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First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Dark Cloud Fell

So, I've always (at least as long as I can remember) really admired those who seemed to just HAVE Faith. You know the ones... things happen in their lives that are just not so great and they have all their feathers right in place the whole time. There have been a few that have said they think I have this gift. Unfortunately, I argue that point simply because I know my doubter's heart! Had I been a disciple, we would use the phrase "doubting Tori" not "doubting Thomas"!!! Well, Monday night I asked (again) in prayer for the gift of Faith. Be careful what you ask for really is a good phrase... thus its oft usage. :)

Some sort of important facts to set you up for the story to follow:
I've been worried about where diapers (nights ones for Kat and everyday ones for Tea) would be coming from for about a week and a half. As of tonight Kat has on the last diaper that fits her and I have, maybe, 5 left for Tea. Additionally, and probably BECAUSE of the diaper issue, I've been worried about how to purchase enough groceries for the week (cause we get paid weekly now). Luke, chapter 12 verse 29 comes to mind: "And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind."

On to the Story:
So, yesterday was going to be the best day to get to the temple. Jessie's food class is next Tuesday and I really don't like waiting till the last week of the month to go. Still, I bickered with myself over the trip because of the fund-age issue. We also signed up to have the missionaries scheduled to come for dinner, but I was pretty confident we would be back in plenty of time to finish dinner and feed them especially since I'd done most of the meal prep on Monday night. Finally, I decided to go ahead with the trip, but we ended up leaving about 5 hours later than I initially planned (we normally leave at about 5-5:30am).

Got to the temple just fine. Had a lovely time doing some Initiatories. Finished and plopped down in the main waiting area to read. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't. Out comes Brother Recker, my Ward's High Priest Group Leader, heading to man the front desk. He works in the temple once a month. Interesting. So nice to see a familiar face in the temple!

I left the temple and looked for the van as I called Jess. He tells me they're still at the playground, but he'll pack up right away and be right over. No problem. Little longer wait than I expected, but still just fine. Next thing I know he's calling me back to tell me the van won't start. Now, keep in mind Jess had just been to the shop the day before to get a job finished that we'd just had done a week prior. However, the problem he faced at the playground was totally different. He thought it was the fuel pump. The previous problem had been the catalytic converter. He'd tried to repair it himself, but the job required a lift. Something our wonderful home at the beach just doesn't have.

I tell Jess I'll be there as soon as I can and get some directions from him. (I thought it was really close.) I set out walking while I was still talking to him. A little while later he calls me and realizes I'm walking and freaks out a little because he's like 10 miles away and there aren't good sidewalks all the way to him. *sigh* So, I turn around and try to problem solve with him. He's not up for it. So, I get off the phone with him and call our Home Teacher (the one we've had since we moved here) for a suggestion on where to take the van (hopefully). No such luck, but in talking with him, I do realize a couple of actions I CAN take. So, I go back to the temple.

Back at the temple I wait a lot. I was able to speak to Brother Recker about the situation and he was thoughtful and generous in offering to bring us back with him when he finished (at 9:30pm) if we still needed that help. Additionally, after a bit, I was given information on the Transient Bishop. Did you know there was such a thing?? I didn't. What a valuable (ADDITIONAL) service those hardworking, unpaid, leader-guys do!! As I learned, the Transient Bishop alternates among the Bishops in the Stake. Finally, a plan develops to get me to my family. Fernando, a grounds worker, and Joe B., the security guy, take me out to my family at the playground AND THEN THEY WAIT with us until we know what's going on with the van.

While Jess was stuck, he ended up meeting a Grandma with her grandson and chatting with her, sharing a bit about the situation and some of his frustration. Judy, the Grandma, contacted her son who is a mechanic. Chris, Judy's son, arrived at the playground soon after I got there. He and Jess work to try to jimmy-rig a start up for us to get home. It doesn't work, but the Christ-like love Chris showed through his service was READILY apparent. During this time Judy went home (a couple blocks away) and came back with drinks and chips for Jess and the girls. I arrived while she was away. I think she left again and returned, but I'm not sure. In any event, before she left the final time, she hands Jessie something. Jessie hands it to me. A grocery store gift card for... FIFTY dollars! That's a big sum for us... for groceries. That's the total of what we normally spend on groceries in a week during a FULL refrigerator week!!!!! (Full fridge weeks are when we're living posh... not as often occurring as bare fridge weeks, lately. We DO have sufficient for our needs, though! Father is faithful and always makes things last longer than I think they will.) Since I did have SOME money budgeted for groceries for this week, this tremendous gift is going to buy the desired diapers, buy some dish soap (which we're almost out of), two notebooks (needed for record keeping/school stuff) and a bit of food to boot! What a mighty merciful Heavenly Father we have!!! What a marvelous miracle and some silver lining to the black cloud of the van putzing on our Temple trip day.

