Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spiritual Nourishment

DH and I met with the bishop last Sunday. The bishop is a very, what I consider, humble and down-to-earth man.

We revealed to him that my paycheck is being garnished. After listening to us and going over our finances, he told us that the Church would help us with food. He was ready to arrange for the RS president to come to our home to see what our needs are. We told him that for this month (and possibly next month) we have enough food to last until I find out if the garnishment is going to be reduced. He did tell us that he would like to see us out at Church.

Today DH and I went to Sacrament Meeting. Maybe this sounds corny, but I came away feeling "spiritually nourished." I came away with good feelings about the Church. Then I made the mistake of reading some of the comments here.

Now I'm beginning to question if I'm only fooling myself that I will have positive experiences at Church. Am I just "pink clouding?" In others words, am I in "a state of temporary artificial euphoria?"

I am so confused.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Please send some prayers my way ...

My little family is in a dire financial situation. I learned yesterday that my wages are going to be garnished. That means a huge, and I do mean huge, amount of money will be deducted from my paycheck. I am going to submit a Claim of Exemption to reduce the amount. Please say a prayer for my family that all will work out.

And here it is rapidly approaching Christmas. I wanted so much to make this a special Christmas for Jim.

The "Grinch" has sure made a most unwelcome appearance in our home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Remembering the Past

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Today I've been reflecting on the scripture “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). I look at the world today and cannot help but feel profoundly sad. Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke these words at General Conference in April 2009:

You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint—you don’t even have to be religious—to see the repeating pattern of history in the lives of God’s children as recorded in the Old Testament. Time and again we see the cycle of righteousness followed by wickedness. Similarly, the Book of Mormon records that ancient civilizations of this continent followed exactly the same pattern: righteousness followed by prosperity, followed by material comforts, followed by greed, followed by pride, followed by wickedness and a collapse of morality until the people brought calamities upon themselves sufficient to stir them up to humility, repentance, and change.

If you are reading this post, do you agree with what Elder Ballard said? I do.

Elder Ballard also said:

We live in an era when the boundaries of good taste and public decency are being pushed to the point where there are no boundaries at all. The commandments of God have taken a beating in the vacillating marketplace of ideas that absolutely rejects the notion of right and wrong. Certain factions of society seem generally mistrustful of anyone who chooses to live according to religious belief. And when people of faith attempt to warn others of the possible consequences of their sinful choices, they are scoffed at and ridiculed, and their most sacred rites and cherished values are publicly mocked.

There was a time I would have scoffed at what Elder Ballard said. I would have thought "What does he know? He's just a stuffy old man and too old-fashioned in his thinking." But MY thinking has changed.

I pray that the calamities we have brought upon ourselves will "stir us up to humility, repentance, and change."

M. Russell Ballard, “Learning the Lessons of the Past,” Ensign, May 2009, 31–34

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gratuitous Kiss

On a recent episode of the new TV series FlashForward, there was a scene where two women kissed. It was known that they were lesbians. I read today that some people found the kissing scene "gratuitous." Why would anyone think such a scene was unwarranted? Why is it okay to show a male and female kissing, but not two females kissing? Why is one acceptable and the other is not?

I also read today where some active members of the LDS Church have decided they will no longer watch FlashForward because of the female-female kissing scene.

This is bugging the heck out of me today, so I thought I'd vent about it here on my blog.

Tell me … Would you honestly stop watching a TV series because of one scene?

And what is so horrendous about showing two women kissing?

Please leave a comment. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Utah Mormons

It's Saturday night and I've been doing some research. My topic was Mormon culture and, in particular, Utah Mormons. There has often been talk about the difference between Utah Mormons and Mormons in the "mission field." I came upon this interesting list.

What it Means to be a Utah Mormon Top Ten List

- I don’t know how to describe one, but I know one when I see one.

- “Utah Mormons” take Mormonism to the extreme

- “Utah Mormons” are characterized by their explicitives (Gosh!, Darn!, Heck!, and Fetch!)

