Would you like to translate this into another language?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

#1's Weekly Email: Week #15

Okay, maybe it's time for me to stop trying to translate what she's saying....The internet translators just aren't cutting it. Sounds like she's super happy, which of course, makes me happy.


Soooooooooooo I love it here. The Philippines is one amazing place to be.
This week has been really good. Kaunti lang mahirap dahil walang tubig sa apartment namin pero we just keep smiling :) 

The work is always fun and now that I'm becoming more comfortable here it's easier for me to be my crazy old self. Trust me, I'm not crazy all the time... Just when it's ok ;)

Two really good parts of this week are this:
Sister V.'s baptism
1. Sister V. got baptized! Sobrang masaya kami. And right after church yesterday, she went out and worked with the other sisters in our area. She's already becoming a missionary. I'm so happy for her.

2. We had exchanges again and I got to spend the day with Sister J. She's the sister training leader and she's so awesome. She is very easy-going but she has this power about her that makes everyone respect her. I hope I can become like her. Anyways, we had exchanges and she told me that I will probably be training in the next transfer. EEEP! Scared and excited at the same time. 

The language is coming at about the same pace. I can't wait for the day when I can understand everyone around me and be able to reply just as naturally. That's what I want most right now to just be fluent in the language. And I know it'll happen. Just gotta be patient.

#1 and her companion,
Sister C.
So anyways, this week has been really great and I've learned a lot. It constantly amazes me how much I've learned. I've only been here for 2 months but I can honestly say that I'm not the same person. I'm better than I was before and I can't wait to see who I become. Every time I talk to someone in Tagalog I think about my family being here and what I would sound like to them hahaha It always makes me chuckle. You'd think I was speaking gibberish. I love my language. 

So yeah. That's this week. The food is still super yummy, the people are still amazing, I still love my mission. Yup. Same as always.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you all!
Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Kaunti lang mahirap dahil walang tubig sa apartment namin pero = Just a little difficult because there is no water in our apartment but
Sobrang masaya kami = Such a pleasure for us.
Mahal ko kayo = I love you

Monday, September 23, 2013

#1's Weekly Email: Week #14

Tello :)

This week has been fun. I've learned a lot and really felt myself stretching and growing. I've really been improving on the language and it's coming more and more easily.

We've taught a lot of new investigators and really been able to help people. There have been disappointments (a couple of our investigators have told us that they can only be taught once a week because they're "busy." And one of them has a baptismal date....) And happy moments too (hearing that one of our investigators will do anything that he can to become a member because he knows that it's for his salvation). I am constantly amazed by these people, whether for good or for bad. 

The best part of this week has been when we've worked with the Relief Society President, Sister E. When people ask me where I'm from and after I tell them that I'm from America, she loves to tell them that I'm a Filippino now :) She says that when I get home I need to go find some Filippinos and talk to them in Tagalog and tell them that I'm a Fillipino too :) Sobrang masaya ako. 

The language really is coming easier. It just takes a while to learn it. Every day I just keep learning new things. 

I've learned this week that when I forget myself and the things that I want to improve in myself then I become truly happy and the work is more fun. I actually truly want to help these people. I want them to be happy, as happy as I am, and the only way that can happen is if they have the gospel. And luckily for me, I'm authorized to teach them :) So I can really help them.

I absolutely love being a missionary. As a missionary, we desire the salvation for all people. And through our message we can help them. 

We work every single day as hard as we can. Kahit sobrang ulan o sobrang mainit. No mattah. We will be out there. 

Oh another funny story. We went to visit Sister A and her family (Brother A is the branch mission leader) and Sister A had her nephew climb a tree and picked these ginormous fruits that are like grapefruit but not as sour. Sister A told me this, "Remember this your whole mission, Sister Hess, All work and no play makes you ugly." bahahaha definitely not gonna forget that. 

And sadly no baptism this week because Sister V's daughter had her baby so she was at the hospital all Saturday. Hopefully this next Saturday she will be baptized. 

I know that the church is true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. He gave us the gospel to make us into the best people we can be.

Mahal ko kayo. Salamat po para sa lahat support at love binigay nyo sa akin. Salamat din po para sa lahat panalangin

Until next week,
-Sister Hess
a.k.a. Filippino Barbie ;)

Sobrang masaya ako = I'm very happy now
Kahit sobrang ulan o sobrang mainit = Although excessive rain or hot
Mahal ko kayo = I love you
Salamat po para sa lahat = Thank you for all
At = and
binigay nyo sa akin = You've given me
Salamat din po para sa lahat panalangin = Also like to thank everyone for prayers

Friday, September 20, 2013

Micah's Story: A Warning for Us All

The other day, I saw this on my Facebook feed:

"My dad passed away today, a terrible and sad story. I want all my family and ... friends to know that I took my dad and I did every possible thing I could to save him. Losing him this way was a horrible tragedy."

This really caught my eye. My brother had introduced me to this woman thinking that we might be cousins. Her maiden name is the same as mine--not an extremely common name. We haven't really compared notes to see if we are yet, but someday soon, we will.

The next day, she shared her story. It is significant. Having just set my husband and I up with Power of Attorney for #1, I feel that it needs to be shared as a warning to all of us. After I read it, I called my dad to see that he has things set up appropriately. It would be awful to see anything remotely similar to this be repeated. 

