spent it with friends. I drove him to a friend’s house, and on the way home it died. I decided I'd better try and get a ride to the hospital this morning, rather than leave the van there all day or have car problems. I called Jeanine Hubinger to take me, but when it came time to go, she was busy with an insurance adjuster so I had Debbie Ratner, right across the street take me. She is pregnant with her first child. She and Jeanine and Laura Ifergen (who is watching Ashley after school and bringing over dinner later) have been very solicitous about my health. Jeanine in particular since I organized food for her that week her baby was in the hospital. Like the proverb, Cast thy bread upon the waters and it shall come back to you by and by they are anxious to be good neighbors in return.

Debbie dropped Brett off at Norton's, then me at the hospital. The nurses couldn't access the new port-a-cath and so they called Dr Carpenter to come and check it. He poked me several times, apologizing for the discomfort he caused. I gritted my teeth and said it was alright, just do your job. I was afraid of having to repeat surgery. He finally discovered it buried deeper than the nurses suspected, told them to use a 1 1/2 inch Huber needle in the future, and always flush it with 250cc of heperin. He blew me a kiss and said everything was fine, he'd take care of me. The rest of the day went smoothly. I read the newspaper for the week.

In the evening I went home to an enchilada dinner from Laura. I didn't have much appetite and my taste buds felt dulled.  Rachel went with Steve to a party at school friend's house. Other LDS kids were supposed to go too, such as Angela White, but when we called her (feeling uncomfortable about the situation) Angela hadn't gone yet. Then Rachel called to say that someone they didn't know showed up and started drinking, and that they felt uncomfortable and so were going to go over to Steve's house to watch a video and play games. When Angela still didn't know much about this and no one answered at Steve's mother's house we became worried and Kent went looking for them. He passed them on the way to our house. Turns out Steve's mother was going out so they came over here and played scrabble while Kent and I watched Sherlock Holmes. It appears that Rachel and Steve made some good decisions when confronted with some potentially bad situations.

Sat 2/19 Ashley went to Girl Scout Career Day. There was a great booster club garage sale at Hart High. We got a ton of great stuff for only $20. In the evening Kent went to Ryan's basketball game then over to see Hart's game at Master's college. I went out for cobbler and ice cream with Sandy Halverson and wore a black felt hat I'd found at Hart's booster club sale for 50 cents. Had a nice visit. I told her things seemed to be finally coming around in my life...next and last problem to begin resolving was our financial one and selling our home.

Chad was a bit of a handful this weekend. Even though he'd promised to not to play his music, he turned it up real loud while Eric was trying to take a nap. His stuff was strewn everywhere in the room and Eric was getting weary of having him as a roommate, but short of putting him in the garage or family room, we didn't know where else to put him. Eric suggested Brett and Ashley rooming together and then Chad going in with Ryan, but I said no Ryan was really beginning to blossom lately and I didn't want Chad being a bad influence on him....Then in the afternoon Chad was watching a crummy movie called "Bad Company" with bad language in it and Eric and Rachel and other children all watching too. When I told him to change it he objected and then flipped channels around stopping frequently at MTV (Kent later made it so you can't get this or the E channel). Because of his attitude Rachel and Eric gave me a bad time too. Then he called all his friends, trying to find someone to do something with and tried to talk one friend into going to see Exorcist 3. Then Chris White came over and they went out to get something to eat and then stop by and see some girl. One girl called for him while out. Later he called to see if Chris could spend the night, saying that Chris was having some problems like he had. The next morning he and Chris got up and dressed and left to go to church at Chris's ward before we all got up to say morning prayers. Having him home again is sort of like living with a giant four year old who needs supervision, for his own good as well as others. I'm glad he's friendly with Chris White though. Maybe helping Chris with his problems will help him understand his own better. Stephanie came over in the evening to watch Airplane with Rachel and Eric. When Chad found out she was here he sort of wanted to stay too, but went off with Chris anyway.

Sunday. I had a hard time getting ready for church. Nearly all my hair came out in the shower the night before, and I was having difficulty figuring out what to do with my thin hair. It had been shedding all week long, handfuls all over my pillow in the morning, and my brush after I combed it. Stray hairs stuck out from my head, and every time I pulled them away, tuffs came out in my hand. Kent told me to just shave my head and wear my wig, but I kept trying to prolong the agony.

I feel shy being bald around Kent. (Later Brett would tell me that I should wear my wig to bed so daddy wouldn't laugh at me. I said, "Daddy won't laugh at me, he loves me." Nevertheless, I do feel shy about it) Kent finally took the rest to church while I curled a few wisps and put on my hat. He felt very sympathetic and sorry for me, knowing my dilemma. After Sacrament meeting, I came home and put on my wig for the first time. Kent and the children seemed to like it...Think I'll wear it all the time.
Stephanie came over in the evening since her mother was out of town skiing. Kent gave Family Home evening, telling about his grandmother Emma Bachman Scholl. It's his idea that we should take the next few Family Home Evenings to tell about our forebears so the children get to know them. Near the end our security alarm system went off. There was nothing we could do to‹ stop it except unplug it and disconnect the battery for a few minutes. It was pretty "alarming", especially for the younger children. Chad spent the night at Chris's house with Victor. Kent and I watched the end of "Man without a Face" which we had started the night before very moving story about Mercy and Compassion.
Monday 2/21 Kent took the three youngest children and Jerry Gallego to the snow. Eric, Rachel and Stephanie went with Steve McKeon to play tennis, but ended up at the mall and getting something to eat. I puttered around the house in a long hand knit sweater and leggings and velvet hat, feeling like something out of the twenties. I worked on journals, etc.

In the evening everyone watched Back to the Future II. I took a bath and read Johanna's story "Mystery of the Third Oak", which she hopes to publish.  Saturday after taxol, I feel great, but my face is flushed and prickly, and I feel like there's a lump in my stomach. I'm all stopped up and bloated. In the evening and Sunday, my neck and shoulders are sore and sensitive. By Monday, I'm beginning to flush out and my bowels are beginning to move. Then by Tuesday I have migratory bone pain over the next couple of weeks. This time the pain was starting in my back, right between my shoulder blades. I'm hoping that the pain is caused by the bones healing themselves.


Tuesday February 22, 1994

Ashley's birthday. My dad called in the morning to wish her a happy birthday. Ryan was having a difficult time being gracious to her. Brett was so excited about her present some walkie-talkies (he kept calling them "hockey talkies") that he couldn't WAIT until she got home to open them. All day long he kept begging me to let him open the present and play with them even though she was at school. I think that this was the longest day of his life. I made a cake, and after she got home from school, I took her to the Book Castle during Ryan's basketball practice so that she could pick out her scriptures and case for her birthday present. We also Xeroxed her birthday invitations. We left her scriptures there to have her name imprinted. She was very excited about getting them. Ryan had very sweetly on Sunday showed her all about the scriptures the topical guide, how to find things, etc.

After a spaghetti dinner we gave he the presents. Chad gave her some nightgowns, Rachel a Barbie car, Eric a Win/Lose/or Draw game, Ryan the walkie-talkies, and Brett a Disney Yahtzee game (all garage sale items except the walkie-talkies, which Kent had at school.) She loved all the presents and attention. Brett and I played Yahtzee with her before bed. Brett was upset at not winning. He thought it should be whoever was done first not the number of points.

Wednesday 2/23

Brett

Brett went to the Lovelands for playgroup. I was supposed to meet with Cal Lujan, but the battery was dead in the van since I'd left my keys in the ignition overnight when Ashley was rewinding a tape in the VCR. I called Hansens trying to catch Doug home. He wasn't but his wife said that she and Barbara Myler would jump start me when Barbara came by to pick her up. I sent Brett with the Nortons, and waited an hour and a half. Got my family letter and a follow up letter to C21 Country agents about House America loans ready for mail. After they came by around 11:00 to jump start me the fan belt really screeched. I gunned it up Poe Parkway and it finally stopped whining. I drove it around for an hour to charge the battery up using the time to drive to the post office, up to the C21 office off Hasley, etc. and pick up Brett, never turning my engine off. Used at least $5 worth of gas. Expensive, time consuming lesson.

In the afternoon I picked up Ashley's scriptures and went to an appointment with Dr. Carpenter, who said everything was fine, very positive and upbeat. In the evening, was supposed to go to New Beginnings with Rachel, but she was in bed with a headache. Played Yahtzee with Ryan, Ashley, and Brett. Brett won and was thrilled.

Thursday 2/24

Met with Cal Lujan at R&R Gable in the morning. He suggested I visit Rubicon Realty in Val Verde and explain the House America program. Next I went Visiting Teaching and other errands. In the evening Rachel went to babysit for the Toates family again a job she got after Eric called in ad on SR cable (Eric is mad she got it when it was his idea), but skipped tennis because of headache. Chad went to study at Halladays, then to Forston center. Ryan had a BB game. I went to pick up Chad after getting Rachel, unaware that Kent was bringing him home. While I was gone, the alarm system went off with kids home alone. Very scary for them. Neighbors came over too. When I got home, around the same time Kent did with Chad and Ryan, it had finally stopped by children were terrified. I must call them again and insist that they come look at it.

Friday 25

The alarm goes off about 4:45 am again and we rush madly to unplug it and leave it unplugged 'til it can be fixed. Then about 10 minutes later there is a big aftershock. Wild morning. Ann watched Brett while I went into the office for a couple of hours. I made some calls, found out that Castaic area is exempt from income restrictions on FNMA's low/moderate income and neighborhood investment homebuyers program (Countrywide's House America) Good news! Jacques was insufferable with his advice and patronizing, egotistical mannerisms. I brought Troy over to play with Brett afterwards. When Ann picked him up later, she asked how Chad was doing, and told me that the boys had been gathering at Jackie Dempsey's house, who was being raised by a single father, and were smoking dope and other things. Brian Yamamoto, an inactive member of N2 Ward, who had been kicked out of his home, had been staying there and introduced the boys to these things. Brian was then kicked out of Jackie's house by his dad and Travis had wondered if he could stay with them, but his mother said no, I'm having enough trouble with just you. I became worried when she told me this because I know Chad had been spending some time over there the last several weeks. Plus he's been hanging around a lot with Brian lately. What am I to do? Follow him around again? Restrict him? I talk about it with Kent and we decide to wait. Next time he goes with them we'll confront him. Perhaps he's decided not to do those things or hand around with them any more. But if he is still, I'm sure he'll deny any wrongdoing. Would he be lying or telling the truth? How unsettling it is not to be able to trust your own child.


Rachal and Friends

In the evening Rachel goes to Melinda's, then to a ward social.... Eric was at Koby's house in the afternoon, a seemingly nice boy with a bit wild older brother. Kent talked to him about his nonmember friends going in different directions as he got older because of different standards and values. Kent and I were going to go to Tim and Jan McKeon's son's Open House, but decide to stay home and watch Inspector Morse on Mystery instead.
Saturday garage sales. Volvo breaks down just after getting started. It's the distributor cap. I hitched a ride home with Susan Beeston, drop Ryan off at the District's Math Field Day (he came in 4th place in problem solving), and picked up Kent. We only had time to hit a couple of more before going home so I could go out to Rubicon and make a presentation. I arrived at the same time as two other lenders who were going to talk about the same thing. Plus instead of 4 or 5 people, there were only two in the office the broker and one agent. I said a silent prayer and sat down by the broker while the two lenders talked to the agent. After they left I gave my presentation and they loved it so much that they invited me back to make another presentation to the others who were absent. After getting home, I drove Ashley to Horton's for Katie's birthday party, then to the grocery store for some items. As I was carrying them into the kitchen, the bag with the milk broke, and the gallon container split open as it hit the carpet. There was milk all over the carpet. Help! $3.00 down the drain. Brett went and got me some towels. He helped me get ready for the party, so excited (he wanted to play "Ring Around the Rosie") while Kent picked up Ryan from the Math Field Day, Ashley, Whitney, Caylene, and Katie from Katie's party, and ran Eric and Ryan to their games. Unfortunately, he missed Ashley's party altogether.

Rachel frosted the cupcakes while I put together the party favors. At a garage sale in the morning I got some globes on key chains. I stuffed inside the rings a fruit roll-up, a colored pencil, and a candy reception stick. Fortunately we had just enough for every guest. Ashley invited 17 girls, 12 came. We decided not to invite any neighborhood friends, since she really didn't play with them much and Jackie and Natasha had been so mean lately. (They tried to kiss up to her when they heard about the party, though.) Ashley had wanted to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but I had forgotten to ask Chad to make it before going to work. So we played lots of relays instead. Dress up relay, pass the lemon under the chin, and roll the lemon with your nose. It was fun and the girls were real cute. Ashley's team kept losing though because Caylene, who was on it, was so physically uncoordinated. But she is a sweet girl and well liked, unlike Sabrina Chen, who is emotionally and socially clumsy. In fact, Sabrina is about the most annoying child I've ever met, and only tolerable because of her sweet mother and wonderful brothers. She whines, refuses to cooperate, and does things you ask her not to or follows you around and asks dumb questions just for attention. (There was a time I would have blamed the parents for this now I know better.)

Since Ashley's team kept losing, the girls didn't want to do teams anymore, so we played Doggy, doggy, where's your bone and Freeze Dance. Two big hits. Brett was a pest, running out of the room and crying every few minutes with his feelings hurt and wanting me to come get him and bring him back. For all his excitement and anticipation beforehand, he was too sensitive and tense during it.
Ashley was the star of the show. There were some very nice girls there and she received some lovely presents. I was happy for her. After cake and ice cream, playing outside and waiting for parents to come, we watched the video "The Secret Garden" which she got for one present, along with a silver locket. Kent and I went out in the evening to see "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones. We saw Brenda George there with Kaylin and Reese Smith. "Shadowlands" was sold out. I had to go to the bathroom, but the movie was so exciting I couldn't leave to go.


Sunday 2/27

Ashley went for her baptismal interview. It was Fast Sunday. I didn't fast because of cancer. We were invited to Charlie's oldest boy Jeremy's priesthood ordination and a BBQ but passed because of need to hold Open House and sell it. I invited missionaries to dinner following week, and stopped by to see Rainette and invite her to Ashley's baptism and the R.S. dinner in the evening. We had only one couple by to see the house David White, brother of Deron White, who came by to see the house a couple of months ago, and 2nd son of couple down the street. I sure wish they'd buy it. Kent wanted me to do Family Home Evening on my mother, but then fell asleep with a migraine while I prepared it. Dan Burnham came by home teaching in the evening.

Monday 2/28 First week with Gallego children coming over in the morning before school. They sit on the couch while my children finish eating and getting ready for school, they all go out and play in the backyard until time to go. Jeffrey stays until 10:20 when he catches the afternoon kindergarten bus. Jeffrey is older, bigger than Brett, bosses him, hogs the toys, and gets into mischief. This first day while I am upstairs getting ready, he and Brett go into Ashley's closet and eat up her candy she's been saving since Halloween, mess up her toys.


This is my week for Brett's play group. There are six kids in the group counting Brett. The other five are Troy Norton, Stephanie Packer (who Brett now says he wants to marry), Janeese Loveland, Gregory May, and Chad Harrison (a new boy in the ward, one year older but a little slow). I'm not sure what to do, so I plan lots of games and a tie in with Obedience and Following Rules. We walk to the park about 10:00 to wait for Jeffrey's bus I'm not sure yet when it comes. We have to wait about 20mintes. I go through about 5 games with them: races, Stop Light Green Light, Ring Around the Rosie, London Bridge, Doggy, doggy, where's your bone (their favorite). It's hard with Jeffrey who is bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. He always wins and wants to be it. Rest of morning goes smoothly and children have a good time, don't want to go home.

In the afternoon, Kent comes home early (he was supposed to meet with Bob B about taxes but has me put it off since he hasn't taken time to look at stuff yet) and is here when Marlin Security comes to check on alarm system. It is a spider up in the heat detector which has been setting it off. Terry Blocker and Wayne Hedges have a conference call with me and I have a wonderful visit with them on the phone. They wonder why all these terrible things have been happening to me. I tell them I wonder too. Wayne has been having a tough time health wise also with a rare blood disorder. Judy also calls and says that Noelle wants to get baptized with Ashley, rather than later in her own stake. I tell her I'll try to arrange it. We have a late dinner and I give a family home evening on my mother amidst Rachel's anxiety because she has lots of homework. Ashley practices her song "When I am Baptized" and we have ice cream for dessert.

Wednesday. 3/2

An exhausting day. First playgroup, followed by a parent meeting to plan out the rest of the year. No one has taken charge so I do and present a plan and schedule which the other mothers modify slightly in dates only. Then I call the tax collector and find out I have until June 30. Type up Ashley's program (got permission first from Bishop to have Noelle join us), fix dinner for Kent's folks who are coming for Grandparent's Night. My hips and ribs really hurt today. In the evening I pick up kids from Mutual and Xerox the program, come home and make calls about the baptism and playgroup. Kent is working on a Mac computer he brought home. I try to talk to him for the second time about the insurance claim, since the adjuster is coming tomorrow to assess earthquake damage. He refuses to talk about it saying he doesn't see why the guy is coming in the first place

Thursday 3/4

Two very nice insurance adjustors for state farm come by in the morning. I take Chad to school, Jeffrey to the bus stop, then I go to Doctor's office and meet with Dr. Orenstein. He gives me frightening news that my CA 15-3 has gone up after my first taxol treatment, but that my LDH and alkaline phosphates, two indicators of bone disease, have gone down slightly. He doesn't know what to think of my migratory skeletal pain. Last week it was my back and back ribs, this week it is my front ribs that hurt, along with different parts of hips. He agrees to talk to Dr. B about upping my taxol dose from 150cc to 200cc. It was less because of low platelet count. Brett and I pick up Chad Harrison on the way home to play while parents unpack in their new home. In the evening accuses me of countering his request with Eric to come home right after school and clean. I tell him that I haven't but I feel it's all right for Eric to go to a friend's if he does half his work tonight and the other half Saturday morning. He disagrees and refuses to discuss it. I tell him he seems tense and ask him if I can do anything to help. He says no. I tell him I feel he's taking it out on the rest of us and he's quiet. I get ready for bed early but Kent already has his back to me and won't kneel for prayers, asking me to say them. When I awake, he is gone from the bed. I don't sleep well. I find out later that he has been sitting in his car about 4 hours each day getting to and from work in heavy traffic jams, and cries all the way, he is feeling so overwhelmed with the pressures of our life, particularly financial burdens. His head is all stuffed up too with a head cold and he can't sleep well, which is why he goes downstairs. I am overwhelmed too. I find myself weeping during the day a lot too. I know that our afflictions have truly humbled Kent and I, and largely sanctified us of our pride and other weaknesses.


In the morning when he comes in to get ready for work I tell him that I love him and I don't want our relationship to be like this. He says he's under stress at work and he comes home and feels more stress. He feels in need of physical comfort and reassurance from me, but doesn't feel that I have been very responsive in that area. I tell him that is not my intention, and he says nonetheless that's how he feels. We have perhaps both been feeling so overwhelmed we haven't been aware of the others needs.

Friday 3/4

I was going to go in to SLC this morning for a couple of hours, but I decide to stay home and catch up in this journal. Marjorie Rodela calls me about 4 times and came to see me once, concerned and wanting to help me by getting some vitamins and other supplements for me. She dropped off some amino acids for me since I'd run out of the ones she gave me before.

In the afternoon, Kent came home in a much more cheerful mood, undoubtedly feeling some relief that the week was over. Ashley went to Shiva's. Ryan went biking over at Gallegos, until I found out the children were home unsupervised since their parents were still at work. In the future he'll have to invite Jerry over here. Mother came by later and paid me $50.00 for watching her children for the week in the morning before school. I knew she worried about them. I went over a few problems I'd had with them and told her that it would be nice if she could work closer to home or less hours I felt that her children needed her. She left worried and stewing over them, as I would if I had to leave my children. Children need a mother in the home to follow through with them and teach them how to behave. Hers are very aggressive and independent minded they've been without her direction most of their growing up. How grateful I am that that I have been able to be there for my own children. What a blessing. I hope that my grandchildren are so blessed with mothers who can be there for them.
We cleaned up the house.

In the evening Rachel chose to go to Wendy Downen's birthday party over Kelly's with Tara, Brett and Ryan Krell, etc. Heidi drove she and other friends down to a nice restaurant in Beverly Hills and they got lost. She was in a dilemma about which party to go to, but I was pleased she chose to go with her church friends. This would not have happened a year ago. She is really developing discernment in her choice of friends and activities, and inner strength to choose the better part. I remember when she and Tara said that nothing would ever break them apart.
Chad went with the Explorers and Brother Hourigan to a regional Basketball tournament and our ward won! They will be getting gold medals in priesthood on Sunday. Hourigans said they had a delightful time visiting and going out to eat with him, he was so charming and funny. Eric stayed home in a bad mood because he had to come home early from friends to clean house and babysit in the evening when the others got to go out.

Kent and I went out for boysenberry cobbler and ice cream at Coco's in the evening and had a nice talk. It was good for us to hear and understand what the other was going through. He said he needed more physical contact and reassurance from me, and sensitivity to him for his need for this. I said I needed to feel that he shared more of the emotional burdens of the family with me and was sensitive to my strivings to resolve some of our problems in the evening, as well as my physical discomfort which the baths helped to soothe. As we sat there talking, I realized how much I really did love this man, and that the Lord had brought us together with our varying strengths to help each other. We both felt humbled and sorry for being insensitive to each other. It is easy to see how couples can build up cases against each other and through pride refuse to repent or forgive. The stresses of life seem to accentuate both the positive and negative traits in an individual's life. Fortunately, both Kent and I have a desire which is being purified in the refiner's fire, of doing what is right and achieving eternal life together.

Saturday 3/5

We slept in 'til 7:30. We went garage sailing a little after 8:00, and spent most of the morning in Old Orchard I Tract garage sales. We walked the whole tract, my hips becoming a bit sore by the end. My sternum was hurting today, rather than my ribs like earlier in the week. Kent found some cowboy boots for Brett, which he loves (he wore them to the baptism, put them by his bed at night, and wore them to church Sunday. He even kissed them and said he wanted to marry them). I found a pretty dress, some purple tennis shoes and a headband for Ashley, 2 new sweat pants for Ryan, about 20 ties, and some little present items including a Birthday calendar book and food strainer for Elaine's birthday and some pink nail polish for Noelle.

On the way home we stopped by Thrifty's for some white lace tights for Ashley and got home just before 12 Noon, with only about 1 1/2 hours to get all ready for Ashley's baptism. We fixed lunch and hurriedly cleaned up and got ready. It's amazing how trashed the house can become in just one morning while we are away. I tracked down some white underwear for Ashley from the Malloy's. We left about 1:20 without Rachel. I sent my dad back for her, and we waited until 1:45 before starting until they arrived. Several others were late too, though.

It was perhaps the sweetest baptism I have ever been to have the two cousins, Ashley and Noelle plus Katie baptized together. They looked so sweet all in white. I had the three girls pictures on the front of the program. Vaughn Johnson was there to conduct. We somehow all fit into the Relief Society room, although we did have to keep setting up more chairs. Carrie played the piano and I directed the music. We sang "I am a Child of God" for our opening song. Katie's aunt Julie Limbean, who is expecting her first child, gave the invocation. After Vaughn Johnson, the Bishopric Counselor over Primary welcomed everyone, the three girls sang "When I am Baptized" together for everyone. Ashley knew all the words by memory. I gave Noelle the book to look at since she hadn't had time to learn them. Then Gary Horton gave a very personal talk on baptism, the promise to Jesus that you make, being washed clean, and the importance of repentance in staying clean and pure.

