Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving at my home

With all of the change this year, I hosted Thanksgiving at my home for the first time ever. We moved furniture to the garage and brought in two church tables and set it all up for 29 people.
It was good to have most of the Cole side here. (We were missing Becca and  Casey and Jordan's family) We had great turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes and dressing...4 variations of green bean casseroles, delicious creamed onions, carrots and cabbage and bacon Brussel sprouts.  The rolls were dough balls with only the tops being done and the bottoms not cooked thanks to dad's faulty oven.  

We had pies coming out of our eyes with the remnants of the Call's pie party. They had more pies and people than ever before. I called it the "pity pie party" since after all of the deaths this year everyone came to show their support. It was actually very nice. It was our family's 37th pie party. We recounted the history and how it all began....we used to always go to Grandma Butters the night before Thanksgiving to set the tables and mom would deliver her fresh baked pies that night and Grandpa Butters always wanted a piece of pie because it would taste better if he wasn't so full of turkey. He was right. Eventually all the family had a piece of pie the night before and then mom started inviting extended family and friends and had her famous one sliver of each kind of pie or a one of each... "Oneofitch" Russian serving...and eventually was featured in magazine articles in the early 90's. She was a pie party pioneer and now there are pie parties everywhere carrying on her legacy. 
I passed around the Thankful journal and of course we went around the tables and said what/ who we are thankful for. We had Aisha Nalder and Fernando's sister Luz and brother in law as our guests. It's always good to share our blessings and abundance. 
We all went down to mom's house after for a final grandkids go through of things and stuff and now everything left in the house will be taken to the DI. 
We finished up with a movie-The Good Dinosaur.   It's how we like to celebrate and have our dinner of popcorn and soda to end our day of gratitude. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My parent's lists...

We have been busy cleaning out my parent's home trying to get it decluttered and ready to sell.  In the process of going through so many things and papers we came across my DAD'S BUCKET LIST and my MOM'S THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY LIST.

I love seeing their handwriting

Monday, November 16, 2015

Marcie and Gratitude Journal

Every year when I pull my Gratitude Thanksgiving Journal out and pass it around the table to have everyone write in, I'm received with little enthusiasm.  But this Journal has definitnely become a treasure for me.
The Last Cole Thanksgiving was in 2013.  This was the last Thanksgiving meal we enjoyed together.
Cole Sisters...Thanksgiving Pie Party at Marcie's home, 2014

This is what Marcie wrote:
I am thankful for- Life.  Life is good.
Modern Coneniences- Central air and heat.  I would have been a poor pioneer.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My family
My cute missionary Hayden who loves what he is doing.
Nelson who keeps me in line.
Megan who is my friend.
Jordan and Laurie for their unconditional love.
Ryan and Carson- being a grandma is awesome.
Gary, my rock, my soul, my love.
I am blessed.

Holly's singing

I love singing by my sweet sister in law, Holly.
I had the privelege of being with Holly through two sacrament meetings yesterday.  I got to hear her sing the hymns and I was reminded what an amazing thing singing in church can be.   Holly  sings every hymn loud and with gusto.  She doesn't care if she says the words just right, or if she hits the notes just right ...she just loves to sing praises.

It makes me smile.

When you catch her eye while she's singing, there is a sparkle and a joy that is undescribable.

Holly sings with abandon and love.
We can learn a lot from her exuberance.
This is Holly receiving her Ipad for her birthday May 2015. She uses this to sing all of her church songs now.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Counting blessings

The opening song in my ward Sacrament meeting was  Count Your Blessings. So I did.  I am so grateful for family and friends and our life journey that we get to travel together. Verse 1 and 2 of Count Your Many Blessings...took my breath away and made me stop...then the 4th verse of the song started and I knew it was a message from the Lord that I needed.  
"So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is overall. Count your many blessings; Angels will attend. (Mom, Dad, Marcie and Tom) Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."
The past few days I've been in deep reflection. I have wept and felt anger and felt peace. This is what I know today...I have been taught for over 50 years to LOVE, love my family, my fellow man, everyone and that is what I have and continue to strive to do. I have been taught how to serve, to be positive, to be compassionate, to mourn, to respect, to uplift, to grieve, to care, to forgive, to learn by faith, to grow, to be a Mother and a Grandmother, to pray, to teach and to be taught, to receive , to give, to understand and to seek understanding, to find my Savior and to feel his love and the peace that comes from him. And SO much more. 
I've tried to teach my children these same things and know that each of my children have a deep spiritual connection with their Savior and they have come to know Him in their own way.  
ALL that cannot be taken away by a new guideline . It can't. 
As I count my blessings, I feel peace that only my Savior can give me. That is what I will hold to today and tomorrow and going forward.  
God is good. 
Counting my blessings brought peace and perspective. 