- “Utah Mormons” think General Authorities are like rock stars (my wife loved this one…she shared with me an experience she had a BYU when some of her friends waited to see Elder Eyring and get their pictures and his autograph. When they came back they were pumped and going crazy…like you’d see at a rock concert

- “Utah Mormons” love green Jell-o

- Except for being on a mission, a Utah Mormon has never ventured outside of the “Mormon Corridor”

- “Utah Mormons” are nice, kind, and loving people

- “Utah Mormons” may take for granted what they have

- “Utah Mormons” are innocent in their knowledge of other faiths and/or cultures

- A “Utah Mormon” is someone who would be content living in Utah County all of their days

Having lived in Salt Lake City (1978-1982), I would tend to agree with most of these observations.

If you are a "Utah Mormon," what are you thoughts about this list?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two of My Favorite Things ...

music and interesting photographs.

I decided it's been too quiet here for me at my blog, so I've added my playlist once again. I was especially thrilled when I found the song "Rock and Roll Heaven" by the Righteous Brothers. That is one of my favorite songs.

Then I thought I would add these interesting photographs to this post.

I also needed to do something to lift my spirits. My middle sister called me today. It's always wonderful talking to her. But she told me something that makes me very sad. My 9 year old grand-niece is missing her grandma terribly (grandma being my oldest sister who passed away in July). See, grandma used to see Ashley every weekend. She would bring Ashley coloring books and crayons and they would color together. My sister told me that since grandma died, Ashley no longer wants to color. I find that incredibly heart-wrenching. If I were back in NY, I'd love to color with her. I'd share with her the story of how when I was in the hospital after giving birth to her cousin Jim, I asked Steve to bring me a coloring book and crayons. I pray Ashley will start coloring once again as a tribute to her grandma.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cyber Bullies

Today I read this article from LDS Living Magazine Stopping Cyber Bullies by Jamie Cline.

After reading the article, I went to the website

I am deeply saddened that children can be so cruel to each other. Where do they learn this behavior? In their homes? From their peers?

Have you or your child or a friend been the victim of cyberbullying? If the answer is "Yes," would you care to share your story? You can most definitely remain anonymous.

There were a few occasions where I felt I was being "cyberbullied," but it was nothing compared to what I read today.

I close this post with these words from the song "What The World Needs Now" ...

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
It's the only thing
That there's just too little of

What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love
No not just for some
But for everyone


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Bloggernacle Illuminati"

What follows is something I have been wanting to write for some time now.

First, let’s answer this question: What is the “Bloggernacle?” The Bloggernacle is “a name that has been adopted by some in the LDS blogging community to describe the Mormon portion of the blogosphere.”

Second, let’s look at the definition of “Illuminati”:

1. People claiming to be unusually enlightened with regard to a subject.
2. Any of various groups claiming special religious enlightenment.

Here is a list of some blogs I consider to be part of the “Bloggernacle Illuminati”:

* By Common Consent
* The Exponent
* Feminist Mormon Housewives
* Times & Seasons
* Mormon Matters
* Jeff Lindsay
* John Dehlin
* Hieing To Kolob
* Mormon Mentality
* Segullah
* The Faithful Dissident
* He Said, She Said

I have visited these blogs and have noticed there is a tendency for the individuals or “permabloggers” to display an air of being exceptionally “enlightened” on all things Mormon. I have noticed that several of the individual bloggers also write “guest” posts on certain group blogs. You’ll often see the same names over and over. Hence I have come up with the term “Bloggernacle Illuminati.”

There is a definite cliquishness. I have also observed how some individuals are ignored or criticized when their opinions differ from the mindset of the “Bloggernacle Illuminati.” I have seen the permabloggers band together to defend each other and rip into the person who dares have a dissenting opinion.

It appears as if one has to receive a special invitation to join the "Bloggernacle Illuminati." I am attempting to understand this phenomena.

If anyone is reading this post and can explain the phenomena, I welcome your comments.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spiritual Purification

Yesterday I came across an article in our local newspaper that caught my eye. The article is about the building of a mikvah (a ritual bath for spiritual purification) in Bozeman, Montana. Steve and I visited Bozeman in 2007. Here is a link to the article:

Jewish ritual finds home in Big Sky Country

What is a mikvah?

An ancient ritual bath in which Jewish women traditionally immerse after their monthly cycle and before the resumption of sexual relations. Also used for conversion.

Mikvah has been passed down from mother to daughter as a thoroughly private, even secret ritual. Today it is a many-faceted silent celebration of womanhood observed by a broad spectrum of Jewish women.

