Thursday, April 28, 2011

The White Envelope Has Arrived

Kaylonnie Reading Her Mission Call

This is an update of a blog post I wrote on April 13, 2011, "Waiting For The White Envelope."  The white envelope has arrived.  My lovely daughter, Kaylonnie will be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in -- drum roll please -- the Brazil, Brazilia mission.

She is about as excited as I have ever seen her in her life.  I don't think she will be getting much sleep tonight.  She reports to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Brazil (not Provo, Utah) on September 21, 2011.  We are very proud of her.  She is well prepared to be a missionary, and she will serve the Brazilian people with all her heart.

A Day to Remember

Caltrans 2011 Memorial Service --
Matt White's Cone is in front with orange roses
 Two highway workers are killed every day and one injured every fifteen minutes in the United States.  My stepson, Matthew White, was killed on December 14, 2007, while filling a pothole on Elk Grove Boulevard in Sacramento, California.  He left a wife and three children.  His youngest children were 8 and 10 years old when he died.

Every April Caltrans has a memorial service for fallen workers at the State Capitol.  It is a fitting tribute with an honor guard, a choir, and bagpipes.  While it is difficult for our family to attend each year, we do so to support the families of the fallen workers within the last year.  Unfortunately, every year there is at least one.  I had begun to think that 2010 would be a safe year, but last November Gary Smith was killed.  My husband, Danny, retired from Caltrans seven years ago after 35 years of service.  He had worked with Gary for a short time years ago.  Gary's wife spoke at the service today, and I don't know how she had the strength!  She is an amazing woman!  Also, a Caltrans worker spoke who had been in an accident where his coworker died.  He also did a wonderful job.

Caltrans is a family, and we all support one another.  The service is part of that.  But there is a more important reason for this annual tribute.  We MUST bring awareness to the public to use caution around our highway workers, construction workers, highway patrol officers, tow truck drivers, and emergency vehicles.

A family member told me a story today.  She had taken her car to a mechanic.  The workers were joking around about lazy Caltrans workers.  She set them straight, and then talked to the manager about Matt's death, how it had affected us, and how the employees at the mechanic shop needed to realize that this kind of attitude doesn't make the shop look very good.  If the public only knew how hard these guys really work, in all kinds of weather -- rain, snow, fog, 110 degree heat -- dodging cars moving 70 mph plus -- and sometimes coming within inches of being killed -- the attitude might be a whole lot different.

Another family member told me this week that when she sees highway workers in a restaurant, she does the same thing she does for servicemen -- she quietly buys their meal and then leaves the restaurant before they find out who paid.

As we all travel in our very busy lives, let's please remember to be aware of others around us.  These men and women who serve on our highways want to go home at the end of the day to their families.  PLEASE, PLEASE, SLOW FOR THE CONE ZONE!

Caltrans 2011 Memorial to Fallen Workers

Caltrans 2011 Memorial to Fallen Workers

Matt 7 Months Old - 1972

Matt 5 Years Old - 1977
Matt 12 Years Old - 1984

Matt 12 Years Old

Matt Christmas High School

Matt Christmas 1988

Matt and Savana 2007

Friday, April 22, 2011

Burnt Toast

Some people in my family are creatures of habit.  There is one way of doing things, and it happens the same way every day with no deviation.  I used to wonder where that came from until I remembered the burnt toast.

My grandfather Bernard (Pa) was the ultimate creature of habit.  Pa's morning routine:  Dress, make coffee, put toast in the toaster, go outside and run the American flag up the flag pole, come back inside and scrape the burnt toast to make it edible.  Now, logic would tell him that waiting to put the toast down until after the flag flew high would have saved the time and energy of scraping burnt toast -- as well as having the luxury of eating a decent piece of toast.  No.  We must not deviate from the routine.

The Bernard genes run strong in my family.  I pride myself in being the rebel -- yet I must admit there are certain things in my routine which absolutely are set in stone.  I rebel at taking the same route home from work every night because change is good, I tell myself.  I rebel at eating at the same restaurant all the time.  I cringe at the thought of a "laundry day," because laundry can be done on any day.  I will not deviate, however, from ordering either pizza or lasagna at Roma's Pizzeria -- nothing else will suffice.  Gunther's ice cream needs to be one scoop of fudge brownie, but I will deviate with the second scoop.  I won't budge about the order in which I put my clothes on in the morning.  My desk must be completely clear from all clutter.  Only current projects are allowed on my desk, and they must be organized just so!  A box of Kleenex must be in close proximity to me at all times.  There must be Kleenex in every room in the house, in my purse, in my car (even if in the trunk), and on my desk.  Hand soap must be placed to the left of the sink in the bathroom, but to the right of the sink in the kitchen.

A therapist could make a bundle with my family, I'm sure.  It might take years of research and analysis!  In the meantime, I'm left to wonder how our brains work and what makes us tick.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eggceptional Eggspertise

Dad and Hannah

Dad loved to dye Easter eggs.  I don't know why, but he did.  In fact, he loved it so much that he would dye the same egg over and over again.  Most kids gather brightly colored Easter eggs in their baskets -- you know, pink, blue, orange, yellow, green.  We gathered khaki colored eggs on Easter morning.  Dad dyed them carefully in one color at a time, over and over again, until they were the ugliest eggs on the planet.  But he had SUCH a good time doing it!  We loved dying eggs with Dad, and so did his grandchildren!  I'll always think of you, Dad, as I dye my eggs each year.  Love you, and miss you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting for the White Envelope

It's happened again.  I have another child waiting for that famous white envelope from Salt Lake City.  You know, the one from the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints telling her where she will be serving her mission.  We've been through this before with our other children.  This is an exciting time.  Where in the world (literally) will she be serving?

With everyone it's the same; but with everyone it's different.  The similarities are the anxious excitement, the preparation and clothes shopping, the scripture study, and prayer.  The differences come in personalities and life experience.

Along with the scripture study and prayer, Kaylonnie has had extra preparation for her mission.  She's had the character building experience of spending two years getting her body into good physical condition to be able to withstand the rigours of a mission -- including the loss of 144 pounds to date.  She has learned more from that experience than I can tell you.  She is a completely different person now than she was two years ago.

Where will she go?  What experiences will she have?  What will she be like when she comes home?  These are all unanswered questions.  This will be so good for her!  As parents, we cheer them on as little missionaries, but more than that, we cheer them on as the people they will become in the mission field.  The next year and a half will bring so much change to her life -- all in a good way.  We know that the Lord will send her where she is needed, but also where she will grow.

I will do a future blog post when we know where she will be serving.