Each of the girls were baptized by their fathers. Ashley was baptized after Katie. Both her grandfather's were witnesses, and I was touched by the significance of these patriarchs watching over their posterity to see that the ordinance was performed correctly. Ashley wore a pretty white lace dress that I had found for her at a garage sale. She had been concerned about a few yellow spots on it which I had tried to get out earlier. Her hair was braided and at the end was a white bow which Anne Burnham, wife of our home teacher had made for her. She said that the water felt hot at first, but when she got down into it all the way it seemed cold. Her dress skirt floated up and Kent pushed it down twice. He was worried about it popping up again, so when he baptized her, he put her way under the water. Afterwards, I wrapped her in a towel and she stood by the door and watched Noelle be baptized by her father, Uncle Mike.

The mothers helped their daughters dress in the bathroom while Corene put on the video "Baptism: a Promise to Follow Jesus", and then Debbie Richardson, the girls' Primary teacher played the piano. The other girls wore white dresses to be confirmed in, but Ashley wore her green and lacey dress which came from the Burnhams; it matched the color of the green dress I wore. Aunt Judy put the hairdryer down the top of her dress to help her get warm. We dried her bangs and left her hair braided.
After we all came back in and sat down, the grandmothers bore their testimonies. Katie's grandmother told about how she was like her great grandmother and passed around a picture of her, as well as read a poem about Katie's happy spirit.

Then my grandmother spoke, in lieu of my mother. She used a cane to help support herself, since she has been experiencing increasing leg pain. I had a feeling earlier this week that she might not be with us for much longer, and that it would be nice to give her the opportunity to bear her testimony one more time to her posterity. She forgot to mention Ashley's name as she got up and said that she was Noelle's great grandmother, but she said that she thought that she was probably the oldest one there (she'll be 90 next birthday I think she can't see well and just saw Noelle, the first girl sitting in the row and was a little befuddled in her thinking. She said later as she hugged Ashley and apologized, that she should have said her name first.). She told about how she was baptized in a river. She said that the church had been a great source of joy and comfort to her throughout her life.

Then Noelle's other grandmother Dorothy Wooten spoke saying that not only did Noelle have a wonderful family she was born into, but that when you are baptized you get another family the ward family and larger family of the church.

We sang the song "I know my Father Lives" (Ashley picked out all of the songs for this program), and then my father spoke on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He said that he was the only one there who had two granddaughters being baptized, and how proud he was of each of them. He said that he knew the woman who wrote the opening song, "I am a Child of God" Sister Pettit. When she first wrote it she put "Teach me all that I must know". She submitted it to the First Presidency for their approval, they told her to change it to "Teach me all that I must do" , because it is not enough to know the gospel, we must live and do it. He said that the purpose of the Holy ghost is to help us know what those things are that we must do.

He compared the Godhood to the Bishopric, and just like the Bishop has two counselors to help him, Heavenly Father has Jesus and the Holy Ghost to help Him, and he gives special jobs to each one. The Holy Ghost's job is to bring things to our remembrance and teach us all things that we should do. He told about one time he had his TV cable disconnected after he'd been on vacation a long time and hadn't paid his bill. When he tried to watch TV he couldn't see anything until he went down and paid his bill and had it reconnected. He said that the holy Ghost was like cable TV. We have to do certain things in order to get good reception. If we did wrong things, then there would be a lot of static and we wouldn't be able to receive messages from the Holy Ghost. If we were choosing the right, then the Holy Ghost would help us remember and teach us what to do.


After his talk the girls were confirmed. First was Katie, confirmed by her maternal grandfather, Dan Stage. Next was Ashley, and then Noelle. Ashley was confirmed by her dad, and he was assisted by his father James Gardiner and brother Uncle Mark Gardiner, by my father James Brown and my brother Uncle Charlie Brown, by my sister's husband Uncle Mike Wooten, and by our home teacher Dan Burnham. As soon as Kent placed his hands on Ashley's head I felt a strong, almost heavy spiritual presence emanating from the circle, the same spirit I had sensed when Ashley was baptized. I really felt the presence of the Holy Ghost and my Heavenly Father's love for Ashley. It occurred to me that my mother was also there.

In the blessing, after the Holy Ghost was conferred upon her and she was confirmed a member of the church, Ashley was blessed that she will understand the scriptures as she reads and ponders them in her life. She will gain a strength above her natural ability from them and understand life and the gospel. She will have an understanding of the Holy Ghost, and it will help her avoid danger and remember the covenants she has made and the things she should do. It will also help her to remember the things which she has studied and read in the scriptures. Her mind will be open to the truth and she will understand those things which Heavenly Father wants. Then Kent's voice became choked with
emotion as he told her that there were spirits which looked down upon her extended family in the spirit world which were pleased and happy with her baptism and loved her. Her Heavenly Father loves her too, and she will grow in understanding of His love for her and her parents love for her. Her goodness of soul, sweetness of spirit and understanding of the gospel will be a blessing to those around her. She will move forward, be an example to nonmembers, a positive influence on her friends, and a peacemaker in her family.

After the confirmations, the mothers gave their "reflections" on their daughters. Carrie told how happy she was to finally have a girl after two sons, and what a source of joy and happiness Katie was in their home, and how much they enjoyed doing things together. I spoke next, followed by my sister Judy who told how she and Mike had waited 4 1/2 years after Lechelle before they had Noelle Joy their "song of Joy", and that heaven on earth was having her smile and give them hugs. She told how loving and patient and sweet she was to her younger sisters, and how she was such a good missionary and example of the gospel at school, even writing a message "Jesus loves you" to a real grumpy teacher.
I told about how I had been awakened one afternoon by a voice telling me that I would have two daughters shortly before I became pregnant with Ashley. I said how special it was to have these two little cousins be baptized on the same day when they had been born only 5 days apart, and that I was certain that their Grandmother Brown was present and rejoicing with them. I told how just a year before her death, their grandmother had gone down to help my sister take care of Noelle, and then came home just in time to help me with Ashley.

Ashley was the last grandchild delivered by her Grandfather Brown, and her grandmother had really enjoyed caring for her. I felt certain that she was participating in the events this day. I said what a loving, sweet, bright spirit Ashley was in our home. She had a gift of understanding of the Gospel, beyond her years, and it was not infrequent for me to hear her teaching Brett (who adores her and believes everything she tells him) something she learned from her Primary lesson. I said that I felt that she was a gift from God, and that it was a privilege to be her mother.
After the mothers, Vaughn reemphasized the point Sister Wooten had, that they now had a larger family of the church to which they belonged, as well as Gary Horton's remarks about the promise they had made to stand as a witness of Jesus. He had the girls stand in the front and everyone look at these pure, clean, precious souls, which we should always strive to be through repentance and renewal of our baptismal covenants.

We sang Ashley's favorite song, "I feel my Savior's love" for the closing song, and the benediction was offered by Grandpa Gardiner, who videotaped most of the program. I told Vaughn to announce that we all needed to leave in a hurry since it was about 5 minutes to 3:00 when the stake baptism was scheduled, and everyone was waiting outside to get in. We all went into the kitchen for punch and cookies and visiting.

Kent told me afterwards what a lovely program it was, and that he had felt quite guilty sitting there during it, realizing all the work I had put into it during the previous week without his help. I felt somewhat justified for my efforts.

Grandpa and Grandma Gardiner went home afterwards, they had some video stuff to do for the church, but everyone else came over to our house for dinner. Fortunately, Judy had taken care of the food assignments already, all I needed to do was ask Karen to bring chips, and provide cups and plates, napkins and silverware. I threw in some lunchmeat, tomatoes and lettuce salad for the sandwiches too. While everyone was setting up, my grandmother gave me a clear Mary Gregory cruet with a stopper, which had no one's name attached to it (we all picked out her pieces she got this recently at the Pilgrim's Festival, a fair put on by retired ministers and their wives). She gave this to me to replace the pretty cranberry Mary Gregory vase which was shattered in the earthquake. I also fielded some calls about loans. Kent had a migraine, and took a third of a no dose pill that Charlie gave him, since we had no aspirin with caffeine. Mark said that Gayle used to get migraines and she found that aspirin with caffeine was the only thing which cleared it up for her.

Ashley got a diary and a journal, and a cute little knickknack box from my dad, my grandmother, and Aunt Karen. Elaine also brought out a birthday bouquet of flowers. We had submarine sandwiches, a vegetable platter, Jell-O salad, chips, and cookies. I gave Elaine a card, the birthday calendar book, juice sieve, and a videotape copy of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Breathing Lessons” with James Garner and Joanne Woodward. Judy gave her a lap quilt which she had made. We all played games, and made arrangements to get together for Dad and Eric's birthday on the 26th and have an Easter Egg hunt.

Kent was quite ill with a migraine and sinus cold most of the day. He felt better after my brother gave him a little no dose. Mark said Gayle used to get lots of migraines and the only thing which helped was aspirin with caffeine in it. I will have to get some for Kent and Rachel. We all had a nice visit, there was a sweet spirit there all afternoon. Lots for everyone to do with trampoline, basketball court, tetherball, ping pong, puzzles, skippo, and other games. Kent had the same feeling that I did that my grandmother may not be here for much longer, as he saw her so frail and hobbling on her cane. She's always been so healthy and strong; for some time I thought maybe I would die before her. I wish that I lived closer so that I could visit and help her more. We will need to make a point to go visit her soon.

After everyone left and Kent supervised cleanup while I put Brett to bed, Kent and I dressed up a little and went down to the ward for the Relief Society birthday dinner and program. We got there late, but sat down and shared one plate with Packers, Adairs, McLaughlins, and Brian Payne. Then we went into the chapel to hear the guest speaker, a Brother McCune. He spoke on honoring women, the place of the atonement and adversity in our lives. He told of becoming a stake president at age 33, and that he felt the thing that qualified him for that position, although he hadn't even been a Bishop, was the fact that he had been a good home teacher to Carol French's family while her father lay dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. He told of his love for his wife, who fought breast cancer 7 years before dying 6 months ago (when their youngest was only 13), and his commitment to her. It was a little uncomfortable for Kent and I to hear this, especially since I was sitting there in some bone pain. He referred to John 15, about how the Lord purges those he loves so that they may bear more fruit. This had significant meaning to me this scripture had deeply impressed me as I read it in the hospital over 4 years ago after my mastectomy.

At this point, it is very likely that I shall die of cancer unless there is some miracle cure in my life and the Lord wills it otherwise. I have been promised that I would live to do what the Lord wants me to do, and that my body would be able to heal itself under his direction. Whether that means heal itself completely or heal itself sufficient for me to finish my mission in this life I don't know. But I feel to place my trust in Him, and my life in His hands. I know that all things are possible unto Him, and that He is able to do whatsoever He will for the benefit of His children. I used to want so desperately to live that I could not bear to think of dying a slow painful death of cancer. Now, so completely humbled by my circumstances, and knowing my dependency upon God so completely for all my desires, I feel to defer to His wiser knowledge and will. Shall I suffer in death like my Savior? Or shall I have my life spared to do greater work here in mortality like John the Beloved? While I should prefer the latter, either way I believe that it shall work to my good according to His will for me.

Afterwards we kidded the R.S. presidency, saying: next time, please find someone who doesn't speak about dying of cancer. I could tell that they were all a little uncomfortable for my sake. We saw Tim McKeon there with his wife and told him that Rachel was over at his mother's house with Steve and some other friends. He said that he was on his way over there to pick up his little daughter and that he would check on things to make sure everything was kosher. He assured us that his mother would be keeping a sharp eye on things and that she was a tough lady.

We had a nice talk with Keith Allan about Chad and his insurance paying for the light pole. He agreed with Kent that the real turning point in Chad's life was when he came face to face with reality after wrecking the Allan's car. Keith talked about how he encouraged Chad to find out how expensive a car was to buy, keep up and maintain and insure when he came to him so determined to have his own car. He sort of backed down on his intensity when he found out how expensive it was. Then after he wrecked their car he came to them and cried. Keith told him he was going to give him a bill for $4,000 which he expected him to repay them for the car, but not until after he graduated from college. He said that he felt that was a humbling experience for him. He also said it was probably good for him to live with another family for awhile and learn that he had to be respectful, and polite he couldn't just ramrod or demand his own way like he had been at home. Keith said he and Melba tried to have him let them know where he was, with whom, etc. and that he'd never given them any problems. They realized they were too laid back now their own children were nearly grown, and Sheri and Denise, though living at home, went their own way in life. Melba worried about him being up in his room all day doing nothing and tried to encourage him to read. He said Chad learned some valuable lessons about girls after Heidi, and then throwing his heart after Stephanie, who was nice to him, but did not return his obsession. He said he thinks Chad learned not to come on so strongly with girls, to hold back a little (a valuable lesson in young love). Their girls felt uncomfortable with him hanging around the house and Scott was coming home from his mission and wanted his room back. He felt sorry for Chad but felt it was time for Chad to come home and make peace with the family before going off to school.

Now Chad was gone and Scott was home what a trade off. Scott was wound up all the time, spouting off all kinds of unrealistic dreams and useless information....even had an M16 rifle shipped home from his mission C.O.D., which Keith is having sent back to the company. He said Chad and Scott were alike, so he understood Chad. He reassured us that in his opinion Chad could settle down and honorably fulfill a mission.

I released all my ambivalent feelings about Chad moving in with them after talking to him. I could see that it had really been a blessing for us and Chad and that they had given Chad good counsel. It was a good experience for Chad to live away from us for a short time until he could get his values reestablished. They of all people were most understanding, and not having young children at home, were probably in the best position to do so.

Kent and I left, wishing we could be some of those washing dishes and cleaning up in the kitchen, rather than going home because my fragile health would not permit me to stay up on my feet any longer. My hips were very sore.
It rained that night.

Sunday morning 3/6

Kent and I lay in bed and reviewed the week, the multi-track schedule, and taxes. We felt some of the pressure off from last week. I felt like I had run the whole day yesterday, and only a long bath with the jets on my hips seemed to help relax me last night.

The Bishop had asked Ashley to bear her testimony and Kent had coached her on what to say. She sat up on the stand behind the Bishop during the Sacrament, wearing her white lace dress. She looked so beautiful with her blond flowing hair, wavy from the braid she had left in all night, and partly pulled up with the white lace bow from the Burnhams. With great articulation and poise she told how special it was for her to be baptized with her cousin, who had been born so close to her and was such a good friend. She told how her dad had put her way under the water so that her dress wouldn't come up, and she was glad because she could feel the Spirit a long time while he did that. She was glad that she could be baptized and knew that the church was true.

It was Mikal Smith's missionary homecoming. I was deeply touched by his mother's remarks about having the mission president tell him that his grandmother Keiser had died. Mikal called her afterwards to tell her what a sweet peaceful feeling he had felt as he was told this, and how the mission president had given him a blessing, and in it told him that his Grandmother would be close to him and watchful over him many times in his life. The mother, who at first grieved that her mother would not see him when he returned, realized that she would be the first one in the family to see him again. The dad, divorced from the mother also spoke, telling how one time Mikal had called him and told him a number of things he felt his dad should be doing. At first the dad was a little put out to have his son be counseling him, then later felt that it was appropriate that his son as a servant of the Lord, should be inspired by Him and that he had begun doing several of those things. He also said how much he appreciated his son's mother, which was touching, since their divorce had been quite bitter. The son gave a nice tribute to his father when he said that it was his father who had inspired him to want to go on a mission by telling him about his. He gave a very fine talk on how you can know the gospel is true by the Spirit. It was one of the more mature return missionary talks I've heard.

I had a nice visit with the Hills, Connie McKeon, etc. afterwards. Everyone said I looked to pretty to be sick. I felt pretty good all day until in the evening my back lower left rib began to hurt very intensely. I spoke with Stephanie and the Bishop about Stephanie's Open House after her baptism next week, then came home and typed in my journal about Ashley's baptism. After dinner I presented a family home evening about my fathers parents, Harold and Mary Brown. I tried to share good qualities as well as mistakes in a positive light.

Harold Brown was the oldest of 11 children born to Charles S. Brown and Mary Halls. He loved his mother and was a big help to her on the family farm, particularly when his father was gone on his many travels. He even helped to bury his two little brothers who died as infants. He delivered mail on horseback in Indian territory when the Post Master was afraid to because of the Indians. He was wonderfully musically talented, teaching himself to play, mostly by ear. He played for Priesthood in church, and enjoyed music his whole life. He had a very funny sense of humor, could tell a joke better than anyone I knew. He also loved practical jokes, such as the time he substituted a soft boiled egg for a hard boiled one in a co-workers lunch for several days successively until the man, exasperated determined to cook the egg all night long. He was a hard worker, working on his parent’s farm and later digging trenches for the gas company. When he was nearly 80 years old he dug another septic tank for my parents.

He married young, without going on a mission or going to college, to Mary Agnes Young. They married in the temple, but soon afterwards he began drinking and smoking with friends, who may have been even LDS in that little Mormon community. But for him it became more than just social drinking; he became an alcoholic and a heavy, addicted smoker. He became mean and abusive towards his wife and children when drunk, and many times was in jail or some other kind of trouble. My father, the oldest child, became like the dad in the family, often going out to look for him in bars, etc. to try to get him home. His two youngest sons became alcoholics too, married outside the church and divorced, and died early deaths. He always knew that the church was true, and tried many times to quit drinking and smoking in his life. In his struggles he was very empathetic to others who made mistakes.

Matches

One story illustrates this:
My father used to flick matches and watch them light. One day by accident he set the palm tree by his house on fire, and it partially burned the house. There was a lot of smoke, which could be seen for miles, and neighbors and firemen all gathered around to help put it out. My dad felt like hiding. After everyone went home and all the family gathered around each other, he felt like an outcast. His father saw him off by himself, and held his arms out to him. My father with a cry of joy and relief ran into his embrace. His father never mentioned this incident again during the next 57 years of his life.
He and his wife often quarreled bitterly, and in the latter years he lived in a room in the back of the house. But they never divorced. This incident symbolized their relationship: One time as they knelt down for family prayers, his wife complained that he always called on her. He said it didn't really matter since they both prayed for the same things: she prayed that she would have the strength to forgive him, and so did he....He felt badly for the way he had treated her, and it was his desire to live longer than her so that he could take care of her. He had several heart attacks, but he did outlive her by a couple of years, and largely cared for her when she gave up caring for herself. He quit smoking and drinking many times, finally giving up drink for good, but he went back to smoking until shortly before going into a coma, which he was in for about a year. My dad thinks it gave him a chance to have the craving cleaned out of his body before he died. He lived to be 90 years old.

My Grandfather

My grandfather had a gift of humor and music, and a desire to repent and put his life back in harmony with the gospel. If he could speak to his posterity, he would tell them to go on missions and get an education before they married, it would bless them their whole life. He would also caution them on whom they associated with, and the habits they developed. He would tell them never to take a drink or smoke a cigarette, so they could avoid the hell he went through and caused his family.
My grandmother Mary Agnes Young lost her mother when she was about 8 years old. Her father sent her to live with some older brothers. He remarried and had a second family, and Mary never really felt that she fit in or belonged anywhere. She was quite close to one sister who died when she was in her teens. She was a very pretty woman, and married Harold in her late teens in the temple, probably anxious to finally have a home of her own. She and Harold were very poor, living in a small home on the edge of town. Harold didn't have an education, and it was difficult for him to provide for his young family. She always felt bad that she didn't get an education herself, and always yearned for more for herself and her family.
They lacked all but the bare necessities of life. She remade worn out coveralls from Harold into clothes for her boys. One Christmas, the most memorable one for my dad, she walked into town and bought each of them a second hand book. He remembers it with poignancy because he knew how much she wished she could give them something more. She was afraid of driving and depended on her boys to drive her around on errands as they grew older.
She tried to be active in the church and teach her children the gospel, even though it was difficult with a husband who was not always active. My Uncle Bob remembers that when he was a little boy she pulled him and his sister Louise, while Jim (my dad) walked, a couple of miles to church on Sunday when she could. Both Uncle Bob (who recently became reactivated after the death of his wife) and my dad credit their testimony and love of the church to her. She was very diligent in genealogy work, and compiled mounds of information and corresponded with many people in this work. She also donated frequently to the church missionary fund, perhaps wishing her own children had served missions.
Although ardent in her love of the church and the gospel, she felt unloved and unappreciated most of her life, and didn't always understand how the gospel worked. She was very unhappy in her relationship with Harold, and had difficulty forgiving him for his frequent shortcomings and insensitivity to her. Over the years she nursed several grudges and hurts (real and imagined) inflicted upon her, and became quite bitter, focusing on the many disappointments that had come to her. While she was close to her sons, and dependent upon them for things her husband wouldn't do for her, she became estranged from her only daughter Louise, who married outside the church and joined the Catholic church. I think that her daughter resented her attempts to bring her back into the church or convert her husband, and wouldn't speak to her or even come to her funeral. It was a great sadness to her that all but her oldest son (my father was the only one who married in the temple) married outside the church and became inactive for a time. Her two youngest sons became alcoholics and died in their forties. She was particularly close to her son Leland, and his death was a great grief to her. In the end, Mary just gave up, refusing to even care for herself.

Even though Mary had a hard and disappointing life, I shall be forever grateful to her for instilling in my father a love of the church and gospel.

Many of the blessings I enjoy in my life because of my father are due to her faithfulness. I think if Mary were to come back now and counsel her posterity, she would tell them, particularly the girls, to get an education and strengthen themselves as much as possible before marriage. Then to seek out a man who had inner strength, who had an education and could provide for them, as well as had a commitment to living the gospel. She would tell them to never underestimate the influence a mother can have on her children, and while respecting their free agency, to never ever give up on them. They may return, like Uncle Bob has. She would tell them to hang onto their hope, and to be forgiving of others, even seventy times seven. Though the person may seem un-repentant, and justice temporarily thwarted, when you refuse to forgive another or give up hope you poison your own soul. There is much good that one can do, even in the most oppressive of circumstances, if one hangs onto hope in Christ and strives to do one's best.


Monday 3/7

My lower back left ribs hurt so sharply all night long that I had trouble sleeping. After dropping Brett off at Norton's, I took Jeffrey with me to Old Orchard to drop off our Multi-Track registration and sign Brett up for Kindergarten. There was some confusion about whether or not Old Orchard was our family's home school since they didn't have our street listed in the area's boundaries. Apparently the woman helping out wasn't aware of the move in date cut-off for Old Orchard/Wiley Cyn, and she told me that I would have to apply for an intra-district transfer in order to have Brett attend Old Orchard. I immediately envisioned a whole nightmare of having to go on waiting lists, not getting our preferred tracking, being transferred to Wiley Canyon and being stuck on whatever track spaces were available, Brett going to a different school than Ashley and Ryan, etc. I became very upset and demanded to see the principal, which unnerved the poor uninformed woman trying to help me. We went into the office and as I told them of the policy of residents who moved in before Nov 1990 being assigned to Old Orchard, everyone moving in after that date cutoff being assigned to Wiley Cyn., they concurred and called the district office to verify it. I guess it was particularly relevant to me since two years ago as a member of the SR town council I had led the drive to keep the Sr children who were then currently in Old Orchard at the school until the new school was built, rather than be transferred to Wiley Canyon for a couple of years, and then the new school. I apologized later to the now rattled woman for coming on so strongly. I guess I was feeling overwhelmed by pressures beyond my control and wasn't up for any more battles.

