Monday, June 11, 2018

Connor Reed Barrett's High School Graduation

We were able to attend Connor's graduation.  Coming right after Niko's death it allowed us to get out of our house which is without Niko.  Luckily having their Miss Pepper was very attentive to Robert
and even slept with me the whole night.  It was great seeing him graduate but it also brought up how disappointed we were to not be able to get down and back for either Ella or Cody's graduation.  I hate distances. I HATE them.  And I was the one who told the kids to not live around here, to go get their own lives in areas that would be best for their families.  And I still believe that was the best advice but I hate it that Cara is so far away but apparently the Kennedys will probably be moving to Utah sooner than later. And that has NEVER been my wish for my kids  And it NEVER WILL BE.


 A little target practice before leaving.  Nice shot Dawn..who hit the flag pole.


 This one has Ken with teeth!


Teeth with both Ken and Connor





Here is Adelle with her boyfriend Ty.





 A super venue...DTE Energy Music Amphitheater.  All covered .  Great views.  Powerful speaker system

 

Connor walks in and right past us.  Not only did he graduate as a member of The National Honor Society but he also graduated Suma Cum Laude.  That's incredible!  That's the highest honor.  Hence the gold cords around his neck.












Friday, May 25, 2018

ROBERT'S GARDEN May 2018

Here are some pictures from Robert's 2018 garden so far.

 See the hops growing up the over the fence on the left and up from the ground on the right?  We grow these not for brewing but because of their fragrance and how they make up a great wreaths for fall.

 Here is the island.  A mass of flowers of ground cover.  Robert's added rocks from various places. The grands still love to climb that large rock which appears smaller than it is with the grown this year.  But it's still a great place for kids to struggle up and then become kings and queens of the mount.

.
 The picture above and below belong to Henry's Field. Robert tired of cutting that small swatch of grass and instead covered it with flowers, including strawberry plants for those who pass by and want a sweet treat early summer. And yes, that is a hosta growing out of that old tree trunk


This is the back yard.  Apricot tree, gooseberry plant, irises galore.  He put the beautiful day lilies in the pots so the bunnies would not eat the blooms.  but we have wrapped pieces of Irish Spring Soap in cheesecloth and spread them throughout the garden...this is supposed to keep the bunnies away.  We shall see.


And this is the hosta that ate Tokyo or in this case Sheffield Lake.  It's HUGE.  Again, Robert likes hostas but I just try to ignore them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ella Graduates

Today Ella graduates from Central High School in Evansville, IN.  This pic was taken this morning after her Class Day when I gather awards are given out.  But things got even more exciting when she came home and found the large white envelope from SLC.

(here's the post graduation pix of the siblings)

She won't open it til her dad gets home from work but says she's going to call me when she does.  I'll be taking my phone to bed with me for sure.  (IT WAS A GREAT CALL, JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT.  CALIFORNIA VENTURA SPANISH...WITH THE LANGUAGE LEARNED IN MEXICO'S MTC)

Yesterday Linda Bruderer directed me to an article Becky Stay had posted on her FB page.  I sent it to Cara, Jacob and Dawn.  I would have sent it to their 2 outgoing missionaries but this is something a parents needs to share with the kid,   And I sure hope they do.

All to many people give up their kids for 2 years to mission presidents when in truth they ought to be drawing close to that child for so many reason. There have been sad and sickening news about certain people in charge who need to be in prison.  So because I do not believe this is helicoptering, I am posting the whole article here for myself and for reference.  So Ella..have a great evening, enjoy the graduation and then have a super night.  I love you so much!