With Micah's permission, I share her story:

* A warning for all on granting a sole person Power of Attorney*

This is the story of what happened to me and my brothers and sister. It all stemmed from our father granting Power of Attorney to one single individual. It shows the problems with the system of granting POA to one person and how the family members, as a whole, don't get to make ANY decisions in the care for a person who needs help (medical and physical). This is the story of the tragic and difficult fight to try to save my father’s life.

Larry and his grandchildren
On July 13, 2013, Dad’s birthday, the kids and I decided to head up to see him. We stopped, got him a pie, and headed up. While we were there, he was walking around, making jokes, eating his pie, and talking about selling his boat. We stayed only a few hours and then headed home. I knew my Aunt P was coming up and would be there soon for her visit. He seemed ok with no issues. P stayed and visited for 4 days and dad was okay walking around, eating, and talking with her.

I spoke to my dad and his wife a few times in between on the phone for just a couple minutes at a time. I knew my older brother was going up for the weekend to spend time with Dad; I was told they went fishing together.

I then went up myself on Aug 24th for the Corn Fest. I stopped by the house and Dad was complaining of his hip hurting but said he had his ibuprofen and was okay. He then decided to boss me around, talk about the boat and act like he always did with me. Nothing was out of the ordinary 

They said they were planning a fishing trip to Fish Lake the following weekend. I even got confirmation from a co-worker that they did go. He, (my co-worker), said he spoke with my dad's wife, and she said that Larry (Dad) was ill. He spent the majority of the time in the trailer resting. I called, and his wife said he was ill, but there was no major concern. She was pretty vague and didn't go into much detail about it.

I had a sister-in-law heading over for the next weekend, and if there was a problem, she would call, so I didn't call or speak the either of them (my dad or his wife) until Monday, Sept 9th. That day, his wife called me and said he wasn’t doing well and that she was going to take him to Cedar to the hospital. I had been sick all weekend and was still sick at home. I told her that I wasn't able to drive up there, but to please call me when they got there. She did call and said they were running tests and that when they knew more, she would call me back.

She called me that afternoon and said they were still running tests, and they were going to keep him overnight. I said, “Good." She agreed to call in the morning. 

She called Tuesday while I was at the doctor’s office for my illness and said they hadn't found out much, and they were going to continue with more testing. I said ok.

That afternoon she said much of the same. I asked what tests they were running. She mentioned an EKG, a CAT scan, some blood work and that was all she knew at that point. She said the Cedar doctors were thinking about sending him down here to the St. George hospital to see a specialist and possibly a neurologist. I told her that she should do that. We have a great hospital, and I could be close to help and she could go home and rest.

They decided to transport him on Thursday to the hospital. I had missed a lot of work and went in Thursday for half of the day. I went home to lay down and waited for her to call to say they were on their way. She called around 4:30 and said they would be at the rehabilitation center in 20 minutes. I asked her why she was having him brought to a care center and not to the hospital, and she said that he was very tired and needed to rest. I was confused and asked why again. I let it go and waited at the center for him to show up. I was in his room talking to his wife when he showed up from the ambulance transport. 

He looked terrible, he looked like he'd had a stroke! He was incoherent and was not responding to his name. He couldn't move his legs or speak! He looked dehydrated as well. I was in total shock. I wasn't ready for the way he looked at ALL!! I asked her what the test results were, but I never got a real answer from her. She wouldn't answer any of my questions or concerns. I was so worried, but I let it go. I said tomorrow he will go to the hospital, and we will get this all figured out. By then it was 8pm and visiting hours were over.

I had to go to work on Friday. I called his wife that morning and asked when he would be moved to the hospital. She said he wouldn't be, that he didn't want to get poked anymore. I began to yell, "He can’t talk, so how did he say that?!" I asked her what his doctor’s name was I could call him. She said that he didn't have a doctor. She kept throwing around the words "Power of Attorney." I wasn't clear of what that meant nor did I care. I yelled louder that he was very sick and needed to go to the emergency room. I told her that I would call my family doctor and see if he would go over and see him.

I called my doctor's nurse and explained how Dad looked. I told her about the Cedar E.R. and asked her to please ask the doctor to go see him. She was very nice and said she would explain the situation and call me back. I then left work and went to the rehab center. 

I walked in and the wife's son was feeding Dad some soup. I was happy about the soup and asked if he was awake. The son said he would take some soup, but he was not awake or responsive. I told him that we needed to take Dad to the emergency room, and the son agreed. I walked down to the nurses’ station and told them to call the ambulance and to have dad sent to the emergency room. She told me she couldn't without the wife's approval. I said, "Okay," and asked the nurse to call her. I went back down to the room and the nurse came a bit later and said the wife is refusing to give the okay to send him to the E.R. I FLIPPED out!!! I asked why. The nurse said that my dad's wife had Power of Attorney and that is what had to be. I couldn't get any more information after that. It was disheartening, and I was confused.

I told her son to talk to her when she came back to see Dad that day, I left and went back to work. My family doctor called me back a bit after 2pm and said that he reviewed all of Larry’s (my dad) Cedar records and that it was way beyond anything he could do. He said he couldn't help with dad and his recommendation is exactly what the Cedar City hospital’s recommendation was--to send him to the specialist and hospital in St George. I told him thank you. 

