Because Joel Symonds went away….

Because Joel Symonds went away…..

For My Mother

Baby Steps

Baby Steps..Iris Lively Nuxall, my grandma

When a small child takes their first steps tiny hands grasp mother’s fingers as tentative feet reach out, chubby bodies sway instinctively steadied by mom’s guiding hand, and then all at once little fingers let go. Unsteady steps in syncopated rhythm take babies away from their mothers until an unseen wall stops them, they sway and unsure they turn to see if she is still there, still watching, and in turning little padded bottoms sit down hard.  The child’s face watches the mother and time is suspended. When mother’s face breaks into a joyful smile, she cheers and claps, then baby smiles, drools and crawls with joy back to mothers knee to try all over again. It happens all over the world, in every language, on wooden floors and on dirt, in huts and homes, the same way. What would we ever do without our mothers steadying hand and encouraging smile.

My Mother's Mother Iris Lively Nuxall

My Mother's Mother Iris Lively Nuxall

All of my life, every time I have looked back, my mother has been there, cheering me on, smiling, and telling me I can do it. When I have fallen, and I have fallen hard,  it is her hands I have returned to and in her arms I weep, until she steadies me, I pick myself up, she dusts me off and I turn to go out into the world and try it again.

Beverly Anne Nuxall Sappenfield

My Mother Beverly Anne Nuxall Sappenfield

When I wanted to paint, she not only cheered me on, she made sure I had the best brush, the best paint, and the best lessons and cheered me on. She hung my work good and bad in her home, removing her favorite artists and giving me the courage to take unsteady steps and take my art out of the safety of her home into the world.

Always a mother

Always a mother...Beverly Anne Nuxall Sappenfield, LeRoy Fuller, Janis Lively, Pam Fuller, Dennis Lively,

When I write, she is the first to read it. She loves everything I write, good or terrible and gives me the courage to go on.  Sure, she corrects my spelling, and if she could, she would correct my punctuation, but she will never tell me to stop, or give up and to be ashamed.

Iris and Agnes Lively

“She has to love what I do”, I tell myself, “She is my mother.” But mothers also tell us when we are going down the wrong path, leaving the light and losing ourselves in the darkness of mistakes and ugly choices. They tell us with tears in their eyes, a quiver in their voices, as they beg us to come back, come back to the safety of their arms. And if we do, we will never go astray.  Yes, I have lived long enough to know that there are mothers who are not always right, who do terrible things, and should not be allowed to have children. But I have also lived long enough to know that they are the exception, not the rule. That is why we are so appalled and can’t believe it when we hear it.

Iris Lively Nuxall

Today, I want to tell my mother, Beverly Sappenfield,  how grateful I am, that when I still look back, you are there cheering me on. You steady me, you advise me and you strengthen me. My mother taught me about God and the eternal nature of families. She taught me that it is possible to have Heaven on earth. Heaven on earth is coming home to a mother like mine, with homemade bread in the oven, a smile at the door and a gentle patient nature with loving arms and hands to steady everyone she comes in contact with. She is the glue that holds together five children, their spouses, nineteen grandchildren and soon five great-grandchildren. She is bright educated and beautiful, outside and in. She is still the person I turn to when I cry and carries the wisdom I need when making decisions.

Beverly and Jeff Sappenfield Wedding

Although I want to say we are best friends, the term simply does not carry enough respect for my mother. It is hard to even type her name. The only word that carries the respect she deserves is Mother.

Cabin in Maxfield Oregon that Pearl and Fisher Lively lived in when Foreman of the Railroad for logging

coming home...Fisher and Pear Lively's cabin in Maxfield Oregon while foreman working for logging railroad. Great Grandma Pearl Lively in the door with Iris Nuxall

I love you Mom, happy Mothers Day.

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Grandpa's Wild Ride

There are some things in life that are necessary to our survival, air, water, food (Okay, not as much as I eat), love and for me quiet conversations with my Savior and Heavenly Father, moments out of time, filed with inspiration. Life should be what we choose to make of it. Sometimes, we are what is left over after life is done with us. This last Sunday, when I finally knelt at the end of the day every cell in my body was exhausted. Life had been a roller coaster and no one was going to save me from the ride.

As I prayed, I remember something I had heard at church, and I included it in my prayer. I asked for the Lord to give me the time I needed to serve, and fulfill my role.  When you are doing everything that you can, you can ask the Lord to help you when you truly can’t do anymore. And, if you remember the true attributes of God, you will remember, that with God, nothing is impossible. If he chooses, the sun will not set, and the waters will part. I asked for more time. I promised that I would do everything that I could to be a good wife and mother, to fulfill all my church callings one hundred and ten percent and would give my earthly obligations at work everything I had. I didn’t make a bargain. I just promised to give it my all, and asked if he could find a little time in my life for me to ponder, pray and write. Time to create, to paint or work on my book. Time to breath, because for me writing, painting and breathing are all the same thing. I knew that if there was no time left over, I would still give it my all. And, as I looked at my schedule, it was full.

Monday, I woke up so sick I couldn’t go to work. Great, I thought. This is a fine way to start my week. I went to the doctor immediately and spent the day trying to stay awake and pay my bills in between naps. Everyday I woke up on the roller coaster and wanted to just get off the ride, but every day I hung on and worked. I worked on camp, and after a ten-hour work day, including a community training, made it to a seven o’clock camp meeting. I showed up at the Astoria Ward Building, to be let in by sweet Sister Jolly. No one on this end of the stake came. Taking Penicillin, sucking on cough drops, I plowed on, while Sister Jolly went above and beyond the call of duty, with the kind of grace I dream about having and kept me company. I hung on and rode.

Grandpa...what a ride....

Today, day two of no voice, I pushed myself out the door, happily. It was Friday. Believe it or not, the ride didn’t seem that bad. I loved everyone I had came into contact with, and realized my job gave me great joy. Life was doing its best to throw me off the roller coaster, but I was starting to ride with a smile. I had made it.

Great Grandpa...rather be fishing...

Then my boss called and thew me off the ride. She told me I sounded terrible and was too sick to work and sent me home. I drove away miffed. But after a few minutes at home,  safe in my haven, I realized it was a gift. Two months ago I had downloaded a book by an old acquaintance Gerald Lund, a great author called, “Divine Signatures”. I had been grieving the fact that I didn’t have time to listen to it. I had just been given the gift of time. I turned it on and was washed with the spirit.

After just a few short stories he had me crying with joy. He spoke about the tender mercies of the Lord and I realized that when my work day had been shortened, I had been given the gift of time to ponder, time to think and time to write. I had been a recipient of the tender mercies of Lord. I had been kicked off the ride and allowed to just be, for a moment. As I looked back on the week, I realized how much I had accomplished. I realized that despite the fact that I had gone to bed nightly, sick and exhausted, on antibiotics and wheezing like a freight train, I had somehow managed to pay the bills, complete the most important goals I had set and I had served the Lord to the best of my ability and still put in forty hours on my job by the time I left today. How grateful I was for the gravely voice and wretched sore throat that allowed me this moment to think ponder and pray.

I remembered something I had always known. If I let go of my expectations and desires and serve others, the Lord takes care of me. Brother Lund, in his book spoke of faith, and the importance of writing down our miracles. Today, my miracle may seem small, but the joy I feel when I think about how much our Father in Heaven loves us and takes care of us is immeasurable. The only time I have is his, and the moments I take off the ride fill me with the spirit and allow me to get back on and ride with joy.

Family Car in Redwoods

The Family Ride...

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