Monday, July 5, 2010

Gifts from My Dad

I started this blog on Father’s Day but it has taken me this long to get all the pictures together. July is also his birthday so I do get a second chance to celebrate him. This should be a time for me to give a gifts to my Dad. Unfortunately a hard job for the following reasons:

#1 He is 82 and has just about every tool, gadget, book, tie, cowboy hat, vest, jacket or thing that a father would want.

#2 My hands are shaky because of the chemo so long notes of appreciation are hard to write down in a card or letter this year.

#3 His gifts to me, as a daughter, so far outweigh any I can give him that I want to acknowledge his years of love and service to me, his family and those who know of his generous heart and loyal friendship. He deserves way more than a tribute on my blog but for now this is my gift to him.

I never called him Father; he has always been Daddy or Dad to me. However his life and example have taught me about the love and care I can expect from my loving Heavenly Father.
Here are some of the traits they both share.

Unconditional love: As child I saw with the eyes of a child. Dad was the boss; he was the big guy that you needed to obey. I remember the first time I was lost. I was 5 years old and we were at Disneyland. One minute I was holding my dad’s hand and the next thing I knew, I was standing in front of the Disneyland castle and he was not there. I don’t remember how we found each other but I do remember the joy of holding his hand again and needing to obey him if I wanted to stay safe. Commandments may seem hard or restrictive when we are young but as we grow we learn to understand that they are his way of keeping us safe.

Creativity: He makes things with his hands. This is the third home he has built. This home he built after he retired and moved to St George. He loves to create. Here is just a little of his handy work. He spends every day in the shop making furniture and gifts for people he wants to serve.
He made this mountain man outfit as well as the rifle he is holding.
Last year he made tissue boxes for Natalie and me while he was in Buffalo visiting. I think he made about 60 of them. Not only built but sanded, painted and stamped with his “hand made by Jimmie Thompson” stamp. We had them to give to neighbors and friends with a little card that said “Tis the Sneezin to be Jolly.” What a creative and appreciated gift from my Dad.
Sometimes we receive gifts from our Heavenly Father we never thought to ask for. We all inherited the desire and ability to create from our Father.

Service: My dad has always been the first to help. He built a bathroom for my grandmother soon after he married my Mother; up until that time they were using an outhouse. I watched him care for his mother, stopping to see her every day after work in her last years. He is always and the first to volunteer for a community, church project or helping a neighbor. My Dad has always been an example of service to his family as well as to any other who needed his help. He rode with the Ute Rangers in formation performances as well as Search and Rescue.

Dad serves with the Mormon Battalion today, helping to carry the flags for most parades and awarding Eagle Scout awards at Eagle Courts of Honor when asked. These last years he has been serving my mother who has many health problems and there could not be a more devoted husband. He shows love for her as our loving Heavenly Father tenderly caring for his children, Answering prayers and blessing us in ways we sometimes do not see or acknowledge.

Commitment to the Gospel: Dad is a 100% home teacher. He would always find a place to attend priesthood meetings even when we were on vacation camping in the mountains. He was not one to feel comfortable in a leadership position but he was perfect as a support staff position. He surprised himself at how good a missionary he was and how much he enjoyed sharing the stories of early church history in St George. There is no gray in his life he chooses the good all the time.

Teach by Example: Dad taught me how to do things by show and tell. He loved to have us kids work with him and he would explain why he did things the way he did them. When I lived in California and needed to fix something like a fridge, I could call my Dad and get a step by step explanation on how to do the job. He taught me to make gravy as well as clean the terminals of the battery in my car. There was always room to find a better way and my ideas were always of value. We have been given instructions from a Heavenly Father on how to live in the scriptures as well as with living prophets. By example we can see how he teaches us by consistently giving us the instructions for a happy life. There are lots of examples of doing it right and wrong so we have a chance to choose the better way.

