Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Player Family, the Oldsters, Adventures


Dad and I woke Roch up this morning to sing “Happy Birthday” to him over the phone. He’d come in from Texas on Friday and spent a very busy Saturday, yesterday. So, we hope he was able to relax and enjoy his special day. We celebrated with him last Sunday at his house. Sherene’s folks were there, too, as were Aunt Arlene, Teressa, and Brandon. Uncle Chuck is in Louisiana–actually, I think he’s flying home today. He’s been gone for a couple of weeks.

Sadie’s baptism was lovely–we enjoyed a packed three days, starting with a beautiful hike on Friday afternoon to ice caves in the Cascades. Arlene put on a king salmon feast for everybody at Lake Connor Park for dinner that night. We roasted marshmallows and made ‘smores, too. Arlene and I had a bit of pampering and shopping on Saturday morning (hairdo for me and pedicure/manicure for her). Then we had a girls’ luncheon at the Cabbage Patch House in Snohomish (where we’d gone for Clarissa’s baptism luncheon, too).

Sadie and eight other children were baptized in their stake at 5:00. Sherene led the music, and she and her mother made a wonderful dessert which was served in the Nursery room after Sadie’s confirmation by her daddy, assisted by both grandpas and several good friends. Sunday was full and lovely, too. Sadie was introduced to the ward in Sacrament meeting; it was inspirational to see her solemn efforts to be grown up and reverent. Sherene spoke on building reservoirs of spiritual strength to get through the tough times that come to all of us. She bore her testimony about making it through the death of her younger brother, followed by the loss of their baby son. Lots of moist eyes in the audience.

Dad and I thoroughly enjoyed visits with Sherene’s parents, as well as one-on-one time with all four girls. I especially loved rubbing their feet and singing Winken, Blinken, and Nod each night.

We took three days and two nights to get home, which was relaxing, sort of!

Sherri, Jon, and the kids came over for pancakes this afternoon. It felt kind of empty without Dolly and Roland’s family–I’m still adjusting to not having them next door. And I’m still looking for them between meetings at Church. Sherri said she talked to Dolly yesterday (?) and Dolly has Strep. Not a fun way to enjoy the last holiday weekend of summer!

Sherri has a bad cold she’s trying to keep from escalating like it did last year. Her friend, who’s a respiratory therapist, is making sure she can get through until she can see the doctor on Tuesday. Dad and Jon gave her a priesthood blessing while they were here.

Today was a bit teary for me, as it’s been just one year since Grandma Gwynne slipped through the veil. I hope you’ve all received your letter from me with the six columns I’ve written over this year

Jonny and Abe are coming over tomorrow morning to wrangle some boxes and stuff (like Grandma Gwynne’s wheel chair and walker) to the storage. I’m clearing out and rearranging rooms in the basement for the couple who are moving in on Sept. 15. Marlayna and David Sheeran were one of the dozen couples who responded to my ad at the Cedar City LDS employment website. I think a couple will work better than a single woman for our needs at this stage of our lives. We need someone living in the house, rather than checking on it. And the Sheeran’s have already started showing how great they will be.

David works for Ben Lamoreaux as an engineer and Marlayna will be starting as an assistant manager at DI (the general manager is in our ward). Both of them had amazing references. But the best reference was the powerful witness of the Spirit during their first interview. I’ve learned from hiring people over the past decade or two that I have to define the job clearly and match it with those who apply. And I have to rely on personal revelation, instead of wishful thinking!

As Dad said, we got home Thursday night and must leave again this coming Thursday. Dave and Marlayna will actually move in while we’re gone, which is another reason I have so much to do before we depart. I’m giving a talk to a group of Lutheran ladies on Sept. 24 and I’m doing four workshops/presentations in Grand Junction WY on October 8-10 (they’re paying my travel and expenses, so I’ll be flying out on October 7 and back the afternoon of the 10th).

Dad will be playing in Parowan tomorrow night at the closing day of the Iron County Fair. He played Friday afternoon, too, but I stayed home to shovel out the mail and work on laundry. But I’ll go with him tomorrow.