The three older children had orthodontist appointments. I dashed home because I had a loan appointment, but as I called the woman, she cancelled out on me. Kent kept his appointment with Bob to do our taxes, and came home to tell me that I was right to have the insurance adjusters out on our home, we could depreciate the claim on our house when we sold it. I felt somewhat justified again for the hard work I'd put in last week trying to solve our problems, but graciously did not rub that point in to Kent. I fixed dinner for us, and the missionaries who came later because they had a teaching appointment. Kent and the two youngest children wrestled as the missionaries woofed down dinner (we'd eaten earlier) and there was a very pleasant spirit of contentment in our home. I served some lemon bars for dessert, which for some reason didn't set up. Afterwards we went into the living room for a short visit. We had asked them to share about preparing for a mission. Elder Peterson spoke about reading the Book of Mormon, Elder Evans about some books missionary tools which helped him preach the gospel according to the scriptures. All four of the youngest children gave them rapt attention. I was very disappointed in Rachel and Chad, who whispered and read portions of Catch 22 throughout their presentation. I even had a tug of war with Chad in order to get the ringer turned off on the phone so we wouldn't be interrupted. It was for the oldest two that we had asked them to prepare their remarks. I must have told Chad five times to put the book down or close it and pay attention.

Afterwards Kent invited them to pick out some ties for themselves from the ones he had purchased at garage sales. Elder Peterson came upstairs with Brett to see his room, knelt in prayer with him and offered a sweet one himself for Brett and Ashley. How I love the goodness the gospel brings out in those who live it. Later, when the children were in bed, and Eric was helped with his homework, Kent and I visited with the Elders who were fascinated with his collection of puzzles. One or both of them will be transferred this month. It would be nice to have them back again before they leave.

Tuesday 3/8

Institute, picked up things at Long's for Rachel, brought Jeffrey Gallego home from school with pink eye (he stayed in my room and watched Aladdin until his brother and sister came for him at 3:30) fixed an early dinner for the children and went to SLC meeting. Kent not home till after I left. Found out at meeting that information I'd received and been presenting on House America was not wholly accurate, which was unnerving and embarrassing. Also Stacy is moving to Santa Fe and will be closing up office. We'll be on our own, get paid higher commission, but have less support. We talked about renting an executive suite with a secretary, keeping the same phones and fax, and keeping up the weekly meetings. I did have a distinct feeling that this was NOT what I wanted to be spending my whole time on earth doing. For me, this job is only a means to an end trying to provide for my family's needs. It does sort of seem like everything I put my efforts into isn't panning out.

Wednesday

After dropping Brett off I took Jeffrey with me to Dr. B's office for blood tests. Donna had difficulty drawing blood from the port-a-cath. I spent most of the day on the phone trying to understand the differences between Countrywide and North American's community home buyer's programs. I've been in some discomfort with bone pain, and wrestling with feelings of depression and being overwhelmed. But if exercise the same faith as all the ancient saints in the scriptures, am I not entitled to the same blessings of deliverance? Is not God able to perform according to his promises to us?

Thursday 3/10

After Jeffrey left Brett and I went grocery shopping. Later I called on my blood tests. Platelets and hemoglobin up. LDH up ten points, alkaline phosphates the same, but white blood cells down by half. Probably due to exposure to Kent's cold. Dr. B was going to only give me 75% dose again, but he called me in the evening, and after hearing about my migratory skeletal pain he decided to give me full dose. He said he'd never heard of such a reaction to taxol, that it sounded like a flare during hormone treatment and asked me if I was still taking some. I told him no, but when I told him about the immuno-plex with the glandular products which might be stimulating some of my hormones, he told me to stop taking them in case they might be causing the confusing symptoms. After I got off the phone with him I felt quite chagrin in trying to help myself I've probably been shooting myself in the foot, taking the worse possible thing I could take, since my cancer is hormone receptive. I took another teaspoon of consecrated oil, and prayed that since the light of Christ is in and through everything, that through the Lord's word, it would direct my body in healing itself. Ryan went to Pack meeting.

Friday 3/11

Gallegos didn't come this morning since their mother stayed home from work. I brought Brett into SLC with me while I tried to determine the location of the census tract in Castaic. Data quick didn't make it possible to call up all properties within a census tract. I got some information before dropping Brett off and getting to the hospital about 11:00. The staff at the hospital is very nice. Everything goes very smoothly. I called the title company from the hospital bed, still not finding out much info, which I'd hoped to resolve before my meeting tomorrow with Rubicon. I read the newspaper for the week, ate lunch and dinner, and was done by 6:30 good time for arriving so late.

I came home and Carol Strong had made dinner for the family lasagna (lasagna and chemotherapy do NOT mix, but fortunately I'd eaten already at the hospital). I got Brett into bed and talked Kent into coming to Know Your Religion with me. It was on the atonement. The speaker was very good until the end, when he told about his niece who had married outside the church at 18 and been sealed to her husband after his death and shortly before hers (he was a 7th day Adventist and smoked his whole life), saying that we shouldn't judge the Lord wouldn't hold an indiscretion. committed by an 18-year old against her forever. I believe that may be true for his cousin's sake, if she had truly repented her whole life, but he made it sound as if her repentance could save her husband as well, which I don't believe. Alma and the Book of Mormon make it clear that we will have the same spirit with the same desires and tendencies in the next life that we possess in this one. This is the time to prepare to meet God. And we are each responsible and accountable for our own actions, not anothers. But often times we shield one another from the consequences of our choices (as this brother was doing his cousin and her husband), and do so by saying "don't judge" or "don't force", when the scriptures command us to judge righteously (as opposed to judging Unrighteous judgment) and to exercise righteous dominion (as opposed to exercising dominion or control or compulsion in any degree of Unrighteousness). Again, I feel we are supporting Satan's plan when we do so, and ironically we do so in the name of the gospel. Afterwards we had a nice visit with Shirley Higley Williams and her son Brad Higley a very mature, wise young man who reminds us fondly of Shirley's former husband Bert the way he used to be when he was our Bishop in Panorama City and living the gospel.

Saturday 3/12

Took Eric to his game and went garage sailing. We cleaned up, I made some lemon bars, took Ashley around for Girl Scout Cookies, and got ready to go out to Rubicon Realty in Val Verde. While looking for some gift items for a raffle, and grabbing my Indian necklace, the wire broke on it and silver beads scattered all over the corner of the garage. AUGH! I met Stacy there and made my presentation to Paul and Stephanie again, and one other agent Vicki. Ricky and Richard were not there. I was not as smooth this time, and was a little consternated when Stacy told them some wrong information about the program.

Somebody came by to see the house while I was at Rubicon and Kent was at Ryan's game. Rachel showed them around, but didn't know what to say or do. I have been praying that the Lord will guide someone to our house, but it is so hard to do everything. Kent made a sign with an information packet and put it at the end of Stafford Cyn., the way up to a new development which held an Open House this weekend. A girl dressed in a green leprechaun outfit was passing out flyers at the entrance to Stevenson Ranch about a new development up in Castaic. There's a lot of competition for very few buyers.

Sunday 3/13

This morning I read an address by Elder Dallin H. Oaks as he reiterated Pres. Benson's call to study the Book of Mormon, and how we are under condemnation as a church because we have treated it lightly. The Book of Mormon teaches the doctrines of the Fall and the Atonement and testifies of the Divine Redeemer ship of Christ as no other book on earth. I never truly appreciated this fact until this morning as I contemplated his remarks in light of our struggles this past two years with our children, our finances and my health. The world denies the need for a Savior, and preaches the doctrine of Korihor that it is by the application of our own faculties that we progress. If our various trials and afflictions have taught me one thing, it is utter dependency upon God. We are doing everything we can, and yet we are unable to resolve our financial burdens, cancer, and problems with rebellious children without his help.

It is almost as if Satan himself has declared all out war on our family, and nearly succeeded in destroying us, with some help from well meaning priesthood brethren, who were looking to the world for answers, and not to the scriptures. The world preaches self esteem, acceptance and tolerance of evil, not that we are fallen by nature, and in need of repentance and a Savior. It was only in going to the teachings of Alma in the Book of Mormon that we were able to show our Bishop, and through him our son, the necessity of there being a punishment for breaking the law, as opposed to the blessings for obeying it, in enabling men to exercise their moral agency to repent and claim the mercy of God through Christ's atonement. I can also see that Kent and I have had much to repent of in our own natures as well. Perhaps the Lord has "suffered" these things to come upon us because of our transgressions, and so that we might learn obedience.

It was very warm today, but I wore a new dress I got at a garage sale along with my hat with the feather in it anyway. Should have worn something cooler, though. Sacrament meeting was Scott Allan's missionary report home. Listening to him and watching him gives me some hope for Chad (they both have the same handicap). His report home was about the things he had learned, and he jumped around between a myriad of subjects. Brother Allan said something that hit home to me as a parent: he said that today was a Pay Day for he and Melba.
No one came by to see the house.

I came home after Sacrament meeting and put some potatoes in the oven, worked on my journal. When the kids came home we had a light dinner before getting ready for Stephanie's baptism. Carly, a young girl Rachel and Stephanie befriended from England came over at 4:30. We left shortly afterwards. Stephanie greeted us at the door dressed in a lovely white outfit and looking like an angel. I gave her a hug. I looked for and greeted her parents, and led them into the R.S. room. A big crowd gathered (over 100 people came) and waited expectantly in the room while those in charge went to have a prayer meeting. There was standing room only and some confusion in the air. I started playing the piano just to sort of give some atmosphere until Glenna Rae White came and took over for me. After the prayer meeting we all moved to the chapel so there'd be enough room for everyone. I grabbed the small handful of programs on the table and passed them out, saving two for her parents. One thing I dislike about some missionary baptisms is the casual way many of them are conducted no greeters, no music, not enough programs, etc. I want to jump in and add those finishing touches to make it special for the people involved. I often feel lately that if the Lord would heal me, I would be willing to do anything wash floors or dishes, play the piano, do programs, set up chairs anything that needed doing just so long as I could serve.

I was feeling rather faint and tired, but gave the opening prayer, praying for the spirit to guide me. Angela gave a lovely talk on baptism, following Jesus' example, and honoring His name. Chris White and Victor Duran sang a duet about the priesthood ordinances. Then everyone adjourned to the Relief Society room to watch Stephanie's baptism. I ushered her uncle and aunt up to the front with their small children so that they could see.

There was a long wait, so I went into the bathroom to see if I could help. Stephanie was changing into a jumpsuit so she wouldn't get her white dress wet. I helped tie her belt, then grabbed her towel to wrap around her when she got out. The Bishop took a minute to show Steve McKeon, who was baptizing her, who to stand and hold Stephanie, and review the baptismal prayer. It was a sweet moment to witness this instruction. I stood with the Bishop by the door and watched the ordinance, then draped the towel over Stephanie's shoulders. Rachel came into the bathroom to help her change. She had arranged for all of her friends to help her in some way this day.

When Stephanie finally came back in, looking radiant, Wendy gave a lovely talk on the Holy Ghost. Wendy is the one who introduced Stephanie to the church by giving her a Book of Mormon nearly a year ago, and inviting her to come to church with her. As I looked around the chapel, filled with nearly a hundred youth, I thought what a wonderful experience this was for everyone, including my own children, to be a part of this lovely girl's conversion. What a great example and influence she has already been on the lives of my family members.

Marty Downen gave the confirmation blessing. It was beautiful about how she would be a beacon of light to those around her. I took notes and wrote up as much as I could remember before going to bed that night to give to her. After the closing song, "I am a Child of God", and closing song by Sandy Griffiths, we all went into the cultural hall for refreshments, put on by Stephanie's mother. Both the Young Women's presidency and myself had volunteered to put on an open house for her but her mother had insisted upon doing it. She was not prepared however, for how many people had showed up. Sandi Hamilton, Janet Murdock and her seminary teacher Joan King and Glenna Rae and I helped her get everything ready and set it up. There were chips and dip, veggies and dip, finger sandwiches and cake. It was gone in just a few minutes. I know that I dipped punch as fast as I could nonstop 'til the punch was nearly gone. Her family was very impressed with the church and support she received. Her father gave her a family Bible, and Rachel and friends bought her the LDS scriptures and a case.

I was very faint on the way home, and had the children make their own lunches. I put Brett to bed and typed Stephanie's blessing before crawling into bed myself. I felt weird totally exhausted, but not really very sleepy. I was awake quite often during the night.

Monday 3/14

Brett went to Packers. Ryan had a bad sore throat and stayed home from school. I started him on penicillin and thought maybe I should take some too as a precautionary measure. I was very tired all day. I worried about my low white blood count. In the afternoon I took all the children except Ryan to the dentist for cleaning and check up. No cavities. Kent told about his mother for Family Home Evening.

Tuesday 3/15

Institute. Tired. Kent uptight and depressed about Chad, my health (especially after reading about his mother's death) and our finances. I know that perhaps the most important job I have to do, (and perhaps the main reason my life has been preserved) is to be a helpmate to Kent. I need to stop resenting his weaknesses, humble myself, and make being his wife my first priority in life. I confess that I have wrestled with the idea that if I had married someone else, my life might have been easier. But I think that this is just one of Satan's temptations to me. I do believe that the Lord chose Kent for me and that the greatest work I shall ever do is with and for him. Perhaps his own mother and grandmother's prayers are partly responsible for the preservation of my life. Is it not better to give yourself completely to one person, and help save and redeem them eternally, than to give yourself to the masses and only mildly influence them for a time, only to be forgotten later? Is not the greatest work the work you shall do within your family? Are not the greatest heros, the unsung ones, who quietly give their lives in service to their loved ones? I believe it is so. I prayed for strength, quietly listened to his concerns, and soothingly calmed and reentered him again. He felt rejuvenated, and spent the afternoon helping Ashley finish the girl scout cookies and her story about "The Dog Without a Tail" for the Young Authors' Contest.

I made an early dinner and went to SLC meeting. While there, heard about many mortgage companies doing streamlined refi's for clients if the equity is there. I got an idea to approach GMAC, our mortgage company on that include the escrow account established to pay off our taxes, and get an adjustable payments would be similar or lower than what they are now, only taxes would be paid. It would take some of the pressure of us. If we don't sell our house in the next month or so I believe I'll try it and see. WE also went to look at a small office we could possible all go in together and rent after Stacy leaves. When I came home, Kent had read to the children and was in a very pleasant mood.
3/16 Wed. Brett went to Packers again. I got a blood test from Donna, made copies of Ashley's story. That evening Eric went to a make up game for Basketball. Chad and Rachel went to a stake laurel/priest night. Rachel said it was really DUMB.

Thursday 3/17 1994

min day because of parent/teacher conferences. Ryan and Ashley are doing well and don't need a conference. Ashley's teacher say she is a delight to have in their class. Chad got his notice from Rick's they have withdrawn his application pursuant to the Bishop's letter. He is invited to apply at another time with another Bishop's letter. I was very disappointed, and tried to remain calm. I counseled Chad to talk to the Bishop and ask his advice, saying perhaps they felt there hadn't been enough time elapsed since his transgressions. He said that was probably true. I asked him what he would do next semester, and he said he would probably just go to COC, work, and save his money for his mission.
I was very consternated about this situation. Part of me felt like being mad at the Bishop if he'd been giving Chad more justice (and calling him to repentance) a year ago, he might have been able to receive some mercy now, instead of the other way around. But I knew better than to interfere with the system the Lord has set up perhaps this will turn into a good learning experience for Chad. Better to wait a semester and realize now you can't get away with evil, than to wait and learn it at the end of his life or when it was too late.

In the evening I went to the stake Relief Society birthday dinner and celebration and sat by Glenna Rae and Mary Lynn. I was touched by the examples of the strengths and struggles of other sisters in our stake particularly by the story of Bishop Arlen Hansen's married daughter in Saugus I ward, who took in her mentally retarded, kidney damaged mature brother so her parents could retire to St. George, organized the funeral for her oldest brother, discovered that one of her children has cerebral palsy, and just learned that she has multiple sclerosis. I do believe that she may carry more burdens than I. But I did wish again, as I considered some of the great acts of service others give, that I was in a position of health and strength so that I could serve like that. I was particularly touched by a grandmother who makes dresses for her granddaughters, serves once a week in the temple, and teaches Gospel Doctrine (?). I would like to do thus someday.


Friday 3/18

Kent's 48th birthday. No school for the younger children. Susan Gallego called me from work, concerned because her children were fighting and crying at home, and wondering if they could come over my house for awhile. I consented with mixed feelings. Ryan had already called Michael Cossman to come over for the day, and Ashley and Brett had made plans to play with some children down the street. Part of me resented this intrusion on the children's free day. Part of me felt compassion for Susan trying to be an absentee mother, and grateful that I didn't have to do the same. So I let them come over. They ate chips all over the house. Jeffrey and Michael ignored Ryan for a few minutes and he was upset. Ashley and Brett were playing down at the Rioux's first time in months, and didn't want to come home to be with the Gallegos. I didn’t blame them and let them stay. Ashley later was invited to Shiva's and turned her down because Jessica, who is two years older, was here. I told her to call back and accept. I didn't want my children to feel obligated over this babysitting job. The Gallego children wandered around out of sorts, but not wanting to go home. They are not bad children just untrained. Jessica helped me put some chocolate chip bar cookies into a pan. Kent came home with some brownies and ice cream, which we shared while visiting with Jessica about her multiplication tables. It was a contented moment. I realized how richly blessed I was to be able to stay home with my children and be healthy enough to care for them still. No amount of money in this world can compensate for being able to care for and train your children; I pray that my grandchildren may be blessed with mothers who are able to be home for them.

Later Kent took all the children down to the church for an Easter activity, including getting Ashley and Shiva. That evening we celebrated his birthday, the children giving him things from a box of garage sale items that I assembled. We watched something on TV together in the evening I think it was Inspector Morse.

Sat 3/19 raining. I woke up with a very bad stomach ache. Nothing would alleviate it much. Pepto bismal didn't, neither did Tums. Kent called my dad and he recommended some Vicadon. I took some and went back to sleep for an hour.

Then got up and slowly dressed for a 10 am appointment with Concha Juarez, referred by Roxanne to Alex and me. I mainly copied and figured things while Alex explained to them everything. Appointment went nearly 3 hours. It was exhausting. They were very leary because of a previous bad deal. At the very end they balked at the monthly payment. Jody, who was filling in for Roxanne kept calling, wondering when they were coming in to look at houses. It was a long morning. After they left, Stacy suggested they offer $9,000 for a lower payment, which Alex will try to suggest.
On the way home I dropped off cookies for Payne's, Steve's sister had a funeral earlier in the day. I also got some jeans at a garage sale when the skies cleared a little. The boys had their last basketball games. I was very depressed and tired, had a hard time getting energy to clean the house. One young couple came by.

That evening was stake conference. We got there late because Kent was at Ryan's basketball game and I had to pick up Chad from work. Theme was on keeping temple covenants. President Packer, L.A. temple president, spoke. He is a nephew of Pres. Hinckley, and has a similar meek and wise spirit. He gave one of the finest conference talks I have ever heard. He preached the pure gospel. First talked about gifts we developed in the preexistence (referring to Sandy Griffiths who sang) and our Savior, who was so obedient in the preexistence that he became a God like unto our Father, only without a body. All those who hold positions in the church like our stake president do so because they were foreordained and developed the gift of obedience before they were born. He talked about the Fall, the necessity of a Savior and our learning to be obedient to our covenants in this mortal life in order to be redeemed. He said that our ancestors would kiss our feet when they saw us for performing the ordinance work for them and they would consider us saviors to them. He told an unusual story about the prophet who spoke at the funeral of a "totally" less active relative and the prophet said it like it was this man was a covenant breaker who would reap great sorrow.

He said that the most important decision you make in this life is who you marry and where so you can partake of the temple covenant of eternal marriage. He quoted President Kimball stating that you should not take a chance dating outside the church because it may lead to marriage outside the church. He said he had raised 12 children, and they had all challenged him on this point and he had told them that they gave up the choice to challenge him when they chose to come down to live in his family. He counseled them to "be friendly with all, companions only with those of strong faith." Not because you're too good for them but because you're not good enough to resist temptation. You need to be on higher ground to lift someone up, and so they needed to associate with those who were on higher ground than they were. All 12 married in the temple. He and his wife were expecting there 52nd grandchild and his wife said she couldn't wait until she was safely dead. That should be the goal of all us, and secret is to make and keep sacred covenants.

I noted that Bishop Patterson was there with Cody. I wished Chad would have been mature enough to attend and appreciate a talk like that. I was glad to hear him say all these things to our priesthood leaders. I could have used this kind of spiritual understanding and support last Summer.
Then Pres. Halladay spoke a few words. He noted that there were some in the stake who struggled with great burdens. Then he said something which brought tears to my eyes, and pierced my heart. It was as if he spoke directly to me when he said thus: "I promise you, as your stake president, that if you will honor and keep your covenants, the Lord will take care of you." It thrilled my soul and increased my hope. I went up afterwards and told him I appreciated his remarks. He said, "hang in there, Sister."

I spoke with Sister Packer a minute a matronly sparkly woman. I told her I hoped my husband and I could serve like she and her husband, and she said it didn't matter where you served. She's right.

Sun 3/20

Three oldest went to the youth session of stake conference. We went at 10. Theme was scripture study. Pres. Halladay challenged all members to read 5 minutes a day. We came home and watched "The Miracle Worker" on TV about Helen Keller. Brett got scared watching her temper tantrums. I trimmed hair during the movie, and Jill Johnson brought over the gorgeous bouquet of flowers from stake conference a present from President Halladay. I put them on the piano. They looked so lovely, a constant reminder that the Lord loved me.. Then we went out to my grandmother's for dinner. I had invited us a few weeks ago concerned because she will be 90 this year and may not be around much longer. Chad stayed to study for a math test with Soren Halladay. I couldn't argue with his company, although I would have liked him to come.

Grandma fixed us a nice meal. My dad came over by himself just as we finished he'd forgotten we were coming, and Elaine was exhausted after Ward Conferences. After dinner we had Grandma tell us a little of her life story. She took about an hour telling about her life up to her marriage. The younger children were very interested. Rachel kept trying to give me "the eye" because she wanted to go home, but I refused to look at her. We had pineapple upside down cake for dessert.

Tues 3/22

Cleaned house in the morning for a cash buyer brought by Jan Sylvester. Looked good, especially with beautiful flowers on the piano. Then I took Ryan to his dentist appointment and put a stop mail on some porno advertisements we've been getting in the mail. He liked the house, but they wrote an offer on one in Hidden Valley. I was depressed.
A couple of weeks ago, I overheard Chad call Steve Rasmussen at Penguins and ask if he would consider rehiring him. I heard him say, "No, you wouldn't?....(pause) okay, Thanks anyway." It was gut wrenching as a parent to overhear this. I ached for Chad.

When I came home from SLC meeting, I was met by Kent, who told me he had bad news for me. Chad was out with Heidi again. (I knew he had been calling her and she him again lately.) Kent told him he thought he was making a big mistake, and advised against it. Chad said I just want to be with her. He seems to crave stimulation, and I think misses the emotional high their relationship gave to him. Kent called the Bishop and told him and said dealing with Chad was a little bit like dealing with a retarded child. The Bishop said he could see this now. Kent told him that we'd like to help Chad but we were "out of the loop" so to speak with him we didn't know what was going on. The Bishop said he was trying to encourage Chad to open up with us. He told Kent that he had written a very supportive letter of recommendation for Chad to attend Ricks, then found out that Chad was continuing to do some things he shouldn't, and so had called Ricks and withdrawn his support: that was why Chad's application had been with drawn. He said he kept wondering when the consequences were going to start making sense to Chad.

Wed 3/23

Brett went to Lovelands. After Jeffrey went to school I went to Dr. B's. I had been praying for some confirmation that the taxol was working. I felt like I was getting conflicting messages with the pain more so in the hips and chest this time. Dr. B. said my CA 15-3 count was 93 coming down. I thought: this is the confirmation I needed to hear. He said he probably should have given me full dose the time before last, but was concerned about building my blood up after radiation. He said I should start seeing more results quicker with full dose. I was encouraged. He gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxer and okayed taking taxol on the Monday after Conference so I could go with the family to Utah,
In the afternoon I found Chad reading his scriptures. I have never seen him reading the scriptures on his own before. He had an appointment with the Bishop that evening.