I went back to the rehab center after being at work until 8 that night. I asked the nurses all kinds of questions. They didn't know why my dad was there or when a doctor was coming to tell them what to do. I asked for information about his tests and what he was being treated for, but because of HIPAA, they wouldn't give me anything. Because of the Power of Attorney, only his wife could make the decisions.

I came home and cried to my husband. We talked and talked about what to do...Tyler called Adult Protective Services that night. It all felt so wrong. I was sick and felt helpless.

Saturday morning, my children and I drove to watch my son play his first football game of the season. Afterward we went to see dad. He was looking horrible. He was so dehydrated and so far beyond what should have been left untreated. Tyler walked out to the nurses’ station again to ask for more information. I chose not to bring anything up 
with my dad's wife in front of the children.

I had never felt so much anger and hatred in my life. We left because I could see my children having a hard time. I told the wife I would be back at 5pm.

When I came back, I asked the CNA if he had eaten or drunk at lunch or at dinner. She said that the wife said he had but that she could not find the dinner tray. She was looking for it right then. I asked her to please send in the nurse so I could speak to her. It was a good half hour until his nurse came into the room. I told her the story about the last week and begged her to please help me get him to the emergency room. 

She was new for that night and came up with a plan to sway his wife to take him to the E.R. I told her not to mention my name or involvement and that she might get somewhere. She called the wife and explained that Larry was new to her as a patient and that she was worried for his life. He wasn't hydrated or responsive to her and she felt he needed to go to the hospital. 

The nurse came back into dad’s room and said that the wife was livid with her. The wife said that he was NOT to go to the hospital and she was on her way down to the care center. The nurse informed me that the wife was really, really angry with me.

My dad's wife came into the room and began telling me again that she had Power of Attorney, and Dad didn't want to go to the hospital. I was very frank with her and explained that she wasn't doing the right thing, that Dad didn't want to lay in a bed with no food or water or medication before he was to pass. I begged her to take him. I begged her to tell me what was wrong with him, but she said nothing but those same 3 words (Power Of Attorney). She left the room and went to talk to the nurse. I looked at Dad and knew something had to be done, and soon. He was going to die, and I felt deep in my heart that I needed to do something--anything!

I walked out to where the wife and the nurse were conversing. I very loudly said that Dad needed to go to the emergency room and that she was killing him. She smacked me and told me that I was disrespectful and that it was her choice of what to do with Dad. I told her that she needed to let me take care of him and that she needed to go. She smacked me twice more in front of the nurses, CNA's and other patients. I left.

I called my husband from the car and told him we needed to take dad. We made the plan to come back that night after visiting hours and wheel him out. I felt confident that this would be the only way to save his life.

Some of my brothers and sisters were coming the following day from out of town to see dad and talk to the wife, but I knew there was no talking her into anything, even when hearing it from multiple family members. She, in my opinion, had already made up her mind about Dad.

We came back at 9pm and met the nurse halfway down the hall. She spoke with us and said she was so sorry that she couldn't do anything. Her hands were tied legally because of the POWER OF ATTORNEY. She then proceeded to tell me what she thought of the wife and asked if I was hurt earlier from the smackings. I told her I wasn't. She also said the wife was staying the night in Dad's room. I was upset, and we had no choice but to leave.

Sunday, September 15, I didn't go to see dad. I felt defeated and too emotionally drained to fight with the wife and her son about Dad. About 5pm that day, my oldest sister called me and asked how Dad was doing. I told her I hadn't been that day; I wasn't up to fighting with the wife. She said that my older brother had been there all day and that the wife hadn't been there at all. 

I jumped into my car and raced over to the care center. (Now let me explain, when I say race, I was really flying! Law breakin' speed). This was going to be my last and only chance to get dad and take him to the emergency room. I got there and saw my oldest, strongest, most crazy fun brother in tears outside by his motorcycle. He was at a loss. He didn't understand. I told him my plan. He asked me questions about being arrested for kidnapping and legal things. To be honest, I was scared. 

I told my older brother I didn't know what to do. I called my husband at work and asked him what to do. He gave me comfort but no real answer. He said I would know what to do. My older brother and I decided to walk into to the care center and go see dad.

We walked to his room but he wasn't there. We walked to the nurses’ station. The nurse there said they were in the dining room. (Back ground: I worked at this particular facility 15 or so years ago. There is a nursing home side and a rehabilitation side. The rehab side is for broken hips, legs, etc. Individuals are still able to feed themselves, use the restroom, and usually speak for themselves. There are speech therapists there for stoke victims to help them speak clearly. Nurses don’t feed or medicate without doctors’ orders. Dad had no orders that any nurse or nurse's aide would tell me about.)

When I saw my dad at the table, he was hunched over and about to fall out of his wheel chair. The CNA was trying to wake him up. I could hear her saying, “Larry wake up." I looked at her and said it was okay, I would take him back to his room. She said he had been sleeping all through dinner. I told her that was okay, I would take him. I looked at my older brother, and he knew I was going to go through with it.