By immersing in the Mikvah, a woman links herself to an ongoing tradition that has spanned generations, to Jewish women around the world and throughout time. As she brings herself in immediate contact with the source of life, purity, and holiness - with G-d who surrounds her and is within her always.

Here is a link to an excellent article concerning an event that was billed as “The Ultimate Feminist Experience: Mikvah.”

What an incredibly spiritual experience it must be for Jewish women to be immersed in "living waters." Here are photographs of mikvahs.

Click here for a Mikvah Tour

And for my LDS readers, you may find this post at an LDS blog of interest: Mikvah.

Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts about the mikvah.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three Sisters

My oldest sister passed away today. I found this poem and dedicate it to my sweet sister. Jeannie, you will be in our hearts always.

Three Sister's
© Francis I. Gillespie

We are three sisters
Three sisters are we
I love each of you,
And I know you love me

We’re not always together,
Life sometimes keeps us apart.
But we're never separated
We’re in each other's heart.

Now I know we've had our troubles,
But we always get thru.
The real message is you love me,
And I also love you.

We have had lots of good times
That we'll never forget
Sometimes we worry
And sometimes we fret

But if God ever gave me
Something special you see,
It might have been the blessing of,
Three sisters are we.
The Lord above has gave me lots
Of happiness and glee
But the most special thing he did was
Make us sisters, all three.

Three Sister's by Francis I. Gillespie Sister Poems

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Where to turn?

I've been struggling with this all day.

My middle sister telephoned yesterday to tell me that our oldest sister is in ICU and that she may not be with us much longer.

I keep wanting a loving God to send a miracle and that my sister will pull through somehow. My middle sister told me that our oldest sister is on a breathing machine and has been rambling something to the effect of "they won't open the gates for me." All I can think is that she is now somewhere between life and death.

If it is my sister's time to go, I do want her to be released from any further pain and suffering.

I have put my sister's name on the temple prayer rolls for several weeks now. In February, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer that has spread to her lungs. My sister turned 62 last month.

I am profoundly sad. How am I supposed to maintain a belief in a loving God at times like this?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Made My Day!

I was just viewing the website for the Adult Day Program our son Jim attends and found this photograph:

I do not know who Jim is talking to. All I know is I'm feeling mighty proud of Jim. He is one cool dude!

This mama is doing a HAPPY DANCE!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

President Julie B. Beck -- Retro-Woman

There is an interesting discussion at the blog site Feminist Mormon Housewives here.

This is a comment President Beck was purported to have made at a recent women’s conference in South Georgia”

“…women shouldn’t be ashamed of being Home Makers- literally making homes where our families want to be; that we should use the times we gather our children around the dinner table (with tablecloths and nice dishes) as times to teach and share; that when our homes and lives are free of clutter and chaos, when we organize and prioritize we will be happier.”

After reading that comment, I reflected back on the talk President Beck gave at General Conference in October 2007. I believe most of my LDS readers will remember the talk Mothers Who Know.

Here is a portion of what President Beck said:

Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers

Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women. [Emphasis added]

I did some research on President Beck today. I found she was born in 1954. I feel I can better understand now why she focuses on homemaking. She is a product of the 1950s. Read this and you’ll understand where President Beck’s thoughts originated:

Being a Wife and Mother in the 1950s
During the 1950s, there was a revival of placing homemakers on a pedestal, with homemaking and child rearing being touted as a woman’s highest calling. The message was everywhere — from pulpits to politics. Television was coming into its own during that decade as more homes purchased TV sets; and programs like Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave It to Beaver were popular. The image projected on television and in magazines was one of a woman who, while her husband was off earning enough to support the family on his one income, stayed behind to make their suburban home a refuge to which her husband and school-age children returned late each day from the demanding world outside. She was always impeccably dressed as she spent her days cheerfully cleaning, cooking, and caring for their youngest children in a suburban home equipped with the latest appliances and household products. The corporate world which offered those products adored her.

The model housewife, in this 1950s view, lived to serve her family and keep her husband and children happy, meeting their every need. Any aspirations or needs she had for fulfillment of her own beyond this model were considered “selfish.”

