Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thoughts about my mother

I was asked by a member of my mom's ward to write a brief accounting of how my mom showed charity at different times in her life. This is for their ward's celebration of the birthday of Relief Society. As many know the motto of the Relief Society is "Charity Never Failieth.

This is what I wrote:

June Newman: Charity Never Faileth

I can’t think of a time in my life when my mom didn’t show charity. I remember coming home from school and there would be a beautiful cake or a plate of brownies sitting on the counter. We kids would ask if we could have some and the answer would be, “That cake is for Sister so and so” or for the missionaries or insert any worthy cause. My mom made homemade bread several times a week and always donated a loaf for the sacrament each Sunday. I can’t tell you how many loaves were delivered to neighbors by us kids at my mom’s direction.

My father served as bishop from the time I was 7 until I was 14. I watched my mom be a wonderful bishop’s wife and show great love to all of the ward members. I remember firesides hosted at our home with my mom always ready and happy to have the members there. I never heard her grumble or complain. I can honestly say that I have never heard my mom complain or say a bad word about anyone my whole life. I looked to her example as how to be a bishop’s wife when my husband was called to be bishop.

At one point when I was about 10 or 11 I remember a woman and her family ended up at our house. I have no idea how she got there, she was just there. I’m sure she found us because my dad was bishop. This woman had several children and was fleeing from an abusive relationship. I just know she called herself Jean West because she headed west and went as far west as she could go. We were living in California at the time. My mom opened our home to the frightened woman and her traumatized children until, with the help of the ward; an apartment was found and furnished for her to move into. I was so touched by the example my mom set that I gave all but one of my dolls to the little girls of this family as they had run away with nearly only the clothes on their back and the few possessions Jean could put in their car.

After we moved to Utah our home was always a haven to those who needed shelter. We got my Indian Placement sister because the people who were supposed to host her could not for some reason. I think we got the call the night before Vivian came that another home was needed and would my parents open their home and heart to someone new. Vivian is still my sister today and calls my mom, “Mom.” Vivian says my mom saved her at a time when she needed saving the most. The time spent with our family was the only peace she had in her chaotic life. Vivian lived with us for 3 years and I am still glad to call her “sister”.

After we kids were grown and out of the house my mom and dad opened their home to anyone who LDS Social Services felt was in need. There were the unwed young women who found shelter in our home through LDS social services. These young women would live in our home until they gave their children to be adopted or decided to raise them on their own. I can’t remember how many young girls felt the love of my mother when they were in a frightening and unsure time of their lives.

There were several other people who found refuge in my parent’s home. People from all walks of life. My mom never said no and her doors and arms were always open.

Then there were the missions they served. Their first mission was teaching people in the South side of Chicago, their second mission was a physical facilities mission in Kirtland, Ohio and their third mission was a Humanitrian Aid mission in Kazakhstan. My mom loved all 3 missions but I think she enjoyed helping the people of Kazakhstan the best.

My mom has always been a wonderful example of charity to who family though her whole life and when I grow up I want to be just like her.

I am so grateful for all that I have learned from my mother. When we moved to Utah a member of our ward was the Commissioner of LDS Social Services. I think it was Brother Harold Brown who approached my folks about helping many of the people they harbored in their home. I know it was Brother Brown who asked my parents if Vivian could come live with us and I'm so glad he did.

I am grateful for my mom and for my father who both gave me a wonderful foundation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer highlights

Dave and I have been blessed with 3 wonderful, new grandbabies this year. Aiden joined Ben and Stacy's family in December, Penelope came to Ben and Chelly in May and Chloe came to Matt and Mandy in July. That gives us 9 fantastic grandchildren. It can be a zoo when they are all here, especially if Grandpa start chasing them all around the house.

Yes, Dave and I got to go see the amazing Paul McCartney. One of the greatest highlights of the summer. These are highlights that don't include new family members! I was an amazing night and we were so thrilled to be able to see Sir Paul perform. It was an emotional moment when he first took the stage. To actually see the man behind so many songs that have been the soundtrack of my life was rather emotional.

Lindy even came with us as she is one of the biggest Beatles fans I know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

One year

Lindy told me I need to blog about my great bonus gift today.

As I was eating from the last of a box of Mike and Ike's today I found 3 almond M&M's. What a bonus!

There, Lindy, I did it.

On to a more serious note

It's hard to believe that one year ago yesterday Dave and I moved into our new home. We love the house and the neighbors. We also love our new ward and all the new friends we have been blessed to make. It wasn't easy and still isn't easy but we are grateful for the change.