As we were wheeling Dad out of the dining room, I told my older brother to leave. I told him that I would be the only one to get into trouble. He needed to go home. I could tell he was having mixed feelings, but he kept Dad long enough for me to run and pull my car around. 
He left, and I put Dad into my car and pulled out. 

I called 9-1-1 from my cell and told them that my dad was incoherent, his breathing was raspy, and he was unresponsive. My thinking was that if I called an ambulance, Dad would get into the emergency room faster than if I were to show up. In that case, we would wait in the waiting room for hours. I pulled into the mall parking lot and waited for the ambulance. 

Dispatch had me checking him--holding his head a certain way and counting his breaths. Police were the first to be on seen. Fire trucks and first responders showed up next, I was grateful for the three minutes it took them to show up. The ambulance was next. They got right to work on Dad, and I was never so happy in my whole life!

I want to explain to all of you that I lied to them. I felt this was the only way I could save my dad's life and find out what the matter was with him. I was terrified and relieved at the same time. I lied when they asked where we came from and who his wife was. I wasn’t NOT answering them, but I wasn’t telling them the truth. The police wanted information but I gave old info. I wanted Dad to have as much time with the emergency room and hospital before both the wife and the care center realized he was gone. I stole my dad. I don’t know how illegal that is, but I don’t care either. The ambulance left and I followed. 

I got to the E.R. waiting room and waited to be called back. I was so nervous; I thought cops were going to come take me away….

When I was called back, the doctor and staff were running IV’s (a beautiful sight to me. I was so grateful!) and meds and xrays. They questioned me on Dad's health history. I did my best to give them what they needed. I watched them work and work. I didn’t say anything for about an hour. I asked the doctor for a private conversation and a social worker as soon as possible.

I explained the last week to him. I told him that I was a kidnapper. I told him to run every test possible to find out what the matter with him. He told me that I had done the right thing and probably saved my dad's life. I explained that I might be arrested. He said he wouldn’t let that happen. He went right back to work on my dad. 

I stayed with him until the social worker came in. The social worker and I spoke for a long time. She was told every detail of what I saw, heard, and felt. She let security know that if the wife came she was to be escorted off the property. The social worker asked if there was a DNR or a POA. I lied about the POA and I had no idea about a DNR. I played dumb.( I was already a criminal so who cared, right?!)
I started to feel somewhat hopeful. 

With the saline, his color was coming back, and his face was filling out. He was put on a respirator and his oxygen saturation was back to normal levels! Test results were slow. The only thing I knew was that he was septic. They put medicine into his IV to help.

I will forever and always be grateful to the E.R. doctor and his staff. They worked so hard and so quickly. I will always have a thankful prayer for them. They were amazing and heroic. After a few hours in the emergency room, they send us to the intensive care unit.

The social worker stayed with me but felt she needed to have her boss on board, so she called her in. I had to meet with the ICU doctor, the social worker, and the social worker's boss to explain again what had happened for us to be there. The meeting wasn’t pleasant, but I understood it was necessary. They asked me questions, and once again, I told them that I didn’t want to answer some of them because I didn’t want them calling the wife. They promised they wouldn’t call her.

My husband left work at 9:30 that night and came over to be with me. We waited for any test results or for the doctor to give us any news, but because of HIPAA they gave us nothing but minimal information--things like his fever is down, his breathing is good, and his blood pressure is fine. He was starting to move his legs and hands. His pupils weren’t pin points anymore. He wasn’t responding yet, but I was feeling so confident that he could come back from whatever it was he was fighting!

I overheard 
a phone call the ICU doctor had taken from the emergency room doctor concerning my dad. I only got parts of it, but it sounded like the ER doctor wanted dad transferred back to his care. The intensive care unit doctor said that the legalities were making it so that he could not help dad anymore. I knew right then that the wife knew. It was all coming to an end too soon. She was going to pull rank (Power of Attorney) and stop his care.

At 10:30pm, the social worker and her boss came in and tole me that the wife was on her way. She was beyond angry and had the police coming with her. We were to be escorted from the hospital, and they would call us. I begged them to talk her into leaving him there. I BEGGED! I asked them to do whatever they could. I promised to stay away if she would leave him there to get better. They said they would call us with any news.

Tyler and I went to eat. I was starving. We then headed home for showers and bed. We got a call from the social worker at about 12:30am. She said the wife came and said to unplug him from everything. She was going to press charges against me. She told the doctor and both social workers that when my dad passed, she didn’t care which mortuary they called, and then she LEFT! She LEFT!!!!!! The social worker told me to come back and spend time with my dad. Tyler and I got dressed and went back to the intensive care unit.

Dad looked good, just sick. Bless those ICU nurses! They drug their feet for me. They were “busy” charting and making rounds. They just didn’t have the time to undo everything yet. Five hours they left him there with me. Five glorious hours of me begging him to wake up so he could talk to me and tell me that he wanted to stay in the hospital to get better. We prayed for him, we cried for him. I told Tyler funny stories about him. At about 6am, he was transferred into a patient room with orders for end-of-life comfort only. *Sigh* This meant she, the wife, had granted him a morphine drip in a small saline bag.

Monday, September 16th, I called my attorney at 8am. I explained everything. I told him that there was too much funny business and that I wasn’t on the Power of Attorney as an agent but that my oldest sister was. I hooked the two of them up via phone. They worked quickly to get as much information from the hospital and Dad's lawyer as they could. 