Hmmm, just talking about what I have to do in this brief stop at home stresses me. But Dad (and the bicycle shop) repaired my exercise machine yesterday, so I’ll be able to work off some of that stress.

I’m so grateful for the Sabbath, a day when I can recharge depleted, aging batteries. And I’m grateful for covenants with my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. No matter how crazy the world gets, I can feel peace. I don’t have to worry about things I can’t change.

September 6, 2010

I’m finishing this up and getting it out, before another two weeks whiz by!

Jon brought Jonny and Abe over and they took care of everything I needed to be done. The guest room off Dad’s office is now ready with three beds and two dressers! The upstairs guest rooms are also ready.

Jonny found a tiny black kitten near the storage shed and Abe really wanted to keep it. It was skin and bones and had probably been without its mother for several days. But there was no way it could even be near Sherri right now, even in the garage, because the dander would come in on Abe’s clothes. I was tempted, but we’re traveling too much. So, Abe took it back to where Jonny found it.

Dad is taking a brief nap before we head out to the fair and his performance. And I was able to ride 10.5 miles on my bike today–I’m glad I didn’t lose too much ground.

And I’m signing off!

Trying to get organized

Trying to figure out how to post--and not getting very far. I did copy and paste a column that I wrote for the one year anniversary of my mom's death. Now I want to just add some updates on what's going on with me and I can't get this stupid computer to quit underlining. That happened once before and Dolly fixed it. I guess it's better than the blank pages I made yesterday.

Patience is a virtue I need to cultivate!

I think “cultivating patience” is important in this world of increasing impatience, incivility, and down-right nastiness.

Patience is a virtue, one which refines the spirit. It builds inner strength and enhances relationships. Although it’s a virtue I try to cultivate, I have a long way to go toward making it part of my character! For example, as I was cleaning out my files, I found the following journal entry. I wrote it a year ago during my mother’s last illness.

Last night I took Mama to the bathroom at 11:30 and was in bed by midnight. Then, my intercom phone jolted me out of a sound sleep about 2:00 a.m. Mama said, “I’m peeing, what should I do?”

I heaved a huge sigh and stumbled downstairs.

I said, “You have heavy pads on–so I don’t have to get up with you every two hours!” I was irritated and  spoke sharply to her. She hung her head, saying, “I’m sorry. Shall I just go back to sleep?”

Still irritated, I told her to get up, “now that I’m standing here,” and marched her into the bathroom. My anger was evident, and I’m sure she felt it. As she sat on the toilet, she pulled off the top pad. I gave her another and I told her to count how many she had altogether (4). Then I asked her how many she wore during the day when she went potty every two hours (1).

I need to apologize for my impatience and reassure her that I love her and am glad she’s living with me. No matter how difficult, I shouldn’t let my tired body dictate how I treat my mother.
As I read those words, I cried, because Mama no longer calls me at 2:00 a.m; I can sleep through the night without interruption. I wish I could go back and change my irritated response, but I can’t. I can’t even change what I said or did five minutes ago.

The years of caring for Mama have ended and I’m at a different place in my life. I’ve learned that expressing impatience or other negative emotions to my family is hurtful, for them and for me. I’m learning that I must turn such feelings over to my Savior, Jesus Christ. He will accept them, heal my heart, and help me control myself. I don’t have to endure pain and guilt for something I truly regret.

Like some folks, you might think that anger, irritation, annoyance, etc. shouldn’t be suppressed or they’ll make you sick. Such emotions can, over time, cause depression, anxiety, and other physical or mental illnesses–which is why I advocate that you turn your sorrows over to God and his Son.

