Sunday, March 12, 2017

Crazy Year Part III

Immediately after ordination (Saturday) and the baptisms of our two youngest grandchildren by their loving grandpa (Ken), we drove to Kennewick, WA with our daughter, Kara, and son-in-law, Kerem - as they wanted to spend a bit of time with Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Calvin, cousins, and Grandpa Ben. It was so joyous to have so much family surrounding us with all the love you can imagine. I took a bunch of pictures to commemorate this amazing day. I don't think Kara had seen Grandpa Ben since she was 13 or 14 (maybe) so it was quite the reunion.

The week following ordination, I returned to work, but Ken stayed with me in Kennewick as did his mom and their life-long friends from Pensacola, the Pings. It was wonderful and I so appreciated the extra time we got to spend with mom. In 2016, we got to spend time with Ken's mom (btw, she is the BEST mother-in-law in the entire universe) in March and in October! This doesn't often occur - we usually get to spend a week or two with her every other year or so. But this year was so very special with getting to spend so much time with family, especially mom.

The holidays in 2016 seemed a bit anti-climatic with all the excitement and huge events throughout the rest of the year. Thanksgiving is a blur - quiet and peaceful (I think). But Christmas was very memorable. Our friends in Moscow, George and Caroline Canney, were away for the holidays. But they graciously allowed us to inhabit their beautiful home for a few days. We had an amazing Christmas dinner with several people from the parish and community that didn't have family in the area. We bought two complete dinner kits from Rosauers in Colfax and everyone else brought various side dishes. We had a huge feast, wonderful companionship, superb conversation, and lots of laughter. An amazing day with many, many amazing friends.

So now we have come full circle - back to a New Year - 2017 this time. Hopefully it won't be a whole year before I can get an update on this blog for the few people who actually read it! God bless everyone and here is to an amazing 2017!!

Until the next time.....

Friday, March 3, 2017

Crazy Year Part II

To continue with our amazing and crazy year, I will start where I left off - Summer 2016. After leaving WSU (15 years at the Libraries alone; over 30 years total) and beginning my new adventure at Trios Health, I never looked back. I had prayed about this new job and talked with Ken endlessly about it, and when they met the criteria we had set - I quickly accepted their offer. Ken and I have spent the months from July to now apart during the week and together on the weekends. Our house in  Colfax went on the market, we packed 99% of our stuff and moved it into storage in August/September.

October brought the most amazing day to our family. Ken was ordained as a permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church in Boise ID along with 3 other holy men. Ken had studied for 4 years plus two additional years of discernment and learning the art of being a Deacon. He was ready for this!  The entire rite was amazing, beautiful and filled with such emotion - tears were a big part of this day for me. To say I was proud and in awe just doesn't quite explain the emotions of that day but will have to suffice. In the pews were many friends from all over the country as well as daughter, Kara and her husband, Kerem; our son, Deakin and his wife, Nicole; my sister Bonnie, her husband, Calvin and their son, Zak; and last but most importantly, Ken's mom, Faye, who drove all the way from Pensacola, FL in her RV. She spent a month and a half touring the United States before arriving in Boise for the ordination in mid-October. It was a wonderful day and it was made even more memorable by having an early Thanksgiving dinner (lovingly prepared by our amazing daughter-in-law, Nicole) with all of our family there! So very special. The next day, Ken was able to baptize our two youngest grandsons (Deakin & Nicole's youngest boys) at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Nampa, ID. To have his first baptism be for these two little guys was beyond amazing. Spencer and Connor were baptized by the best grandpa in the world! When time allows, I will try to post some photos of this event.

I guess the rest of the story will have to wait for the next installment. I guess I didn't realize just how much crazy stuff happened to us in 2016. Stay tuned for more. God bless y'all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What a Crazy Year