The Power of Attorney that the hospital had was missing four pages of important information. Both my sister and my lawyer were scrambling trying to figure out what was going on. It seems that, according to the paperwork that the wife gave the hospital, my oldest sister had been removed from the Power of Attorney in 2003. The attorney and hospital were hashing out legalities. We filed a motion with the court to take over Dad’s medical Power of Attorney.
We (me, my older brother, my aunt, and my husband) all had a meeting with the hospital administrators and social workers. We asked question after question. None were allowed to be answered. They legally could not. I knew we were losing the battle to save Dad.

We fought with the hospital, they did what they could, but because of the sole Power of Attorney, there was nothing we could do. Their hands were tied. I honestly feel, they would have done everything they could have to save Dad. 
We lost him at 6:00 pm that night. It was devastating.
I wrote this story to help anyone who might be tempted to appoint a sole person as his/her Power of Attorney. Please understand that with that, you MUST write a clause allowing the family to know the status of your medical diagnosis and all other medical information. I had no information and STILL have no information about my dad’s illness or cause of death. If I knew what had made him sick or how to help, or how NOT to have helped, I believe things would have ended differently. 

Larry and his grandson
I’m sad. I’m confused, and I need some peace. Our family needs closure. I pray you read this and realize that just some simple wording on a document can make a huge impact on your life and the lives of those who love you. Keep your family in mind. I have not written this to blame anyone, only in hopes of educating someone who might need it.

--Micah Hamm Whitehead

Just Call Me "Mom"

image: Julia Shinkle Photography

There was one thing that #1 always did that just made me laugh....Although, she never knew. I was afraid if I told her, she'd stop, and I didn't want her to stop. I liked it.

When #1 would talk to her friends about me, she never used the word "my." It was never, "My mom'll take us to the dance." It was, "Mom'll take us to the dance." Or, "Let me ask Mom." Or, "Mom's on her way."

I felt like I was everybody's mom. I loved that. What better job is there than to be Mom?

image: Julia Shinkle Photography

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Following Suit

As you can see, over on the right-hand side of this blog, is a list of friends' blogs. One that frequently rises to the top (the most recently updated blog is the one at the top of the list) is "Silver Lining." It belongs to a young woman who used to live in our stake. I just adore her, and I love everything she writes.

Well, tonight I went to read her latest and decided that I'm going to follow her lead.....I'm going to write about whatever I want to write about. If this goes south, forgive me....

I'm actually sitting here in the dark among a half folded pile of clothes. I had promised #4 that I'd be dressed and ready for a walk tonight when he got home from the church so he could ride along beside me and try out his new bike lights.

image: realscreen.com
I sat down to fold with the intention of watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" while I folded. But it seems that the season has ended. NOOOO!!! How will I EVER fold laundry again....just kidding. Well, because that was out, I opted for Netflix. My computer's been having all kinds of memory issues, so I thought I'd run a scan, but then I was afraid to open my browser, so well, I fiddled around for a bit deleting files, etc. and the folding was delayed. Finally, I got on with the folding. Wow! That was just a lot of info you probably didn't even want to know, huh?

See, this is why I don't just write to write.....Okay, back to writing to write. I mean, I started it, so I'd better finish it, huh?

Right as I heard the door open as the majority of my family returned from Mutual (the LDS word for youth group) tonight, I jumped up and decided that I'd better get my exercise clothes on. #4 came upstairs so excited because they did genealogy tonight. He found some things he was very happy about. It was even more fun to tell him that the people he was talking about were the people who, when they came over from Germany, brought the chest that sits in our front room, and they are the ones who purchased the piano we now have in our home after they arrived in the United States. He thought that was pretty darned cool. Actually, I do too.

Well, I got my walking clothes on and my reflective vest, and it was suddenly time to get three kids to bed and read to them. A friend showed up at the door with some goodies for us (THANK YOU!) and #4 was getting all ready to go. I stood there in a bit of chaos trying to appease everyone. I finally got out the door.

We only went out for about 20 minutes, but it was good to get out, and #4's lights worked beautifully.

image: bookequals.com
I am right now in the process of reading the Percy Jackson series to #5. #4, although he's already read the entire series, sits in too because they share a room. Tonight, after we returned from the walk, we read chapter three of the second book. When we finish this one, we'll move into the Battle of the Book books for this school year.

Speaking of books, #6 has had a VERY good day today. He told me this morning that his teacher was encouraging him to go to his "local library" to get some Todd Parr books. I don't know who Todd Parr is, but okay. I'm game. I wonder if #6 thinks that the library is really called the "local library" because that's what he referred to it as the entire time we were out.

I love driving #1's car. With everyone but #7 in school all day, I now drive that around more than I do the Beast. The great thing about it is that if I have the luxury of choosing where I go in the afternoon, I can only take one child with me. It's forced one-on-one time. FABULOUS!

While we were at the library, I picked up Parenting the Explosive Child. I've had two friends mention it to me, so I thought it was time to give it a perusal. The other book I've been pointed toward is The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. I put a hold on that book, but there were six holds already placed on it, so that one's going to take awhile. So thankful for our "local library."