First things first: Dad worked hard; most of the time that meant working two jobs. The first 10 years of my life he worked graveyard shift and would need to sleep during the day.
When vacation time came we would GO together as a family and explore the beauty of Utah, visit family in California or find the best fishing in the state. Dad loves life and loves to enjoy it with his children and grandchildren. We had the first motor home ever made and I am sure the first dune buggy. From horses, ski boats to blow up fishing boats if he thought that we kids or grandkids would enjoy the ride he would do anything to make it happen. He still has a 4 wheeler and will get it going in a heartbeat for a great grand kid. He enjoys life
“Man is that we might have Joy” as it says in the Book of Mormon. Even with my mother so ill he will take time to smell the roses, march in a parade with the Mormon Battalion or go fishing with James.
Every year of my life he has visited where I live, no matter how far, sometimes more than once a year. Like my Heavenly Father he has never left me alone. He is always there for the children he loves.

So Happy Birthday and Happy Fathers Day to a great DAD

Monday, June 14, 2010

Merril and Susan Top Ten Celebration of 37 years of Marriage

#10 Service in the Buffalo Stake/WOW/ Network of Religious Communities/ Stake RS president/Councilor in The Stake Presidency to BuffaloPress Free.
We have had a wonderful time being “empty nesters” in Buffalo. Every Sunday we have traveled together to wards and branches in the stake. We have made new friends and had a chance to grow. I have had a chance to learn as I have worked with the Network of Religious Communities, working with so many fine members of other faiths for common goals. I have had a chance to learn about world issues and leadership with the Worldwide Organization for Women rubbing shoulders with outstanding women from all over the world and enjoying the great women on the board. Both opportunities as well as Stake Relief Society President have allowed for spiritual experiences as well as tender mercies and answers to prayers as I have had to rely on the spirit for help beyond my skills.

Buffalo/Department Chair/SUNY Buffalo school of Medicine/surgery residents/
Merril has been fulfilled in his job making the SUNY Buffalo Department of Surgery place residents want to train. He has recruited new faculty and contributed to the medical community in Buffalo. With fifty three Surgery residents and about that many faculty keeps him busy. We have tried to have all of them in our home at least once each year. He loves his job and so have I!

#8 Being able to serve as a Bishop
Merril was called in 1998 as Bishop of the Heughs Canyon Ward. Despite his busy medical practice HE LOVED SERVING THE WARD. It was a great experience for all our family.

#7 PTA
I started in PTA when the kids started school in California, but I really didn't get involved until 1986 when we moved to SLC. From local legislative VP, council positions, region and eventually opportunities on the state board and Utah PTA president. The positions mean little to me now but the amazing people I worked with changed my life. Some of the best people in the state are part of the education community and it was a joy to work with them. My PTA friends are some of the best women I know!

#6 Lake Powell/friends/
Our first trip to Powell was shortly after we moved to SLC ever since then we have spent time every year at the Lake. We have enjoyed hosting friends and family there. Our lives were spared in 2001 when our van rolled on the way to Lake Powell. We have all been blessed by the prayers that sustained us after the accident, doctors who cared for us and tender mercies allowing every member of the family to heal and to go forward in their lives. Some of the best times with friends and family have been on the lake. We LOVE that place.

#5 Salt Lake City/ Canyon Cove/ Dance with Carolyn/ Pull Through/ Missions/Sons Served Missions
While we were in SLC the Boys all Graduated from Cottonwood High School and had wonderful friends. Julie, Mike, Cindy, Lisa Rowel, Miguel & Elizabeth and Rachel all lived with us for a time and made life better having them in our home. I had the joy of teaching children's creative dance for most of the years in Utah. My amazing partner Carolyn Anderson Barnett allowed me freedom to totally enjoy this part of my life.
Merril‘s practice became busy as he became a specialist in an 8 hour surgery(Colectomy and ileoanal Pull through). He loved the work though hard and operated four days a week and saw patents on the fifth day. Busy, Busy,un times!!!

#4 Iowa/ first home/
What a neat place to start our career! There is a reason they call Iowa the heartland and we loved both the state and the people. I started a dance school there and the boys and I learned to clog. The schools were good and it was so fun to be out of a 2 bedroom apt. The time just went too fast as we were recruited back to Utah after three years. In the film “Field of Dreams” someone asks, “Is this heaven’?” and the Kevin Cosner answer’s, “no it's Iowa!” For us Iowa was a Bit of heaven.