Thurs 3/24

Took Rachel to school, dropped off Ryan's lunch and the Visiting Teaching message to Carolyn at Jackie's. Carolyn said that she would do the V. T. this month since sisters could only meet earlier in the morning when I had Jeffrey and Brett. After Jeffrey caught the bus, Brett went shopping with me at Smart and Final and Lucky's, buying many things for our trip. We brought the umbrella in case it rained. It sprinkled lightly, but didn't begin to pour until we got home. I was exhausted lugging groceries around. That evening Alex and I were supposed to go on an appointment with Maria, referred by Jody, and get signatures from Concha. Fortunately they were rescheduled, otherwise we'd be driving around in the pouring rain and dark. It was nice to spend a quiet evening at home, reading about Moses and Pippi Long stockings to Ryan, Ashley, and Brett. I also spent time typing up the histories my dad and Uncle Bob gave me on their family. I feel particularly close to my Great Grandfather "Farmer" Brown, and have sensed more than once in my life that he was watching over me. He was a fine intelligent, gifted man, who experienced great sadness over his children, most of whom strayed from the church after they reached maturity. I know that I inherited my understanding of the gospel and my ability to speak, salesmanship, and business sense from him. I remember when I spoke at my grandfather's funeral (his oldest son) I think he may have inspired me in what to say to his son's family. One time when I was a teenager and had done something which I knew was wrong, I had the distance impression that he knew what I had done and was displeased. I never did it again.

Fri 3/25

I wrote up a big list of questions about loans to ask Stacy before she left and asked for an appointment this day. I spent the morning working on a flyer to run around to R.E. offices and then met Stacy for lunch at Sisley's with Alex, Lori, and Marie. I peppered Stacy with all kinds of questions about different kinds of loans, etc. Very informative. Brett was at Greg May's. I'm grateful I've been able to have him play with friends while I work on this, although I wish I didn't have to at all. But I feel guided to this line of work it's something I can do which won't take me away from the home much. The rain stopped and it was a beautiful day.

This night Chad went out with a Carrie over to her house to watch a movie with her and another girl. Not members of the church. He didn't want to discuss his plans beforehand. I urged Kent to call him upstairs. He told Chad: Never date outside the church. Chad was irritated, but left when she came to the door anyway.

Sat 3/26

We garage sealed until 12 noon, then rushed to get ready to go to my dad's for Easter Egg hunt and Eric and my dad's birthday celebration. Chad went to Stake Scout Survival Contest and then work instead. I called Kent's aunt Mary who gave us permission to stay at her place during conference. Judy's family didn't come, neither did Barbara or Robbie only us, Grandma, and most of Charlie's family. We had Bar BQ chicken outside and cake and ice cream. All the young children wanted specific pieces of the clown cake with the singing candle. Eric helped me fill the eggs and hid them for the younger children this year they each got about 16 eggs. Rachel did her math homework.

I visited with my dad about the histories I had typed for him and he told me a rather touching unusual story about a man who had died in prison, incarcerated for murder. He was a member of the church and a patient of my dad's. The man's mother told my dad her husband had done the deed, and the son had taken the blame. He and Jim Smith, several Bishops had felt not to take church action against him. After 18 years marriage, man encouraged wife to divorce him. Later married female lawyer few months before death. She went through San Diego temple and was impressed. Delayed funeral for man's 1st wife and praised her publicly telling of husband's love and appreciation for her. Man's father did not come. My dad told quote Marion D. Hanks had on wall" To believe in God is to know that all the rules are fair, and that in the end there'll be wonderful surprises." He also told story by Boyd K. Packer: "John, leave it alone" about young father who learned to forgive country doctor after his wife died of infection another family tended by the doctor after he delivered her child. He said many things seem unfair in this life. We need to trust in God, and leave somethings alone.

Eric went to his first stake dance Saturday night. He counseled with Rachel a lot beforehand. He said he felt like a nerd, and that most of the people there were nerds. No one his age went, so he danced with many of Rachel's friends (all my family had coached Rachel on dancing with Eric too) only slow dances. Afterwards, he and Rachel talked to Kent, who waited up for them, and demonstrated how some people danced. I was pleased that Kent waited up for them to hear them report in. This is something I'd tried to make him do for Chad, but neither he nor Chad wanted to do this. Kent sees the advantage of this now, and both Rachel and Eric are more open about what's going on in their lives. Chad came in after midnight and Kent had come upstairs. He didn’t not talk to us.

Sunday 3/27

Fast Sunday. I cooked a turkey in the freezer since Thanksgiving. Stephanie Ferrell and Rickiy Ellis came by to view homes what a surprise for them and me. They are agents with Rubicon Realty I'm working with them to get loans. We skipped the potato bar for young women and their mothers so we could have the turkey dinner and Family Home Evening. Kent taught it on dating in the church and being careful about friends. What a challenge to teach our older children who sneer and snicker at everything but need to hear this.

Rachel and I went to a Young Women's General Broadcast after this. It was on Faith to Endure. It was very moving. I walked in late, having waited for Rachel to get ready and dropping off Chad at Halladays to study. Rachel was sitting by Valerie who rattled pages and whispered most of the meeting. I finally put my arm around Rachel and tapped them with my finger occasionally, which helped. They were distracting from the beautiful spirit there.

I wept during many of the talks. We were challenged to become righteous, problem solving women of faith. The first sister told about how the Lord took care of the children of Israel during their deliverance from Egypt and travels to the Promised Land. She told about her great grandmother, who lost her mother and some siblings on their journey to Salt Lake, but who never forgot her mother's testimony or desire to see her posterity grow up in righteousness in the land of Zion. This sister said to have Faith in God is to know that he loves you, knows who you are, and has a plan for you. He is in charge. It is to know that sooner or later, everything is going to turn out all right. We are in His Hands. I was deeply moved as I thought of those hands, calloused and torn with nail prints, and all the blessings, and healings, and acts of kindness they had performed. I was humbled to think that my life was in those hands, and knew that I need not fear. I was a little ashamed of my doubting. Elder Oaks gave a fine talk on faith as well. I look forward to reading these talks in the Ensign.

3/30

I spent last two days working on loans which don't seem to be coming through. Monday I went on an appointment with Alex to Burbank to see a Spanish couple and sister who wish to buy a house but are waiting for a sizable amount of money from a judgment first (the sister was injured at work). Ryan had a blue and gold dinner Tuesday night, and did an Indian skit about the Cub Scout colors. Wednesday I ran all sorts of errands, including getting blood drawn and finished packing for our trip to Salt Lake to attend conference. I ached all over and grunted every time I moved. I wonder if this taxol is working? Kent said it hurt him to hear me groaning or gasping for breath.

We met the Whites in front of Hart High about 4pm and then went out to Palmdale to get her sister and her sister's friend Michael. Were going to have Rachel drive but she forgot her permit. Chad was very rude and obnoxious about having to go I almost regretted taking him. Even Rachel and Eric, who were not thrilled about going but were tolerating it were annoyed with him. He demanded that I take a turn sitting in the back since I was "making" everyone go, and kept badmouthing the whole trip. We ate dinner at "Whiskey Pete's" at Stateline Kent and I shared some Prime Rib and Potato and salad for $3.50. Brett fell asleep in the restaurant. The food was cheap because they want you to throw your money away gambling. There were a lot of lost souls wondering around or just sitting at the slot machines pushing their money in. I overheard two women in the bathroom talking who looked older than me, but were actually younger saying that they wished they were children again at home with their mother to take care of them. It was kind of sad, I thought. I don't wish to go backwards only forwards, with increased ability to solve my problems and achieve my righteous desires.

We drove up to Steve and Joyce Adams home in St. George around 2:30, with the back porch light on, the beds made up, and a note telling us to make ourselves at home. Boy did those beds feel good. On their refrigerator were lots of quotes. One I liked said something like: "Failure is sacrificing what you want most in life for what you want at the moment."

Thursday 3/31

We ate breakfast, made lunches, and took off without the Whites since they wanted to browse through some Factory Outlet stores. Having borrowed tapes from the Hiltons made the trip easier to bear with the children. We ate lunch at Cove Fort, and then went up to BYU to show the children and get an ice cream shake. More rudeness from Chad, I think because he feels bad he can't go there. Rachel said she was going to go there though, and Eric was kind of interested, although he said he wanted to go to UCLA. I think that will change when he goes to EFY this Summer. Ryan asked a lot of questions about it. I told Ryan that the two things you had to do to attend were to 1, most important, live the standards of the church, and 2, get good grades. Chad was quiet. We paused outside the Wilkinson Center as the Stars and Stripes were played and the flag was lowered. It brought back many good memories. I hope all my children can attend there some time and partake of the wonderful spirit that is there.
We went to Gayle and John's gorgeous new house in Sandy and had dinner. The kids went with Julie to get a yogurt afterwards and we visited with Gayle and John.

John offered to make current our taxes on our Acton property and pay them for us each year for half the profit, minus his investment, when we finally resold it down the road. This may be the answer to this dilemma with property taxes due July 1. They offered to take the Eric and Rachel and friends a few days before and or after EFY this Summer. They are certainly very gracious and generous. But seem to be having problems with their oldest son Johnny, who may have ADD like Chad. We called Kris Johnson and told her it didn't look like we'd get to visit with her. The boys all wanted too especially Brett, who missed her and Lisa. We went on into Salt Lake and stayed with Kent's Aunt Mary, who let us stay in the downstairs apartment that she always says she is planning to rent. It was perfect and she was very solicitous about my health.

Friday 4/1

Kent and I got up early and stood in line to get tickets for the church's new movie "legacy". We got them for the 11 am show for us, the Whites, and my dad. We met them there at the theatre. It was so moving about the struggles and faith of the early members of the church. Kent and I really related to it in terms of our struggles lately. My dad treated us to lunch at the Sizzler, then took Chad to get some antibiotic for his sore throat while the rest of us went to temple square the church museum. In the evening, Gayle treated all the kids to dinner and a movie, while Kent and I went to his old mission reunion, then to a reunion of Glendale West ward members. Kent didn't see anyone he knew at his reunion, then found out that his first mission president, who served most of the time Kent was in the field, holds his reunions in October. Kent needs to get on his mailing list. He did see some old friends at his home ward reunion. He tried to look up Al Keime in the phone book but couldn't. We had a nice time together though, and came back to find Gayle and Mary entertaining the children, who each had a couple of bags of candy from Gayle. I think she has won her way into their hearts as the "perfect aunt" rich and doting.

Saturday 4/2

After breakfast we went over to temple square to listen to conference. We all got into the assembly hall, with it's very narrow pews for short pioneers. I was very moved by Richard G. Scott's talk on "healing", and had the spiritual impression that his message was for us. Kent did too. We decided to study it out more when it came in the Ensign. Elder Oaks presided at the morning session in the tabernacle, and when I told Brett that he was Jesus "special helper" he said, "You mean he's Santa?" I told Elder Oaks that at the close and he laughed and said that he had played that role before. He gave Ryan a hug and shook hands with the younger children. Afterwards I got permission from one of the ushers to show the younger children inside the tabernacle so that they could visualize where conference was taking place even though they were seeing it on a TV screen someplace else. I wanted them to understand that it was "real", particularly Brett, not just something made up or make believe. I wanted my children to catch the spirit of the church and gospel rolling forth and filling the earth this was the purpose of this trip.

We had a picnic afterwards by the church office buildings, then went back to listen to afternoon conference. I went into the assembly hall with Brett so I could sit down, but most of the others sat out on the lawn. A little girl at the beginning of conference in a very loud voice kept asking where Heavenly Father was. She said "he's gone." Then when the session began, she said "Now He's back." Everyone around her chuckled softly, but there was some truth in that. Elder Oaks gave a marvelous talk on the temporal and spiritual blessings of tithing. Kent and the boys overheard outside that if they waited in line in a certain place after conference began, they could get tickets inside the tabernacle for priesthood meeting, which they got. Rachel came inside the assembly hall with the younger children and sat near me. Brett was beyond sitting still anymore I just tried to keep him from bothering other people. We sat up in the balcony this time.

Eric and Chad had to save their places in line though, so we went across the street to buy some dinner at the mall and send it back with Kent while I took Rachel and the three younger ones back to Mary's. I was so tired, I fell asleep, while the younger ones ran around and Rachel yelled at them to be quiet. Then it finally was quiet and when I awoke, Mary was entertaining them upstairs and Brett had fallen asleep on the recliner. Kent came home from Priesthood, saying they got front row balcony seats and that it had been a thrilling experience for the boys. Chad had not wanted to wait it out, but Eric did, and in the end they were glad. Although both tired, they did try to stay with the talks, which were very good. Mary made us some tuna and potato salads, and some banana muffins.


Sunday 4/3

Easter Sunday Kent and I got up early, and I put a large, candy filled Easter egg by each child's sleeping bag. Then we woke them up, ate a quick breakfast, packed up and left around 6am to head back home. We snacked on the way, and in St. George at lunch at a meeting house parking lot and lawn across the street from the temple, and listened to part of Pres. Hinckley's morning session talk. My old friend Wayne Hedges came down to see us for a few minutes just before we took off and gave me a bear hug, which made me cry out in pain my sternum in my chest was so heavy and sore. (It's either healing or I am in big trouble.) He seemed the same, but is suffering from a rare blood disorder which makes it difficult for him to work. We finally made it home in the evening about 7pm. Had soup and cheese sandwiches before bed. Overall I think it was a very worthwhile trip. Even Chad seemed to have mellowed to it.

Friday Apr 29

This morning I did not have as intense shooting pain as I did the night before. I slept restlessly towards morning, and when I couldn't sleep pled yet again for the Lord's deliverance in my life from the cancer and financial bondage. Though I be unworthy, and nothing really, yet if I exercise the same faith as all the ancient saints and prophets, can I not receive the same blessings? Is not God the same God today as he was yesterday? Is he not yet able to stretch forth his hand in power in my life and bless me, so that I might overcome my afflictions and be able to work in His kingdom? If he would give me the physical strength and ability, and financial means, I would be willing to do anything that He asked of me: go where he wanted me to go, do what he wanted me to do, say what he wanted me to say. Before I went to bed last night, I reread all my blessings and found hope and encouragement. When I am in pain, it is hard to keep my spirits up.

I had to hold my head up with my hand (so it wouldn't strain my neck) and push myself up with my other hand when I got up to go to the bathroom. Otherwise I had shooting, paralyzing pain down my back. I knew that I could not function today so I asked Kent to stay home from work. When he got up to take Rachel to seminary, I had him get me some Tylenol. I had to hold my head up with my hand to drink. My elbows and arms felt so weak and numb. Kent said I was probably coming down with this flu cold thing which he got from Ryan and Brett it started with aches and pains in the back and joints and a scratchy throat (which I have). This, combined with overdoing it yesterday, and a sore spot already in between my shoulder blades which has flared before after chemo, probably is what did me in. It feels like a pinched nerve.

Kent climbed back in bed after he came back from taking Rachel (Chad slept in, having stayed up late working with Soren Halladay on a physics assignment). I picked up the Book of Mormon beside the bed and picked up reading the last half of 2 Nephi 1, where I'd left off yesterday, with Lehi's counsel to his oldest sons: (verses 25-27) "...for behold, ye have accused him (Nephi) that he sought power and authority over you; but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare. And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities. And it must needs be that power of God must be with him even unto his commanding you that ye must obey..."It struck me with great forcefulness that Lehi's experience with his two oldest children was very much indeed like what we had experienced with our two oldest children (in fact I remembered the stake president's blessing to Kent last June in which he referred to Father Lehi). I read this passage to Kent, and he too was struck by the similarity. Chad in particular claimed we were "forcing" him (seeking power and authority over him unrighteously) when we had only sought his eternal welfare. He claimed to the Bishop and stake president and others that we were mean and angry with him, and denying his freedom, when we had only tried to teach the truth, manifest boldly concerning his iniquities, and that he must obey.
This scripture illustrates most clearly what happens when you try to exercise righteous dominion over unrepentant, unrighteous souls. They try to attack your right to do so in order to justify their unrighteousness. Satan seeks to make men believe there is no sin, no hell, no punishment, you can do whatever you want. Hence there is no need for repentance or obedience, or the righteous use of moral agency. Look at what he said to Eve: "you shall not surely die..." He denies the law AND its ends: the inflicting of punishment which is affixed (to disobedience to law), in opposition to that of happiness which is affixed (to obedience to law), "to answer the ends of the atonement" (2 Ne 2:10). If there was no law, there could be neither justice nor mercy, sin nor happiness, and we would have been created for naught.

Kent says that I should write this up in the Ensign, or he should plan a talk on this subject. It is clearly a subject often misunderstood by the general public, even in the church. The easiest way for Satan to gain control or dominion over others is by convincing well meaning good people that it is wrong to exercise righteous dominion. It is a lie that Satan's plan would "force" everyone to be good. (How often I have heard that said in church meetings!) That is what he wants you to believe, so that you will think that any exertion brought to bear on your life to repent and obey is wrong. His plan was to save everyone, regardless of what they did, and take all the glory to himself. He would have taken away the opposition in all things, which would have brought no purpose to the ends of creation. If there was no sin and punishment, there would have been no righteousness and happiness. Man could only act for himself if he was enticed by one or the other. He could NOT have "forced" us to do good, for good would not have existed if there was no such thing as sin also. We would have been in a state of innocence, unaccountable for our actions. We are only free to act because there are opposites from which we can knowingly choose, and those opposites exist because of the Fall of Man and the Atonement of Christ. Christ answers the ends of the law unto all those who are repentant.
Satan is the Father of Lies. He tries to convince mankind that there is no absolute truth, no law, and therefore no punishment or blessing affixed to the end of it, and therefore no need for a Savior, or repentance and obedience. We are free to choose how we will respond to truth and the Lord's law, but we are not free to change it. There are many instances in the scriptures in which the Lord "compels" his children to do certain things. Their free agency comes into effect in how they respond. A classic example is the contrast between Laman and Lemuel to Zoram. Nephi "compelled" Zoram to accompany them into the wilderness and we assume to assist him in building a ship along with his brothers. And yet Zoram is commended for being a true friend to Nephi and for his faithfulness, whereas Laman and Lemuel are condemned for their rebellion while doing those same things.
When people claim they have their free agency to choose not to obey the standards of a family or the church while yet enjoying the blessings of both they misunderstand free agency. As long as they members of that group, they are free to choose whether they willingly obey or grudgingly obey, but they are not free to change the standards so that anything goes. That would destroy the freedoms of those who want to do right. Classic examples of this are found in the history of the Nephite Lamanite Wars, inspired by dissenters from the Nephites. Dissenting Nephites tried to change the Nephite law and form of government so they could do evil and get gain and power. They were not content just to leave the Nephites and join with the Lamanites, they stirred the Lamanites up fight against the Nephites in an attempt to conquer and submit them to their Unrighteous rule. Disobedience to eternal law is the source of all contention and war in the world. The protection of Freedom is really only the protection of Freedom to do right, not freedom to do wrong. If the Freedom to do wrong is protected, then wickedness rules and the freedom to do right would be destroyed. if righteous dominion does not
reign, then unrighteous dominion will  (Once again I see the wisdom of President Benson's counsel that we read the Book of Mormon, for it will give us power to 1. avoid temptation, 2. avoid deception, and 3. stay on the straight and narrow. It more clearly explains the Basic principles of the gospel specifically the Fall and the Atonement, than any other book.)
 
Later in the afternoon as I visited with Sandy Halverson I shared this insight. She said that this was like a light turning on for her that she had never thought of righteous dominion in this manner. She said it was like a revelation she had listening to Boyd K. Packer this last conference, as he stated the necessity of stating and standing behind true principles, even though it may cause pain to some people. She said there were several women she knew of in the ward with whom she worked as Relief Society president who were struggling and in need of certain blessings, which they desired, and which were withheld from them because of certain things which they were not doing. She felt distinctly that she needed to specifically restate the gospel principles to them which they needed to follow in order to solve some of their problems. Pussyfooting around and sugar coating the gospel with fluff and kid gloves really doesn't do anyone any favors. It's like band aids on cancer.

We talked about how many people have a hard time reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New, as if there were two different personalities portrayed (they overlook Christ who took a whip to the money changers in the temple). It is the same God who cannot look upon sin with the least degree of tolerance, who treats each person according to their degree of knowledge and obedience. He is most forgiving to those who repent, patient with those who are ignorant, and strict with those who are knowingly disobedient....

It is interesting that two of the greatest sermons in the scriptures on Eternal law and Free Agency are taught by Lehi and Alma, two prophets who anguished over errant sons. When Sandy commented on the insight I had gained through my own experience (and at what a price!) I thought of the Lord's remarks to Joseph in liberty jail (D&C 122:7: "..all these things shall give thee experience..." There are some things you learn best through experience, although painfull.

Kent spent the day cleaning up and then cutting wood at the Packers. I hobbled around trying to catch my morning appointment, even arranging for Alex to meet them at the office, but they never showed. Then I went down for a blood test (white count 4.8, up from 1.6 last week I will not let Dr. B restrict my treatment in the future) took a nap, and visited with Sandy. In the afternoon I finished the last of Volume The Work and the Glory . It was very moving as the Steed clan reunited and the father learned to forgive his oldest son. I thought about the petty grievances I had held against others in the past.
During dinner we watched conference, and the new Presiding Bishop Bateman told a most moving story about an oriental Buddhist man who came to an understanding of the atonement, when he anonymously chipped in some of his own wages to a poor woman's fees so that she could buy eyeglasses. As she cried "I see" he too saw with spiritual eyes that the Savior's atonement gives grace to us after we have given our very best. It was reassuring to contemplate that the Lord would also give grace to us temporally, if we were doing our best. In institute we studied D&C 121©123, great revelations given to Joseph Smith during a time of prolonged tribulation. I especially like 123:17: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
Mike spent the night with Ryan. We watched Middlemarch from PBS.

Sat 4/30

Garage sales, nothing much. Spent afternoon making a card file of loan leads and typing letters. Kent cut wood at Packers. One nice young couple who live in Stevenson Ranch came by and loved the home, but need to sell theirs first. Rachel worked. Chad and Eric played church baseball. We watched Middlemarch again in the evening. I was excited to get a letter from my great Uncle David and his wife Fern, about the Brown family. He said he would send me one of his father's diaries. How thrilling to be able to read it!. I called my dad and read him the letter, and told him I had also received some history on James Absalom Young from Ike Young's wife Florin, which I would copy for him.

Sun 5/1

Kent went out in the morning to show Acton property to Piatelli Co. They said we'd only get maybe $1,000 per parcel not worth auctioning. That was disappointing. A couple came by open house before I was dressed and I had Rachel tell them to come back; they never did. Moving Fast and Testimony meeting especially Brittany Francisco who was just baptized and told about praying to make up with her dad, who is divorced from her mother and inactive. I helped sit with Brett's class and the two ADD Japanese twin girls during Sharing time. They kept trying to get away from me, but waved to me when I left. They tug at your heart strings. After dinner Kent took a walk with Ryan and Brett and Ryan nearly stepped on a rattle snake. The children watched Danny Kaye in a movie in the evening while I contemplated 2 Ne 2 "opposition in all things" and Alma 42 "justice cannot rob mercy", outlining my thoughts into a talk. I think I might call it: Eternal Law, Free Agency, and Righteous Dominion Or, "I have my Free Agency, you can't force me" with subtopics: "Eternal Law with Opposing Ends enables Free Agency to exist.", "The Fall and the Atonement guarantee free agency in this life" ,"Knowledge and Obedience are necessary to exercise free agency", "Righteous Dominion preserves Eternal Law and Free Agency", and "Unrighteous Dominion Denies Eternal Law and Destroys Free Agency". Some of Satan's lies to refute these truths are: "I'm not doing anything wrong, So and so is doing it, It's too hard, Don't judge, Trust me, Don't Force me, Let me do my own thing, etc. This could be a dynamite talk if I could make it clear and concise enough...... We watched Middlemarch in the evening.