It is amazing to me that it is already closing in on March of 2017. It has been nearly a year since I last updated this blog - there is so much to tell that I am sure this will be a multi-part story. I will try to keep to chronological order so I don't forget anything so bare with me. In March last year we travelled to Austin, TX to spend nearly a week in Lago Vista with our daughter and her family. Plus, our son, Deakin and his wife, Nicole drove down as they wanted to renew their wedding vows (it was their five year wedding anniversary). It was an amazing time and Ken's mom drove over from Pensacola, FL to surprise everyone. It was so much fun and so exciting -- three of our five kids were at the event including their children. It was such a blessing to have so many kids and grandkids in the same place at the same time! I graduated from WGU Washington in April 2016 in Seattle. I decided to walk in the graduation ceremony about a month after I finished my degree. It was such a special day. I am very glad that I did it. My sister, Bonnie and her husband attended as well as their son, Zak - oh and Ken attended as well. I felt so special even surrounded by hundreds of other students who were equally as proud of their accomplishment.  June 2016 brought a couple of job interviews in the healthcare industry - one in Pullman and one in Kennewick, WA. The one is Pullman was not something I was very interested in so I was very glad when I received the "thanks but no thanks" email from them. However, the job in Kennewick was such an amazing opportunity that I jumped on it when they offered me the position. I am now working at Trios Health in Kennewick as an Application Support Analyst since July and absolutely love it. Currently I stay with my sister, Bonnie and her family during the week and return to Colfax on the weekends. More on that situation in the next installment. To come next time - Ken's ordination, his Mom's visit, lots of time with our son, daughter-in-law and their boys, and how the whole changing jobs for me has gone.  God bless everyone and I will try to get the next section done sometime next week. Peace!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A New Year - A New Direction

As of November 2015, I have completed my B.S. in Health Informatics from Western Governors University Washington (an online accredited university). It took me slightly more than 4 years but I am beyond glad that I did it and finished it! In February 2016, I successfully passed the Registered Health Information Administrator certification (gigantic). Now I have time to do other things in addition to looking for a different job (if I find one, great; if not, I am fine with that too). I will actually "walk" on April 16, 2016 at Key Arena in Seattle, WA at 10:00 a.m. If you would like to view the streaming video of this event, go to: http://tinyurl.com/lgrysra and watch!!

In October 2016, Ken (God willing) will be ordained as a permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. He has been on this journey for about 6 years but it took him nearly 4 (almost the entire time he was completing the coursework) to discern that the diaconate was actually his calling. He finally got the hint from the Almighty and entered the Deacon formation with the Diocese of Boise. He is beyond excited, as am I. His service to the church will probably not increase much as he is extremely involved in many ministries including RCIA, Family Promise (housing for families who are temporarily house-less), the Knights of Columbus, and many more. Please keep us (but especially Ken) in your prayers.

Since last posting, we have a new grandson (Connor Cain Patrick, born the end of June) and another granddaughter via our oldest son marrying his best friend. So we are currently at 18 grandchildren and holding. We also lost my dad last July as well as my kids' grandmother, Clarice Miller, two days later. It was a difficult time for us all. But my dad is now dancing with the love of his life (my step-mom, Jane) in heaven and watching over us all.

Anyway, God bless everyone and hopefully I will post a bit more frequently now that my degree is finished (but no promises).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I used to write Christmas letters every year and enclose them with our Christmas cards. For a variety of reasons, this has gone by the wayside. But I did want to let those that want to read about our year, to have a place to go.

Last Christmas we drove from Washington state to Florida (with a short stop in Austin, TX to see our kids and grandkids there) and back again. You may not believe this but we had perfect weather for 98% of the trip. Blue skies, sunshine, but at times very cold temperatures, were prevelant for the entire trip to Florida. It was an amazing time spent talking and planning for the future and just enjoying each others' company. The trip back was amazing weather as well until we arrived in southern Idaho - fog and some snow were in the Treasure Valley. All in all, it was an absolute spectacular trip! Especially for that time of year.

At Easter, Ken and I sponsored a beautiful young lady as she joined our Catholic faith. Lent was amazing and such a great time for us all. Spring also brought Ken and I into participating in a course in Canon Law. It was so interesting - a lot of work and reading - but well worth the time. We both are now able to consult with marriage cases for our diocese (mostly within our parish). 

Also around Easter, I found out through friend in Potlatch that my father had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital for about 3 weeks. I found out just as they were moving him to a convelescence center to get PT and OT so he could eventually go home. Since then, he has gone home and has a caretaker with him a lot. He did not want me to be told about any of it, my mom's daughter, Paula, has made it very clear that I am not welcomed there - so I have kept my distance. I don't want to upset him so have stayed away.

May-June we took our Victory Vision touring bike to Austin, TX to see our oldest granddaughter, Katie, graduate from Lago Vista High School (the same high school her mom, Mandy, graduated from in 1995). We had crappy weather for most of the trip and even got caught between a tornado warning (to our north) and t-storm (to our south). We rode into Austin pretty hot and pulled up to Mandy and Ray's just behind the t-storm. It was fine but sort of crazy for several miles. 

