No, I'm not dead yet although I'm sure many of you thought I was! I've had a few e-mails from those who were about ready to file a missing persons report but really, I'm still here! I've just been a little busy and a little lazy lately. We do have a new little one in our home to play with! Yes, Laney Lou is growing and is as cute as ever! Being a grandpa is the greatest!
So what's been happening? Well over the past 8 or 9 weeks or so, here is what I've done:
* Been totally consumed with my work which has been over the top if I might say so.
* Lost Becky's aunt Henrietta who died at age 93. Becky managed most of her affairs and now is still working on that. More below. What a great lady.
* Still working out and watching what I eat. A lot of ups and downs but maintaining. I've lost some of the same pounds at least 3 times!
* I've got some tendinitis in my right arm which is making it difficult to weight train.. ugh
* Becky and I bought some road bikes and are starting to get ready for the Tour de Cure in June.
* Have been tracking weight and calories on "My Plate" on LiveStrong.com... great tracker!
* Celebrated Dax's and Lucy's birthdays.
* Read a couple of books.. "Unbroken", "A dog Named Slugger", and working on "Water for Elephants"
* Bought a Kindle for my Mother for Mother's day... Shhhhhh don't tell her! She came for a visit and loved reading mine!
* Bought a new camera.. digital SLR Canon T2i EOS. Nice for me!
* Went to Las Vegas for conference weekend and had a great time. Love it there! Yes, I did listen to conference!
* Survived another year with a stent in my heart! It's been 6 years now as of March 15th! Whoo hooo!
* Have been consumed in my church job too.
* Have greatly enjoyed my kids, grandkids and life!
* Listening to Jack Johnson and my friend Israel Kamakawiwo'ole "IZ" getting ready for Hawaii in May.. can't wait.
Okay, that's mostly what I've been up to but I need a new goal to motivate me to push a little harder on getting in shape. I need to do another 1/2 marathon for a target! Maybe the tour-de-cure will do it! I've pretty much been just maintaining my weight and fitness since January! I still need to lose another 25 lbs to meet my YNY goal! Spring is here, time to get with the program again!
Just a couple of words about Becky's Aunt Henrietta. In early January 1997 (14 years ago), Mary and Henrietta's house burned down while Mary (Becky's other aunt) was in the hospital. Mary & Henrietta had no children and lived together in a nice home by Utah State University in Logan. After the house burned down, Becky and I worked to salvage what we could and worked with the Insurance company to get the house re-built. That was a lot of work and we spent many weekends for the next year taking care of all of that. Mary died a month or so after the house burned down and Henrietta moved into an assisted living center in Logan. Like so many other things in life, it is the diversity that we encounter that spawns most of the blessings we receive. That was the case with Henrietta. Through the house burning down and the loss of Mary, we came to be the primary care givers to Henrietta. Becky was her only niece and we became very close with her over the coming years as we helped her manage her affairs and her new life in assisted living. Many trips were made and many lunches were eaten at Sizzler with Henrietta. During those times, she told us a lot of her childhood and much about her father and mother and their home and lumber/hardware business in Arimo, Id. Those are now wonderful memories to be cherished and nurtured.
For the last 14 years, we have watched Henrietta digress slowly as her health deteriorated. She eventually moved from Williamsburg (assisted living) to Terrace Grove (partial nursing) to Sunshine Terrace (full nursing). For 14 years, she never went back to her home. When it was finished being re-built, we took her to see it. She walked through it slowly one last time and then left. She never wanted to see it again so we sold it quickly.
For the last year or two, Henrietta had a hard time with dementia. she started losing track of everyone and would get quite confused. Prior to that, she was a very intelligent woman, very bright. Sometimes we would come to visit and she wouldn't know who we were. A few months before she passed, we visited her and she was very lucid. She not only knew who we were but had a good conversation with Becky. We knew there were powers far beyond our understanding at work that day and we both left crying and rejoicing in the brief gift we were given. For the next few visits, she didn't know who we were and didn't want visitors. We went one last time to see her on March 12th and to our surprise, she knew who we were! She couldn't say much but did tell Becky she loved her and as we were leaving, she gave us that little crooked smile and pointed a finger in the air. She said goodbye and Becky and I both walked out crying again knowing the end was near for her. I stopped in her bathroom to get a tissue as Becky walked out to the nurses desk. As i left her room, I turned to say goodbye and she gave me a wave and another crooked smile and said bye. That was the last any of us saw her. The next day in church, Becky got a call that she had passed. We are so grateful that we went to see her that day.
We spent the next week making arrangements for her viewing/funeral and burial. We had a modest service at the Allen-Hall funeral home in Logan and then took her back to her beloved Arimo to be buried next to Mary and close to her parents. She was a wonderful person and I am a much better person having known her. Becky and I were so blessed to have the chance to get to know her better and to be a part of her life. We just wish we could have spent more time with her and visited more often. We are so thankful for Becky's sister-in-law Noreen who would visit Henrietta weekly when we could only make it monthly if that.
So why am I telling you all of this in my blog? For a few reasons:
1. So you will know that it is through diversity and hardships that we experience the most growth and learning and certainly the most blessings.
2. So you will understand what my "Younger Next Year" journey is all about. If you want to be healthy, active, vibrant, lucid and engaged for the last 1/3 of your life, you should follow the YNY program. Henrietta spent the last 14 years of her life in assisted living or nursing homes. It wasn't what she wanted to do but she wasn't healthy enough to do anything else.
3. So you will be kind to your parents and the elderly. They have lived wonderful productive lives and are full of wisdom, history, intelligence and love if you will just give them a chance. You will never regret it and your lives will be enriched.
I try to talk to my mother a few times each week and although I hear the same stories several times, it means a lot to her, it means a lot to me and I get to hear her voice and feel her love. There will come a time in the near future when I won't have that chance and I will miss her terribly. But, what I won't have is regrets for not talking to her and not letting her know how much I love her. I do, and she knows it.
On another note, my brother Randy brought my niece Kirsten up for lunch and to pick up Ma from our house. It was so great to see them and to see Kirsten in her "civies" after being recently honorably discharged from the military. Kirsten is one of my heroes for her service to our country and her tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished. Her husband Jeremy is still serving and I am proud of him too.
Another of the great joys in my life is seeing my kids and their spouses doing so well. They are all being great parents and leading happy and productive lives. My grandchildren, children and my wife Becky are my happiness. I don't know what I would do without any of them. I love to snuggle with Laney and to hear Lucy call me PaPa and to see Kyanna's eyes light up when she sees me. I love it when Kade gives me a big hug and when Dax shows me his Lego masterpieces. I love to see Darcy sing and perform for us. They all brighten my life and make me happy.
Life is good and that is why sometimes I don't write for two months!
I'll try to do better, so be happy everyone! Life is too short for anything else!