Placing your burdens at His feet involves a whole lot more that wanting the pain to go away, however. It takes prayer, study, and work, turning outside yourself and reaching out to others who need solace and service.  Take a deep breath, pray for the strength to curb your tongue, and acknowledge your complete dependence on and need for help from Above.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mother's Day Memories

Mother’s Day 2010 will be a bitter-sweet day for me, because it will be the first without my own mother. As you, my readers and friends, know, I’m dealing with my grief over Mama’s death by writing about her as each “first” holiday approaches.
Mama was quite a woman. She and my father homesteaded in Alaska in 1947. They packed three little kids ages four, three, and one, into an army surplus jeep towing a luggage trailer and headed out. I remember my father’s mother standing beside the jeep, crying so hard the front of her dress was soaked. Everybody thought they were crazy.
From that point on, Mama’s life was an adventure. The description of her homesteading years are a step back into the 19th Century. The only convenience she enjoyed beyond what the pioneers had was the jeep. She chopped wood, washed clothes on a scrub board, shot game, and read by kerosene light. She helped Daddy build a dirt floor log cabin with a sod roof. An old sourdough knew that cabin was no place for a pregnant woman and three little kids, so he loaned my folks a cottage in Copper Center, a trading post about 25 miles from our homestead.
The house flooded in February because of ice jams and we moved into the Copper Center Roadhouse, where Daddy worked as the cook. Mama had to go 200 miles away to the nearest doctor to have my baby brother. In the spring, we moved back to the homestead. Our community’s first school was held on the front porch of our cabin.
Widowed at the age of 30, Mama was left to raise four children by herself, until she met my stepfather who helped her finish the job. Gene, with his snowy hair and beard, rosy cheeks, and bright blue eyes, became a delightful grandfather to my children. Widowed again at the age of 52, Mama married Woody. When he died, Mama helped me start Tahoma Companies in Cedar City. We worked together for nearly 10 years, until her health began to decline and she was forced to finally really retire. During that decade and the previous one, she also worked for my brothers in their sign business.
She was a Relief Society president, a Sunday School teacher, and the scribe for her Patriarch husband. She won numerous awards for her beautiful oil paintings and water colors, and she had a delightful sense of humor that drew people to her.
When Mama left this world, she had 38 grandchildren and 109 great-grandchildren, with four more on the way. All who knew her appreciated her loving, generous personality. She typified exactly what a mother should be. She was sure that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the smartest, most beautiful creatures to walk the earth, she taught them with love, not criticism.
All her life, she thought about, served, and sacrificed for her family. Until only a few months before her death, each of her great-grandchildren received a hand-made blanket or latch hook pillow at birth (sometimes the gift didn’t arrive for a year or two, depending on how many little ones were born near each other). And each grandchild and great-grandchild received a card with a dollar bill in it every birthday.
I believe a mother’s love is stronger and more enduring than any other kind of love. I believe it comes closest to the love God shows us than any other human emotion. Memories of my mother and her love soothes and comforts me and helps me feel God’s love during this stressful time in my life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Time to Give Thanks


Thanksgiving is barely noticed.

Celebrating Thanksgiving used to be a much bigger occasion. The First Thanksgiving lived in our collective consciousness as children made turkeys from construction paper feathers glued onto paper plates and dressed up as pilgrims. We told the story of the gratitude the pilgrims felt for living through near starvation and finally reaping a harvest that meant they would survive and prosper.

But, today, as we turn into a people whose biggest health problem is obesity, we face spiritual starvation in the face of physical excess. Therefore, on this Thanksgiving 2009, let’s strengthen our spiritual roots and seek Help From Above to enlarge our spirits and enrich our lives.

The gratitude you feel when you celebrate Thanksgiving will bring you peace of mind amidst the turmoil and uncertainty of this post-911 world.

Being grateful doesn’t mean that you ignore or postpone dealing with the problems in your life, but gratitude gives you the tools you need to face and solve those problems.

Gratitude cures depression, eliminates bitterness and resentment, brings peace amidst trials, and blesses those around you. M. J. Ryan, in her book, Attitudes of Gratitude, points out that we must be grateful even as we endure the inevitable tribulations of life on this earth. “We can’t wait until everything is OK–with us or with the rest of the world–to feel thankful, or we will never experience it at all."

