Friday, December 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye

 We traveled to Dad's funeral 3 weeks ago and laid him to rest on December 8th.  It seems like a moment ago that we arrived and started running to get everything done.  I never dreamed there would be so much work to be done.  But how easy should it be to memorialize someone that lived 69 years?
 There were so many fun and touching stories that I heard over the course of the week.  Things I did not know about my Dad, things that showed me a deeper side of him that I really didn't know that well.
 There were the things I knew.  The parts of growing up that you just know as facts, like he loved his truck.  I tried driving it once when he was out of town, although that dang old truck wouldn't let me drive him.  Never got out of the driveway and never told a soul until this week.  I wonder if he knew...
 He loved this Valley.  Only left a couple of times for short periods and then returned to his home.  I've never seen the beauty in this place, but for me there is a piece of it buried in this dusty old valley and I will think of it differently now.
 I heard a song on the radio today by Patty Loveless, called "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye".  Almost took me down...I really don't know how to say Goodbye.  I know the funeral is to help with closure but I can't stand how this feels.  I know none of us were ready.  Who ever is?  He needed to go, he was in so much pain, but I...MISS...HIM!  And it hurts...a lot.
 There is a dignified beauty in death.  We are released from this mortal existence with all it's pain and hardships.  Sometimes I wish I could go with.  I feel as if I am always saying goodbye to my Fathers. I was so young when my father, Wellington, died.  I wasn't old enough to grieve.  I feel as if I am grieving them both right now and it is an impossible feeling.  I will no longer have a father to guide me or to talk to me.  I was blessed with two...
 I am grateful for MomE that took care of him and loved him.  I know it was hard for a while with his health issues, but I admire her for doing so with love, patience and kindness.  Her loss is infinite. She is a goodly woman and he loved her deeply.  The greatest advice he ever gave me involved a story about how much he loves her.
 My Aunt Judy is the sole survivor of the siblings.  I can't imagine what that must be like.  I pray she will be comforted in the knowledge that Dad was proud of her for turning her life around and going to the temple.  This is one of those things I learned about him.  He worked to bring those back to the fold.  His friend Fred talked about how Dad had bought a trailer in Lehi, AZ when my sister and I came to live with them and how Dad talked him into moving next door since Fred had married and had two of her boys living with them as well.  (side note: That's how Bill Betts and I became friends for life)
 Anyways, he had recently been reactivated to going to church and told Fred he would be by to pick him up around 7:00 a.m. for Priesthood.  Every week he showed up and Fred stayed in bed, finally after a long while, Fred decided he better get up if Dad was going to keep showing up every Sunday.  Fred has been active in the church ever since.
 He had a band of friends, five of them, that stayed friends from grade school on.  They were all there that were still alive.  He was that kind of person.  Never met a stranger and stayed loyal to all.
I love you Dad.  Thank you for choosing to my Dad...because I know it was a choice.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Just gone

It doesn't seem possible that he is truly gone.

He just got his eyes fixed and was so excited he could see again...and then his hearing went.

Who will I call and yell into the phone to every week?

I know his health was bad and was getting worse.  He is in a better place.  No more pain.  No more meds...the addiction is over for him.

What I am realizing this morning is that "forgiveness" is relative.  It's easier to finally let everything go when they aren't around.  The good memories seem to crowd out the bad...I am grateful for that.

I am going to miss him.  After all we have been through, he is still my Dad and I love him.

That won't change.

We love you Dad, Grandpa Gary, Bruce, Wally.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Visits Galore

 What a fun year this has been.  Visiting with friends and family has been my most favorite part of it. Jen moved way too many years ago and since we were up visiting Nyoka and the family, we dropped by for a visit on our way home.
 Ms. Boo and Elise have been friends since they were in pre-k.  I can't believe how they have grown up.  Glad they get to see each other once in a while.

 And there is our Morgan.  Part of our family in her own right.  She totally grew on us.  Started out as a foul mouthed young woman when I was an advisor while pregnant with the Dude.  Look at her now, graduated from college and her first real job as an adult.  We love her.