It's amazing that we only moved a mile or two from our old house but in terms of seeing old ward members and old friends we might has well have moved to a different state. If I don't see them at the grocery store the only contact I have is through facebook. I'm not blaming anyone because I'm just as bad as everyone else. I guess it's the out of side out of mind thinking.

We weren't able to sell our old home so we are renting it which has it's good points and it's not so good points. I won't go into that here.

It's been a very eventful year in our family. In December Ben and Stacy had baby Aiden. He is adorable and is just starting to crawl around on his own. He has blond hair and the most beautiful blue eyes you have ever seen on a little boy. He is the only Brown boy that has blue eyes.

In May Chelly and Benny had little Penelope. She has red hair and the most wonderful smile! She smiles with her whole body and she looks like she just can't contain all that joy. She is such a doll and I can't wait to see her personality develop. Saturday evening I cut Chelly's hair and Penelope just sat on the couch with Grandpa just chillin'. I wish I had taken a picture. Adeline loves her to distraction.

In June Matt and Mandy had little Chloe Jo. She is so sweet and so fun to cuddle and is just starting to fill out. She has the darkest hair of all our grandbabies so far. Ethan loves being a big brother and loves his little sister.

It's wonderful to see our family grow and nothing brings me more joy than to see my family all together having fun. We certainly aren't perfect but we do love each other and that is the important thing.

I am grateful that families are forever!

I'll post pictures when I get my laptop back from the shop. sigh.... I miss my laptop....

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's about time!

Firs of all, don't faint Lindy, I'm actually writing in my blog. It's been nearly a year. It won't be much of an accomplishment if I manage to blog a little more frequently then once every 11 months or so. We will see how I do.

It's been an interesting and eventful year. Dave and I built a new home in Magna so we basically moved from Magna to Magna. We love living in Magna and the feeling of community we have here. I love the people and how humble and caring they are. I can not tell you the grief we have put up with from people who ask us if we "still" live in Magna. They make it sound like something we should have grown out of. Oh well, we love it and it is where the Lord wants us right now.

When were making the decision to move we have the choice of moving either to Lehi or to stay in Magna and as we prayed and considered our options the Lord made it very clear to us that we were to be in Magna. We are starting to get a glimpse of some of the reasons we were to move to this part of Magna.

One of those reasons is that my mom can build a house just down the street from us. She has had a few health issues the past 6 months that has made her realize that she wants to live closer to her daughters. She is going to build a home in our subdivision and it will ease her mind and make it much easier for me to help her out or for her to help me out when I need it. My mom is an amazing lady and she has been a wonderful example for me all my life. I'm grateful to have her as my mother and I'm so grateful I can help her when she needs it.

Dave and I didn't sell our home, we are leasing it to a couple who want to buy it. The first couple lived there for about 4 months then he lost his job and they had to move out. We have just found another couple who will rent it to buy it in a couple of years. It's always an interesting project meeting with people and showing them the house. I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between the people who come to see it to rent to own versus those who came to look at it when it was on the market. When it was on the market all we heard were negative things about the home, some of them were valid and some were really dumb, but when we had people come and look to rent to own everyone just loved the house and wished they could move in. I'm wondering if it is because those who can't buy right now are grateful for any place that will give them the feeling of home ownership and those that are buying are looking to tear down a property because it's not "just right". We have also learned a lot about how to find out if someone is going to be a good tenant or not. If we can't check or verify references we don't rent.

We will be putting all of this to good use as Dave and I are going to buy my mom's home in Lehi from her so she doesn't have to worry about putting it on the market. We will then lease it to someone who wants to buy it. It will help her to not have to deal with the hassle of selling and she should only have to move once. I'm grateful we are in a position to do this for her.

What has been really interesting is my sibling's reaction to this. I'm not quite sure why it seemed to stir such a hornet's nest but it certainly did. I don't know of some were worried that Mom couldn't make the decision or if I am taking advantage of her or what exactly but it was kind of rocky there for awhile. I think we are all learning how to deal with Mom now that she is getting older. We didn't get to learn that with Dad because he went so quickly. I think we are all dealing as best as we can. I love my brothers and sister and I know we all only want what is right for Mom and we have different ideas of what that is.

I find it very interesting the lessons we can manage to keep learning in this life.

We had a new grandson added to the family on Dec 16th. Ben and Stacy had a little boy, Aiden Benjamin. He is a doll. Chelly and Benny are due with another little girl in May and Matt and Mandy are having a little girl in June. Our family is growing and I love each one of them and am so grateful for them and all their support.