As Thanksgiving, then Christmas rushes upon you, watch for moments of joy--the laughter of a child, a breathtaking sunset, the aroma of fresh cookies, a soft, sweet-smelling blanket.

Focusing on good things will bring you great peace, even amidst sorrow or suffering. Don't let your trials blind you to beauty, no matter what else may be happening.

May you lean on Help from Above as you reflect on the blessings that have come to you, even with economic woes and wars around the world. May your Thanksgiving holiday be filled with feasting for your body and your soul.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The End of My Mother's Life

August 14, 2009

I'm looking forward to seeing as many of my siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews as possible this weekend. Grandma has rallied quite a bit--she's happy about seeing all of her children, including Butchy. She even had her hair done today at the shop in the care center. I will be bringing her home on hospice on Tuesday, August 18.

Butchy and his care-giver, Lynn, have been at the care center this afternoon with her for awhile "until she dozed off." They'll be at my house this evening for dinner. Paxton and his girls, Mandy, Megan and Elizabeth, with their families are on their way as I write this.

Nathan will be here in about an hour. Eric and Adelina will be here late tonight, and Chuck and Arlene will be in some time late tomorrow.

I've been back and forth to the care center or hospital for nearly three weeks. I'll be relieved to have Grandma in the house, because the care center simply doesn't do what family can.

I won't go into how many times I found her slumped in her chair or cross-wise in the bed where, from the wrinkle marks on her skin, she'd been for several hours. Or the screams of "Ow, ow!!" that tore at my heart when they cleaned her up or moved her. Many of the aides and nurses at Kolob are cheerful and helpful, but they have too many patients and too little time. And some of them dismissed an old ladies cries with, "She's not really in pain" then ignored her. It took me three days to get appropriate pain treatment for her, and I'm still not sure they have it right.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to try to take care of her myself (I don't have the physical ability, anyway). I have several day care people who will come in several hours a day and she will be on hospice, which means comfort care. We won't be forcing her into therapy or even making her move when she doesn't want to. And she'll be able to eat whatever she wants, because I'm not going to worry about her sugar levels, except to check it and give her insulin.

I'll try to be better about updating, but the past month has been pretty stressful.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dolly is helping me figure out how to blog more effectively.... I'm going to post my column for the 4th of July.

“Patriotism is Needed Now More Than Ever”
Corrie Lynne Player

Last week I asked you to share some trials you were grateful for–and I had quite a response! Plus I dug through my “Readers Correspondence” file (yep, I keep copies of the messages you send me).
Since today is the Fourth of July–Independence Day, and our country’s Birthday--I think it’s fitting that I talk about the greatest challenge we face–defending ourselves against enemies both within and outside our great country.
You’d be amazed at the negative reactions I’ve had in years past over my saying the United States of America is the greatest country on earth--not perfect, certainly, but the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
But if you watch the news at all, you might not be surprised. If, like me, you have a beloved family member serving in Iraq, the negative reactions hurt your heart. Your son or daughter, in this all volunteer army, puts him or herself at mortal risk to protect and defend our way of life. Many have died or been maimed–impacting you, the rest of your family and your community.
Yet, through all the wars and conflicts on this planet since our first 4th of July, we have expended our resources and continued to rebuild what was shattered. We have turned enemies into friends, responded to disasters around the world, and freely shared our prosperity. Our families, communities, and country should be honored and nurtured–to do so is not to diminish other families, communities or countries.
Too many people today take our freedoms and life style for granted. As Patrick Henry (known for “give me liberty or give me death”) said 250 years ago, “(Many) cry ‘peace, peace’ but there is no peace.” In those first decades of the struggle for American independence, a significant number of people were content to let the British exploit the colonies, because those people enjoyed wealth and social position.
The same thing is happening today, as a bloated federal government usurps more and more state and individual rights. Trillions of dollars are poured into a debt that dwarfs anything in our history, and more and more of our basic industries are coming under federal control. We’ve lost freedom of speech to political correctness, foisted on us by noisy groups advocating narrow agendas. We are in the same position as much of Europe was in the 1930s–we’re listening to demi-gods and smooth talking politicians who promise us whatever we want to hear. And we’ve surrendered our agency to “whatever feels good” because many of us have no personal moral code.
I think it’s time that everybody stopped arguing and started discussing, politely. It’s also time for polite people to stand up for themselves and refuse to back down in the face of their opponents’ tactics. Insist that all sides of an issue be heard, without rancor and fear of retaliation. Don’t throw up your hands and say, “Nothing I do matters.”
Remember that old saying, “I’m only one, but I AM one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.” Rely on help from Above to guide your actions; post the flag in front of your house, wear it proudly on your lapel, and say, “Thank you” to the next service man you see in uniform. Celebrate the greatest country on earth!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alaska was Wonderful--the week's since.... not so much