Guest Post: Things I would tell my daughter (or son) if she was going on a mission

by Ashley
Your mission president is probably a good man, who has been called because he has held many church callings and been very professionally successful. Unless he went to medical school, he is not a doctor. Nor is he a mental health professional so he is not qualified to make any decision related to your medical or mental health.
Chances are, he is also not an expert in church history or even church doctrine, so if he gives you strange counsel, rather than believing him just because he is your mission president, research it and let me and your father know what it is so you can learn to differentiate counsel of the spirit from counsel of the flesh.
You are in an area that is unknown to us with customs that may be strange to you. Try to learn everything you can about the culture and treat the people there with respect and deference. But be mindful of differences and customs that can lead to harm  you or other missionaries. You will encounter people who are not seeking the gospel but who lead happy and fulfilling lives. Wish them well. You will encounter others who are seeking the gospel. Welcome them, be gentle and patient with them. You will encounter others who are not seeking the gospel but who are struggling with many things in life. The answer for them may not be church membership – it may be a food pantry, a domestic violence shelter, or a suicide hotline. Before you left, we researched all of these resources for the area that you are in. Don’t be afraid to give community resources to the people you meet.
Your father, your grandfathers, and many other people we know and love, had wonderful mission experiences. We also have some friends who didn’t have such wonderful experiences on their mission. And as a therapist, I have worked with many people who experienced quite a bit of harm on their missions and whose personal safety was compromised.
We hope you will have, and want you to have, a happy, healthy, and successful mission (which means a lot of different things). We feel that as your parents, it is our job to protect you and advocate for you. We think we have a better sense of your safety than anyone else. As a licensed mental health professional, I also happen to believe that I likely have a better sense of trauma, mental illness, mental wellness, and assault and abuse than your mission president does. I am going to give you an instruction that you are to violate any mission rules about calling home should any of the following scenarios arise while you are serving a mission. These scenarios will not be unfamiliar to you, because we have talked about them in our home since you were small. If any of these scenarios happen to you, they are not your fault. You did nothing to invite them, and it has nothing to do with your obedience, worthiness, or commitment to your mission.
We love you. We believe that God loves you as well, and that you are cherished by Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father. But we do not believe that goodness protects you from harm, and we want you to be safe, both physically and emotionally. We want the same for those around you. So you call us, collect, no questions asked, should any of these issues arise. If your mission president seeks to punish you for breaking the rules, we will intercede as much as we can because these are OUR rules. We give you our love as you go off on this spiritual journey. We will be here whenever you need us.
• If your companion – or any other missionary – hits you, or physically assaults you in any manner, you call your mission president immediately. Then, you call me, no matter what the rules are. In fact, CALL ME FIRST. No matter what the rules are.
• If your companion – or any other missionary – threatens to physically harm you, immediately notify your mission president and CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.
• If your companion – or any other missionary – talks about harming themselves or anyone else, notify your mission president immediately and CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.
• If your companion – or any other missionary – attempts to kiss you, touches your body in ways that makes you uncomfortable or attempts to be sexual with you, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so we can discuss how to report this to your mission president and keep you safe.
• If your mission president, or any other member of the church physically harms you, threatens to physically harm you, talks about harming you or anyone else, or in any way touches you, touches your body in ways that make you uncomfortable, or attempts to be sexual with you, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.
• If your mission president, or any other member of the church talks to you about sex or masturbation (beyond a simple “Do you follow the law of chastity), or attempts to meet with you alone in secret, or buys personal gifts for you, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.
• If your mission president, or any other member of the church, makes comments to you about being a polygamous wife, email or call me immediately.
• If you mission president, another missionary, or any other member of the church does any of the above to any other missionary you serve with, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.
• If an investigator hits you or physically assaults you in any matter, call your mission president immediately and then call me.
• If an investigator threatens to physically harm you, immediately call your mission president and then call me.
• If an investigator talks about harming themselves, or anyone else, notify your mission president and CALL me.
• If an investigator or someone in the community talks about wanting to commit suicide, reach out to the crisis/mental health resources we have already identified in your area.
• If you observe domestic violence or sexual or physical abuse in an investigator’s home, CALL ME so we can discuss how to report this to your mission president to maximize your safety and the safety of the family.
• If anyone in the community of your mission physically harms you, threatens to physically harm you, follows or stalks you, verbally harasses you, or makes sexual comments or attempts to grope you, molest you, or rape you, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so that I can notify the church and your mission president that you in an unsafe situation and assess the safety measures your mission has put in place.
• If your companion, another missionary, your mission president, or any member of the church puts you in a situation that you do not feel comfortable or safe in, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY. This could include riding in a car with no seatbelt, unsafe volunteer opportunities, being alone with people you do not know, tracting in the dark in unfamiliar or unsafe areas, or any number of scenarios.
• If your companion, mission president or another missionary are putting pressure on an investigator to get baptized or make a commitment to getting baptized and you do not think the family is ready, or that they have all the information they need to make that decision, advocate with those people as to why this family or investigator may not be ready. And call or email me so I can assist you with this.
• If you discover that someone in your mission is falsifying information related to proselytizing and baptizing, report it to everyone you can think of and report it to me so that I can assist you with making sure all parties are being truthful.
• If you are sick, and your companion, mission president or any other missionary do not allow you to rest and recover from illness or get medical treatment, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so that I can ensure you get well.
• If another missionary is sick and the mission president or any other missionary do not allow them to rest and recover from illness or get medical treatment, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so that I can advocate for that missionary to get well.
• If you experience depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts at ANY point on your mission, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so that I can ensure you get appropriate treatment for mental health needs.
• If another missionary you serve with experiences depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts at ANY point on their mission, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so that I can advocate for that missionary to get appropriate treatment for their mental health needs.
• If another scenario arises that I have not covered here, but that makes you extremely uncomfortable, you CALL ME IMMEDIATELY so I can help you make a plan.
With love,
Your mother