5/2 Monday taught Brett's Preschool in the morning. Took Tylenol and Iodine. Felt better than I did Wednesday.

Tuesday 5/3

Much to do. Made calls in morning. Talked to Patty Wood at City of Hope who is in the middle of having her bone marrow transplant she just finished her chemo, sounded hoarse and tired, said it seemed like a terrible nightmare. (I really related to that!) Stayed after Institute and talked to Brother Neely about Righteous Dominion. Took Chad to DMV to register his car, Ryan to Math group. Started Spaghetti then went to SLC meeting. I'd called Nick from BSC Financial to come speak to us, he was already there with donuts. I gave John C coupons with my Bus card. Afterwards went to K-Mart to exchange things and buy cards, Kinko's to copy loan stuff, Young history and Farmer's diary, which came earlier that day, mail some letters, and got gas. I was very tired, not thinking straight. Put premium gas into van. Xeroxed diary on 11x17 instead of 8 1/2 x 14. Inadvertently mailed ticket order for play Robin Hood which was supposed to go to O.O. (it was in an envelope addressed to Robin Hood, that was all.) But I did feel an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to have some of Farmer's diary, and again a feeling that he was aware of me and loved me.


Wed 5/4

Taught Brett's Preschool. After marching Jeffrey down to the bus, doing sharing, reviewing the previous day's lessons on squares and rectangles, P and pink, and Mom, we made a flower card (copied St. Stephen's last year), practiced songs, and frosted some cinnamon graham crackers and put M&Ms on them. Then after lunch the moms came and the kids lined up by in front of the TV, facing the family room couch, and sang to the moms. Then they gave them their flowers and a big kiss. I gave Chad Harrison a hug since his mother was at the temple. Then we ate the crackers and had punch. It was simple but fun.....I picked up Ashley from Sabrina's and dropped off some mail, then realized that I had mailed one envelope with no address on and so had to go back, run down the mailman, and retrieve the letter, which he reluctantly let me reclaim. (More stupid, unthinking stuff).When the kids were at Mutual I rexeroxed Farmer's diary on 8 1/2 x 14, and made up another ticket order for Robin Hood. Fortunately these mistakes are only time consuming and expensive to redo nothing permanently damaging. I was so tired when I came home. Had a headache. Felt like my brain was fried. Took Tylenol and slept nearly ten hours.

5/5 Thursday

Ashley lost Robin hood tickets on way to bus. Is this an omen? It sure seems jinxed to go. I planned to take Ashley to the dinner theater while boys were with Kent at Father/Son overnight. Found tickets in envelope on way taking Jeffrey to bus. Moved slow today. Couldn't get to journal like I planned. Mostly just sat at desk pondering righteous and unrighteous dominion and looking up scriptures. In the afternoon I picked up Ashley and Shiva from school and took them to Chuck E. Cheese, Chad to Bank America for job application. Then out again later to GW bank, Bank America again, and then dropped Chad off at Whites. Read in the paper that a young woman from the original cancer support group who had a BMT for lymphoma about 3 years ago just passed away made me feel a little sentimental. In the evening Kent and I went to Placerita Back to School Night. Eric's pyramid exhibit won 3rd place in research out of the whole school for the science fair. He gets a nice plaque. Kent and he are both very proud. It's a neat exhibit with light showing parts of pyramid, etc.

Friday 5/6

Moved slow today. Brain has no energy. Marjorie Rodeal came by said she felt she should. Told me about interferon and oxygen drops, ginseng and Bee pollen (for energy perhaps I need some). gave me a back rub. loaned me a tape by Bill Wait. My neck and shoulders still stiff, right pelvis aches and I limp on right side. I worked on bills. Picked Jeffrey from bus and then drove by 3 garage sales, got a Dexedrine prescription for Chad, and dropped off a wig liner and vitamin catalog for Susan Fitzpatrick. More bills in the evening.

Talked to Kent about refinancing on 40 year adjustable. He just wants out from under our debts. So do I but don't know what to do. I am tired and overwhelmed, but believe that God shall surely bless us if we just hang in there.

I am going to shower and read some more from my great grandfather's diary. I am very moved by some of his entries. He writes about things he was interested in, such as politics, things he believes in, things that bothered him or he didn't understand. Some of his writings are precious, such as: "This I believe that in order to love our neighbor as ourselves we have to sincerely want our neighbor to have the same good things that we want for ourselves."...."This I believe that Faith produces blessedness and blessedness unites the past to the present, the present to the future, and all to God..." He greatly admired Abraham Lincoln, and loved a poem about him by Edward Markham, particularly one line: "One fire was on his spirit, one resolve: to send the keen ax into the very root of wrong."...He really liked John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage, particularly the story of the political sacrifice of Clay, Calhoune, and Daniel Webster in making the Missouri Compromise, which staved off the Civil War another decade and perhaps saved the nation, but cost those men their political careers....And he had many questions about life and the church and gospel particularly the practice of polygamy....and there were many touching entries such as the one where he forgave a widow most of the debt she owed him. He wrote: "Since I missed the boat so many times during my wife's life, I think I had better begin to make up for lost opportunities and do some little good to others in the hope that I will be accepted in restored confidence when I meet her in the sweet bye and bye." I guess it is a mark of maturity for all of us to reach a point where we look back on our lives and wish we'd been better. Another time he is quite distressed over my grandfather, his oldest son, who is disabled, probably because of alcohol. He said it almost put him to bed also. "Of course he is my own child tho' he is 63 years old I still feel responsible, while that type of disability is a form of sickness, and the affected one can cure himself if he wants to enough yet they can't seem to generate enough want to...." I understood his anguish, having felt some over my oldest son.

I do not feel that I have the right to judge him for things he didn't understand. He was as good a man as he knew how to be. There are many things which we understand and take for granted now in the church which were unclear back then. I enjoy the blessings I do today because he went before me. I pray that the Lord may bless he and my great grandmother with understanding and exaltation, and the ability to reclaim their wandering posterity.

Sat 7

We had Brett's birthday party this afternoon. 6 boys and two girls came. Janeese Loveland forgot. Sister Nelson dropped off a present too (a fire truck) just beforehand. I gave him a hair cut and got him dressed just as his friends were coming. We played "Ring Around the Rosey", "London Bridge", Duck, Duck, Goose; Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone; Musical Freeze Dance. Todd Kirby didn't want to participate much, just observe. Chad Harrison and Kevin Malloy always wanted to be "it". Kendall Myler came late. Gregory May had such a happy, cute face© he won the freeze dance. T.J. Schramm, first to arrive, told Brett what his presents were. Stephanie Packer and Troy Norton happily participated. Brett was very excited and bossing everybody around. After games he opened his presents:

Todd 2 micro machine sets and a Transformer (too hard)
Kendall Nerf Misselstorm
Troy Etcha sketch and Sesame Street Dominoes
T.J. Preschool Writing books and Cap gun with caps (big hit)
Chad Washable sidewalk pain and Bug stamp kit
Greg Puzzle and Coloring mat
Kevin Outdoor Fun pack: kite, Frisbee, yoyo
Stephanie City play mat and hot wheels car (biggest hit)
When he opened Todd's he said, "Thanks, this is my favorite, and you're my best buddy!" Then after he opened Kendall's he said the same thing. Todd took on a hurt attitude and said, "I thought you said I was your best buddy!" Rachel thought this was real funny.
Then we had cupcakes, ice cream cones and root beer. Suckers for favors. Later Brett and Ashley went with Kent to Packers to cut wood and I went to Lucky's to grocery shop. While there I saw an article in Life Magazine about breast cancer treatments with a vaccine. I copied info may come in handy. Really pleaded with the Lord to bless me health wise I'd really like to be healed of my cancer in some way. Came home to take Chad and Eric to church baseball© Chad was reading Eric's school book Outsiders, and had been all day. Finally beginning to read more on his own. Ashley and Kent went out to buy Rat food in the evening since I forgot. She was upset and needed some attention.

Sunday 5/8

Ashley made breakfast for me to eat in bed and brought it up on a cookie sheet with a homemade card and a potted plant she and dad had bought the night before. This was her idea after Kent had made breakfast in bed for her on her birthday. She was so excited and thrilled. She made a bigger deal out of Mother's Day for me than anyone else. We celebrated Brett and Chad's birthdays today, mostly with items obtained from Garage sales. We got Chad a book about his car to go with a car emergency road kit. Plus some blank tapes from Price Club. Brett got lots of assorted items, his favorites were a toy plastic knife, some plastic army guys, and a Thomas the Tank game. I couldn't help but think about how dismal my Mother's Day was four years ago when I wasn't expected to live, and how grateful I was to be here still.

Lovely mother's day program in church. Sunday School lesson on Mosaic Law and Lord "compelling" children of Israel. Came right after Sister Callister's talk on families and how under Satan's plan we'd have perfect children and shouldn't coerce them, but also shouldn't "suffer" them to go naked, or quarrel, or transgress the laws of God (King Benjamin's talk). Hmmmm, more ignorance regarding true Righteous Dominion. Oh, well. Relief Society on Mothers in Israel. very good. left few minutes early to get food on. Rachel gave me a pretty lace and ribbon fan which she made in Young Women's and asked me to pay for. Oh well, I appreciate being thought of.Judy and Family, my dad, Elaine, Grandma, and Charlie and family came over for Mother's Day dinner. Had a variety of items since I didn't have enough of one thing, but everyone well fed and happy. Barbara bought corsages for Elaine and Grandma for us, and brought out apron for Dad which Judy had made at Christmas time (Elaine snuck it away) so children could put hand prints on for Father's Day gift. My dad had shingles and was uncomfortable. I gave him stuff on Youngs, Farmer Brown. He was pleased. I gave Charlie and Judy oversize copies of Farmer's diary. At first I hesitated, feeling somewhat protective of him. But then I decided to go ahead. He is not on trial anymore, we are. I know he disdained secrecy. It is not for us to judge him we who have been so blessed because of his going before us.

Judy and I said we'd try to come out to the Young reunion if we could work it out for our children, and Dad would pay for the plane ticket. I need to get over feeling uncomfortable around Judy's fumbling efforts to show affection and caring for me. She is a sincere and good person. Watched Middlemarch in the evening.

Monday 5/9 Brett went to Harrisons, and I took Jeffrey with me to Dr. Barstis. My CA 15©3 was up 40 points! Highest it's ever been and that was taken 3 weeks previous, so it's probably higher still. That explains my aching all over. Taxol is probably no longer working!. I was very upset. Dr. Barstis tried to down play it. Suggested adding Aminugluthemide (adrenal hormone suppressant) and upping taxol again. Also suggested seeing Dr. Glaspy. After dropping Jeffrey off, I rescheduled my appointment with Dr. Fine to replace a filling so I could concentrate on getting an appointment with Dr. G. I got one for Wednesday morning. I picked up a copy of the Life magazine article to fax to him and had another blood test. I was very upset and shaken.
I talked to Kent about this and about applying for a refi on the house using the 40 year loan in case we didn't sell it. Loan modification was denied us officially since we have so much equity in the property and they won't add the escrow account to the principal and interest. I worked on refi stuff. It doesn't look good.

Tuesday 5/10

Felt down, could tell I was coming down with upper respiratory cold. Cancelled seminar at Drake Institute about brain wave patterning for Chad. I really want to go but feel so overwhelmed. Must sell house first and get a handle on my own treatment. I copied info for refi, wrote up letters for my loan and Ferrells. At institute Lynette gave a very moving presentation on the events leading up to the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. I was unaware of the fact that he foresaw the church's movement and settlement in Utah, and had been planning it before his death. As she talked about the "ignominious" death of several of his murderers, most of whom died in poverty and/or terrible painful disease, I thought to myself, that's how I may die unless God intervenes in my behalf. In reality it is far worse to die in spiritual poverty through ignorance and unbelief, and spiritual disease/death through iniquity, than it is to die in physical poverty and disease. If you are spiritually rich and whole, God will make up to you what you are lacking in this life.

Wed 5/11

I didn't sleep well night before. I wake up to go to the bathroom, then can't go back to sleep for worrying about our finances and my health. Finally got through to GMAC they will not extend fore bearance any longer on escrow account. Full payment of $4529.92 must be paid or loan will go into default. No chance of refi either because monthly income is insufficient. I also try to get a hold of the doctor and the research laboratory mentioned in the Life Magazine article through directory assistance but to no avail. I leave at 7:45 and take Brett to Harrison's early. No Jeffrey this morning. Traffic is horrible and I don't get there to UCLA until 9:10.

My pulse and blood pressure are high, no doubt from stress.
Dr. Glaspy has received no faxes from Dr. B. When I tell him what is happening with CA 15-3 and pain he confirms my suspicion that the taxol is no longer effective and probably would be a waste of time to up dosage. He counsels me to be flexible in my approach to treating the cancer willing to try new things when something no longer seems to be working, rather than wasting precious time and energy pursuing a dead end. He said that the important thing now was quality of life. That heavy duty treatments now that may hurt the cancer may also hurt me, and thus lessen my ability to fight the cancer off. He suggested I continue with the Aminugluthemide and add 5FU continuous infusion, plus radiation to the right hip to control the pain. When I asked him about immune therapy using vaccines, he said that it would not work; that the key to curing breast cancer was in genetics. It was a genetic defect which needed to be corrected, and my cancer did not have the one gene that they did find (HER-2) which accounted for 1/3 of breast cancer. Apparently this was a weakness which I was born with.

When he asked how other things were going and I told him about our problems with the house he said that it sounded like it would kill me before the cancer would. He said I was not in a life threatening state, and when I was quite down still he chastised me a little bit, saying my attitude would defeat me and shorten my life. No one could give me a time frame. Anyone (like the Life magazine article) who said a person with metastatic breast cancer would be dead in 5 years was a liar and didn't know what they were talking about, and he'd be happy to call them up and tell them off. He said we were all going to die, none of us knew how long we were going to live, and only God did. But if I thought I would be dead in a given time I probably would, and if he were God, he'd be mad at me if he meant for me to live longer. I tearfully thanked him for his encouragement. I guess I was upset because my dream of having my cancer be cured or even go into long term remission seemed to be fading away.
I drove home and decided I needed to accept God's will and trust in him instead of trying to tell him what I wanted. I have been promised that I would live 'til my appointed time and that I would be able to do those things that the Lord wanted me to do in relationship to my family. And that I'll be healed to be able to do those things. Perhaps that does not mean to be healed completely, only sufficiently.

It is hard to live in daily pain and some limited physical capacity. But I need to trust him that all will work out for the best. I came home and called Dr. B and Dr. Y for appointments on Friday. Read Richard G. Scott's talk on healing again, this time with a more open mind. Sometimes healing may mean given the strength to endure. Undoubtedly I shall learn patience and long suffering and trust in the Lord.

In the evening Kent went with Eric to a Hart orientation meeting and then dropped him off at Mutual. Chad and Rachel stayed home Rachel missed school, too, probably a migraine as period was coming on. I decided to skip a seminar on Living Trusts, I need to get over this cold and find a way to sell the house. More phone calls to GMAC confirmed there was nothing to do. House will go into default and foreclose unless we sell it. Thursday 5/12 After Jeffrey took bus, Brett and I went to Long's to get cough and cold medicine, and find out about UPS. I found out I could call them and they'd come by the house. They did and picked up Ferrell's and my refi packages. I took a nap. That evening Ryan went to Pack Meeting and came in 3rd place overall. He has won a ribbon all three years in Cubs. he was very thrilled. Eric and Chad never won any time they were in cubs Ryan owes it to help from Steve Payne.
Brett has come up and kissed me several times during the day. I think he must sense that I am down. He is so sweet, and it does cheer me so. I am so grateful that I've had these last four years with my family. Four years ago at this time I was lying in ICU at UCLA and not expected to live. I had a dream in which Satan pinched my ear and said he wanted me but God said no, her husband and children need her. As terrible as that experience was to go through, it should reassure me now that God is in control, and I will live until my appointed time. I tearfully reread Sister Pearce's talk "Faith is the Answer" from the Young Women's broadcast, on how God loves us and is in charge, and has a plan for us. Sooner or later, everything will turn out all right. And Dallin H. Oak’s talk on "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ", in which trust in Him is an essential element of that Faith. It is very hard to trust in the Lord when things don't seem to be turning out the way you want them too it takes the greatest faith to believe that sooner or later everything will turn out all right when everything seems to be turning out all wrong. I just worry so for my husband and children who still need me and I want so much to be there for them always in the future. I pray that the Lord will help me and my family to know and accept his will, to feel his hand and blessing in our lives. I feel like Heber J. Grant did after the death of his wife. Although I can accept it for myself, I lack the strength to have it affect the faith of my husband and children, who still need so much nurturing and love. I keep thinking of Mary, who said to the angel, "How shall these things be?" and the angel said...."The power of the Highest shall come upon thee....For with God, nothing is impossible." And Mary replied, "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord, Be it unto me according to thy word."

Friday 5/13

Kent stayed home from work on a Pupil Free Day to clean up the house for the weekend for Open Houses. State Farm Insurance Claims rep came by about Linda Green falling and breaking her foot after giving Ashley a Rat. We'd found out later that she hasn't been able to work and has no health insurance, so we reported it and requested reimbursement for her medical bills. Linda was so sweet and hesitant to even ask. I wish we could reimburse her for time off work with no pay.

BRETT (typed by Brett) stayed home with Jeffrey while I went down to see Dr. B. and Dr. Y. Dr. B confirmed Dr. Glaspy's opinion. Did not want me to start any new supplements right off since the Aminogluthemide was sensitive to chemicals. Dr. Y ordered x rays of my ribs and right hip and pelvis, which showed numerous spots. She called me later to tell me to take it easy (no roller skating ha!) and come in on Monday, not wait until Tuesday.

In the afternoon I helped Kent pack up some food for the Father/son overnighter. Michael Cossman came along too. At first Ryan didn't want to invite him because he wanted to play with Jerry Gallego, who doesn't really get along with Mike. I was glad he relented and invited him. Kent took the three youngest boys. Chad went to work and so did Rachel, leaving Ashley and me for the evening. Ashley wanted her hair cut to her shoulders. She had been talking to her friends, especially Courney Addle, who tried holding her hair up as if it was short to see if it looked good.

Also Ashley noticed a girl on the bus who used to have long hair and recently cut it and it looked good. She was pretty excited about it and so I trimmed off 6 to 8 inches, making it just down to her shoulders. After she blew it dry, it curled under a little and looked real cute and perky on her. It will be easier for her to comb and fix, less tangly.

Then I changed my clothes and took her to the Old Orchard school dinner theatre of "Robin Hood". I'd bought these tickets for her and I, knowing we'd have the evening alone together. She chatted away quite happily most of the time, but as we drove along asked me why so many bad things were happening to us with running out of money and my cancer. I tried to tell her the good things that could come out of this like appreciating each other, learning to be sensitive to others, etc. But it's a tough question.

We had a nice meal of Apollo Loco chicken, bread, potatoes, fresh vegetables, etc. Ashley really seemed to enjoy the play about a class studying Robin Hood and acting it out. She knew several of the actors. I had to leave near the end to go get Rachel who was off work at 8:30, then dash back to get Ashley who was waiting for me afterwards. Then home again to get Rachel and take her to Melinda's to watch a movie, then pick up Chad by 9:00. Was late, trying to be 2 or 3 places at once.


How Will Kent Do all of This

How will Kent do this all if I am dead or incapacitated?
Saturday morning I am feeling some what better with my cold. I dropped Chad off at Hart to study for physics AP test, then went to OO2 tract garage sales. Got car speakers and bedspread for Chad, shirts for Kent, 3 shirts for me, shoes and pants for Ashley, lots of school clothes for Brett next year at 50 cents each less than the tax on one item. I couldn't carry all the stuff and had to leave it at some person's house and come back for it. I held up surprisingly well with all the walking. Came home and took Ashley to Melanie's birthday party, and Rachel to MM for a job interview can't work there because they require that you work on Sunday. Came home to clean up the house and got quite exhausted making all the beds, picking up etc. Felt like passing out. Then Kent came home and helped. One couple by on Open house who have house to sell themselves and are uncertain as to what they want.

In the evening I totaled up the checkbook to discover we had just enough money with insurance checks to make increased house payment. Had the lord provided this for us to make this month's payment? When I suggested this to Kent he got very upset and demanded that I not send them a check, but rather use the money to pay down on the credit cards. I can not bear to think of the house going into default. He is dead set against throwing anymore money into this house. We are both upset and feel trapped.....Rachel went with Steve and friends to the Saugus Speedway.


Sunday 5/15

I stay home from church with my cold. Only one person by to see house, who has a house to sell himself in Saugus. Kent went to see the Bishop in the afternoon about our problems. He sees no problem with us receiving help from the Bishop's store house for our food bills. His advice is to look at our house as a commodity. If it is low enough in price, and a good enough deal word will get out and it will sell. He said he would think about some high powered realtors that we may want to list our house with. I think that we have had our house to high in price in the beginning. We should have listed it lower, been more flexible. Sometimes I think my whole effort this past year getting my license in real estate has been a waste of time. I read to the children from the Friend magazine in the evening, instead of Bible Stories and James and the Giant Peach, like I usually do in the weekday evenings. My dad calls me about the Young reunion and plans for me possibly to attend if I am up to it on the 3rd. He is weepy when I tell him about my cancer and financial troubles, but tries not to show it.

5/16

Brett went to Valencia Meadows Park while Carol May led the Preschool group. She does not want to have it in her home since she has an unfenced pool in the backyard. It is overcast and misty. In the afternoon I go into be set up for radiation to pelvis and hip. They are also doing my pubic bone, and say I may have some problems with diarrhea and burning vagina since they are doing my bowel area too. When I tell Kent later he is physically turned off and withdrawn. He is having a difficult time accepting our problems. I am tired, but have trouble sleeping towards morning. I decide to lower the price of our home $5,000.00 every 2 weeks until we sell it. Kent says we should do same. I feel better having a plan. It also occurs to me to advertise it on channel 10, perhaps get someone in the neighborhood.

5/17

Radiation treatment in the morning. I have been pleading for strength to meet and endure our challenges. At institute we wrap up the D&C with 137 and 138. Brother Neely gave us a very interesting vision of Jedediah M. Grant told by Heber C. Kimball into the Spirit World regarding our organization by families (something I believe) and the grades and orders there, and the striving for self mastery by the spirits there. As I thought about different grades of righteous spirits, and how some spirits can move on ahead, yet all be celestial candidates, it occurred to me that by passing certain tests and overcoming adversity in this life, it may be possible to advance a grade or order sort of like taking a college AP course and passing the test in high school to get college credit. I always wondered how some individuals could endure and overcome more than others, who were also righteous in their way, yet all go to the same place. Does "many mansions" also refer to the abodes of those who will eventually inherit the celestial kingdom? It does seem to make enduring our afflictions while others seem to be living such comfortable lives seem a little more bearable to think it may count for something in the eternities.

In the afternoon Chad volunteered to help make dinner for us and the Ratners down the street, who had a baby boy last week. He is becoming much more sensitive and thoughtful. I still have this cold and so it was better for me not to touch the food. Ashley and Brett came with me to deliver it and gave Debbie and Howard some notes they drew/wrote. It was a sweet moment.

