Monday, April 27, 2015

"Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap" Gina Waite

I’m thinking it’s about time I go wash my van! I realized this the other day when I accidentally brushed my leg against the side of my Idaho-Spring-christened car, and my lightly colored pastel pants ended up looking a whole lot more grey than pastel! All my car needs is a fine Spring Day, A LOT of soap and elbow grease! I've got the soap and elbow grease AND it just so happens that the weather prediction for the week suggests I just might get that fine Spring day!!! Which reminds me of a fine Spring day in May of 2003 when my kids and I embarked on a little journey to wash the car and, much to my surprise, ended up washing more than my car…I washed someone’s mouth out with soap!

Like any other human being…not ALL the words that escape my lips are worthy of the highest praise! I wish I could say I’d never used a colorful metaphor…BUT alas…I must plead the fifth and hope you can forgive me. Swear words happen, and they happen to the BEST of us! …but on that aforementioned day in May…I’m not certain I would classify, the young man in the car next to me as the BEST of us. Readied for a verbal fight and idling in the car next to me…this young man had eased up on my right side to make a right-hand turn. As I was turning left and my car positioned a little closer to the intersection than his, I could only make out that the modest car was filled with as many sweaty, swearing sidekicks as could possibly fit into a two-door econo-car!

Though his car was modest, his music and language would suggest otherwise. For as we sat there idling next to each other…the driver turned down his decibel deafening music and started to shout obscenities at me due to the fact he could not see beyond my vehicle. My windows down and in perfect earshot of what was being said, my son started to ask me the meaning of the words that were flying out of the driver next to me’s, mouth! A realization entered my mind: the driver, young, entitled and in need of a courtesy lesson…sat in perfect trajectory of my windshield wipers faulty spray nozzle. (I was pretty familiar as to the trajectory of the faulty spray nozzle, as just the week before discovered it when an accidental spray-my-husband-as-he-walked-to-the-right-side-of-the-van…on our way to church…happened!)

With a strong conviction that I was doing the best thing…and the help of the Mission Impossible soundtrack playing loudly in my mind...I hatched a plan: I would time it so that as I turned left (and the driver would not have clear view of the oncoming traffic until I turned left) I would engage my windshield wipers…enhanced with the washer fluid…and turn left just as the traffic would not allow anyone to follow behind me! As the young teen continued to interlace every other word with a colorful metaphor…I waited and timed my exit, with windshield wipers and washer fluid engaged, perfectly…and actually hit my target! For as I drove away, I saw in my rear-view mirror, the foul-mouthed young man…spitting out the washer fluid that had just hit him in the face and all the occupants of his car, laughing hysterically!

Now, I must say, as I drove away and my four year old son shouted, “You got him, Mommy…you got him,” I did feel a sense of obligation that I should have handled that situation a little better…but in the end it ALL comes down to this: Do not swear around little, innocent children…cause if you do, and I’m there, you may just get your mouth washed out with soap!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

"Okay" week in Angie Terry

You may be wondering what the title of this blog means?  I will start with "Okay" and what that word means.  It can mean that you are "alright" as well as a sign you’re happy with what a person has said.” This word was used in the movie, Dan In Real Life and is a movie about a young single father of three children.  At the beginning of the movie it shows him waking up and looking exhausted on the edge of his bed.  He then puts his hands through his bed hair and says, “OKAY,” and then proceeds to stand up and go face the day with his family.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week with my youngest sister, her three children and my brother in-law in Meridian, Idaho. I went to help her because she just had her third little one and I wanted to spend time with them. The movie Dan In Real Life became a subject of conversation while I was there.  My sister mentioned how much she loved that scene when he woke up and just said "Okay." And even though this father in the movie was totally exhausted, he was still ready to face another day with his three kids. She proceeded by saying, "I can so relate to that."  As I looked at her beautiful face, I could see the hours of sleep she had missed and how she longed to be able to sleep through a whole night, but because of the responsibility and love she has for her family, it was "Okay."

This comment rang in my ears the entire time I was there.  She was "okay" when her oldest son woke up most mornings at 5am but was really delighted when he slept until 6:30. He goes from five in the morning until eight at night nonstop and then at bedtime there is the bathing and of course four books to be read if he behaved that day...of course most nights, it was only two or three books.  And with his last attempt to stay awake longer, there is all of the hugs and kisses as her son says with tears, "I need one more hug from daddy please please." He then continues to say, "I really need a drink of water. I haven’t had one all day and I am so thirsty." This is then followed by the obvious comment of..."I need to go to the bathroom".  Finally after singing songs, the little bundle of joy gives it up to sleep and all in the world, once again seems, "OKAY." And in spite of all of this and what may appear to be pure and utter chaos to an outsider, my sister and brother-in-law say over and over again, "OKAY!" 