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The wonder of Spring

Robert mentioned that there were 3 robin eggs in the next that sits on the fence of the grape vines on Warwick side but I hadn't gotten out to see the eggs til this afternoon, and guess what?  There's only 1 egg and 2 babies, newly hatched.  All skin with a bit of feathers probably in the nest.  I didn't want to disturb them so I'll have to go back and try again.  But how sweet is that?

 I have always loved my jacks (in the pulpit).  I was fascinated by them when as a child I'd see them in the parks but there were signs that warned everyone against digging them up.  When we lived at 809 we ordered a couple and then transplanted them up here when we moved here.  They are very happy in this yard and multiply wonderfully...and Robert transplanted a few to the front yard.  These are bit weaker looking but perhaps it's because they are younger or get the harshness of the Lake Erie winter. But they are up now.
 All the plants are flowering in the backyard as well as the front.  I really ought to learn the names. There's these wonderful white balls of flowers on the island by the driveway and they give off the most amazing fragrance.  I need to look those up too...but these yellow blooms are pretty too.
 Robert thinned the strawberry patches and all 3 seems to be flowering well.  That means another great year of strawberries for jelly.
 I saw on FB that you could take the end of your celery, place it in water and it would grow stalks. I did this in the basement late winter, under grow lights and now it's planted in the garden doing well...so far not being eaten by the bunnies we seem to have inherited from somewhere.


I am so glad Robert likes to garden because I do not but I do enjoy looking and appreciate his hard work.

Seminary Ends

This morning Robert surprised the kids by telling them THIS was the last day this year, not tomorrow.  Someone had questioned the 160 days and he thought to reward them with as assignment and be done.  Initially there were shocked exclamations but by the end of the hours, they were just imaging what it would be like to lie in bed tomorrow at 5am and not race to get up.

The class was a rap up class for all the messages they've learned.  I was getting the breakfast started so I heard some of it.  Robert asked them about the iron rod which they had to touch coming in and going out each morning. Then he asked if they'd want to meet Moroni...and of course they did...and I think it was Tiara who asked if they could climb the roof to meet out weathervane...little did she know that was Robert's plan all along altho the ladder at the front of the house might have been a dead giveaway and apparently Noah had already tried to climb it before coming in.

Up goes Jose
 Here is the whole class surrounding the weather vane which we bought in Nauvoo decades ago.  Initially I had hoped to attach it at 809 but it never got up.  But once we redid the roof here, it was installed by Darwin, a friend of Dawn's who fixed the leak in the solar panels.  I can see this Moroni every time I sew in the upstairs study and think so often how blessed my family was to have had the missionaries come by, teach us strong enough that we embraced the truth and are still firmly planted.
 
 But these kids are amazing. They will be the ones who take the restored gospel to all parts of the world and bless other lives and nations.