In the evening I went to SLC meeting with Tom Keller from North American, faxed my adv to Stevenson Ranch Cable, and received my credit report from Stacy which showed a Notice of Default on our L-8 property in Lancaster. I seem to remember it went into default about the time it went into escrow, and we struggled to keep it out of foreclosure while the escrow went on for months as different problems came up (like a faulty septic tank). It's amazing we qualified for the house we are living in with this on our record. No other credit problems appeared. Afterwards Jacques Haon kindly offered to help me with any of my appointments for no charge as he left (he obviously heard about my set back) I was touched by that.

I talked to Annie Bishop whose father died of pancreatic cancer, who lived 5 months longer than predicted, and in fact was doing really well on a Gerson Diet (juice program). He got confidant and went off of it and died 30 days later. Annie said she would give me some numbers and information on this later. As I thought about it, I remembered my blessing from my father in which he called upon spirits in the spirit world to teach me how to heal myself. Could it be through diet? I confess I have had a mental block against this up until now because of the difficulty in educating yourself and the time involved preparing foods, and the effort to convince your children to eat this way. But if some people have had their cancer go into remission through alternative and nutrition therapy, perhaps mine will too. I feel to be much more open minded particularly since I see medical science is running out of things to offer me. I wondered if this is what Kent meant when he referred to me getting the vitamins and nutrients my body needed last October in his blessing?

I came home to sweet Sandy Halverson who helped me fill out a Bishop's order on food to be delivered in a week and a half. I barely got any dinner, but went to bed with a full, bloated tummy.
Wednesday 5/18 Rainy all day. Brett's preschool cancelled because of weather. So I take Brett with me to pick up Chad and take him down to Bank America in Glendale for interview to be a teller. I hope he gets the job it will be good for him. I worried about getting him there on time. In the afternoon my visiting teachers come and Chad, who is talking to some girl, wants to go up to my room to talk. Kent and I are worried because of what happened with he and Rachel in the past during secret phone conversations and so I tell him no. He is upset but doesn't fly off the handle. I am worried about him getting involved in another relationship with a nonmember girl.

I cut hair and took Chad to sign up at COC for his placement test. While doing so I talk to Chad about reading the scriptures, and the calm peaceful feeling that comes into your life when you do. He emphatically agrees, saying he's noticed it too, and says that yes, he is still reading the scriptures everyday. I tell him that I've noticed a real change in his manner and ability to control himself and again he agrees. I said it helps you to not get angry and keep things in perspective. He says he's noticed a difference in Kent's manner and attitude too. I tell him that Kent has been receiving inspiration on his math projects since reading the Book of Mormon each night sometimes waking up the next morning with an idea. Later I tell him that President Benson said that the Book of Mormon can bring power into your life to do three things and ask him what he thinks those things might be. He says he thinks it gives you understanding and greater self control. (very perceptive on his part). I said that's right. President Benson said it would give you power to avoid deception (understanding) and power to stay on the straight and narrow path and avoid temptation (self control). I can tell he is really growing spiritually and emotionally. I am beginning to have great hopes for him.

I talked to him about the Drake Institute and brain wave patterning. He said he would be interested sometime, but not now if we don't have the money. I also talked to him about dating in the church, and although he didn't like me mentioning this saying he wants to marry in the temple, just doesn't like any girls in the church now he at least admitted that I may have some good support for my opinion (the Lord in the O.T., and Pres. Kimball). He is really becoming much more mature. I can see growth in him in just the last six weeks. I sure hope he keeps this up. How grateful I am to the Lord and to our Bishop for this. I never would have thought this was possible 6 months ago.  I slept poorly again this night. My rib cage on my whole right side, front and back was very tender.

5/19

Thursday. Radiation, then Ashley to get another heel lift for her shoe, since she lost one about 3 or 4 months ago. I have been feeling guilty about it but haven't had energy to get it before this. Barely had energy today. Came home and got a snack and rested for an hour before TJ came. I have been pleading with the Lord to teach me and give me strength and power, even unto deliverance. If he has helped and healed others, why not me? My goals the next 3 months are to educate and implement a health diet, sell the house, update and clean up personal files.

Friday 5/20

Talked to Dr. B after radiation about my plans to alter my diet and explore nutritious and alternative healing methods in addition to conventional medicine. I told him that it was a moment of revelation to me when the taxol failed to realize that modern medical science did not have the knowledge to heal me, put my cancer in remission, or give me the quality of life that I desired. While he tried to reassure me, he acknowledged that what I was saying was true. I told him that I'd always been somewhat skeptical of alternative methods, perhaps because I was a doctor's daughter and because they all seemed like such a lot of work and expense. I told him I was leaning toward the Gerson diet, and showed him my list of supplements and asked his recommendations. He said he liked Vit A, C, Beta Caratene, E, Selenium, and garlic. He said he was inundated with information all the time regarding "miracle" finds, but that the hard thing was substantiating it into any kind of hard, irrefutable study. This was something which he was hoping to be able to do in the future with his Southwest Oncology Group, which had been approved to conduct research and trials through the National Cancer Institute. He was particularly excited about doing research in the area of genetics and cancer, but that was two or three years away. I said at the rate I was going, I didn't have time to wait I needed to do something now. He said that while he would not be much help, he would support me and appreciated me letting him know what I was doing. He told me to start taking 2 Amunoglutethimide a day, and 4 Hydrocortisone a day. I hope someday not to take anything.

Brett and I stopped by Nature's Harvest after taking Jeffrey to school. The more I read, the more excited I am about this approach. I find myself thinking about stuff, then looking up information and coming to a plan, almost as if I am being guided in this direction. Most of my information has been coming from Marjorie's books Crackdown on Cancer and Nutritional Healing, which have been sitting in my closet virtually untouched for the last six months. I know she and others have tried to share stuff like this before with me and I was prejudiced against it, because of the effort involved, the traditional way of eating which I was taught, etc. Sort of like the way some people are prejudiced against the gospel at first, until circumstances compel them to be humble and more open to it.

Sat 5/21

Valencia Hills and Del Valle tract garage sales. We didn't find much though. Ryan went to a Math study group at Peachland and was chosen as an alternate for the county Math Field Day. Rachel worked all afternoon. Eric went to Shanes. Chad went to Mann 10 to preview feature trailers as part of a new job Kent cut wood at Packers and brought Brett. Ryan and Ashley watched a video they rented with Kent The Adventures of the Wilderness Family. No one by to see house. I got some information on the Gerson Therapy in the mail. It briefed case studies of 53 "incurable curable" including 3 women with metastasized breast cancer who are disease free years later. It was very exciting to read. In the evening we watched a touching story about a young Chinese girl sold into slavery here in America who worked her way out of it. I discovered a rash all over my torso before going to bed. AT first I worried it was the carrot, green juice or vitamin supplements. Then I recalled it was a side effect of the Amunoglitethimide. I lay awake for several hours at night. My right rib cage still very tender.

Sun 5/22

I couldn't sleep well during the night, and in the morning called Dr. Orenstein, who was on call about my reaction. He said to take more Hydracortisone and no Amunoglitethimide and talk to Dr. B in the morning. For Family Home Evening Kent read Jedidiah M. Grant's vision, as told by Heber C. Kimball which I had brought home from institute. I forgot Chad was supposed to meet with the Bishop for Birthday interview. I felt like staying home, but remembered I had committed to saying the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting. I also felt the need to come and partake of the Sacrament and renew my covenants, so I could have the Holy Ghost to be with me. In my prayer I asked the Lord to bless us with His Spirit to teach us all things pertaining to our Spiritual and temporal salvation. It's been a plea in my private prayers also.

I felt very close to the Spirit this day, even the songs moved me. Troy Norton, who sat next to me, lay his head on my shoulder and gave me a hug while looking at Brett during the Sacrament.

Then when Chad came up to help bless the Sacrament, motioned by the Bishop, for the first time in months, the tears began to flow quietly. He glowed, and looked so happy, and I knew that he was worthy again. How grateful I am to my Savior for this. After the Sacrament I stayed long enough to hear Elder Evans bear his testimony. He's been an outstanding missionary assigned to our area for about the last 9 months. He is being transferred on Tuesday. He referred to my prayer when I gave thanks for our Savior Jesus Christ. He said that this was the greatest thing he had gained on his mission a love for the Savior.

Then I went home to host an Open House. No one came by except a realtor who had another house for sale and saw our sign. Kent and the older boys went to Stake Priesthood Commemoration, and the younger children watched "Doctor Doolittle. I felt very hot an uncomfortable in the evening from the chemical reaction to the amunoglitethimide, and felt somewhat depressed and overwhelmed as I read over non toxic cancer treatments in this book Marjorie Rodela had loaned to me. I feel very strong now that this is the way to go a kind of hyper Word of Wisdom treatment. The philosophy is that all of us have the propensity for Cancer and other debilitating illnesses, which our bodies keep in check when we are eating right and being healthy. But when we get run down, and are not getting the proper nutrients, we cannot fight these things off, and a negative chain reaction comes into effect.

In fact, I wish now that I had gone this way initially, I may not be in this mess now. I feel like Amulek I was called, but I would not hear. Trying to change mine and the families eating habits takes so much effort and when you are always putting out fires and running from one thing to the next, barely able to make ends meet, it is hard to contemplate taking on one more thing and a major one at that. I can see now how much I have abused my body over the last few years, pushing myself again and again for the family and others, not eating right. Alma says we should be bold, but not overzealous. Or as King Benjamin says, do not labor faster than we have strength. Oh, may the Lord give me strength and power and teach me how to do this!

Monday 5/23

I spent practically the whole day practically at the doctors or having my 5FU continuous infusion set up. The nurse had a hard time accessing my port his needle was 1/4 inch too short. Chad helped with dinner, got his insurance on his car, and picked up Rachel from Carl's early because she was ill. I fixed a good minestrone soup (w/o seasoning for me). I read the story of Samuel to the younger children, and wept as I read about Hannah's pleading with the Lord, in which she called upon him to have mercy on his handmaiden in her affliction. The younger children easily understood the importance of parents exercising righteous dominion from Eli's example. During the night, my pump's alarm went off 3 times when I was dead asleep because the needle would slip out of the port. It took me awhile to figure out what it was.

Tuesday 5/24

Bone Scan, another (longer) needle put in, talked to Realtors about selling our house. It is painful to swallow and my neck hurts I wonder if cancer is involved in the spinal cord. We must sell our home this weekend. God bless me to do this so I can concentrate my efforts on healing myself. I want to live and be a co Savior unto my family and kindred dead.

July 23, 1994 Eric leaves today for EFY. He has been so sweet and helpful really the older son I've always wanted. I hope he has a wonderful time.  Well, so much has happened. Chad began reading the Book of Mormon everyday after school, really had a change of heart and became almost an ideal son himself. I was so proud and humble and grateful when he got up to assist blessing the Sacrament again after the Bishop motioned to him first time in months, and to know that he was worthy to do so. One day I drove him down to Glendale for a job interview and test with Bank of America and talked to him about the change I'd seen in him. He said that reading the Book of Mormon helped him gain understanding and stay in control. He talked about a little bit about what happened last year, saying he had trouble forgiving us and that the counseling he'd received from Brother Forston helped him to do that and let go of grievances, accept responsibility for his actions. I said that this was just a part of growing up that we all had to face. He is a completely different person than he was even 6 months ago. There were times when I despaired of ever seeing him like this. He's been working on his car, looking for more work to pay to fix it up and his insurance ($100/mo) and earn money for the scout whitewater trip in August. He graduated from High School in June and the graduation ceremony was at Saugus Speedway, since the COC stadium was damaged in the earthquake. I stayed home, not feeling well, but Kent and Rachel went and couldn't hear or see a thing. Afterwards he went on a graduation cruise. We gave him a pen set and I wrote him a note about his middle name Aaron, the two scriptural characters who also had that name, and my hopes that he would learn to repent and be faithful like them. He went to stake youth conference and was the only young man from our ward to bear his testimony, and so was asked to report on the conference in our ward sacrament meeting. I heard he said he wished he could be like the stake president so he could be rich. He's been hanging around with the kids in the stake more, most of whom are leaving this Fall for BYU or Ricks. I think he's been bummed about that. He started reading a fantasy series he borrowed from Victor reads about a book a week, more reading than he's done his whole life. He's stopped reading the Book of Mormon regularly though, and it shows in his more selfish attitude lately. He loaned Eric's wet suit to Chris White without asking, and just moved over there to stay for a week while the Whites were out of town. He lost his wallet. Then he lost his COC orientation slip, and was so bummed out he was just going to skip it until I walked into his room and found it in the cupboard immediately. I called him at the Whites to tell him he had refused to come home and look for it. He missed Ryan's birthday. I called to tell him that we loved and missed him, and hoped he was being good. I know he wants to do right, he just has a hard time following through on his intentions.

A Lot of Money

Sometimes I wish I had lots of money and could pursue different treatments for him such as testing him for vitamin/mineral deficiencies, brain wave patterning, diet therapy, etc. I am no longer able to help him follow through on stuff like I used to. He is going to have to learn to take care of himself. I worry about him, but I have learned to let go and realize that I've done my best it's up to him and the Lord now.

Rachel finished the year with good marks in most of her tough classes. This having no money has been hard on her and she has been looking for work to buy her school wardrobe next year, but still wants us to buy her shampoo and conditioner, razors, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls every week. She was going to go to EFY this Summer, but changed her mind when Stephanie Hardie, who was going to be her roommate, couldn't go. Actually the refund money came in handy. She is planning to go to Girl's camp again this summer as a counselor, and can use the service towards her laurel project. She has been scolding me about not cleaning up after myself (with my diet therapy) when she leaves messes everywhere herself. I am sometimes surprised by her self centered perspective she seems so mature in so many other ways. I do grudgingly and somewhat ashamedly remember being so myself at her age, however, and I certainly wouldn't want some of the things I said to and about my mother thrown up at me again. How can she know of all the loving and caring and cleaning up after her I've done over the years until she is herself a mother? I didn't until I was one. And how can she know of the tremendous physical and emotional pain I am suffering now with my cancer? This is something I hope she never experiences. Well, life has some tough lessons ahead for her, as it has for all of us, but I hope she learns quicker than I did, and suffers less. She and Chad bull headedly refuse to cooperate with our improved diet attempts and she lives on toast, rarely eating any fresh fruit or vegetables. But I know I also wasn't very open to nutritional therapy before either. She is more cooperative about helping around the house, particularly with meals and shopping lists, and helping with Brett. I know she senses we are under stress and in her way tries to help. She can be incredibly sweet and thoughtful with the younger children, loaning them money to buy candy, telling them what to do, and giving Eric good advice. She got a job at Magic Mountain working for their photo department and quit Carl's Jr. She became violently ill a couple of times after working in the heat and drinking from the common water pot. She met Jeremy Eveland there from Saugus First ward, who is 18 and home for the Summer before going back to Ricks for his sophomore year. He seems like a very fine wholesome young man, whose father is our stake executive clerk. While we like Steve McKeon very much, we have been concerned about her going steady with him. One Friday when Steve had asked her to go to the beach with him, Kent put his foot down and said no, she'd been seeing too much of him lately. Then that afternoon, Jeremy called up and asked her out. Inspiration? Anyway she was very pleased, and so were we. He's a good boy and will be a good influence on her. I hope she has many wonderful dating experiences with many fine young men and sets her cap high. I know in her heart Rachel wants to do right and is trying to work with us in the big picture. I can see this in her choice of friends and activities, goals she sets for herself.

She is becoming a very beautiful young woman. I believe she will turn out very well in the end.
Eric graduated from Junior High and I managed to pull myself together, make some juice to take with me, and go to the ceremony at COC. Shane Hansen's family had given him a ride earlier. I am so pleased that he is going to EFY with Shane, and become quite good friends with him lately his family is so behind the church program. He has a darling mother who has become very nutrition minded after her father in law had a heart attack. She took charge of the transportation for the boys to EFY for me, and even insisted that we didn't need to reimburse them (although we will). Eric was going to play high school football, but changed his mind to playing soccer instead, and city basketball now. He helps out occasionally at Kent's work, bags sandbags for the Horton’s, and looks for extra work in the ward to help pay for the varsity whitewater rafting trip. His friends call for him all day when he is gone (Shane, Eddie, Aaron) and drive me nuts, but he has nice friends, and when he is home he is my most thoughtful helper seeing things that need to be done and doing them, or offering to make me a juice. He got a season pass for Magic Mountain with his own money, but was quite bummed out when he lost his wallet at the beach with his pass, $20, and some discounts to Raging Waters. He has a few girls call for him too, and I heard that several girls at Youth Conference voted him as having the neatest hair. He wears it long bowl cut and wavy to the middle of his ears. While he is a big tease, impatient with the little ones, and sometimes irascible, he has a sense of integrity and honesty about him that will make him great one day.

Louis Lamour

Ryan had a banner year last year under Mr. Fry. He really seemed to wake up academically. He read all kinds of books some harder than Eric reads, including several Louis Lamour books. He became intensely interested in many areas of science, especially space. He scored in the 98/99 percentile on his CTBS scores. He seemed to blossom in his personality and confidence as well. He went with Kent and the Blazers backpacking and fishing in the Chocolate Lake area and it was a very good growing up experience for him. In July he started city basketball and is one of the best players on the team. He also started back to school on year round (which is now going back to traditional) and got in class with Mr. Mueller, Eric's former teacher. I hope he gets to keep him since Mr. Mueller will help him develop his writing skills. As the time grew closer to his 11th birthday he began acting more and more out of sorts. Kent and I each remember the older children going through the same thing, it's a kind of change of life/rite of passage difficult time which will continue to get worse before it gets better over the next few years. He is suddenly worried about what other people may think, lacks confidence in his ability to do new things, rides and ridicules the younger children, etc. But he is at heart a sweet kid and we can usually good naturedly badger him back around. It was difficult in our circumstances to do very much for his birthday, but the older children helped especially Eric, who gave him one of his old shirts, a candy bar, some money for lunch, and offered to make his breakfast in the morning, so Ryan at least got off to school having had a little attention. In the evening Rachel made him a cake after calling Sandy Halverson about getting a cake mix and later $5.00 (hard earned money!). Ashley got him some candy and gum and wrapped them from her and Brett. Kent gave him a rocket and some M&Ms, and I gave him the clock radio which used to be by my bed so he could set the alarm and get up in time for school. I also made him some spinach for dinner, but he wasn't too thrilled about that. It was quite a sweet gathering in the evening, Ryan modest and self-effacing, everyone chipping in to make him feel special. Would have been perfect if Chad had been there too.

Saturday

Ryan went to Magic Mountain with Kazra for Kazra's birthday, and wants to plan a beach party for his birthday in two weeks. Ryan has an inner goodness and determination about him that will carry him far in life.  Ashley, our ray of sunshine and goodness. She is such a sweet, loving intelligent girl. Brett adores her and she grudgingly accepts the admiration, and puts up with his bullying and occasional bothersome behavior. She teaches him school, writes notes to herself and others, reads above grade (she just finished the book my older sister published which is about 5th or 6th grade level) and also nearly went off the scale on her CTBS scores. She wanted me to cut her hair to shoulder length, which I did and she looks real cute. She went to stay at the Wootens a few days the end of June and will again next week. She took swim lessons, loved them, and nearly passed so Kent signed her up for the next session, which she did pass the youngest one in the class. She lost her CTR ring one day, but the lifeguard borrowed some goggles and found it for her. Her teacher in school is Mrs. Farris, who is a very loud teacher, but has good classroom control. She excused Ashley from some activity because Ashley was doing more than required. But one Friday Ashley had to stay in at recess because she forgot to turn in her homework. We have been working on doing it as soon as she gets home from school instead of putting it off. It's hard, because she usually comes home while I am taking my nap. She just gets herself a snack and then goes in quietly to draw or write in her room. Occasionally she'll complain about something, but a mild rebuke brings her right back around. Sometimes she irks the older children in typical henpecking scenarios, but refuses to stay under their thumb. We feel very blessed to have her in our family. She prays every day that my cancer will go away or won't touch my heart for many years. I remember one blessing my father gave in which he said that the Lord would hear the prayers of my children. I remember when I was little praying for my dad when he was gone so often in the evening. I was so afraid something would happen to him. Later when he had such health problems and was able to overcome them, I wondered if those little girl prayers were answered on his behalf. Who knows but perhaps Ashley's sweet faith and prayers will do more to preserving my life than any other thing? Her spunk and sweet goodness will bless the lives of many people. Brett all cowboy with gusto and five year old sweetness. He keeps wanting to know when he will be five and a half. Each morning he watches his favorite shows, (although he is shy because of teasing to have the older children see him watch them) Shining Time Station, Lamb chops, Mr. Rogers, Barney, Story time. He sings along with them, then gets dressed, says his prayers, brushes his teeth and hair, gives me five kisses and five hugs (plus one big one of each), puts on his pack and chugs out the door to the bus stop, ready for school physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Sometimes it is hard for me to walk down to the bus stop so if one of the older children are home I ask them to walk down with him. But on the first day of school I managed to go down and take some pictures of him on the bus, then drove to the school to meet him again and go with him to the cafeteria where he eats lunch with his classmates before school.

He was thrilled to buy chocolate milk with a quarter. He sat by Blake Mendenhall and Kendall Myler. Ashley prepared him well for his teacher Mrs. Saur by telling him that she was so funny, so he has a very positive mind set going into kindergarten. He is proud to show me his papers, but said every day the first week that school was "so boring" because one little girl cried the whole time for her mother. He is very grown up about the whole school experience. Fortunately I found a lot of cute clothes for him at the OO2 garage sale in May (last one I went to) so he has some nice clothes to wear to school and some good tennis shoes and boots. He can't wait until he can get into swim lessons, and in the evening we have had a hard time keeping track of him as he wants to go play with the neighborhood kids on the street including hyperactive Jason who wanders hither and yon and likes to spy on some little girls. They've made a kind of fort on the hill behind our house, and it is hard to get Brett to come inside in the evening and go to bed. He's a strong willed young fella, but a delightful child, reminding me much of Eric at the same age. How grateful I am to have had him, and to have been able to live to see him start school. How I hope that I can live to finish raising him!

September 4, 1994

Kent Gardiner entry
It has been a few months since I have made an entry, much has occurred. Suzanne is downstairs. I am here, we are showing the house. It has been for sale for two years. Suzanne is losing her vision, strength and there is a sense of foreboding in our home. This morning I gave a FHE lesson on faith. Faith to not eat fat, faith to clean the house and sell it, faith to follow through on what you need to do to get what you want. I talked about fairy tales and how unrealistic it was to expect something for nothing. I would like to tell you what I have learned from the trials of the flesh we have been through. I have learned three things:

First the importance of keeping the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom talks about walking and running. Vitality is so important to a full life. To run, walk, move about is a wonderful blessing, one that Suzanne does not now enjoy. Also much of the energy we have comes from the fuel or food we take into our bodies. Good food, fresh vegetables are the medicine chest of life and fresh fruits are the elixir of life. They can mean so much. Avoiding fat, sugar and salt, I believe, are part of the true word of wisdom. Also sun.

Secondly, the importance of the helping hand. The tender mercies of others, the small kindnesses, the small gestures of others mean so much to those in need. It is truly humbling to pick up a food order, receive a check from a relative that has modest means. Even a tray of wheatgrass, a note, a kind word all means so much during a time of trial.

Thirdly, the lord is in control. His will be done in spite of our longings our pleading and our desires. It is only as we put our lives and spirits in sync with what he wants and his mission for each of us that we will find true peace in this life. Knowing that will is the difficult thing, because sometime you see a promise gong in one direction and your life going in another. It is confusing, saddening and heart renting.