I was so impressed with the way my youngest sister runs her home.  I still can’t believe, when I was young and being raised with 7 brothers and sisters myself, that we didn’t think to use a pizza cutter to cut French toast or pancakes or whatever can be cut to make bite size morsels for little mouths to eat. I watched in awe as my sister changed one diaper after another, cooked, washed dishes and still found time to blow bubbles, play basketball, put together puzzles and still was able to push her darling little girl in a swing.  I tried to go right alongside her and help where I could and must tell you that I was busy all day.  I, to this day, still do not know how she did all I was doing and more. I was even more amazed one evening when I noticed that she had cookie dough all ready in order to make cookies and had started to fold three loads of laundry. "When did she do that when I was with her all day?" I had to ask myself. 

What a sight to behold when "daddy" came from work every night.  I was able to notice the kid's excitement and them running towards their sweet daddy who had worked hard all day.  They would jump into his arms, and he even though I'm sure he was exhausted,  he still picks them up, one by one, and kisses them, throws the in the air and catches them as they fall gently back into his loving embrace.  My sister said one night “My favorite time of the day is when my sweetie comes home. I look forward to it every day”. This brought tears to my eyes as I was able to hear and experience this.

I spent a week with this incredible little family and was reminded of the hardship and energy it entails in raising a family but oh the joy one can experience in seeing two people who love each other and who are committed in raising strong, smart, honest and loving children.  In referring to her children one night after they were in bed, my sister said with a sigh, “The result of my marriage."  I really laughed at her profound comment but was also able to witness all the joy it has brought to her. 

I learned much that week in Meridian. First off, I need to get in better shape so that I can keep up with those young ones and drink lots of diet coke to keep me awake. But more importantly, I was reminded of the importance of family and the greatest gift we can give one another is time…So I can now say, "OKAY," put my hands through my bed hair after writing this blog and can now go face the day. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

"I Love Paris in the Springtime" Gina Waite and Marlene Terry

Yep…this is it! This is the one! This picture with the snow happens to be taken the day after my daughter was born 13 years ago now! It’s truly Spring in Idaho when you can wake up and shovel the snow off your sidewalk in the morning and then later in the day, take a nice evening stroll around the neighborhood…without a coat. We've arrived ladies and gentlemen…We've arrived! Just last week we had one day that neared 65 degree’s Fahrenheit, and the next morning woke to the mono-chromatic hues of Winter! It no matter, just knowing that it’s getting close to my sweet little Paris’s birthday, I feel a little more joy in my heart…and a little more spring in every step!

As my husband and I rushed to the hospital, 13 years ago TODAY, we tried desperately to reach my Dad and Mom. We had just bought a cell phone for the VERY first time and felt VERY fortunate to be able to call ANYONE while en route to the hospital. As luck would have it, my Dad and Mom decided to go boating/fishing that morning, were nowhere near cell service and lived many miles away from us as it were. Hmmm….I should let my Mom tell it in her own words. For not long after Paris was born, I asked my Mom to write her a letter detailing what happened and how she felt about hearing her beautiful granddaughter was born…I’d like to share a little of what she wrote:

“ It was April 13, 2002. Papa and I had taken the day to go fishing. Funny how prompted I was that morning that you would soon be here! Your Mother had called a few days earlier, thinking that she was in labor and was so excited about your birth. The day we went fishing, I tucked my cell phone into the pocket of my coat, checking to make sure that the battery was fully charged and I would be able to receive the call that I just knew would come. It never entered my mind that we would be in a place where a phone signal was not possible.
Later that day, after I had tried several times to call your home, being greeted time and time again, by the “No Signal” indicator, I got a little mad at Papa and asked him to pull into the dock. I ran as fast as I could to the top of the hill, thinking that now I would finally be able to call out. The screen on my phone was flashing wildly. Several voicemail messages had been left…the first was from your Uncle Jim. He was breathless in announcing that you, indeed, had been born. He also left the number of the hospital. It didn’t matter that he’d tried to assure me that everything was fine and you and your mommy were doing well. I had to know for myself!
A few minutes later, I could hear you crying softly on the other end of the line. “She’s beautiful,” your Mommy said, still buoyed up from the experience of mother hood. “We couldn’t ask for a more adorable baby.” Talking to your Mommy on the phone was very comforting as I envisioned what you would look like…which found me and Aunt Lora on the road, bound for Idaho Falls. Of course, I couldn’t wait…I had to hold you and know you were real! The experience was NOT disappointing. As we surprised your Mommy with our arrival, there sat Aunt Mary, who had also made a trip to visit, holding the most exquisite little baby girl. Not long after we were there, your Uncle Mike arrived to join in the celebration. You were all bundled up in a white receiving blanket with a tiny pink bow in your hair. It goes without saying that it was love at first sight for me…tiny delicate features and all the rest. Yes, you were beautiful, as I was told.”