Work-Family Balance: 1950s and Now

Yes, President Beck is a Retro-Woman. I do believe we should cut her some slack. Don’t you?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Oldest Sister and Elvis

My oldest sister is back in the hospital. She is a huge Elvis Presley fan. Although she doesn't have access to the Internet, I still wanted to do something that I know would make her smile. So I updated my Playlist to include five Elvis songs. I am sending lots of love out to my sister. I know she would love the photo of Elvis I added to this post.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This Is Love

Today is Mother's Day. My precious son Jim made me a card with this message inside:

M -- is for Model; you have taught me so Much.

O -- is for Open arms always hugging me.

T -- is for Taking Time to always kiss me goodnight.

H -- is for Helping me, and Holding my Hand.

E -- is for your caring Eyes.

R -- is for Raising me Right.

My wonderful husband gave me a card with this message:

With Love and Thanks to My wife

I'm a better man because of your love.

And because of your love,

I now know

that home isn't a place,

it's a person.

Yes ... THIS IS LOVE. What more could any woman ask for?

Friday, May 8, 2009

You Can't Make Them Be Your Friends

For years now I've tried to develop friendships in cyberspace. I've participated at message boards. I created a blog. I joined facebook. At first it appeared I was making friends. Then I noticed cliques developing and I was not invited to join. There are message board cliques, blogger cliques and facebook … well … it's pointless and, quite frankly, childish.

I made the mistake of thinking I could fit in with the LDS communities (active, inactive and former members). I found that because I was not brought up in the LDS Church, I was on the outside looking in. I was the only member of the Church in my immediate family. I joined the Church when I was 19 years old because I wanted to have something in common with my future husband.

I was a member of record from March 1972 until November 1980. My husband and I were fairly active in the Church while living in Queens, New York. We held multiple callings (concurrently). We were, I'd like to believe, respected in our ward. We were not married in the temple, but felt we were heading toward having our marriage sealed.

Then we made the fatal mistake of moving to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978. My husband had second thoughts about moving there. I felt since we had started making arrangements to move, we should just do it. Also, I thought it would be so uplifting to live among the Saints in Utah. Such was not the case. It was there that we saw the hypocrisy of the members. It was there we felt unwelcome. We were "strangers" in the wards we attended. Yes, we had some "assigned friends," but we knew their friendship was not genuine.

We chose to be excommunicated from the Church in November 1980. At that time, you could not send in a letter of resignation. From that time forward, I kept my distance from the LDS Church. Then along came the Internet, and I found myself being pulled back into mingling with the Saints in cyberspace.

My first experience was with the on-line group Recovery from Mormonism ("RfM"). It was there that my husband and I found kindred spirits. My husband wrote his story and submitted it to RfM. His story can now be found among the hundreds of exit stories.

For several years I harbored deep resentment toward the Church and its members. My feelings started to change when I found the message board LDS Women. I thought I was accepted by these women, that was until I wrote something that irritated two women on the board. They could not understand why I would want to associate with them if I was not a faithful, active Latter-day Saint woman. Their written attacks on me were vicious. In the end, the administrator of the message board discontinued sponsoring it. LDS Women bit the dust.

As for blogging … I have two blogs, one public and one private. At first I enjoyed blogging, especially when someone posted a comment. But then I started looking at other blogs and realized I am not "popular." Sure, I have numerous lurkers, but few, if any, care to leave a comment. I thought I might shut down my public blog. I told my husband it's like I've been banging my head against the wall and a voice told me "You do know you can stop doing that." Today I decided to add this post.

Recently, a light went on when I read these words: "You can't make them be your friends." That is so true. I was trying to "make" people in cyberspace be my friend. I have learned that it's impossible to do that, at least for me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Big Love - Temple Ceremony Portrayal [UPDATE]

I realize I have many LDS readers and lurkers who come to my blog. Some of you may find this post offensive. Please know I mean no disrespect. This is something that is going to appear on the HBO series "Big Love." This article appeared in the TV Guide. I am amazed that the doors have been opened, so to speak, to the temple and the endowment ceremony. I have read through a few discussions at LDS message boards about this upcoming episode of "Big Love." Those discussions can be found here, here and here.

Big Love Mormon Temple Ceremony

What is your reaction?

UPDATE: Here is a link to the statement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to "Big Love" and a link to HBO's response to the controversy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"... marginally productive"

In The Arms of His Love by Del Parson

I read the article Down syndrome a modern-day death sentence By Joseph A. Cannon (Deseret News Monday, Feb. 16, 2009) and found myself becoming quite agitated, especially after reading these statements:

"'Like many,' notes Libertarian commentator Nicholas Provenzo, 'I am troubled by the implications of . . . Sarah Palin's decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin's decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome.'