#3 California/ Brandon, Adrian, Ethan/ 7 years at UCLA
I have to admit I cried when Merril came home and told me we had matched at UCLA but it turned out to be 7 amazing years. Most of it was spent in a 2 bedroom apt in married student housing next door to the Duffin’s. Gaye & Mike, Melanie & Evan, JoAnn & Mark, Sylvia & Roger , the Nolan’s, and so many other Marvista Ward members, Alice & Jessie, Lyman and Liz, Aunt Thelma and Uncle Ernest. All shared in raising our 5 little boys. You can clean 2 rooms way faster than a 5 bedroom home. The first year I had spring fever almost every day the weather was so nice. One day driving home from Aunt Thelma’s on Sepulveda Blvd, I looked up and saw a bill board “Ski Utah” with the snow capped mountain. I started to cry. You can take the girl out of the state but you can't take the mountains out of her heart. Merril had great training staying 2 extra years. (7 total) Most of the time he was “on call” every other night. When we could be together we celebrated and the rest of the time we filled with playing and growing. We actually saved money during the residency to help with the down payment on our first home. Ethan was 6 months old when we (all 7 of us) said, “good bye” to California.

#2 Medical school / Cameron, Damian/ surgery decision
No money, cars that wouldn’t start, finishing school, struggles, going without and enjoying being together. We loved our student ward, singing in the choir (we have loved this in every ward) and friends. Merril thought marriage was about the best thing ever invented. I however was the one sitting home on the porch steps waiting for him to come home. I soon learned to make my days be about the things I wanted to do. Something every bride needs to learn I am sure it made me more interesting and it has enriched my life and opened amazing doors.

#1 Young Ambassadors/ Engagement/Tour/Friends

Merril’s senior year at BYU and my junior we met in The Young Ambassadors. Our first tour together in California we did a show where his brother Lyman and his family attended. Lyman’s oldest kids Lyman Reed and Jenny were maybe 3 & 4 and were sitting on the steps leading to the front of the stage. I had to move them as we were having a Rubber Ducky coming up out of the audience. There was something so familiar about these kids and when I found out after the show that they were Merril’s niece and nephew I went out and met his family. I barely knew Merril’s name. He was a singer and I was a dancer so we rarely practiced together. This was our last show and early the next morning we started for Provo. As was tradition on these long Sunday drives we would have a testimony meeting. I don't even remember if I bore my testimony but Merril did and I had the distinct impression that I wanted to marry someone just like him. The next bus stop I moved over by him and started to get to know this cowboy from Wyoming. Our courtship was not easy. Two pretty head strong people. The next two tours were laced with resolving conflicts, off, on, off on but by December 1972 he gave up the battle and ask me to marry him. It took me the first 20 years to appreciate what a fine man he was; I was always thinking if I could just fix this or change that mostly, I was trying to figure a way to get him to spend more time at home. I wanted the boys to be more like him. We ended up with some great artists, No doctors….. Then Merril’s brother David was taken in a tragic ranch accident and I realized that time was short and I needed to be about just loving the great man I married and not fix him. I think the last 17 years have been pretty grand.

So on the occasion of our 37th anniversary and the eve of another Fathers Day here is to you Merril. You have been a wonderful father to our 5 sons and the sweetest grandfather for our 5 grandchildren. You have been an amazing husband, standing with me and supporting every one of my lifetime goals. Thanks for the wonderful life. I found a napkin from our wedding that had a line from our song, “You and I will travel far together”……AND WE HAVE

Friday, May 28, 2010

This was a GREAT day!

At 6:30 am. My Brother James and I took off for a 7:00 MRI and my Beloved Roswell Park Cancer Center. The morning was lovely and I felt like driving as my vision has cleared and I feel so good in the mornings. Merril was on his way too and we watched each other as we made the exchange from freeway to freeway into the city.

Anyway, the MRI was early so James and I sat and talked as we waited for the 9:30am Doctors to come in and read the results. They were early and by 9:00 we were sitting there hearing that the lesions in my brain had been all but destroyed by the radiation treatment. They expect in the next few days that all will be GONE...GONE!

This is something, you have all been praying for and something I just the past few days found the faith to ask. How can I express how very grateful I am for this tender mercy. I can only share this scripture I read shortly after I got so sick.