Lastly, what I am expected to do is impossible. To take care of six children, to watch over and care for a dying wife and to sell a house and to hold a job is impossible. I am trying to do my best at each and yet several tines a day I sit down, take stock of what I am doing and try to provide myself with a few minutes of quite in the garage away from everyone with a train, with music or reading and considering an idea. Pacing myself helps when I feel lonely, overwhelmed and helpless. I do believe in deity and in the ultimate goodness of Christ and that he can aid us in our afflictions but when???


Rachel 

This summer went by fast. I worked allot and helped out at home, I went out with my friends when I had time. School starts soon, and I am definitely not ready. Mom's a heck lot worse than before. I want to go camping on the beach Tuesday because Wednesday is my last day of vacation, but I have to work, so I am going to try to work do something out, Jeremy Eveland, I guy in Saugus First ward who I met at work, is like my best friend and guardian angle. HE likes me a lot and often I tell him he is obsessed with me, but he a good guy. He is up at Rick's college as a sophomore right now. I am going to be a junior at Hart in a couple days.

Summer 1994
over the past summer Suzanne read over one of her blessings and decided that diet had played a role in the cancer. She decided to learn everything she could about died and nutrition in an attempt to save her life. She sat down with the family and announced that she wasn't going to help with children or meals anymore but would concentrate all of her efforts on getting better. She asked for our support. It was a real shock to me, as I felt overwhelmed already with the children, school, trying to sell the house and the efforts we were already making on the cancer front.  It took a while but after a time we clumsily took over her duties. The ward helped a lot with food and transportation and filling in where they could. I think there was some resentment on our parts because Suzanne seemed perfectly well. She looked good and was in her usual positive frame of mind. I would shop for organic foods, which cost an extra hundred dollars a week, and she would order the supplements, which was another hundred a week. With the help of her dad she got a juicer and began in earnest to juice the carrots and lettuce and ate the vegetables in the end. She was tenacious about sticking with each and every principal she learned. She studied all of the time and had books piled all over the house for easy retrieval. She took copious notes and spoke often of what she was learning.

We came to believe that the high fat, rich died of Americans was the cause of the Cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and various other maladies of our time. We asked the relief society to only present us with healthy meals. At times they were so bland that nobody would eat them. At other times they were delicious and we wondered why we didn't eat like this all the time.

Even the day before she passed on she took some nutrition pills that she felt would benefit her. We found out that her cancer probably began in 1980 with two cells inappropriately dividing. And each of them divided. They divide every 100 days. The high fat diet we are all accustomed to probably began the process and encouraged it. At five years her cancer was probably only a pencil tip big. But when it was 10 years old it was the size of large marbles.

Suzanne kept to the diet until she began to throw up so much that she didn't have the strength, or the stomach to keep it up. Still she ate healthy foods and I found it difficult to have her step back from her healthy food play and just eat foods that would stay down. She would throw up and ask for a towel and immediately eat a new meal all over again. The amount she would throw up would often be about a quart. It would fill a saucepan about half way up. As this was going on we began to become very concerned, nervous and tense.

She would tell me that her chest hurt or her head hurt or her arm hurt. Not all at once but every few days she would have a new problem area, which caused her pain.

Sep 9, 1994


Thornhill Broom Beach, Ca

This week I saw courage. On Tuesday I took the kids camping on the beach at Thornhill Beach. It was the end of the summer and because we haven't really been out much I wanted to end the summer on a positive note. Rachel wanted to go and the kids were very excited. We camped right on the beach, Rachel and Eric took friends and we enjoyed the company and the surf. When we arrived home on Wednesday, before school started, we were shocked to find out the events of the previous night.
That night Suzanne began to bleed from her nose and it wouldn’t stop. About 10 at night she called her dad and eventually had Chad take her to the Emergency Room at Henry Mayo. She had to wait a couple of hours and called the Bishop to sit with her. He was very tender and loving toward Suzanne and a big help. They packed her nose. Chad put his big arm around his mother and said, "You know mom you have a lot to be grateful for, you have lived a good life, you have raised a wonderful family, you have developed yourself spiritually and I'm proud to have you as my mother."

The next day Mr. Jarvis came over to see if Suzanne would do a loan for him. The next night they had a formal meeting in our home where they filled out the paperwork for the loan. Suzanne couldn’t hardly move. She has tremendous pain in her back from the cancer. Her spine has disintegrated from the cancer and she has double vision from the cancer in her brain. She wears an eye patch so she can focus and my poor sweet wife had her nose packed. Before Mr. Jarvis came, Suzanne took off the eye patch and with my help she slowly made her way to the front room. Here she sat, with double vision, filled with cancer, unable to walk by her, gauze packing protruding from her nose, with a wig on and she went through the entire interview as if she had a minor affliction. That was the night I saw courage in my front room.

I was so taken with her bravery and strength of spirit, that I felt weak, moved and unable to express myself. I late told her of my profound respect for her courage.
On Thursday Dr Young sat us down and said that her spine was fragile and that it needed an operation to put in bars or a halo or? This came as the final blow. I think till that moment we felt she would make it somehow. That was the deathblow.

The next day my dad and Mom and Jim and Suzanne and I met with the Dr. He walked a very thin line and then put her in the hospital to give her something to bring the calcium down. It is from her disintegrating bones. Jim gave her a blessing, blessing her with the Lords love. I felt weak. This has been a tremendous blow to me.

I asked for Jim's advise and he said sit and talk with her, enjoy the time you have which will be short, unless a miracle takes place. I went to the hospital to sit with her. She said how much she loved me and reminded me of a difficult time in our marriage when we went to the temple. In the prayer circle she asked if she had married the right one. The answer came in words. Do you love him? She said yes. The voice said, "He is the one I have chosen for you."
She said how much she likes my chest and shoulders and enjoys my physical touch. She said that she loves my hands because they are always busy working.
I sat and held her hands and was in awe at their beauty and softness.
She wants me to clean up her journal entries so there is nothing discouraging to the children.
She wants our family motto to be the same as the Bensons, No empty chairs, in the temple.
Kent


September 17, 1994

This has been quite a week. Last weekend Suzanne and I thought it might be her last. Sick and in the hospital barely able to move, disintegrating bones, pain in back and neck, low platelets, no energy seemed to spell the end. I have been very moved by the courage Suzanne has had. She is a real fighter. We brought her home from the hospital on Tuesday. What a relief. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get her out or not. She needs a walker and help getting up and down. Sitting and lying down both present her with pain but she is with us. What a wonderful thing.

The next couple of days the sisters got her a commode and walker. She is using them. Them something strange happened. She has came back to life. Thursday and Friday and half of Saturday she rallied and had energy. She even started giving orders to the children, something she hasn't done for a long time. She began promoting me. Wanting me to do various things unrelated to diet. She felt so good that we invited the Large's over and saw Sleepless in Seattle on Friday night. It was really fun. We chatted and really had a wonderful time. We kissed and hugged. She slept well and then on Saturday she got up and about 11 am she wanted to walk around the block to a garage sale. She walked around the corner and up to the top of the street and then asked me to get the car. In the afternoon her stomach began acting up and she saw some blood in her urine.

These things make me nervous. We got an offer on the house on Friday but it was totally unreasonable and something that won’t work. We'll counter on Monday.

There is a sweetness and peace in our home in spite of Suzanne
deteriorating health and in spite of our lack of money.
On Sunday we showed the house and again, and she asked me if I would help her out to the car. She wanted to go to the Nelsons for dinner. Which she did? It was to be her last social outing in this life. She had dinner and chatted and enjoyed the company of her family and the Nelson family.


On Thursday

Sister Harrison took her to the Doctor and on the way home Suzanne said she wanted to go to the bookstore. Our neighbors the Armstrong’s had watched Brett a lot and had mentioned that they liked the picture of the Savior that we have in the front room. She wanted to present a copy to them. As sister Harrison went into the store to see if they had one she then came back out to the car, finding Suzanne quietly sitting there with her eyes closed to handle the tiredness and pain she was experiencing. They bought the picture and Sister Harrison delivered it. That was the last item Suzanne ever bought, the Savior’s likeness.

During the week they were painting the house next door. The Mexican laborers were working without masks and Suzanne deplored this condition and asked me to go upstairs and get one of her scarves and present it to the worker as she feared for his health. I did. I explained our concerns but the fellow just said something in Spanish, smiled and walked away.

Suzanne has never had any fear of helping others. She has wonderful feeling for others and expresses those feelings and often helps them without constraint.
This weekend Sister Halverson helped Chad fill out his Ricks application. I wanted Suzanne to write letters to the children but she said she wouldn't do it until Chad had his application mailed. We mailed it Tuesday the 20th, as it was due by the 30th. On Thursday I came home and she slowly held up the paper with all of the letters complete. I helped her upstairs and she lay on the bed while I typed each letter into the computer.

When done I felt wonderful inside, she asked if each one was alright and we made a few minor adjustments in order to portray the intents of her heart. We ended each note with her love. For me this was a gift from heaven. In each letter I could feel her deep spiritual desires for me and for each child. I felt that this was the beginning of some deeply moving and spiritual experiences associated with the last days of her life.

During this last week she enjoyed sitting in the lazy boy and would comment on her blessings. She loved to look at the Mary Gregory pieces and other things her grandmother had given her and say how much she enjoyed seeing these precious little treasures and how blessed she felt she was. Positive, looking for the good. In spite of money problems, wayward children at times, no house sold and the languishing debilitating effects of the cancer, here she sits enjoying family heirlooms. Wow.
On Friday the 23, while teaching at school, I was called by Donna at Dr. Barstis's office. I received the call at school and she said that they had put Suzanne into the hospital, as she was very ill. My heart sank.

I rushed to the hospital and found her very week; her eyes closed most of the time. I went home around dinnertime to make sure the kids were set. They had given her platelets on Monday and here it was Friday and she needed massive amounts of blood again. I reasoned that her marrow must not be functioning at all. After talking to the Dr and finding out the seriousness of the situation I went home and gathered the children around me and told them that this might be it. We all cried and then each child made there was down to the hospital. Chad took Ryan down first. Rachel went on her was to the football game and I took Ashley and Ryan. I was so upset that I couldn't face the hospital right off and I stayed home to muster up a little more courage. It was about 7 o'clock when I walked over to the Armstrongs and asked Brett if I could talk to him. We crossed the street and sat on the lawn. I told him that his mother was very sick and she might die. He sat there happy. I asked him if he would like to tell his mother that he loved her. He said I already told her. I asked when. He said each day he leaves home he yells, "Bye mom, I love you!"

I went down to the hospital and I went back down to the hospital and found her talking to the Stake President, Reed Halliday. She was asking for help for me, with the sale of the house and she said I needed a blessing. She was the sick one but it was me she was looking after. What compassion.
I made up a bed on a cot next to her and each time the nurse would come into the room I'd awake and listen for the sound of her voice. When I heard it I would feel relief and fall back to sleep. I was tired right down to my marrow.

The next day we worked hard to get her out of the hospital. While in the hospital they gave her platelets, two units of blood and potassium. The next day she commended that if she was low on potassium that we should probably mix up some at home, but if the jar was dirty, as it had become in the past during her Gershon diet, that it should be tossed. I told her that she now had lots of potassium and not to worry about it. We walked out to the car with Sister Malloy and Sister Halverson. I put her in the van and we went home.

She was very week and I helped her walk and go to the bathroom and move about. Saturday night I stayed up with her again. This night she got me up a lot. She was so weak that she needed me to get water, medicine, lifting her feet into bed. She had lost a lot of weight and was down to 129 pounds. Her lower body had lost much weight and muscle strength. As I watched her I thought how much she looked like someone out of a concentration camp. I talked to Dr. Bastes and he said that she could slip away at any point now and that our job was pain control and we picked up perkosette for pain and complasine for nausea.

Every time I would lay my head down on the pillow and just fall asleep she would ask for something and genuinely feel bad for waking me. I assured her that I wanted to do everything I could to make her comfortable. It was a very long night.

Sunday, September 25

We awoke and I put my head next to her shoulder and just enjoyed the closeness to her spirit. After a few minutes she said, "I think I'm going to get better tomorrow." I choked back the tender feelings I had for her and after a while of just lying close to her she said, "I wish I could be a better wife to you, Kent."

A day or so before I put my head next to her arm and thought about how much I loved her and told her that I loved her with all my heart. And she said, "I'm humbled by that."  Her expressiveness amid all the pain means so much to me. It’s funny, here your married for twenty years and when she tells you that she loves you, your heart beats faster and your knees feel like jelly. I've got it bad.

I helped her downstairs and she had warm milk toast and her pills. I helped her to her chair. I thought to myself, I am so tired I needed to get some help I don't think I can go through another night like that tonight.

One of the kids mentioned that it was fast Sunday. Exhausted, with a nervous stomach and a heart race, I had already had my bowl of oatmeal. When she heard it was fast Sunday she want to know if I had paid the seventy dollars tithing on the money received from the Reeses and from Jim Brown. I told her that I hadn't even cashed the checks yet but yes I would take care of it. For us not to have family prayers or not to pay our tithing would be unthinkable to Suzanne.

At 9:00 we got the kids up for family home evening.  After prayer I read a little of her will. She sat in the lazy boy. The children were very attentive but the tenderness of the will and her fragile condition broke me up inside and all I could do was cry. Because I couldn't read I asked Chad to finish the parts of her will that I wanted to talk about. When we came to the part about dividing up the jewelry I asked Rachel to get her can of jewelry that Suzanne kept above the microwave. We lay it out on the rug and divided it up the few pieces that she wanted Rachel and Ashley to have when they are twenty-one. Suzanne explained that they were being passed on from her own mother and that the boys could pick things later for their wives and that the most important thing was that there be no bad feelings about who gets what. She said that it would be better not to have the things at all if there was any bitterness. She said that harmony was the most important thing of all in a family.

After a closing prayer I was walking her to the bathroom. She said Kent, you can have my scriptures. Is there anything else you want? I said, "just your love." She said, "you'll have that forever."
I began to tear up and I thought to myself that is the greatest gift you can have in this life.
In the afternoon we showed the house. One person walked through and caught her without her wig. Suzanne said, "I haven't been feeling well lately, I've had some chemotherapy."

The priests came and gave her the sacrament. They filled five or six water cups and knelt and presented her with the sacrament. When she took the bread she said, do I have to eat the whole thing? We all chimed in no, sister Gardiner. The whole piece would have made her throw up.

Visitors were a hardship for her at this time but Mark and Karen had asked earlier in the week to come so we left the invitation open. They came in the afternoon and were very quiet, peaceful and unhurried in their conversation and Suzanne later said that she enjoyed the visit.


Monday September the 26 Suzanne’s Last Day on Earth

Another long night. She would wake up and want to know what time it was so that she would know if enough time had lapsed so she could get another pain pill. When I awoke in the morning I longed to have her dad there. I called and explained the situation so he could give me advice. I'm beginning to feel like I am out of my league in all of this.
When she got up she wanted to get dressed, I told her that maybe she could take it easy today and stay in bed. She said no, she wanted to get dressed. I put on her grey tights and a blouse, she said no, I want one of your shirts. I complied.

This morning she can't even walk. No strength. I did move her to the toilet and then to the Victorian setae. She said I really need to eat. I got her some milk toast but while making it became less than hot because Brett wanted help getting himself dressed. I took it up to her and sat by her feet with my heart in my throat. She carefully and slowly ate the food.

In all the time she has had cancer. Through surgery, pain, discouragement I never heard her complain. Never a word. It would always be something like, I need to take this medication to get better or we're going to try this treatment next or I what do you think that priesthood blessing means we should do. Suzanne has always been filled with hope, compassion and courage. The strongest thing I ever heard her say, is "do you know why the ward members are so kind to us." I'd say no and she'd say, "Because they are glad that this is not happening to them."

I tenderly put her back to bed though she was in a lot of pain by this time. She wanted her collar back so she could go to the doctors but I talked her into letting her dad go down to see Dr. Barstis. When her dad came she said she wanted him to get a piece of paper and write down her condition so he could tell her what to do. She said her head hurt, her hips hurt and she had no energy. When he arrived back she said, "What did Dr. Barstis say?" In her mind she was ready for the next part of the cure that would make her feel better. I had just given her two pills. Her dad asked if he could give her a shot and explained that it would make her sleepy and asked if that was okay, she said yes, he asked again and she again said yes, her last word in this life.

After her dad left she went into chain stokes breathing, sometimes breathing fast and sometimes slowly and loudly and occasionally seeming to stop. I knelt down by the side of her bed and prayed that she would go quickly. I watched and lay next to her.

At noon I had sister Malloy bring Ashley home, as I was lonely. We three spend the afternoon on the bed together. Ashley reading. Me with a heart race and Suzanne breathing. The liquids jostled in her stomach making me think that her systems weren't functioning.

At about four, I notice a tear tricky down her left cheek. Nothing else. I wiped it away and wondered. Over the last few hours of the afternoon her right eye opened slightly and slowly both eyes opened slightly but it didn't seem to me that her spirit was there at all.

At one point in the afternoon I put on a Beethoven piano concerto and lay on the landing and watched her chest rise and‹ fall and found that Ashley had fallen asleep next to Suzanne. I took a picture
by four thirty I wondered if she would wake up and if she did I thought that it would be nice for her to be clean. I called Sister Halverson who was thinking about the same thing and she came over and gave Suzanne a sponge bath. After the bath I told her how much I loved Suzanne's hands and took a picture of her hands and then one of my hand and hers together.

Someone came to view the house and Sandy sort of covered her up and I quickly showed them the room and said my wife was asleep.

It seemed like an unusual thing to do but she wanted the house sold as badly as we did.
At about 6 twenty Dan Burnham called and came over to discuss mortuary arrangements. He had contacted and visited four or five mortuary that day and had typed up a price comparison. He came in and up to the landing. Glenna Rae came. She had prayed that day that she could be there when Suzanne passed away. She sat and held Suzanne's hand while I talked a on the landing. At 6 thirty they called, I rushed in and Suzanne passed away. Sandy, Glenna Rae and I burst into tears and held her.
I called for the women to get the kids. They rushed in and gathered on the bed with Suzanne's poor tired body. With tears I told them that mom had just died. They shed tears and Brett said lets say a prayer. I did and told them about the spirit world and that mom was still alive and could see us but we couldn't see her and that the spirit world was near. I told them that twenty years ago I saw Suzanne at a dance and that I have loved her every day since. Each child touched her skin, and felt the warmth flow out of her body. We closed her eyes. Her mouth looked unnatural. When the spirit leaves there is total emptiness about the body that is hard to describe. We sat for a long time and talked about what a wonderful mother she was. After a while the Bishop came and I asked for Kevin and Nancee to be called. I called my parents and Jim who wasn't home, Barbara called and I told her and asked her to contact the others.

That evening the Glenna Rae put Brett to bed but he said he couldn't remember what mom looked like so she went and got the picture of Suzanne and Brett and put it on his dresser. She spends some time arranging it so he could see her from his bed. Sandy spends time with Ashley and put her to bed. The next morning she said she couldn't' go to sleep and then she felt mom hug her and then she did.
The bishop spent time in the guesthouse with the boys. As the night went on we gathered around in the bedroom. There was Kevin and Nancee, Jim and Glenna Rae, Dan Burnham, the Bishop Patterson, Sandy. We told stories and expressed love. I felt lifted and filled with love for the people around me and for mankind and for Suzanne. We kept trying to contact Jim, as it was Suzanne's wish that he fill out the death certificate, but he didn't call till after eleven. The body lay covered on the bed as we exchanged feelings for Suzanne. All wept. At about midnight the mortuary came, we went downstairs and they carried her remains out. I don't have the same feelings about her body that I did in life. The spirit gives life.

At one thirty am the Bishop said a prayer and we all went to bed. I tried to sleep in Chad's bed but after an hour traded with him. My mind wouldn't stop. I got a couple of hours sleep.

I learned two things that night. One, if someone passes on, gathers round them and gives hugs. Two, is a lesson I have learned from Sandy Halverson. Never ask, if you ever need anything call on me. Say, "would you mind if I went and got that prescription," or "would you mind if we took Ashley to our house overnight, would you mind if I washed your bedding." When someone needs help, they aren't in a decision-making mode. When you ask them what you can do it puts the onus or the responsibility on them when you are the strong on and can shoulder it. All you need, as the helper is the nod to move forward on some task that is needed. I consider this a life gift. This is how one human being can help another. “Would you mind?”

Tuesday September 27

In the morning I couldn't sleep. I cried a lot and thought about Suzanne. I walked upstairs and Brett was just getting up. He walked into our bedroom. The night before his mother lay on the bed covered. As he walked in he said, "Where have they taken mom." I thought of Mary asking the same question at the tomb.

Today Dan Burnham took me in his new car with Ryan and Ashley to the cemetery and used his cellular phone to buy two plots.

In the afternoon we went to the mortuary and met Jim who was filling out he death certificate and my dad and mom. It's the San Fernando Mortuary. We met a straightforward fellow who knew we wanted to keep costs down and he helped us do just that. The entire funeral will cost four thousand, about three thousand dollars difference from doing this in our valley. I credit our wonderful home teacher with arranging and helping me to follow through with the funeral arrangements. Wonderful

Thursday, September 29 - Suzanne's Funeral

I got up today and walked outside at 6:20 as Rachel and Eric were leaving for Seminary and it began to rain. The heavens wept and so did I. received a phone call this morning from Annie Bishop, her father had passed away from cancer a year ago. She is in the loan business with Suzanne and they became friends. She has had great sadness over the death of her father and felt it was unresolved. The night Suzanne passed away she had an appointment to come to our house.

She came at about 9:15 and I met her outside and cancelled and told her it was because Suzanne had passed away a couple of hours ago. She got a very strange look on her face. I thought it was because of her sadness and tried to comfort her with the idea that Suzanne had gone through so much pain that it was her time and that she couldn't go on any further. She left abruptly. She told me on the phone that on the way to our house she had heard Suzanne's voice say, your father is alright." That is why she had looked so surprised when she came to our door.

The morning of the funeral I met Nancy in the parking lot after the funeral and she told me that the day before she was driving around in her car and she heart Suzanne singing the song "Abide with me." It was clear and she sang it all the way through. That was the only song that she had on her list that we didn't sing at her funeral.

As we arrived we went in and viewed her body. It was cold but she looked beautiful, Glenna Rae, Nancy Large, Sandy Halverson and Judy and Barbara and Frankie Behaan had done a wonderful job. While they were dressing her they had to move the body and got nail polish on the apron. Sandy had her husband pick up another one from the temple and they finished dressing her at 8:45 in the morning of the funeral. I took pictures of Suzanne and each child by the open casket and then began greeting and hugging everyone. It seemed to distract me, filled me with love and calmed my troubled heart. The funeral was wonderful. Ashley has a favorite person, Linda Green the bus driver. She hugs a present; a teddy bear when she is afraid at night, that Linda Green gave her. But she called the night before and said she couldn't come and Ashley was disappointed. Then as we were driving into the parking lot I saw a big yellow bus drive up with only Linda Green inside. I began to cry.

After the viewing we met with the family and I told about my love for Suzanne and her last few words of eternal love. I then prayed. I asked Linda Green to sit with the family and Ashley asked to sit with me, so she sat between us. The service was wonderful. Sandy was perfect, Jim was personal and I cried through each song. Afterwards I hugged more people and drove to the cemetery in our van. Jim Jr offered the prayer and afterwards I plucked the flowers from the coffin and handed them to the children and young girls and then the mothers. I thanked everyone for all the kindness and chatted with relatives. Brent Frost and Lynn Reeder came, which was a comfort.

In the afternoon the relatives all came to my house and as the children played I recounted her last day on earth and some of the touching things that happened. The day put me on a high. I'm not so much lonely now as full of grief and sorrow and full of emotion and love for my dear sweet Suzanne. I love her so much. I look forward to the day when we will be together eternally. I live for that day. It will be worth any sacrifice to make that comes true.
A couple of days after the funeral I went around and asked each child how they were doing with the death of their mother. They all said okay except Ashley, who said, "Ok, if mom is in heaven."