"This is necessary, Provenzo informs us, 'because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive.'"

What does “marginally productive” mean? What does being “productive” mean?

Was I being “productive” this morning because I made the bed? Was I being “productive” when I carved the rotisserie chicken I purchased? Was I being “productive” when I made a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies this morning?

My son Jim is developmentally disabled. He is unable to live independently. He is unable to hold a job. He attends this program: SVS. Is my son, and his developmentally disabled peers, “only capable of being marginally productive?”

Here are a couple of definitions of “productive:”

Bringing into being; causing to exist; producing; originative; as, an age productive of great men; a spirit productive of heroic achievements.

Yielding favorable or useful results; constructive.

Joseph Cannon wrote:

"We are now quickly sliding down the slippery slope. What about people who are only 'marginally productive' after they are born or when they get old? Are their lives worth preserving? And what does 'marginally productive' mean anyway? In the literature 'marginally productive' very often edges into 'merely inconvenient.'

Will the day come when we as a civilization will euthanize anyone considered “marginally productive?” Will we become a people where it is “survival of the fittest?” Are researchers trying to develop a “master race?” Is eugenics alive and flourishing today?

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"You've Got A Friend" ... or do you?

I have noticed over time that people come into our lives IRL or on-line and we develop friendships. Then there comes a time when that friendship ends. Sometimes you are aware of the reason, sometimes you wonder what happened.

This has happened to me recently and I've been wondering why. For me what hurts the most is when the other person just stops communicating and I'm left with all sorts of scenarios running through my warped mind. Sigh. I know, Kalola's on a downer again.

I realize this happens to lots of people. I wonder how people get beyond the loss of a friendship. What helped you?

I would welcome your insights. In the meantime, I will ponder this:

Lillian Rubin in her book Just Friends says, "Thus generally it's true that friends accept each other so long as they both remain essentially the same as they were when they met, or change in similar directions. If they change or grow in different or incompatible ways, the friendship most likely will be lost."

Regardless of why, when, or how friendships end, there is always some pain of loss to assimilate. When nothing can be done to mend the friendship, it is important to grieve and feel the pain fully. Then move on to enhance another friendship or build entirely new friendships.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kalola goes to war against this ...

A toilet? Just an ordinary toilet where I've been know to flush with pride. Okay ... you didn't need to know that.

So why did I go to war against a toilet? Let's see ... this morning started out pleasant enough until ... you guessed it ... the toilet refused to flush because ... well ... it was plugged up! Lovely! I so love a challenge on a Saturday morning (she says while muttering a few $%^*!!@@!!! words). I needed to solve the problem fast because we had to head out to pick up our son Jim.

So I chose this as my weapon.

After several attempts, I realized I had to bring in a more powerful weapon. So I tried this:

Several more attempts, and then I chose another weapon (I thought for sure this "snake" would frighten away whatever was plugging the toilet):
Alas, my foe was not to be defeated. I decided it was best to walk away and live to fight another day (or should I say later in the day).

We picked up Jim and went about our day as planned. When we returned home, I decided to face my Goliath. After searching on-line for tips on how to unplug a toilet, and after several more attempts at using the aforementioned weapons, I did this.

I turned off the water to the toilet. I removed all of the water in said toilet (trust me, I would not have done that if the water had been most foul). And then I poured some warm water in the toilet and plunged away. At last ...

Cue Queen singing "We Are the Champions!" How sweet the sound of a flushing toilet!

And how did you spend your Saturday?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today I entertained myself by searching the terms "snobs" and "blogging." Lo and behold, I found the following article which, I hope, you will find humorous:

Snob-Bloggers: You Just Might Be a Snob if You Publish a Blog


According to Jupiter Research, about 2 percent of the online community has created a blog. That works out to millions and millions of blogs, and in turn, millions and millions of snobs who publish them. That’s an awful lot of Snob-Bloggers!

You see, in order to care enough to publish a blog, you really need to be somewhat of a snob. Before we get into the reasons why, let’s look at the definition of snob.

