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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell

12-year old B and I are in Utah visiting my Dad. We are not used to the heat and dry air and therefore are thirstier than usual. For some reason, however, the water where we are staying does not quench our thirst. We've been eating a lot of popsicles. This evening B and I took my dad to a Mandarin restaurant for his 80th birthday. B wore a suit and tie. He was unaccustomed to the type of food we were eating but you would not know it to sit with him. He looked and acted quite grown-up. A server would come by periodically and refill our water glasses. After the 4th refill B politely asked the server not to give him any more water. A few minutes later a different server came by and filled his glass. I was surprised to see B drink the refill. The next time a server came with water B again requested, this time with a hint of desperation, that she please not refill his glass. She took his glass away so he would not have to worry about it anymore. I told B that he did not have to drink the water each time they filled his glass. He said, "I couldn't let such good water go to waste. It tasted like home." No popsicles needed tonight.
     Thursday was my last day teaching the early morning Seminary class for the high school kids.  I teared up when I looked back at the classroom as I turned the lights off for the last time.  My team teacher was giving an end of year breakfast the following day.  I did not plan on attending.  My husband was on a business trip and I had already left my kids alone for the two mornings I taught.  Plus, I figured, the students wouldn't notice I was there.  When I mentioned this to a friend, the mom of one of my students, she said, "They may not notice you're there but they will notice you're not."  Good point.  I went to the breakfast.
     My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 40's.  Again in her early 50's and again in her early 60's.  She died of stomach cancer in her mid 70's.  Two weeks ago I woke up with a painful lump under my left arm.  It was still there a week later.  Family history nudged me into going in for diagnostic x-ray and ultrasound.  Both, gratefully, were negative.
     Every day prior I didn't have cancer, but didn't "notice". 

I have the hospital band on my nightstand.  It reminds me to give more gratitude for things unnoticed.


     I exercise with a small group of women most mornings.  The other day they were doing strengthening exercises when I arrived: 1 push-up, 3 sit-ups, 2 push-ups, 6 sit-ups...increasing push-ups by one and sit-ups by 3 each time.  They said they were working up to 30.  That seemed daunting to me so I opted for my own routine.  One of the women said, "How may sit-ups are we going to end up doing?"  Another of the women said, "I don't know, ask Chris."  I thought a moment and said, "It would be 15 squared push-ups and times 3 that for sit-ups so 225 and 675 respectively."  Walking home I realized I was completely mistaken and figured it was 30x15 for the push-ups and 3 times that for the sit-ups.  When C came home I presented him with the math situation.  He immediately said, "Oh, that would be 31x15 for the push-ups."  I replied, "No, it's 30x15."  He stated, "No, it's 31x15." and proceeded to give explanation as to why.  He was right.  s-i-g-h.  I have been asked a number of times why I don't teach math anymore.  I always respond, "I'm not smart enough anymore."  This 31x15 was definitely case in point.
     My dentist referred me to a physical therapist because of chronic jaw pain.  The therapist concluded that my back was the root cause of the jaw pain.  Through his help the back pain I had been accepting as a normal part of life and my jaw pain are almost non-existent and my flexibility and range of motion are greatly increased.  I am so grateful for the knowledge and assistance of my therapist.  I mentioned to him that his job must be very gratifying.  He smiled and nodded in agreement.

     A few years ago I asked my friend how it felt to be a hospice nurse.  She replied, " How does what feel? Having something someone needs and being able to give it to them to provide relief?  It feels great ."  Her response had a big impact on me.  Even more so as mom went through hospice and I witnessed, and felt, the receiving end of the relief provided by the knowledgeable and caring nurses.


     Recently a friend asked if I knew of a counselor I could recommend for her teenage son.  In researching names I had the distinct thought, "That is something that people need that you could give to provide relief." 

     The plan has always been that when the boys were older I would go back to school.  The boys are older but I had been undecided what to study, until that moment.   I've applied to school to become a Marriage and Family Licensed Therapist.

     I am aware of at least some of the challenges that would come with being a counselor.  I am also aware that many people are experiencing pain that does not have to be a normal part of their life.  Helping diminish that pain would be very gratifying.


     Incidentally - my exercise friends were working up to 30 sit-ups, not 30 push-ups.  They laughed when they realized why I didn't join them.  

     Two of the neighbor boys were helping me in my yard.  3-year old commented, "My mom has a baby in her tummy that is going to come out.  Do you have a baby in your tummy that is going to come out?  "Nope."  I replied.  5-year old asked, "Why?"  "I'm too old," I responded.  "Why?" asked 5-year old.  "Because I am almost old enough to be a grandma," I answered.  5-year old, who has older grandparents, looked at my hair, looked at my face, looked at my hair again and said, "Why would you want to do that?"

     I was an electric power meter reader, for a brief period while in college.  I quickly learned how territorial dogs can be, especially to humans in uniform.  At one home a large dog rushed at me.  The owner said, "Don't worry, he won't bite."  I responded, "He has my leg right now."  Which he did.  The owner called his dog off and invited me into his home to attend to the bite.  I declined, drove back to the office, showed my boss the bite and quit.  It was not the first time a dog had nipped at me while on the job but it was going to be the last.  Since that time I am cautious around dogs, especially large ones. 
     This week I was visiting a woman new to the area.  We were sitting on patio furniture on her front porch.  I heard a noise and turned to see a Great Dane looking at us from the woman's front window.  I commented that her dog was beautiful.  She jumped and opened the door for the dog to come out.  The dog came up to greet me.  I stood, so that I would not be at face level with her huge head.  I continued chatting with the woman while I stood and petted the dog.  When the dog wondered off I sat down again.  Back comes the dog.  Back I stand, again petting the dog while chatting.  The dog wanders off, I sit.  The dog comes back but doesn't put her face in my face so I stay seated.  Suddenly one paw, then two, then a belly and finally hind quarters are in my lap.  And there the Dane sat for the remainder of our converstaion.  I found it amusing to have such a large lap dog and, frankly, preferred  having her back in my face over her face in my face.  I still laugh when I think about it.


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