Here's sweet Josh Thompson looking to leap off the roof (please don't).  His dad got a job in New Mexico and they'll be moving in a few short weeks and I will so miss him.  Josh is a special kid and has a firm testimony.  Plus he's a XC runner!
 Everyone else came back down the ladder but Ian Kitchen and Josh Thompson took the firmer steps down,the old TV antenna



Breakfast was enjoyed and they left for their school day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sweet texts from Ella

Ella has submitted her mission papers and now awaits the call. But it is so obvious that she's been taught by her mom...see the texts she sent over the weekend to me:

Hey Granny!! I just had a memory of when you taught me how to draw an "e"
Thanks for teaching me how to do it right haha

Thinking of you

THEN

Happy Mother's Day Granny!! You are so important to me, and as my childhood years come to a close and as I look back, some of my favorite memories are with either you or my mom. You both have increased my testimony and life in general so much. Thank you for being such a great woman and for all the lessons you've taught me through your devoted life, love you forever!!!


It was a lovely set of messages to receive this weekend.



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Had to keep this on as a memory for me


This one’s for you, mom. I wanted to make sure you saw it....Marissa
STORY TIME!
A few years ago, my oldest son went through his nightmare phase. My mom happened to be visiting us, and when he told her how he was afraid to sleep, she set to work, scrounging up whatever she could-a canning jar ring, some rainbow yarn, a few beads-and whipped him up a little dream catcher. Let me tell you, that funky little makeshift dream catcher was a lifesaver. He put so much belief into its magic, and into his grandma’s magic, that if for some reason he didn’t have it in his room that night, he would scare himself into a nightmare. That little thing made it through three moves, across the country and back, and has seen my kids through many transitions and meant so much to us. (Thanks, mom!)
So in that spirit, I will be hosting a little workshop to create our own dream catchers, only this time, instead of an old canning jar ring, we’ll be using hula hoops. We’re taking that grandma magic to the big leagues. Join us! Because not only are these catchers of bad dreams, but they also look cool.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Keith

Today Keith Belanger is running in the Boston Marathon in support of a Jeff, veteran, who was helped getting back on his feet through the Boston Medical Center...a very worthy cause that needs financial support.  Keith is our neighbor across the street. He, too, is a veteran and has been working out to be able to run this marathon and I hope he does well considering the weather is going to be very cold and wet in Boston.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

John Ferrell Stafford, Jr



This is very difficult entry to write and it's taken me a couple of weeks to do so but I cannot leave the month without writing about it.

On Wednesday,  March 7, about 1pm I got a phone call from Janet who heard over the police scanner of a death.  Her first question to me was;  Where does John Stafford live?  Then she asked, When was he born?  I told her. And she very quietly said, I hate to tell you this but I just heard that John Stafford has died.

I was hit so hard with this that I could not comprehend it.  I knew it had to be true.  Janet would know. But I couldn't call Linda Stafford. I had to wait.  About 2:30pm Linda called and asked if I was sitting down.  I hadn't moved since Janet's call...still trying to sort things out.  And next Linda said, John is dead...and thus followed horrible wracking sobs.  From her and in my heart.

I knew John had gone to read scriptures to his mom the day before and had fallen outside the nursing home.  He felt pain in his back and in his ribs.  In the evening he took himself to the ER at Mercy Hospital.  He called for a blessing and Robert and Bob Powers went together. Both men told me that John looked normal.  Robert asked John what his pain level was 1-10. And John answered 9 or 10. That surprised Robert because he wasn't writhing in pain or moaning. Bob told me later the same thing. Plus that John seemed perfectly coherent.  When the nurse came in the 2 men left.

The rest of the story is this:  John went home after the ER had taken X-rays and scans and told him that he was constipated, gaving him a pain pill,  He told Linda he was in pain, horrible pain.  Then he started saying he was dying.  Linda scoffed and said, Quit being so dramatic.

John decided he felt more comfortable sleeping on the couch in the front room. Linda, as per her usual, went upstairs to bed.  Linda usually goes up and either watches TV or plays games on her laptop til the wee hours and then goes to sleep.

