Sunday, January 25, 2009

State of the Union at 916 Laurel Lane

State of the Union Address, from Grandma Kathy
(Written Saturday night, 1-24-09)

Dear Family,

I thought I’d write a little and let you know how I am doing. My life has been full and busy these last couple of weeks, but what else is new? This morning I woke up with the Serenity Prayer running through my head. “God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It was a good theme for the day.

I worked with Julia, Michael, and Mark on getting the Koponicks almost all moved into our house. Today we consolidated the kitchens. To my amazement, we are fitting things in, and it is working out fine. I was afraid the house would be horribly crowded, but it doesn’t feel so. This has always been kind of an elastic house—it has so many nooks and crannies that we have been able to fit extra foreign-exchange students and family members in at various times, and we always seem to be able to work it out.

Speaking of nooks, the kitchen nook looks quite different. We gave the large-and-in-charge desk to DI (sorry, Kendra, we’ll get you another one when you move into a larger home), and moved our refrigerator back into the spot where it used to be, before we remodeled the house. Michael & Julia’s fridge is in the main fridge spot in the kitchen, to the left of the stove. We have a couple of filing cabinets in the nook, and then Julia and Mike have moved in two tall pantry cupboards. It all looks quite nice, actually, and it gives us enough space to fit the food in where we need to.

Michael and Mark went to Home Depot this morning to buy the second pantry cupboard (they already had one at the other house). They found exactly the right one, but it cost $250—yikes! So then they went looking in the “damaged” section at the back of the store, and they found the right kind of pantry, but the back was all broken up and the shelves were missing. They negotiated with the manager, and ended up bringing it home for only $50! It took a couple of hours of gluing and adding some structural support, but it works fine. Michael says he things they were able to get it so cheaply as a tithing blessing.

We didn’t need a computer desk any more because we are giving the Macintosh computer to the schools. It’s getting older, and Mark and I both have laptops from school, so we didn’t need it taking up so much space in the house. The Koponicks have brought over a desktop PC computer for the kids—it’s on a small desk to the left of the china cabinet—and their main PC, which is in their bedroom. We’ll all share one printer, so we’re getting rid of our three old printers, too.

It’s amazing how much stuff (translate: junk) we have accumulated in the house, especially since we just “moved” back into the house three years ago, after the remodel was completed. Every time we purge like this, I vow I will NOT bring so much stuff into the house, but obviously, it finds its way in anyway.

It seems to me that everyone is getting along well, give the adjustments we are all making. I think I can safely say that every room in the house is in pretty good shape this evening, something I could not have said this morning! We have made some good progress in restoring some order out of the chaos here at home. Julia took a good long nap this afternoon, something she should be doing a good deal more. I think she will be able to rest more now that the move is nearly wrapped up. She and Maleena are still a little wary of each other, but they are interacting politely, and the atmosphere in the house seems more comfortable for everyone, for which I am VERY grateful.

Maleena went to the funeral of her great-grandmother today. She was not sure how it was going to go with her birth family there, so she took another cousin with her to be her “buddy.” Everything at the funeral worked out fine, and I am glad she was able to go and pay her respects to her great-grandmother, who was very dear to her.

Josh, Sarah, and Kathleen are doing great. They are sharing the attic bedroom, which is working out well so far. They have had a couple of nights with noise in the night. The first night they slept here, they woke up at 4:00 a.m. and got dressed and ready for school! Grandpa got up and told them to go back to bed and turn off the lights, which they did. A couple of nights ago, Josh was sleep-walking and woke up Kathleen, who got into bed crying with Sarah; Maleena got up with them that time and got things sorted out. I guess next time it’s my turn!

Sometimes people tell me that I’m a “saint” for having Julia and Michael and the kids move in with us. They act like it’s some kind of horrible imposition to have family members move in with us. I just want to make it very clear that I don’t feel that way. Maybe this would be some kind of big deal in other families, but for us, this is how we do things. How I feel about all this is GRATEFUL that we have a large enough home that we can make space for loved ones who need some help in a tough time. I’d feel horrible if we lived in such a small home that we had to turn family members away, and they were homeless. This morning I took a few minutes for myself to go work out at the Curves gym, and on the way home I got all teary, thinking about how much I love my family, and how wonderful each of my family members—children, step-children, adopted daughter, in-laws, grandchildren, extra extended family like the Hollands, Jorgensens, Maughans, and Kelleys—is.

That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to have everyone together, because it isn’t. But that’s ok. A couple of weeks ago, as the move was looming on the near horizon, I was feeling pretty stressed about the whole thing, and feeling sad to lose the privacy of my home. At that point I thought we would be doing more to change things like the living room furniture—which is not anything expensive or extraordinary, but I like it—and as I was lying awake one night, stressed, with my mind going in every direction, I began to pray, and I asked Heavenly Father how this was going to work. Immediately, I received a very strong impression, which went something like this: “Don’t worry about it. I already took care of this through the Atonement.” I was astonished at that answer to my prayer. I always think of the Atonement as being there to help people with bad sins, or grief such as losing a loved one, and my thought was, “You atoned for me being sad about losing my living room??” Then I had a sweet feeling of peace, and so I learned that yes, the Atonement is for ALL our sorrows, even silly ones like caring too much about how my living room looks, and being sad to think it was going to have to change.

Through this whole family experience, I am learning so many things. I am grateful for our Heavenly Father’s love of our family, and grateful to be doing some of his work. I love you all, dear family.

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