This is what I sent to my children after the NEW POLICY was announced for the LDS church regarding Gays in our congregations...

Dear Family,
What a weekend of drama and love….
My friend Suzy Walker shared with me a letter she sent out to her family and it got me thinking I should send one out to each of you so you know of my love and my understanding of what's going on with the announcement and policy change for the LDS church.

This weekend has given me great cause to reflect on family.  Our family.  I love ALL of my children immensely, but this week has given me reason to reflect on my love for Truman and  Landon and his sweet family.  What a trying week this has been for them.  For me. For Dad.

The Church recently confirmed some changes to its Handbook of Instructions provided to bishops and stake presidents. The Handbook prescribes doctrines, policies, and procedures for administering the Church and serving members.  The changes are three-fold:

  • Those who enter into a same-sex marriage are considered apostate, and will need to undergo Church discipline possibly resulting in disfellowshipment or excommunication;
  •  Local leaders should seriously consider Church discipline against members cohabitating in same-sex relationships but not married
  •   Minor children in same-sex households are not to be blessed in church nor baptized into the Church until they reach adulthood.  At that point they must understand and accept the Church’s doctrine regarding same-sex acts and marriages in order to be baptized

At first, I will admit my confusion, anger and definite lack of understanding.  What? Why?  Particularly the children... I don't get it.  It took away my hopes of blessings and baptisms for future and current grandchildren.  I spent a couple of days rather angry and discouraged, and, poor Wayne, I even took it out on him. This is a similar pattern for me when I have had to deal with a difficult trial of some sort.  I had to remind myself to do some research, and to 'search' for answers.  I had to remove myself from the negativity of social media because I recognize that those expressions posted are "knee jerk" reactions and  are often based on 'hearsay' and not facts.  I needed to study it out for myself.

Today I cannot tell you that I fully understand, but, through some research and a tender mercy,  I have found some perspective and  peace. 

These policy changes directly affect our family.  That makes total acceptance tough at first.  My heart keeps crying out, "Truman and Landon  are  my sons.  They didn't choose to be gay.  Somehow, someway, possibly genetics – who knows why?…. they  have my heart and I am a mama dragon and will defend and love to the end.   And…. It's not fair to my grandchildren!"  So, how do I, as the mother/grandmother, deal with this?  

Neal A Maxwell stated, "Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions..."   That was back in 1976ish (?)   This week was the first time I had to truly ponder that.  I have, I will admit, halted between opinions.  

Let me share a little of how I have found some peace.  I hope that these points might be useful to you as you move forward.   This isn't  meant to change your minds….just to let you know what's going on with me. 
·         Parenting:  As we have learned more about LGBT as a family, we are far ahead of the main body of the Church as far as being educated and understanding.  Mainly, we have all realized that love is love.  Truman is Truman.   Landon is Landon.  They are good and kind and a part of us and that  is the truth.    Their lives are grounded by an LDS upbringing in which ALL of us take part. My mother heart is happy when I ponder on what  amazing men they are.  And…. we are ever blessed that Alex is a good, loving, wise man and is a part of us  as well.  

Now for our next generation--Sophia and Andrew, our two oldest grandchildren….are totally affected by this.  They will be spending some  time with their mom going to an LDS ward on Sunday.  This is going to be so confusing for them.  Hopefully  they will have insightful and caring primary teachers who don't belittle their life situation but only love.  I pray for this.  What's going to happen with Sophia's baptism?    Will she want this?  Will her mom insist on this?  Will Alex and Landon want this?  So many questions…but I'm sure exceptions can be made.

What if Truman  adopts and becomes a father?    That child will be part of our family and will be heir to all that that means.  Eternity is a LONG time.  Does 18 years make much of a dent in eternity?  Not really.  That’s one thought.  That child or children will be exposed to the Gospel through his/her/their relationship with all of us.  Tru, like Landon and Alex will teach through example and through love.   They don't have to attend an LDS  church service to do this.  We can bless and continue to have father's blessings in our home….this thought helps my grandmother heart.

One thought that Suzy shared that I think is particularly valid is this….. She wrote, "   I grew up in a home without the Gospel.  I grew up being exposed to things I am grateful each of you did not have to endure.  My parents exposed me to the church.  That was good – but also very difficult and confusing!  I remember sitting in the Bishop’s office as a teenager and just crying because I felt goodness in the Church but I could not change my parents.  I remember being upset with a young women’s leader because she was teaching that Temple Marriage was what the Lord wanted, but in my heart it wasn’t fair that if I did get married in the temple that none of my family could be there. These are just a couple of examples, but there are many more.  I remember the heartache, the dichotomy of good and good.  My family was good.  The Church was good.   How was I supposed to choose?"