On Wednesday, Linda got up and showered and when she went downstairs about 1pm, she found her beloved John dead on the kitchen floor.  She called 9-1-1 and then her kids and her neighbor. He held her hand, prayed with her and stayed by her. The coroner came and pronounced him dead officially and there had to be an autopsy.

What follows is nothing short of pure nightmare.  The autopsy was performed and showed that John was not constipated but had died of internal bleeding in his stomach and intestines.  The coroner told Linda that this death was PREVENTABLE and that he was going to go back to the ER and see what they didn't see. This word PREVENTABLE only made the death so much worse.  Adding to that was Linda's comment to John about him being dramatic. Linda hates that she wasn't with him all night, that he had to die alone.

I made all the phone calls or texts/emails she asked me to and added a few more. Later Linda Bruderer suggested I send out emails to the rest of the ward since many of the people might know him in ways we were unaware since John had touched so many lives.  I did so.  The results were always the same. The phone rang and rang with people who wanted to know what happened.

The viewing was held at a funeral home in Amherst Sunday afternoon/evening and the funeral was from our chapel on Monday, March 12.  It was a lovely funeral but no one can get a grip on what it means to be without John Stafford. All the kids were there with spouses and grandchildren.  Linda is distraught.

John's male family members had never made it to 70 years of age but John was planning a big party when he turned 70 in 2019. Plus that would be the year John and Linda would have been married 50 years and were going to combine the celebrations.  Sadly, that will never happen.

John was a delight.  He served so many people without any fanfare.  Always took the sacrament in to the homebound, ill, aged.  He was always visiting hospitals.  He had been bishop in Lorain.  We laugh at what a messy eater he was and Linda says she still wraps herself up in his robe with a food stain on the color. She is not going to wash it. She just wants him near.

I waited for Linda to come to church today for the first time without John.  I stood at the back door, helped her take off her coat.  I had told her she needed to change pews since sitting in the very back row without John would be terrible so she came and sat with Robert and me.  I think she will continue to do so.

I think through these past few days/week, I have renewed my time and appreciation for Robert.  We just never know when death will come to either of us.

From John's Obituary:

John Ferrell Stafford, Jr., 68, of Amherst, passed away Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at his home, following a sudden illness. John was born July 3, 1949, in Huntington, West Virginia and came to Lorain as a young boy.
He was a member of the class of 1967 at Admiral King High School before moving to Amherst, where he made his home. John proudly served his Country during the Vietnam War in the United States Air Force and was a lifetime member of the Amherst Veterans of Foreign War Post 1662.
He worked as a union official for the Ford Motor Co. in Avon and retired in 2008 after 35 years. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he served as a counselor in the high priest quorum and also served as a former bishop. He was a member of the OHAA and traveled around the county umpiring baseball and softball games for area schools as well as many charitable events, tournament games and even Cedar Point hosted athletic events.
Upon retirement, he stayed active, being self employed, mowing lawns for his company Big John's Mowing Service. In his spare time, he enjoyed cheering on the Cleveland Indians, bowling at Rebman's in Lorain and spending time with his family.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 49 years, Linda Ann Stafford (nee Henry); children, John Ferrell (Alice) Stafford III of Louisville, Kentucky, Matthew Earnest (Lesa) Stafford of Elyria, Maureen Lynn (Brad) Crawford of Henrietta Township and Kenneth Sean (Karrie) Stafford of Avon; mother, Betty Ann Stafford (nee Metheny) of Lorain; grandchildren, Tricia Lee Stafford, Amber Gwen Stafford, Alexander Steven Crawford, Tyler Dillon Crawford, Brent Xavier Crawford and Nicholas Sean Stafford; sister, Sherian (John) Villers of Piqua, Ohio and many nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his father, John Ferrell Stafford, Sr. in 1994.
Friends may call Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 3 to 8 P.M. at the Hempel Funeral Home, 373 Cleveland Ave., Amherst. Funeral services will be held Monday, March 12, 2018 at 11 A.M., at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, 3501 Kolbe Rd., Lorain. Bishop Falke will officiate. Burial will follow at Ridge Hill Memorial Cemetery, Amherst Township.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to, the Fast Offering at the church for the local needy at the above address.

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