#6 happened to pick up Underwear Dos and Don'ts by Todd Parr. A definite classic if I've ever heard one. Of course, he HAD to read it to me as we drove, and to be honest, how could I turn him down? It's not everyday you get to learn about something you've been doing for most of your life. I learned that it's okay to own lots of pairs of underwear, but it's not okay to wear them all at the same time.....Good to know.

We ran an errand after the library, and by the time we headed past the library again on our way home, #6 was already through with and ready to return two of the books he'd checked out. Nice!

Well, other than teaching preschool today, those are the major events of the day. Yes, believe it or not, that is the kind of excitement that surrounds me. I know, it's hard not to be jealous, but it is what it is....And I guess I can now honestly say I know who Todd Parr is, whether I like to admit that or not.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Hazard of Hess - part 2

Naming babies can be so fun. My husband has a very unique name. I was one of five Julie's in my Kindergarten class. So, when the time came to choose names for our children, we decided to stick with names that not every kid in the class was going to have.

One tricky thing about unusual names is that once you've named two children, you are then committed. You HAVE to name them all something different.

We have one child with a very common name. I have to admit I really dislike the idea of taking a normal name, and giving it a wacky spelling in order to make it unique. I don't like it, but I'm guilty of it. Our #5 has always had at least one other boy in his class with the same name, but we have yet to find one spelled the same way.

The truth is, though, that I'm very glad he has the name he has and not the one the Warden tried to get away with.

Here's the story.....

Back when I was pregnant with #5, we were plumb out of names. We had struggled even with a name for #3, and knowing this was a boy and we already had two boys, we were really working hard to find just the right moniker for this little one.

At that time, the Warden included the teachers at the school where he was working to help come up with a name. For some reason, this became a really fun thing....once someone figured out all you could do with the name "Hess."

Unlike Michael Jackson, we could never use the name "Prince" for even one of our boys because he would quickly be feminized--Prince Hess (Princess), you get it, right?

Oh, after this, they had a BALL!

Some of my favorites were "obsequi," "carol,""dungeon,""blamel." You get the idea. Add "Hess" to the end of any one of these, and this child takes on a whole new meaning. The Warden's favorite was always "X." Although, his mother had always threatened that she would have twins and name them "Melluva" and "Meckuva." 'Nuf said.

So, the story continues.....

I was induced with each pregnancy, and although #5 was a special case, it was no different. We drove out to the hospital early in the morning. It was still dark outside. Because we weren't at our local hospital, our doctor had arranged for one of his associates who works closer to the hospital we were delivering at (I say that as if "we" were delivering. Haha! Yah, right!) to be there to begin the induction.

She showed up, and we were off and running. Things went very smoothly, and a few hours later, our doctor arrived to deliver, and we had a healthy, wonderful baby boy.

After the excitement was over, the Warden left to go get something to eat. On his way back up to the room, he happened across the doctor who started the induction. She was already on the elevator and headed up to see her patients....and me.

She asked, "So, do we have a baby?" to which the Warden replied, "Yes, everything went great."

She continued, "Girl or boy?" He told her we'd had a boy.

The next obvious question: "What did you name him?"

The Warden's response: "Sucks."

The doctor, without batting an eye, replied, "Oh, that's a nice name."

REALLY! But, what would you expect her to say. I'm betting she hears all kinds of things in her line of work.

The Warden came in just a few moments after this conversation practically rolling. He was laughing so hard. He couldn't wait to share what had just occurred in the elevator.

Within about five minutes, the doctor walked into my room. We razzed her a bit as I said, "You fell for that?"

She laughed with us for a long time as the Warden explained that we had great hopes for this boy. How could you lose with a name like "Sucks Hess?"

My Heaven-sent Birthday Present

I had been feeling the push to get out and exercise, so last year, for my birthday, I wanted only one thing....a Nike+ Sportband. #1 had one, and I thought it would be so much more encouraging to exercise if I was able to track my progress.

The birthday envelopes limit how extravagant a birthday can be, and I knew this, but that was the ONLY thing on my list.

If you're not aware of just what a Nike+ Sportband is, let me give you a quick illustration.....

image: sportshoes.com
It's basically a watch. You wear the band on your wrist, but there is a chip (I don't know what it's officially called, but for now that will do) that is oval-ish in shape. The chip needs to attach to your shoe in order to keep track of your workout.

image: reodeekay.wordpress.com
They have shoes in which you can place the chip. They have a little compartment under the insole in the actual sole of the shoe. You slide the chip in, and voila. You're ready to go. But, you can also place the chip in a little pouch you can purchase and attach it to your shoelaces.

When you leave on a run, or in my case a walk, you hold down the
button on the band. The chip tracks how far you've gone, how many calories you've burned, and other important information while you exercise.

When you return, you slip the actual watch unit from the band itself and slide the USB into your computer. It reads the information and reports it to you in the form of a graph. It also keeps track of such things as how many workouts you've done during time periods, how far you've gone altogether, and how fast you were moving during your workout.

image: watchreport.com

Can you blame me for wanting one of these?

Well, this was going to cost the entire birthday budget. I would just attach the chip to my shoelaces. That was the plan, but I have to be honest, I was fearful the chip would fall off, and I'd be unable to use the band anymore without going out and buying a replacement chip.