 Miss Boo and I had fun hanging out with Mark Twain in Parkville one day.  Gave us some time to laugh and enjoy each other.
 When my amazing Aunt Lois came we got the tour of the sausage factory by Mr. Finn.
 Then we went to a street fair.  She talked me into getting my face done but notice hers stayed clean.  Hmmmm!
 I have made some new friends this year.  Most of my other ones moved away.  (insert sad face here). Cinda has included me in her literary world, she's kind of my book dealer.  LOL  Her sister, Laura, the one in the middle invited me to be part of her birthday lunch eating Sushi. So grateful for friends.
 As I said it was a great year for visits.  Rob and Katrina came to see their first grand baby so I got to hang out with him and even hold that baby for a bit.  Sure do love these two.
 I haven't seen Holly since I lived in Alaska in 1991.  What a lifesaver she was then...what a dear friend she has remained.  She was in town to help her sister with a wedding.  Bonus for me.
 Lydia is my cousin from my Uncle Eldon.  It's been about 7 years since they passed through last time.  Love that she will call me to meet here wherever they are so we can catch up.

I am feeling very blessed this year with all the visits of people I love.  So grateful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This little girl...

This is McBud.  Can you believe it?

Yesterday we went to see the movie "Dr. Strange" and I turned sideways to say something to her and had to readjust my head because she was visibly taller.

What is happening?  She turned 12 this year.  She is so grown up in so many ways.  But in many she is still a little girl.  At least to me she is.

She likes to spend time with her friend Jaegar from school. Mr. Finn took them to a baseball game to watch the Royals and they got amazing seats up close.  She loved that she was the talk of school the next day.

 She has started coming into her own this year.  She wrote the play for composting at her school and played a part in it.  It's fun to see her so animated and enjoying herself.

She is making friends easier...

And trying new things.  The pained look is because there was a spider in the kayak with her and she was freaking out.
We have a ways to go but I see an amazing girl that continues to surprise me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Once in a while I find these nuggets of gold in my photo file.

Thank you, my son, for giving me that "melt your heart feeling" this morning.

I would love to say the cat is sweet, but we all know differently.  She tricked us into coming home with us from the shelter.  Sweet?

Not so much.

But the boy loves her...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Welcome Visitor

Everyone knows how much I love my Aunt.  She is one of my dearest friends and my favorite Aunt. We talk at least once weekly and a minimum of one hour at a time.  I really couldn't imagine life without her in it.  She is also the grandmother of my sweet kiddos.  A job she took on willingly and that has blessed the lives of our children.

She came to visit us right before Mr. Finn and my birthday on September 5th.  She stayed for three weeks and was so much fun to run to Bee Creek every morning after dropping off the kids at school for a "Fluffy".  (that's what they named their Mormon hot cocoa)
 My kids adore her!  She is so full of love and ENERGY.  How does one get to 70 years old and still be running around with such energy.  I struggle at 49  to motivate myself to put on clothes for the day.
I have a "To Do" list that is always on my kitchen counter.  Many mornings I pretend it isn't there but she always found it and would suggest we check something off it.  Sadly there was always a good amount of work that went before the checking off part, but she was fun to work with and if she could work that hard, well, I certainly could to.  Thank you my sweet Aunt for pushing me along and for making it such a wonderful time.

Many decision were made, many things were fixed and furniture was bought during her visit.  And not to mention she bought me a shirt and sweater that are my favorite and I hardly wear anything else these days.  Thank you again.

I love you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

All aboard the sleep train

Let's talk a minute about sleep training...

That awful time when a parent feels obligated to train their child to sleep independently of its parents.
So that the child can learn to put itself to sleep and give the parents much needed rest without a child draped all over their corpse.  Oops, I mean body that feels like a corpse because it is dead tired.
So that they wake from their slumber refreshed...
And immediately return to a state of peaceful rest.
While you...
Lie awake...
Taking pictures...
To prove...

That you failed at sleep training.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mission Revival

In July last year I was able to attend a Reunion for the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Mission in Utah.  It has been 25 years since I served the Lord.
 My sweet friend Sandy picked me up from the airport and we played for a while.  I have missed this lady.  I met her when I was pregnant with Miss Boo and moved away when I was pregnant with the Dude.  The kids are 12 and 10 now.   Too long away from this lady.  Soraya surprised us and snuck behind us in a store.  What a calculated, fabulous surprise by her and the help of her husband, my brother in arms, Jon.

I expected to only spend an hour at the reunion as it's been a while.  I could hardly remember names of more than a couple missionaries.  My spanish was sketchy and I wasn't in a very social mood.