I will keep trying to learn what the Lord is teaching me, especially as I see His hand in my life. If we had stayed in our old house there wouldn't have been the opportunity to buy my mom's house for her or to have her build a single level home near buy. We had no idea that this was going to be a need as quickly as it has and I'm grateful for a wonderful husband who listens and supports.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Celebration

Dave and I have been called to be the Stake Coordinators for the Celebration for the dedication of the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain temples. It has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.

Since there are 2 temples being dedicated so close together in the Salt Lake Valley the prophet has asked that the youth have a cultural celebration. The Draper Temple program will be May 29th and the Oquirrh Mountain Celebration (ours) will be May 30th. This is the first time a celebration for a new temple has been held in the Conference Center and the first celebration that has been held since the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.

We have been meeting with the youth in our stake and having fun with them learning a dance to perform on stage at the conference center and learning the songs that the choir will be performing. It has been so much fun playing with the youth in our stake. They are wonderful and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to get to know the kids outside of our ward. With all of our kids moved out of the house I don't have the opportunity to get to know the youth through school choirs any more.

We spent all weekend trying to gather signed permission slips for about 150 youth plus the adults that are going to be helping out. Now that was interesting! Why is it so hard to get people to sign a sheet of paper? I am so grateful for everyone that helped us get this done! We had the ward YM and YW leaders helping, the Stake leaders helping and moms and dads running lists around. We have great people in our stake and I'm so glad for the opportunity to get to know them a bit better before we leave the stake.

Now I get to put together the final calendar for our rehearsals at the conference center. Can you imagine 7,000 youth performing in either the 15 choir or the dance numbers and trying to get those youth on and off the stage in an orderly, quiet and safe manner. This is going to be interesting!

We found out this week that this will be broadcast all across North America at stake centers that want to view it. The Lord has been blessing me that I'm able to get through my fibro flare ups when I need to and that I haven't have a flare up that has kept me from any practices or meetings I've needed to be at. I'm planning on falling apart after the celebration is over.

I'm grateful for this calling because I love getting to know the kids. I love having some of the youth come give me hugs at stake conference or just saying hi to us when they see us at their wards. It's even fun working with my sweetheart and see how we are different but we usually compliment each other. I guess I'm not too old to learn new things!

Friday, April 17, 2009

First blog

I've been thinking of actually starting to blog for quite awhile, as I've had this page for that long. As anyone who has visited will know that I have never actually posted a blog. I usually think of all the interesting and witty remarks I can make around 3:00 AM when I'm not sleeping but I really don't want to ruin the chance of going to sleep by actually getting up and forming complete sentences for a post.

Dave and I are at a very interesting point in our lives right now. We have been married since 1977 and are amazingly and wonderfully still in love with each other! This doesn't mean that we never have disagreements and we never get on each others nerves. What is means is that I still get a tingle when I look at him across the room and when I see him do something tender with one of our grand kids or while helping the youth in our stake or ward. I know he's told me that he still gets that tingle too. We love to laugh and have a good time.

We are now into the empty nest syndrome and it's actually very fun! I love each of my children and their spouses dearly, but it's nice to have our house to ourselves and not have kids and their friends trooping in. I loved that time of life when I was in it and I love when everyone comes to visit, but I like just having Dave around too! As a matter of fact, I kind of miss those nights I had to myself when Dave was Bishop and I could watch what ever I wanted on TV or not have the TV on at all! (I love you sweetie, but it's a man thing, you do control the remote!)

It is an interesting time in our lives as we are now parenting adult children. It's very interesting that parenting doesn't end when your children go to college, a mission or get married. You just have more of them to parent, or to try too hard not to parent. Our oldest son is teaching me how to be a grandparent and not a meddling grandparent. I can't say that I have always succeeded in not meddling but I do think I'm getting just a bit better. Poor Ben, his whole life will be spent as my prototype. Sorry Ben, but someone had to be the oldest. I hope the rest of my children can benefit just a bit from what I have learned through Ben's children.

I am so blessed to be a grandma. It is the greatest thing in the whole world. It makes having kids worth all teh sacrifice! We just found out that a surprise grandbaby (#7) is on it's way. Ben and Stacy thought they were through having children but God had other plans for them and this new baby will be arriving in December. Dave and I know what it's like to have unplanned children. Of our 5 children only one was planned, but we have discovered the Lord knew far more then we did when it came down to planning our family.

I think I've rambled enough for my first blog and I will try to be a bit consistent if life will let me! Life is good and I'm grateful for all my blessings!