My birthday is in April. I told the Warden my desire in February. In early March, a friend approached me. She said she'd cleaned out her closet and found a number of pairs of shoes, some of which had never been worn. What shoe size was I, and would I be interested in the shoes?

Of course!

A few days later, she brought me a few pairs of brand new shoes. I pulled them out and tried them on. Among these was a pair of tennis shoes. With my goal to exercise, I was very happy for these.

When #1 got home from work that evening, I showed her the shoes I'd inherited. She turned them over and looked at the sole...."Mom, do you know what this means?" She pointed at a symbol on the bottom of the shoe.

It looked like this:

image: thestrengthinside.com

"These are shoes that are set up for a Sportband."

In other words, these shoes I had just so kindly been given had the spot in the sole for the chip. No WAY!

So, here I was awaiting my birthday and a VITAL part of using the only thing I wanted had just showed up. My friend had no clue what I had asked for for my birthday. After talking to her and thanking her for the shoes later on, I shared with her why these shoes were so significant. It turns out that she wasn't aware of just what that symbol meant or that these shoes had that capability.

I had received what I felt were gifts from heaven before. I think with this many chance occurrences that happen in my life, luck is no longer a practical reason for this kind of thing to happen. 

I got the idea that I wasn't the only one who wanted me exercising. 

We went out later and used the birthday budget. I've been exercising ever since.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Hazard of "Hess"

image: it.geol.science.cmu.ac.th

I'm betting you have no idea how versatile a name like "Hess" can be. I know I didn't until a number of years after I actually became one. Here is the first of two illustrations for you. The second will show up in another post. For now, here's story number one.

Years ago, a letter came to my husband in the mail. I grabbed it from the mailbox and got in the car. He and I were heading someplace. I looked through the envelopes to discern what was for me and what was for him. Then....there was an envelope with his first name on it followed by a TERRIBLE typo.

Take a moment and look at your computer keyboard...

image: etechmag.com

It seems that, after typing the "H" and "e," the person who did the data entry mistook the left-hand ring finger for his/her right-hand ring finger.

Go ahead...look at your keyboard. Yup. That's a bit of a problem.

What I Learned from Silent "L"

When I was a child, I remember learning how to read. I recall the word "would" showing up on the page. I was a good reader, but it took me FOREVER to learn that word.

As we read in class, I remember my turn to read would come up. Without fail, as I'd hit that word, someone would blurt it out so that I wouldn't have to struggle with sounding it out and take valuable time stumbling over that silent "l." Over and over this happened.

Then, one day, I was sitting at home reading silently to myself. Suddenly, there was a word that held me up. It wasn't a long word, and I knew every letter in it, but I sat there and struggled. I tried to sound it out. I recall slowly sounding each letter out--W-O-U-L-D. I said it out loud, "Would." What word was that? I had never heard a word like that before. I had to have been reading it wrong.

Finally, I figured out that the words around it might help me figure it out. Sure enough. That word was "would!" Pronounced "wood." Got it! It clicked. From that point on, whenever I saw "W-O-U-L-D," I knew that it was pronounced "wood." I never struggled with it again.

You might ask why this is so significant to me now. Why would I even remember something so simple as this? Here is why.....And yes, my explanation will require another little story....

When #1 was about seven, I signed her up for swimming lessons. As she came out of the locker room and headed to the pool, with panic on her face, she shared that she had forgotten her towel.

My first instinct was to tell her to go ahead and go to her lesson. I'd run home and get her towel. I'd be back just in time for the end of the lesson. Something stopped me...."Would" stopped me.

I thought through the scenario....If I "read over it" for her, would she ever learn to "read" it?

Instead of grabbing my car keys and making a run for the parking lot, I chose otherwise. I told her how sad I was that she'd forgotten it, and I wasn't lying. I really WAS sorry. I went and grabbed my seat in the stands and proudly watched my daughter learn a new skill.

At the end of the lesson, #1 came shivering from the pool. She scurried, because "no running" allowed, to the locker room, showered, and clumsily pulled her clothes onto her wet body. Was I sad for her? You'd better believe it. Did I feel guilty because I could have solved her problem? Oh, yes, but again, "would" stopped me.

Sometimes (dare I say often?), teaching our children is painful. Sometimes, just because we are the grown ups and have been there, done that, and have the means to rescue them and thus relieve them (and ourselves) from any amount of discomfort, we feel that that's our duty. 

I was pretty sure that after that, #1"would" never forget her towel again. She had been allowed to have the full experience of "sounding it out" herself. 

Actually, the next week, as we walked through the door to the pool, #1 smiling, proudly, pulled her towel from her bag: "Look, Mom. I brought my towel." I never had to remind her about her towel again. That doesn't mean I didn't have to remind her about other things, but I guess shivering wasn't her idea of a good time, so the towel thing was covered.

I would propose that it is more important for us to use those feelings to react compassionately toward our children. It's in the allowing them to have the full experience. That the true learning takes place.

So, why do these stories pop into my head this morning? Well, as we were heading out the door to school this morning, one of my children started to walk out the front door without shoes or socks on. I noticed, but I said nothing. I knew that within a few steps out onto the deck, he'd figure it out and run back in, but before that experience could teach the lesson, his older brother called out, "SHOES!"

