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. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day weekend

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer. But I have a question. Where did the summer go? Yes, we've been extremely busy all summer - family, friends, work, school, and Ken's lay ministry graduation and acceptance into Deacon formation. We had made many memories - have lost a few very close friends/family. Laughter and tears ran thru the entire summer. I guess I just wanted to say - the older I get the faster the warm seasons disappear. The cold seasons seem to stick around a lot longer. God bless everyone and here's to a long Indian summer, a mild winter and an early spring! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Catechesis Via RCIA

Ken and I are starting another year on the parish RCIA team. It is an exciting time of year. The team scheduled topics and presenters. We are trying a new tact - pretty much each presentation was assigned to a team if two team members. We will also try to tie each presentation with previous presentations. We are also following a schema that Fr. Joe will present next week to us. It will help to clarify how specific or detailed a presentation will be depending on the timing. For instance, the first six weeks or so are considered the inquiry period. During this period we will discuss things in broader, basic terms as to not overwhelm the participants. After the first Rite, the tone will change to more doctrine and specifics. It should be an interesting year. As always, I am really looking forward to RCIA! 

Praying for peace throughout the world and safety for all those at risk because of their religious beliefs. God bless and have a marvelous autumn.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Countdown to Graduation

18 months and counting until my degree program is done. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and my wonderful husband to support me. I have two 80 hour internships over the next year as well as a keystone project. So I won't be bored or have much time on my hands. I am excited and scared and all sorts of other emotions. I am really doing this!