At the check in was several people, I assumed were missionaries from the DR.  As one of them grabbed my hand and said, Hermana Wiltbank, all of sudden I knew who he was.  Elder Belnap.  Bel nap...such wonderful memories came flooding back into my mind.  All of sudden, names I couldn't remember seconds before were there.  Places and Spanish.  My mind was opened.  I wanted to cry from happiness.  (I never understood that saying before.)
 And then my sweet companion of La Fe decided to come although she has said she wouldn't be able to.  Cindi Steele Buckley and I taught the gospel to Soraya's mother before we met Soraya.  I was anxious for Soraya to meet the one that helped convert her mother all those years ago.  Soraya's mother passed away last year so it gave her something special to hold on to.

Then she got to meet the elder that baptized her Mom.  And of course, Elder Budenbender photobombing us in the back.  He was there when we taught Soraya.
Elder O'Connor was one of my favorites.   His uncle taught science to me in High School.  So much fun to have something in common in an uncommon country.

And Boone... sigh

What a great friend and missionary.  We arrived in the mission field together and served in our second areas for a long time together in San Pedro, becoming life long friends.

He surprised me also by saying he wouldn't be there so I wasn't looking for him.  All of sudden I hear as I am being picked up and swung around, "Wiltbank!".  Sheer joy is the only word to describe how I felt that night.  I can only imagine how much sweeter and joyful it will be when we arrive home after our journey here on earth to see those we love.  

I do not doubt that these people will be there for me as well.   A mission binds you for the eternities.

 Soraya has a sweet daughter that calls me Aunti (Tia).  My dear Amanda.  Families are more than we are born into and I am so grateful for that.
 And to top everything off and to show how the Lord brings those into our lives and how they can always be part of it... sweet Haley Jensen from Mississippi.  She is done with school and working at BYU.  She came and hung with us for a while.  So grateful the Lord has blessed me with such kind people.

I wish this picture were better, but this is President Sorenson and his wife Elaine.  He changed my life.  I can never repay him for putting my life on a better track and teaching me so much that has followed me until today.  
He gave an amazing talk.  We hung on every word.  He reminded us that Satan is real and we shouldn't forget that.  It's like driving on the road and not realizing we are passing the center line or on the shoulder.  We should constantly "Check Ourselves" to make sure we are on the straight and narrow.  He gave me personal counsel and reminded me how close he is to our Heavenly Father.  How he has stayed humble and workable so the Lord can use him to do good constantly.

What a great time with friends.  Sadly I will miss the next one February 2017 in the DR that will celebrate Presidents 70th Birthday.  Good people.

Monday, August 8, 2016

In memorium

As I was looking for a blog post that a friend of mine requested, I realized something.

         I stink at writing lately.

It's true.  Sometimes life gets me to a point where I don't want to share my sadness or frustration.  But today, thanks to a friend and reading the post she was looking for, that I started this blog to find the good in my life daily.  Mr. Finn bought me a camera years ago so I could find something to capture the good in that day.  The camera is dusty and my typing skills are atrocious.  My muscles have atrophied.


Let's see if I can start finding the golden nuggets of my day to share with you and with my children.  They are there...sometimes they are covered in yucky stuff we need to clean 'em off so they shine.

Or as my grandmother would say... "spit shine it up, it'll be good as new".

Speaking of my Grandmother, I went to her memorial in Canada a couple of months ago.  I didn't feel the impact of her death until she wasn't there when I came out of the airport doors.  She has always been the one waiting, along with my Aunt Lois.  This time it was my Uncle David and Aunt Capryce.  I'm not begrudging them picking me up. I adore my Uncle and it gave us several hours to talk in the middle of the night as Capryce slept in the back seat. I really enjoy him.

It just felt like something grand was missing.  She was everyone.  What a beautiful memorial with my family.  It's hard to believe it has been 10-15 years since we have all been together, but it felt like yesterday.  So much laughter and love.

Grandma would have loved that. And she would have loved this moment as much as I do.
I am blessed to have these two knuckleheads as cousins.  Sure do love them.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Never grow up...

I am losing the battle.  How did ten years go by so quickly?  This year was especially tough on me for some reason.  I was so emotional all day and wanted to spend every second soaking up what is left of the little boy he is.
Mr. Finn and I ate lunch with him at school and even though I didn't tell Mr. Finn, I snuck him out of school and went for ice cream so he could have his favorite flavor of Cotton Candy.  And, mainly because I needed to be with him.
I love being his Mom.  He is the most charming, sweet boy in the world.  I am prejudiced because he is mine and I love him.  I am grateful for this gift that brings such joy and laughter to our home.

Happy 10th Birthday Buckwheat Jones, Rye Bread, Rhyner, Bug, my Little Man--our Dude!