DARN! I guess that lesson will be reserved for another occasion. I "would" think there will be one.

Sadly, though, I do need to add an obvious note here: 
If a child is in mortal danger, for heaven's sake, rescue him/her (Did I really need to add that?). If it is a situation in which the child really can't fix it him/herself (for example, my daughter taking care of her fraud situation while she was heading to the MTC), you will have to step in and take care of things. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

#1's Weekly Email: Week #13

Magandang umaga po!

Sister Hess here ulit ulit :)

This week has been very eventful just like it is every week. So on Monday, we moved into our new gorgeous apartment. If you want to see pictures, ask my mommy :) It's probably the most amazing and nice apartment in the whole mission. We are definitely going to enjoy the next six weeks the best we can in case we get transferred. We are most definitely spoiled here. We're living right next door to Elder and Sister D., the senior couple here and they are so sweet. Sister D. even offers to do our laundry since she has a washer and a dryer. Man, we are a bunch of spoiled kids over here :)

So we also had transfers over here. And some big changes were made. There are now 6, count 'em, 6. As in S-I-X missionaries here in Masinloc. There's us four sisters and now we have two elders too :) They moved into our old apartment. The work is progressing and no one can stop us. The elders are Elder T. and Elder S. Elder S. is from New Zealand and has the coolest accent EVER. He and I are pretty good friends :) 

Because there are now six of us we had to split Masinloc again. So Sister Ja. and Sister Je. moved more north and our area is in the middle. The only part of our old area that we got to keep is Santa Rita, which is very sad because that means out of the 6 investigators with baptismal dates that we had, we now only have 1... But that's ok.

The elders get to take over every muddy place down south. Sad for them but happy for us :)

Oh and because we got a new area and because we are being obedient and working diligently, blessings will follow :) So for the past couple of weeks we haven't had any investigators come to church. But yesterday, we had 5 investigators attend church. Man oh man we were so happy :) Blessings will follow if we are obedient. 
The language is still coming, slowly but surely, And the food is still really really good. I haven't had to eat anything really weird yet. 

No problems over here. The church is still true and I still love being a missionary.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. 
I love you all. Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess

Mangadang umaga po = Good morning
Ulit ulit = over again
Mahal ko kayo = I love you

Monday, September 9, 2013

Who Says There Isn't a God?

I am alone. Not just alone, alone, but ALONE!

Mind you, I've been alone before and even in the past couple weeks...I think, but this is one of those do-whatever-you-want-you're-a-free-woman kind of alones. Yes, a blissful yet somewhat disconcerting, I've-been-raising-kids-for-so-long-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself, moment.

So, what do I choose to do? Cookies are in the oven. Laundry's spinning itself around happily, and I choose to sit back and write.

Then the problem....what to write about?

I feel like it's been so long since I've sat down just to write for fun that my brain is plumb out of ideas. I'm so glad I made my list and posted it the other day, but as I reread that list, I think I want to go a completely different route.

I need to share my latest tender mercy. Well, mine, but not mine. Here, let me explain.....

A couple weeks ago, someone in my ward asked me how #1 was doing. We stood and chatted for a bit, and this woman, who had seen a son off on a mission shared a few things with me. One was that there were times while her son was gone that she felt that something was wrong but there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. When she would communicate with her son about these experiences, he would verify that yes, her feelings were accurate. She shared a rather vivid example of this with me.

It really was a passing conversation with this woman, but now, I can see that her comments on that day were important for me.

Week before last, I woke up one morning, and I just felt that something wasn't right. The more I pondered on it, the clearer the situation became. #1 had a problem, and surprisingly, I knew JUST what it was. How would I know that? Even now I ask that.

The reality struck me that there was nothing I could do but write to her and encourage her. I sat down and composed an email. Later that day, I wrote another. As I wrote, I knew I was either completely off-base or I was right on track, but this being #1, and knowing how our relationship is, I knew she'd roll with it. She'd either laugh, shake her head and roll her eyes, or she'd gain strength and move forward as needed.

After I sent the second email, the feelings simmered down. I worried no more. All I could do, I'd done.

Yesterday, I finally learned the truth....those emails had helped her gain some strength at a time when she really needed it.

I questioned her about my emails. She said they had "helped a lot." In response to this, I told her: "There is no doubt that Heavenly Father's aware of you.....I mean, I knew there were issues ... I really had no reason to know that. I just woke up one morning and felt URGENT about it."

Her response: "it was definitely an urgent thing...It's much better now though."

She shared how she dealt with what was going on. She had to step completely out of her usual easy-going ways and face it head on. I'm so proud of her. I can also see how this was a vital step in her growth and development.

I am so grateful to know that she's being watched over. She shared a few other tender mercies that came her way this past week that made life that much better.

There are those who scoff and say that there isn't a God. How could I ever side with them when things like this happen over and over in my life, and not just in my life, but in the lives of those I love?

Next time things get tough, I want to remember this. I guess that's why I needed to write it today.

So, I'm off again...The cookies are done. The last load of laundry's in. Time to get dinner in the crockpot and get ready for kids to return home.

Someday I'm going to get used to having time to myself again. Then, maybe I'll do more than just write, do laundry and make cookies, but for now, that has to be good enough.

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