If it wasn't for this temple trip, I still wouldn't know what to do about diapers and we'd have a really bare fridge. Elder Howard W. Hunter (at the time) said, "It has always been encouraging to me that the Lord said it is the “willing and obedient [who] shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days." (D&C 64:33-34) All of us can be willing and obedient. If the Lord had said the perfect shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days, I suppose some of us would be discouraged and give up." In the conference talk: “Developing Spirituality,” Ensign, May 1979, 24. Yall so totally know I'm not perfect, but I'm willing and REALLY truly trying to be obedient. And I can testify to the fact that Heavenly Father will bless us to '0eat the good of the land' is we do our best. Isn't that what all this is?

The weather was not horrible through all this. But I was worried about the girls spending too much time outside. I thought it would be better for us to have a place to be after the van was towed away (thankfully we have AAA+... up to 100 mile tows are free and it was 88.8 miles from where the van was to our home). So, in speaking to my Transient Bishop, I did ask him to find a place for us to BE until Brother Recker finished his work in the temple (9:30pm). He did find us such a place.

Apparently, this month "my" Bishop is either the Bishop for the area directly surrounding the temple OR the Spanish Ward Bishop, because he has a member who lives in a house RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the temple. Seriously. So, Fernando and Joe drive me with my girls from the playground to the Ordinalo Family's home. WOW. BIG. The family is BIG-hearted and wonderful! They are truly more beautiful than their amazing home!!! Thankfully they have a 7 year old daughter who enjoys young girls because Ria and Kat just had a wonderful time with her! Brother and Sister Ordinalo are gracious and kind. Their children were wonderfully tolerant (especially the youngest).

Brother Recker picks us up from the Ordinalo's home just after 9:30pm and brings us home. The van is sitting ever-so-nicely in the driveway... mocking us? We go to sleep.

This morning saw Jessie bring the van to a shop in town (via another tow). There he received a quote for another $300 job. (The previous one was $100). Thankfully, the guys at this shop pushed the van job to the head of the que (because Jess had to be at work by 3pm). It was completed in time for Jess to get to work! Amazing, right? We've paid for the necessary part as well as labor out of our Rent money for October. Not good. But I have to have Faith. Father is faithful, thus must I be! After the marvelous miracles He's made manifest in the last 36 hours, I must keep a firm mind and focus on Faith. I REALLY do want that Gift of the Spirit! I REALLY want to be like Helaman's Son's Mothers... the Mothers who KNEW! *sigh* So, if you think of it, please send up a prayer for us!

Another bit of silver lining is the possibility that this stumbling block may be the pressure Jess needs to have a specific conversation with his employers. This is a GOOD thing. If you think to pray for us, please pray for Jess to speak with the best words to present his case for an increase in pay that truly is deserved.

Recently my "little" sister sent a mail to my girls and me. In it there was a note for my Kitty Kat on a blue cloud with tin-foil around the edge. On the note my sister wrote that she and I had made that cloud and a few others like it many years ago. THAT cloud has been such a blessing to ME (even though it was sent to my daughter)!!! I'm planning to have a FHE about seeing the good during the difficult (training our eyes to SEE) and TRYing to see the glass half-full... and then make more silver lined clouds as a craft during the conversation. My girls seem to listen best when they have something to do. Not always, but often, that seems to be the case. I hope and plan to post and hang these clouds around the house as reminders of my sister's gift AND the need to train our eyes to be the kind that DO see! ^_^



Spencer & Valerie Morris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spencer & Valerie Morris said...

You are so amazing Tori. I think if all that had happened to me I would just sit on a curb and cry. There is a purpose to all your trials, so just keep doing what you are doing!!

vicki said...

Wow! What memories your temple trips are creating!! I so admire you for the consistent effort you make in getting to the temple WITH your little ones.
I appreciate your faith, too. You doubt? I know, but you still strive, and do, and work to develope.
I thank you for the example you are to me.
love, mom

Our family said...

I am glad the cloud note has brought you so much... happiness (I don't know if that's the right word, but I think you know what I mean...). I put that piece of mail in a drop box near us and hoped you'd gotten it. When is my pen pal going to write me again?? =D

I have been thinking about you lots. I keep thinking of books that might be good for Ria. I think I previously mentioned the Dealing with Dragons series, but I would also recommend the books The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, etc. (all written by the same author). They are really enchanting and I've been LOVING reading them. I've never read the Anne of Green Gable series, but hope too... that might be a fun series for Ria to read. She's already gotten into Little House on the Prarie, right?? Oh, and when she's a little older you should definitely make sure she reads the Jane Austen books. They are wonderful. I've been amazed by the number of classics I've never read and have been trying to rectify that... are you on Good REads? I haven't updated my reading recently, but it's a good/fun way to keep track of what you've read/are reading.


I love you too! =D

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