Snob – 1. One who tends to patronize, rebuff, or ignore people regarded as social inferiors and imitate, admire, or seek association with people regarded as social superiors. 2. One who affects an offensive air of self-satisfied superiority in matters of taste or intellect. (As defined on

Combine that definition with the definition of a blogger, and you get a Snob-Blogger, defined as ‘anyone who blogs, period’. Yes that’s right, bloggers by nature are snobs.

Not me you say! Yes, you too! ALL bloggers are Snob-Bloggers! Do you publish a blog? Don’t believe it? Take this handy dandy quiz to see if you fit the mold.

1. Have you ever commented about someone or something in a negative or superior manner on your blog? If so, you just might be a Snob-Blogger.

2. Do you and your blog readers commiserate about topics together on your blog comment system? If true, it’s possible you might be a Snob-Blogger.

3. Does your blog link to all of your other blog friends who link back to you? On that occasion, you are most likely a Snob-Blogger.

4. If you have ever ranted about something that is only interesting to you and your blogger friends, you, I’m afraid are a Snob-Blogger.

5. If you know what RSS means, I’m guessing you are a Snob-Blogger.

6. If you would stop publishing your blog because you knew nobody was reading it, you my friend are most likely a Snob-Blogger.

7. Do you recognize Wil Wheaton as someone other than the geeky kid from Star Trek: The Next Generation? If so, you are certainly a Snob-Blogger.

Other Snob-Blogger characteristics include:

• Writing rants and opinions about things you never bothered to learn about first

• Thinking that your blog is just as, or more powerful than, the mass mainstream media

Jim F. Kukral is the author of the book, BlogsToRiche$, a step-by-step guide to using your weblog to make money online.


So, I have this to say to my readers:

"Hello. My name is Kalola and I'm a snob-blogger."

Are you one too?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reflections on 2008

WARNING: If you only enjoy reading something upbeat, click off this blog.

So I’ve been reading through some blogs and the posts about how Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 2008 was for said bloggers. Ha! Let me reflect on our 2008:

1. On March 17 and April 17, Steve was out for his afternoon walk as he does to control his diabetes. He tripped and fell both times fracturing his left elbow. As a result, he had to undergo physical therapy (twice a week), which ended on July 24. Cost (after insurance): $250+

2. In July, our transmission “died.” Cost to replace with a used transmission: over $1,400. That meant I missed a mortgage payment. I’m still trying to catch up on that missed payment.

3. In late August, our central air conditioning “died.” We spent two weeks sweltering. Cost to repair: Over $300.

4. On November 1, Steve was brutally attacked and robbed in our neighborhood. His wallet and coin purse were stolen, along with his eyeglasses, car and house keys, automatic garage door opener, baseball cap, handkerchief (really now!!!), and canvas bag which contained a newspaper and a can of Comet cleanser. We had to have all of the locks re-keyed. Steve spent over four hours in the Emergency Room. Total cost to date: Over $9,000!!! Thankfully we have insurance that is covering the bulk of the Emergency Room “visit.” (Believe me, we absolutely feel blessed that Steve is alive today.)

5. The thugs who attacked and robbed Steve used his ATM card to charge $45 worth of gas and $9 at a 7-Eleven. Fun time straightening that out talking with a bank rep in India.

6. Then Steve received a letter from the hospital informing him that a copy of his medical records from the Emergency Room visit was stolen. The truck of the courier service that picked up the bag with the medical records was broken into and some fool must have thought it contained drugs. We still don’t know if this will cause future headaches.

7. In November, our automatic garage door “died.” Cost to replace: Over $300.

8. Last month the check engine light came on in my little Ford Focus. Oh, joy! We took the car to Firestone where we go to have any car troubles checked out. In addition to finding out the cause of the check engine light coming on, I asked that they check our tires, brakes, etc., and also change the oil. The check engine light came on because the gas cap was not sealing properly. Okay … easy enough, and not terribly costly to replace, but then I was told this: All four tires were bald and needed to be replaced which also necessitated an alignment. Total cost: Over $650

So … was 2008 a good year for us? Let’s see … uh … I DON'T THINK SO!!!

The best part of 2008 was our son Jim has mellowed and is a total joy. It touches us deeply to hear him say “I love you, Dad.” And last Sunday he gave me a spontaneous hug. He is truly a special young man.

What will 2009 hold? Sadly, we shudder to even think about it.

I hope you "enjoyed" reading this post. Oh yeah … I almost forgot … HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

And this is a reminder to myself .....