Well, I guess I'll just start typing--I tried to get in front of my signature.... Gary and I enjoyed a wonderful cruise up the Inside Passage, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. I gained back the weight I lost when I got sick. Then we spent five days in Anchorage, visiting with my brother , Paxton and his family. My brother, Chuck, flew up for a couple of days with one of his daughters and her two daughters, as well as to do a little work with Gary and to use his special touch with Butchy to bring him home to Cedar City.
Butchy stayed exactly two weeks--two weeks that helped me learn much about bureaucracies, family love and support, priesthood blessings and trusting the Lord. Most of all, I’ve learned even more about how much I love and need my sweetheart, Gary F. Player, world’s best husband, dad, and grandpa.
Gary cared for me and backed me up when everybody else told me to “give it up, you can’t make yourself sick over this.”
When Chuck, Gary and I brought Butchy to Cedar City, I really fully intended that this would be his permanent home, that he would be back within the circle of my Faith and family and that I would pursue full guardianship through the state of Utah. I also placed him on the waiting list for the disability waiver necessary for Medicaid to give him special services that he needs because of his mental handicaps.
But events beyond my control, economic realities, poor choices by others, refusals to honor agreements, etc., etc., forced me to put my personal feelings aside and send Butchy back to Alaska, to wait in familiar surroundings while my application for a disability waiver crawls through the system.

The best part of the past few months, however, is that I have reliable help with my mother who lives with me--without that help, I'm sure I'd have been in a rubber room a long time ago!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Off to Alaska

OK, here's all that underlining again..... More stuff for Dolly to fix. Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm heading to Alaska to finally be able to bring my brother, Butchy, back into the family. Nearly eight years have gone by since some bureacratic bungles took him away from us (waaaaay too complicated to go into here).
I finally found him about three years ago and thought Mama and I would be able to carry on a correspondence (one way, since he's so disabled), but Hope Cottages hid him again. And I hired a lawyer who was finally able to get me temporary guardianship. Hope Cottages are still trying to block the move, but I have the tickets and a court order and will be in Anchorage on May 25 to get him ready and fly out around noon on May 29.
I'm hoping to have the Alaska family continguent gather for a party. Oh, by the way, Amy, the cruise doesn't go through Kodiak...
Well, more to do to get ready to leave Thursday, May 14....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Updates for Friends and Family

Today is April 11, the day before Easter and I've had fun reading about the baskets and bunnies, coloring eggs, and, most of all, the point that the party stuff happens on Saturday, so all of our attention can be on the Atonement of Jesus Christ on Sunday.

Tomorrow, a fast day for us, Gary will lead the choir at Church and he will perform with the Master Singers at 7:00 p.m. All you folks in or near Cedar City, Utah, come to the Heritage Center for a wonderful ending to your celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

OK.... Dolly, I hope you can do something with this underlining. Or is it normal? Also, I sure would like to know how to attach/post cool photos like everybody else does....(Yep-I got rid of the under-line...Doll)

Sherri is getting a little better but she still has serious pain and debilitation. She's home from the hospital and Jon is amazing--he's been feeding her onion and garlic sandwiches (natural antibiotics) and cleaning house. Her kids are helping as much as most kids, stepping up to the plate to shepherd younger sibs and clean up messes.