Friday the 30

Glenn and Jenna and Jessica and I sort all of Suzanne’s memorabilia and genealogy. It takes about 6 hours. I'm lonely and tired.

Saturday October 1, 1994

A new prophet, president Hunter. Jim and Carol come to visit last night and stayed the night. We chatted and exchanged ideas. What a humble sweet family.

Sunday Oct 2, 1994

We blessed JT's baby Brian. It was nice being with the Gardiner relatives. It feels funny and strange not having Suzanne by my side.
Saturday, October 15
Kathy Annison called. She just heard about Suzanne and she told me a story about a leader in the church who died. At his bedside was his wife and at the foot of the bed was a good friend. The man passed on, and after a couple of days the friend came to the wife and said, "When your husband passed away I saw two escorts come, one had a white robe draped over his arm and your husband went with them." What a marvelous vision.

Ashley Sunday October 16

Recently Mom died. Sandy Halverson put me to bed the night she died. We all gave a big cry. The next morning I told my dad that when I couldn't sleep I felt mom hug me. The next day I didn't go to school because I didn't feel like it. Thursday was her funeral. Everybody came, including Linda Green. After the funeral all of our relatives came to our house and ate dinner. Uncle John took me to get some ice cream at 31 flavors. I went home with the Wootens and watched General Conference with them and wrote everything down. Then we got a slushy on Saturday, since we wrote everything down. Then the rest of the family went to Glenna Rae White's and watched General Conference on Sunday. Week after that we went to bless uncle JT's baby, Brian. All the Gardiner cousins were there.

Brett Sunday October 16

I know mom was so nice. She used to love everyone. She used to be so nice. She was in a good church. She was in a good family. She talked about good things, she ate good vegetables and she ate things she wanted to eat. She was so nice like she was in God's ward. She gave people food that was poor.

Ryan Sunday October 16

Sunday we had family home evening and talked about mom's will and what she wanted for us. She seemed pretty well. But the next day she passed away. I remember telling a bunch of stories around mom after she died, and that was really nice. She died at 6:30 on September 26. Thursday was the funeral and I saw a lot of people that I knew and lots of friends. Mom's body was in the casket, I touched it and it was hard as a rock. I tried to push it and it didn't budge. It made me feel like mom wasn't there. She didn't look like herself. We got a good gravesite underneath a tree. After the funeral most of our relatives came over and we had dinner and chatted and talked. I'm glad mom died when she was asleep so she didn't have a lot of pain. I had a strong warm feeling after mom died. I think it was mom. I think the reason mom didn't die the Friday before was so she could die when she was home with us.


Suzanne
My wife’s had full, thick, sunny, auburn hair. It was rich like chocolate pudding. When we were first married she wore it long and luxurious like the mane of a colt.

I loved the feel her hair. One time one of the kids brought headlice home and I spend a weekend sitting in the backyard in the sunlight searching in her hair for nits. It took hours. I worked a section at a time and enjoyed caring for her hair. I felt close to her as I discovered a nit and removed it with a special comb. I felt good as I cared for her.

She is gone now but the other day I was going through some of her things and found an envelope with her hair in it. I carefully reached inside the envelope and gently touching the strands as I remember her face, her touch, and that chocolate pudding hair. Kent


Dear Kent, You have become the fulfillment of prophesy – becoming the perfect husband – everything I have ever wanted and needed, you’ve taken very good care of me and I know I did right in marrying you. I’ve been fascinated by you ever since I saw you in Glendora ward. Your sorrows will be my sorrows; your triumphs will be my triumphs; for we are inseparably connected forever. When you read the scriptures, attend the temple, and administer in priesthood ordinances, and organize family events you will feel my spirit closest to you. I have found heaven on earth with you and my greatest desire is that it continues for eternity. I love you always and forever. Suzanne

Dear Chad, I will always remember the Great Spirit you have developed in your life beginning your freshman year in college – reading the scriptures and being so kind to me and the family. I guess because you are my first-born son I fretted and worried and put more time in you than all the others. Now as I see the tremendous goodness and responsibility and spirituality come into your life I have great peace and joy and hope concerning you. I truly believe that you will succeed and have a good and happy life if you keep the spirit with you. I will be watching over you and your sorrows and triumphs will be mine as well. Though it is impossible not to have down times in life, with this Great Spirit you are developing I know you will come out on top again. Be sure to marry the best girl you can find in the temple to help you during your down and ups and to return home with honor to the Celestial Kingdom. Remember, “no empty chairs,” heaven will not be complete without you and your family there too. I love you always. Your mother


Dear Rachel, You have brought me great joy since you were a little child. I loved to kiss you and make you laugh. I felt peace concerning you since infancy and knew someday I would have great joy over you. I can see that becoming true in the strength and direction you have developed in your life lately. You are becoming a lovely, intelligent, unselfish, hardworking, and wise young woman. I particularly appreciate the help you have given to the family during this difficult time. You have always had a gift for caring for younger children, which they appreciate. I remember when Ryan would crawl into bed with you in the morning for comfort. I’ll be watching over you and proud of your accomplishments. Take time to read the scriptures daily to help you to maintain your determination to do right. Marry the best young man you can find who will help you to continue to grow and will cherish you. Remember “no empty chairs” in the celestial kingdom.” We need you and your family there to truly make it heaven. I love you always. Your mother.

Dear Eric, I have sensed a strong reassuring spirit about you since before your birth. I have felt peace about you, knowing you would make good decisions and do well. You have a gift for working with others and leadership ability. Learn to be tolerant of other people and their weaknesses and the Lord will make you great. You are able to sense what needs to be changed and offer help when necessary. You are my best helper and worker. Even when you were little, you used to baby-sit Ryan and I while we napped after kindergarten. I will be proudly watching over you. Continue to read the scriptures and write in your journal. They will be a great strength to you. I expect you to be a great missionary and marry the best LDS girl who will help finish you off. Remember, “no empty chairs,” we want you and your family to return home with honor. I love you. Your mother

Dear Ryan, You are the fulfillment of prophecy. I knew that I carried a special spirit during my missionary and genealogical work and looked forward to your birth. I feel that God has a great work for you to do. You were always a very sweet baby and as a child helpful and loving—with a strong desire to do right. Keep this great spirit all your life and you will accomplish great good in God’s kingdom. I remember when you read the scriptures on your own. I hope you make this a habit, it will make you greater. I know you will be a wonderful missionary. Be forgiving and kind always and you will learn to be Christlike. I will watch over you, remember to marry a great LDS girl in the temple who will help you with your life’s mission to return with glory to the Celestial Kingdom. I love you. Mother

Dear Ashley, I believe Heavenly Father chose me to be your mother, you are a fulfillment of prophecy because Heavenly Father announced that you would be born to me before I got pregnant with you. You have been a great source of joy and love and sweetness and comfort and help. I know you will continue to do so. I remember as a child you used to put your head on my feet as I cooked dinner. It reminds me of how we will treat the Savior when we see him. I feel greatly honored and blessed to be your mother. Reading the scriptures each day will help you to continue to be sweet and good your whole life. I want to see you marry the finest LDS man in the temple, who will cherish your goodness and help you return to your home with Heavenly Father. “No empty chairs” in the Celestial Kingdom. I want to be with your family forever. I love you. Mother.

Dear Brett, You are a fulfillment of prophecy. I knew I was supposed to have six children. You were the last stone in my wedding ring. Every day I see you I’m glad I had you. I know I did the right thing. You are a great joy to me and to the whole family. Your enthusiasm for life and zest for living fill us all with love and make us want to do the same. You have a desire to grow up and do right. When you get older, read the scriptures every day. They will add purpose and direction in your life. Control your temper, be honest and obedient always, and God will give you great power to do good. I will be watching over you, I know you will have a great mission and marriage. Marry the best LDS girl in the temple to help you achieve your potential. I want there to be “no empty chairs” in the Celestial Kingdom. I want to be with your family forever. I love you. Mom

Good Night December 18, 1978 English 305

“Hell-o Doctor?” the urgent tone in the man’s raspy voice alerted my fuzzy faculties into sleepy attention. “Doctor um I believe my wife is dying and I want to make sure that she doesn’t suffer any. Would you come out to the house to make sure that everything will be all right?” The voice was polite, apologetic, pleading. I sat on the edge of the narrow bed and mumbled to the voice in the dark. My eyes struggled to focus on the blurry face of the clock. 2 a.m. Laying the receiver down carefully, I turned to my companion who rolled towards me drowsily. “I’m taking Dr. G’s calls, and one of his patients wants me to come out. Be back soon, honey.” I kissed her. I hesitated a moment in the warm, inviting bed, then lunged towards the ancient chest of drawers to stumble into my clothes.

I grasped my way along the hall past the bedroom that five of my six little children shared. Pausing momentarily outside their door to listen to my babes’ sighs and gentle breathing, I mentally envisioned each one of my three daughters and smiled in the dark, my ribs pressing heavily on my chest. I am a rich man, I nodded to myself. I glanced at the tattered, soiled, black-and-white tweed couch that we (my children, my wife and I) knelt around for family prayers. Since we always said them before I had to leave in the morning and before they went to bed at night, and since we always exchanged kisses before those events, kisses and prayers had become inseparably paired in my young children’s minds.

The crickets chirped in time to the stars twinkling, and the old Dodge growled when I turned her over. I sputtered along the sparsely traveled streets towards South San Gabriel, thinking about the medical practice I had barely started in El Monte, just across from the old Greyhound depot on Ramona Blvd., near Tyler. A general practitioner (or an old-fashioned country doctor, as I liked to think of myself), I came in contact with many families, many situations, “Rosemary, what’s the matter?” I had asked a distraught woman in my office not long ago. “Well, my husband just asked me for some money, so he could fly to Denver to be with his girlfriend while I have our baby.” She sobbed in my arms. I was going to deliver her sixth child my heart ached for her as I thought of my own wife and children at home. Now I was going to help a man bury his sweetheart of nearly sixty years—that—that’s over half a century of living and loving together! I wondered what it would be like when I buried my wife.

The unshaded porch light illuminated the well-groomed, small frame house---the type of small frame house that was built commonly in the late twenties. I was met at the door by a tall, bent old man, well into his eighties, who shuffled mutely ahead of me down a dark hall towards a dimly lit bedroom. I caught a glimpse, as I followed of worn, doily-covered furniture, neatly made quilted beds, frayed throw rugs, colorful glass figurines, and faded family portraits. A small night-light glowed beside a bed that enveloped a tiny, child-like figure of a fragile, withered old woman, lying in deep sleep.

I held her wrist and focused on the gnarled, attentive man hovering beside me. How can you tell? I asked reverently.
“I know,” he nodded gravely.
“How long has she been bedfast? I continued.
“Oh
It’s been three years now since Mama had her stroke.”
I was fascinated. “Who’s taken care of her?”

“I did,” he said simply, shrugging. Softly and haltingly, he told me how he had nursed and cared for her, done all the cleaning, the washing, the shopping, and the cooking. “And you’ve taken care of her all this time with no outside help?” I was incredulous. I looked from the gaunt, gnarled man beside me to the tiny, emaciated figure in the bed. “Oh, yes,” he smiled. Shyly, he picked up some papers that lay on the nightstand and showed me the pictures, the poems, and the doodling that he had made for her to pass the long hours. No works of art, these but works wrought by love; and in their simplicity they were beautiful. I was awed.

Our attention was drawn to the woman. Nothing visibly had happened but her noisy, irregular breathing had ceased. I probed for a heartbeat but felt nothing. The old man lightly touched my shoulder and I stepped respectfully aside. With hands that barely trembled, he gently closed her half-lidded eyes, and pressing wrinkled lips to withered cheek whispered, just audibly, “Good night sweetheart. I’ll see you in a little while

Hair

Kent: My wife’s had full, thick, sunny, auburn hair. It was rich like chocolate pudding. When we were first married she wore it long and luxurious like the mane of a colt.

I loved the feel her hair. One time one of the kids brought head lice home and I spend a weekend sitting in the backyard in the sunlight searching in her hair for nits. It took hours. I worked a section at a time and enjoyed caring for her hair. I felt close to her as I discovered a nit and removed it with a special comb. I felt good as I cared for her.

She is gone now but the other day I was going through some of her things and found an envelope with her hair in it. I carefully reached inside the envelope and gently touching the strands as I remembered her face, her touch, and that chocolate pudding hair. shaped, close to his head. I kept thinking what a pretty round face he had. I remembered Kent’s blessing to me 2 weeks before his birth, in which he promised in the name of the Lord that this child would enjoy all the blessings of the priesthood. And I though now it makes sense.

Dad by Rachel

My dad took us camping every summer to Mammoth. He taught me how to pick the be4st campsites, next to the bathroom but secluded, how to build and start a fire, and how to fish. Sometimes we fished from before sunri9se to well after sunset. There were times when, after five hours of fishing, I still couldn’t catch any stupid fish. Other times I caught the limit in less than an hour. Although I loved the adrenaline rush of catching a fish, I hated gutting and scaling my catch. My dad made me cook and eat one of the fishes I had caught that day.

As well as teaching me and all of my brothers and sisters, my dad also taught almost every kid on our street to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Dad held onto the back of my shirt and ran along side with me as I peddled away. I did all right until I realized he was gone. Likewise, I learned how to drive a stick shift from my dad. I took my drivers test on a stick shift; I had gotten so good at it.

My dad is Mr. Fix-it. When the car, stereo, garage door or computer is broken, he can fix it. My dad can make almost anything better, anything except my mom. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. She went from good to bad to really good, to really bad until she died.

I remember when I was around nine years old, sitting in church one day, I decided my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world and some=day I wanted to be just like her. My mom lost all her gorgeous long b brown hair, she couldn’t hold down her food and eventually she couldn’t even dress herself. I love my Mom very much, but couldn’t ever tell her. I felt awful because she was going through so much pain. I felt like my dad wasn’t doing enough or treating her right. I hated my dad because I didn’t’ know what else to do.

Every day my dad took care of my mom. He dressed her, fed her, and encouraged her to become better. In addition to being her personal nurse, he was also super-dad. He came to all the football games and basketball games and soccer games, along with the tap dance and ballet lessons. My dad does all the laundry, mops the kitchen floor, and bakes the best homemade bread.

Last Friday night my dad spent the night on the hard, cold hospital floor, next to my mom’s bed. He stayed with her the whole night, scared to leave her side. Sunday morning my dad tried to read her will to us, but couldn’t because he started crying. After we all left, my mom asked him if she left anything out that he wanted. He said all he wanted was her love. My mom said she would love him forever.

My dad stayed home all day Monday and lay next to my sleeping mother, listening to her breathe. Monday night my dad called us all around her bad as she died. My dad held her hand and cried. He said, “Twenty years ago I saw Suzanne at a dance. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, she was also beautiful on the inside. And I’ve lover her everyday since.”


Rachel 9/30/94
16 years old




The Kent and Suzanne Gardiner Timeline

1955
Suzanne born on February 2

1974
Kent and Suzanne meet at Ed. Week, July 10
First date, July 19, Kent Suzanne, Dodger Stadium
Marie Calendar Pies Date July 23
Schubert Theatre July 27
Hollywood Bowl July 30
First kiss August 2
Disneyland August 3
F.H.E. with Browns, August 5
Date to U.E.S., August 7
Queen Mary, August 9
Dinner at Gardiners, August 11
Hollywood Bowl, August 13
Montclair Plaza, August 14
Listen to Classical music, August 15
Castiac, August 16
Luau, August 17
Decide to marry, August 20
Hollywood Bowl, August 23 with Jim and Marjorie
Suzanne goes to BYU, Beg Sept.
U.E.S., Kent begins work, August

1974
Kent and Suzanne married, Dec. 21 12:25 pm by Pres. Evans
Honeymoon, Dec. 26, to Carmel

1975
Chad conception in Malta

1976
Chad Gardiner born, May 8, 9:45 am 21inches/8lb 11oz
Chad smiles, May 22
Chad holds head up, May 23
Chad 25 inches, 11 pound 7 oz, June 23
Chad blessed, July 4, by father
Chad solids, July
DPT shot, 26 inches, 14 lb 4 oz, Aug. 1
Chad tries to stands up, Aug. 22
San Diego, Sep. 9
Chad talking, Nov. 8

1977
Chad stood in crib, Jan. 2
Rachel Ann, Suzanne goes through temple for, Apr.
Rachel Conception, April 30
Chad walks between things, May 8,
Chad illness, dehydration, Christmas

1978
Rachel Gardiner born, Jan. 24, 10:05 pm 21inches/7lb 9o
Rachel, has grown 2 1/2 lb, 2 1/2 inches
Rachel blessed, March 14, by father
Rachel Accident, falls from stove, May
Chad is 2 years old, May 8
Rachel stands next to things, July
Hawaii, Kent and Suzanne, August
Disneyland, with Chad Labor Day‹j ‹å Rachel walking, Nov.
Christmas, Rachel dolls, plastic Santa

1979
Rachel 1 Year old, Jan 24
Chad is 3 Years Old, fire trucks, motorcycles, and popsicles
Hearst Castle, Kent and Suzanne, Apr. 26
Disneyland, with Chad Labor Day
Chad's Pre School
Christmas, Chad is a Wiseman, Spiderman Big Wheels

1980
Moves to Hyssop Ln. house, March 22
Eric James born, March 26, 9:15 p.m. 21inches/8lb 2oz
Eric due April
Chad is 4 Years Old, road builder trucks
Eric blessed, June 15, by father
Went to S.L.C., took Eric, 4 1/2 months
Chad swim class at COC, July
Eric 2 Teeth, 5 1/2 months old
Eric crawled, 6 months
Eric sitting up, 7 months
Edward Britein dies, Oct. 8
7 1/2 months Eric weaned
Superman, Chad reaction to candy, Halloween
Christmas

1981
Rachel went potty, Jan. 3
Eric 6 Teeth, Jan. 11
Rachel 3rd Birthday, Jan. 24 likes Snoopy, Fisher Price,
Blanket
Rachel 23 pounds Mar.
Eric 1 Birthday, Mar. 26
Mary, Rachel was in play, Easter
Reagan shot by Hinckley, Mar. 30
Star Wars, May 3
Rachel decides between make up and candy, May. 3
Rachel nursery, refuses to go, May 10
Chad 5 Birthday, May 8 dinosaurs, star war
Canada trip for Kent with 81 students (one week), May
Nat. History Museum, Chad May
Disneyland, Rachel didn't like Haunted Mansion, June 1
Rachel learns colors, June
Chad Gymnastics, June 21
Carpentaria Camping, July 10, 11
Swimming, Rachel begins with dad, July
Big Bear with Browns, July 21
Rachel wears Red sandals, summer
Chad 1-Day Kindergarten, Mrs. Neary
El Capitan camping, Aug. 16
Eric says 5 words, Aug. 30
Rachel gymnastics, Sep. 6
Rachel Pre School, Sep.
Chad Spells Zoo, Sep. 7
Chad Reads Dad and Liter, Sep.
Eric run over almost, Sep
Eric only wears diapers, Sep.
Eric bottle thrown away, Oct
Rachel princess, Halloween
Christmas, Rachel is a pink flamingo, gets Lil. Red Riding
Hood
Christmas, Eric got train, car, telephone

1982
No Crooks testimony
Rachel graduates from nursery, Jan. 1
Rachel 4 Years Old, stove, scared at King Kong
Rachel San Diego with Grandparents, Mar. 14
Rachel 1st Talk, in church, Mar. 7
Eric left in car by mistake, Mar. 7
Magic Mountain, liked Jet Stream, Mar. 27
Rachel Strawberry Print, Easter
Rachel new shoes, on wrong feet, Easter
Mission call for Suzanne, June
Solvang, June 11
Rachel dance lessons, September
Ryan conceived late Oct.
Rachel fun 4 Fours
Christmas falls in love with Christmas Music, Barbie

1983
Big Bear with Bluncks, Jan.
Rachel 5 Years Old, playhouse, make up, tights, Annie
Record
Van, Bought a Blue Plymouth
Eric potty trained, Feb. 18
Eric cowboy boots to bed, Mar. 12
Eric 3-Year Birthday, Mar.
Rachel F.H.E. lesson on Jesus, Mar. 27
Chad T Ball, April 10
Chad 7 years old
Kings Canyon camping, Beitlers May
Disneyland, June
Ryan is born, July 22, 9:22 am 23inches/9lb 1oz
Rachel Late bird in Kindergarten, learning to read, Aug
2 grade. Mrs. Harrison
Ryan blessed, Sep 4, by father
Eric Preschool, New Beginnings, fall
Robot, Halloween

1984
Rachel 2 Teeth pulled, Jan
Rachel 6 Years old, Pollyanna doll, yellow
Eric 4 Years old Birthday, Cowboy boots, gun, car
Ryan crawls, March
Chad is 8 years old
Baptized, May 12 Tracy and Jenny attend
Salt Lake City, June 27
Suzanne goes to reunion, Aug. 12
Ryan 2 Birthday
Ryan Convulsion, August
Ryan Walking 10 steps, Sep. 2
Ryan good walking, Sep. 14
Eric Fun 4 Fours, Fall
Eric Joy School, with Ritchie, Nicholas, Danae, Fall
Ryan operation on scrotum, December 2
Christmas, Eric is a angel and Wiseman
got: knight rider, Gobot, _



1985
Rachel 7 Years old
Rachel tooth, pulled by dad, Mar. 24
Chad Worked on Lancaster house 12 hours, Mar. 24
Eric 5 Years old, Knight rider, hot wheels, Book of Mormon
Chad Dinobots, April
Chad 9 years old, transformers, shockwave, prime and
sound wave
The Week following Memorial Day, Ashley conceived
Kings Canyon, 4-mile hike, difficult, May
Harbor Trip, Nov.
Muscles, Dec.
Christmas, Rachel art Chest, rock tumbler
Christmas

1986
Ryan electrocuted, January
Ashley born, Jan 22, 7:45 pm, 21inches/7lb 2oz
Rachel 8 Years old, surprise party
Rachel baptized, Jan 25 by father
Ashley blessed, Feb 22, by father
Due date is Feb. 29
Ashley cries for first six months of life
Eric Chicken pox, End Feb.
Heather born, March 11,
Eric 6 Birthday, Mar. 26
Acton Property bought in foreclosure, June 10
Ryan Birthday
Rachel 3rd Grade, Mrs. Geiran, July 28
Ryan explosion averted, August 12
J.T. and Kris married Aug. 16
Camping, Summer to Reds Meadow, Bishop
Chad 5th Grade, Miss Kloe, Miss Zaslov
Christmas, Rachel gives her "Snowball" bear

1987
1 Birthday, got pop up toy, seat cover
Ryan Joy School Graduation, June 4
Ashley burned with Easy Off, June 20
Ryan Birthday party, Aug 1, July, cars, sunglasses, balls,
boats, popsicles
Camping, July 22
Catalina trip with Chad and Dad, June
Marjorie dies, July 22, 9:15 pm
Ryan falls from playhouse, First of Aug.
Caught first fish, Aug. 2 at Reds Meadow
Eric 2 Grade, Aug. 16
Eric chips tooth in fall from skateboard, Sep.
Eric/ Rachel Beach favorite, Santa Monica, Sep. 6
Britain Trip for Kent and Suzanne
Oct. 1 14 30's style depression for Kent and Suzanne, Aug(c)Feb
Eric hit in head with bat, Christmas
Christmas, Ashley got Telephone, popcorn popper


1988
Rachel soccer Regionals
Star Scout, Feb. 17
Close escrow on big Val Verde property
12 years old
Eric baptized, Mar.
1994
Suzanne dies on Monday

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