One of the many reasons I look forward to Spring’s arrival in Idaho every year, is the fact that I know I get to read this letter detailing my Mom’s experiences and feelings the day my Paris arrived. It makes me so happy to know that my children have had the wonderful luxury of being so loved by Aunts, Uncles, cousins and Grandparents. I also feel so fortunate that I have had the amazing opportunity of becoming a Mother. Yep a little more JOY in my heart, a little more spring in every step, words cannot express how much I love my children…but I’d like to pen an excerpt from a song that I love to sing on this very day…every year…and it goes, “I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRING TIME!”

Happy Golden Birthday, Paris! I am so proud of the beautiful, smart, kind 13-year-old that you are!
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Monday, April 6, 2015

"Aren't I Lucky?" Jim Terry

It amazes me at times how fortunate I really am in my life.  I mean, look at all of the modern conveniences I have.  If I want to call someone, I simply pick up my iPhone, which also acts as a personal computer, and I can easily call that person or any business of my choice. If I want to drive somewhere, I simply put the key in the ignition of my vehicle, make sure there is gas in it and away I go.  If I want to take a warm shower after a long day, I simply hop into the shower, turn the knob to “H” and within seconds I can enjoy the warm water that helps take away the dirt, aches and pains of the day.  And why would I have this train of thought you ask?  Well, I recently had an experience which really got me thinking and I had to ask myself, "What if I wasn’t so lucky?” 

Just this past week, I was able to volunteer at a function in Sacramento that was set up by the CDA or the California Dental Association.  This two-day event was orchestrated in order to help provide free dental care to those families, or anyone for that matter, in need.  There were approximately 100-120 dental chairs set up—as seen in the photo—where we were then able to provide dental care.  All you had to do, if you wanted to be seen, is follow the protocol of waiting in line, go through some preliminary screenings and eventually, if you were lucky enough, you would then receive ONE service that was being provided by the dental professionals who volunteered to help.  And “yes,” it was generally only one procedure or treatment option provided to each person due to the amount of individuals who showed up for treatment and the limitations we had with time, volunteers present providing the service and the equipment available. 

After I went through a quick orientation of procedures and protocol myself, I was then fortunate enough to meet my first patient. She was young woman in her early thirties.  As we started talking, she explained to me that she had not been to a dentist in twenty years.  While further conversing during her visit, I was able to find out that she was from a broken home where she knew she had siblings, but had not seen them in years since they were all given up for adoption when she was just a young girl.  She also told me that, “she “didn’t know who her Dad was” and her Mom, “last she knew, was still doing drugs somewhere over in the Mississippi area.”

I also had a patient, in her seventies, show up with her “camping chair."  She told me that she had been waiting in line for almost two days in order to be seen and then explained to me that she had been living off of “pain killers” over the last several weeks and had not been sleeping well due to her dental pain.  In continuing our conversation, she told me that she had not been to a dentist in several years because she “couldn’t afford it.”

Another patient showed up who could speak very little English.  She was an immigrant worker from Paraguay and was in her early fifties.  From what I gathered with the small amount of Spanish I know, she also had not been in to a dentist in over, ‘treinte años”, thirty years.  I asked her, "¿Dónde está el dolor (where is the pain) and she responded by waving her hand around her entire mouth. 

As I heard story after story from these amazing people, it was funny how my own concerns and problems seemed to disappear.  The concrete floor that I had stood on for six hours providing dental care that started to affect my comfort level due to the pain I was experiencing with my feet, knees and ankles faded into distant memory. The lack of all the proper dental equipment, compared to what I was normally used to, became a wonderful asset because it was allowing me to still help others. The worries I had about traffic and getting back home, within a reasonable amount of time, seemed not to matter anymore.  

And at the end of the day, when I was indeed mentally and physically tired and worn out, is when I finally had that moment to ponder and reflect on what had just happened in my life.  All along I thought I had been able to positively impact my patient's lives for the better because of my service, but to my surprise, it was more of the opposite effect. With each warm embrace I was able to experience in the form of a hug, every tear of joy that was shed simply because someone cared, and each "thank you so much," no matter the language, all became evidence and a true confirmation of the real and positive impact this experience had on me.  And as I traveled west, towards my home with a full heart, a warm smile and a clear mind, I couldn't help but to change the previous question I had asked myself from, "What if I wasn't so lucky?" to simply...“Aren’t I lucky?”

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