So, Suzy already understands what my grandchildren might encounter.  My heart also recognizes that the Church understands what Truman's children might encounter.   As hard and as matter-of-fact as that is, I can understand.  So, if I put myself in the position of Truman’s child, being raised by an incredible dad that could not participate in church ordinances and such, my heart understands.  I get it.  

·         Apostate:  This part is / was the hardest for me.  Such a harsh word.  What does it mean?  Well, it is simply a word used to describe any individual who is no longer living the principles of, has turned away from and / or no longer embraces the Church.  It DOES NOT mean that a person is bad, evil or mean.  At one point or another, I suppose we could all be called apostate on varying levels. Like the many times I lost my temper in frustration when my children were teens. Like the times I have chosen to travel on Sunday instead of attending my meetings.  So, once I considered that an apostate can still believe the truthfulness of the Gospel but has chosen not to live by all of its principles, the sting of the word was softened. An apostate does not necessarily have to be one who is antagonistic against the church.  Like I said, there are times when all of us could have been considered apostate for one reason or another. 

What I want most to communicate to each of you, is that this change in policy is here, and I’m learning how to deal with it. Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it may seem unfair to the children.  No, I’m not positive I understand all of it.  But, at least I can say that now I have quieted my heart, and done some pondering  and I am finding peace. I Know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all will be made fair and right. 

I had a sweet tender mercy on Sunday…the opening hymn was Count Your Blessings…and it was sung just for me.  Every word touched my soul and I felt like God was speaking just to me. I cried when I thought of my Angels…Mom, Dad, Tom, Marcie, Grandma and Grandpa Butters…helping me through to my journey's end..  And, of course, my greatest blessings that I counted were all of YOU.
Here are the words:

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God has done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
      [*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

I just keep thinking of our family anthem… "Love one another."  We sing it and we mean it.  Grandma Sheri always said in heaven she was pretty sure that THE one question that would  be asked and we would be held accountable for was, "Did you love?" 
Let me close by simply telling each of you how much I love you!  As you can tell, I don’t have the answers, I just know what is true for me.  I hope that each of you can take a step back from the ‘hype’ and seek for your own understanding and peace. 
As a family, let’s pray for each other. WE NEED EACH OTHER!  

I love you

Momma Melinda

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween re-cap

HALLOWEEN...Welch style means everyone dresses up  and we eat and party some where.... This year the party was at Add and Bre's with a fun drop in style affair.  They had Hocus Pocus playing on the tv and a puzzle to put together, plus plenty of  food and a picture session for everyone who came.   It was different this year for me not to evn attempt mom's donuts...but it was always so stressful for me and making me not like this holiday.  I can buy donuts and be just as happy.   Wayne went to the U of U black out game with Monson so his Halloween costume was a Ute fan.
This was the amazing Sleepy Hollow themed, 8 layer spice pumpkin cake that Add and Bre traded some art work for.  It was moist, and delicious.   I loved cutting into it.

Laila as Beyonce.  Jenna did her hair and make up and she is actually wearing 5 inch heels from DI and the leotard is Aunt Angela's from her 5th grade dance I guess it's vintage from the 70's

Monson's Halloween costume was Money...since he is Money... Lexi was spare change with pennies glued on a t shirt and Tayla was the Million dollar baby in a money bag with a monopoly money head piece

Addison was the Hitch Hiking Ghost.  Bre the Trapeze lady in the Haunted Mansion with the Alf--igator under neath her trying to swallow her up.  It was a Disney Haunted Mansion motif.   ALfie was not excited about wearing his Alligator head piece.
Bat Lady.  I always just go into my costume closet and see what speaks to me...this year it was a robe with a scallop that reminded me of bats so I found this mask and wallah....I am Bat Lady
Loving this Alf-igator!
Truman with a group of his friends went as "me at your funeral."  Basically it makes me never want to die.  He actually looks like my sister Liz with a's freaky.  
Pumpkin carving was fun....although by the end I actaully had to do mine, finish Laila's and add a Ghost to Monson and Lexi's I did 3. 

Gross pumpkin guts!!
Halloween is Laila's favorite holiday...she loves all the gross, the scary and gore..she loves dressing up and the haunted houses and all of the candy and costumes.  She is sad every year when I put the decorations away and move onto Thanksgiving.