We were able to spend time with all seven of our Austin-area grandchildren and it was so special. We even did the tourist thing in Austin and visited Congress Ave and the capitol building. Afterwards, we had dinner at Rudy's BBQ - one of the best BBQ joints in the area! 

While we were in Texas, my step-mom, Alice, passed away. She left this earth loved by our entire family and mourned by all who knew her. My step-dad, Ben, scheduled the memorial for after we returned from Texas (God bless him) so we could attend without cutting our trip short. At her memorial, we wrote a message on a balloon and then at the end we released them heavenward so she would see how much we love and miss her. We miss Alice every single day but Christmas is especially difficult as she loved celebrating Jesus' birth. She was generous, loving, caring, and so very kind. God has a special angel helping him now. Three of moms are now in heaven - each taught me something different and I miss them all.

Ken graduated from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise's Lay Ministry program in August and was accepted in their Deacon formation program (officially) right after. If all goes well, he will be ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church in October 2016. I am very proud of him - he is following a path that is not for the faint of heart so I know he is inspired to do this.

I have only about 14 months left before I complete my B.S. in Health Informatics. It has been pretty tough, very challenging, and immensely rewarding. I only have 9 classes or so left to complete so am just concentrating on finishing them on time and then graduating! Working full-time and being a full-time student has been exceptional difficult at times - I could not do it without my wonderful husband's love and support. 

In closing, we want to wish every one an awesome Advent season, a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. May all of your prayers be answered. God bless ... with love.....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Non-Traditional Student Necessary Attributes

I have just over a year before I graduate from WGU with a B.S. in Health Informatics. It has been a challenging, difficult, amazing, and mind-blowing experience, to say the very least. I am definitely classified under the "non-traditional" category of college student - 56 years old, married, mom to 5 adult children, grandmother to 16 ranging in age from 20 to 1, work full-time at a state university (nearly 30 years there), and soon-to-be deacon's wife (an entirely different blog post!). I have never been known for being traditional in any form or fashion; however, I never thought I would be pursuing my first bachelor's degree in my 50's. 

If you have thought about obtaining your degree, at any age after mid-20's, attending an online university should be at the top of your list. There are a few other considerations you will need to review before shelling out lots of money towards your degree. 

Are you self-motivated? If you need special considerations, have any issues with reading comprehension, or you are a big procrastinator, an online degree program is probably not your best choice.

Do you know where you want to focus your education? This is not the place (or time) to be uncertain of "what you want to be when you grow up". Research, search your heart, and find your "place" and THEN search for a matching degree program. 

Be realistic. Do not expect this to be easy. Expect long hours studying; lots of missed social occasions; emotional issues because you are focused so intently on one goal; and friends and family, although usually very supportive normally, to be upset because you won't give up an evening of studying to see a movie or have dinner with them. 

Alternatively, you must take some time for you and your family during the several years you will be pursuing your degree. My husband and I have at least two date nights a month and if there is a family gathering that I wish to attend, I work extra hard the week prior so I do not feel guilty or worry about the time I am "wasting" at the social event or date! Balance is the word of the day.

I will continue this article at a later date.....too much information for one blog post. God bless and if you have questions, please write a comment and I will get back to. Until next time.....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer is Drawing To a Close

Sad day for sure. I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer. So much fun and family and grandkids galore. We had a long motorcycle vacation in Texas, as well as a trip to Caldwell on the bike a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I have also done a ton of studying - and have only 18 months before graduation! I may be able to do an 80 hour internship remotely with a spectacular Alpha-1 researcher - should know soon. It is an exciting time in our lives. Ken graduated from the Lay Ministry program in August after 4 years of very hard work. And we found out this summer that ken was accepted into the Deacon program and if all goes well he will be ordained in 2 years. 

We have been blessed in so many ways. We have also lost a couple of very special people. My step-father's beautiful wife went home to our Father in May - while we were in Texas - and we miss Alice every day. My step-father is managing day by day and he is in our prayers daily. We also lost a very special friend from our Lay Ministry family - Mary was only in our lives for 4 years but she was such a loving, caring person - we will miss her for a very long time. So glad you were able to see the Luke group graduate - we all love you and miss you, Mary. 

To our friends and family, as we say good bye to Summer 2014 and hello to autumn, know you are in our prayers and our hearts. We wish you and your families a wonderful, beautiful fall. God bless.