Moroni 7: 27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have aangels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

I have been thinking of all the prayers, cards, flowers, cinnamon bears, cards, flowers, Meals, flowers, Pajamas, e mail, cards, Flowers, Food, cards, calls, hair, Love and more.

Flowers have covered my tables since my diagnosis.

The calls I was too sick to take or make and the ones I am now getting to. My dear friends and family who I have not seen me for years and those I see everyday who have given me a lift with their good wishes and most of all their prayers. Your fasting and your faith in my behalf. How blessed I am and thankful for this wonderful life and just a little more time to live and love.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Aliens in Roswell" By her brother James

Susan is recieving her chemotherapy at the Roswell Cancer Center in Buffalo New York and I am sitting here with her.
The Irony of the name and the alien nature of the things that they try to do here is not lost on me. Gladly Susan knows that my dimented sense of humor crosses all boundries. Facing mortality is no different.

The good news is that we are not in Roswell, New Mexico. Although conspiracies continue to proliferate that the U.S. Airforce moves Roswell on a regular basis in order to validate conspiracy theorists.

While I am watching her drift in and out of Benedryl-induced sleep I can't resist quoting Yogi Breea who said"it is dejavu all over again". It's been almost 15 years since I sat in a similar infusion suite with my ex-wife going through similar treatment. It is a helpless feeling reguardless of the prognosis.

While at Susan's I am sorting and packing stuff from my divorce that I had left in her basement five years ago. In the meantime Susan has bought a lable maker to label all her posessions in case she dosn't make it. The fact that she finds more joy in this than the melancoly I am feeling is a paradox. We are both closing doors on old lives and unsure of our new ones. I can only assume that Joseph Smith's advice that if we knew the beauty and joy of the next life we would be motivated to leave this one.

Susan knows where she is going next.

I don't.

But then, only God really knows when.

I walked into a closed screen door yesterday and almost grated myself into the next life. So who knows!

So Susan is spending far more time and effort resigning from her many committies than the committie members are using in performing their duties. All the time saying she needs a nap.....meanwhile I am the one nodding off listening to her phone calls.

She told me that she loves cooking, cleaning, ironing, gardening and taking care of Merril. So while here, I have only stepped in to help if she seems to need it. Her life has been so full. I watch her movements with envy.

My week with her is half over. Mom asks each day if we are hugging each other. We haven't ever been huggers so we haven't started now. To me it would signify a change in our relationship and I refuse to mess up something that has been so good.

"It ain't broke ... so why fix it!"

I found pictures of Susan and me when we were ages two and three...we look like two deer in the hearlights. And I guess we were...and still are. But we still don't blink because neither of us have ever wanted to miss anything. And we won't!
Okay, so here it is.

We are all dying.

But looking forward to not missing death is the foundation of our mutually insatiable curiosity. I hope we live another fifty years. But knowing that we really will live forever( even if we are not here) is so exciting! Reminds me of the warning we recieved when boarding the rollercoaster at Lagoon "HAVE FUN and GOOD LUCK!" Then we screammed our lungs out, sometimes lost our lunch and held on for dear life! But when we got back we pleaded to go again! Just like now...taking a roller coaster ride through Roswell.

I love you Susan,

Your Brother,


PS. We think these pictures are 1952. Susan is 20 months younger than me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Sister, Cynthia

My sister
I just spent a few days with my daughter in laws in NYC. It was. Amazing and information for another blog but it did start me thinking about sisters.
I only have one. She is an amazing person and so important to me. I bet she has no idea how incredible she is and the impact she has had on my life.

Cynthia was just about three years younger than me. She was just younger enough that she was in elementary when I was experiencing Jr. High angst and by the time she experiencing her own Jr. High trauma I was oblivious and on to high school intrigue.
By the time she was in high school I had moved on to BYU. Though we shared a room all of our had matching dresses for most holidays, received the same dolls in identical clothing we did not spend much time together as kids. Being just a year behind James I hung around with he and friends and Cynthia and her friends where on a different weave length most of the time.

Cynthia went about her life quietly making good choices like that of her husband. Eric is the kindest, most considerate husband and father ever. He would move the moon for Cynthia if asked. Everything she wants or needs he provides for her. They love doing things together like riding motorcycles and traveling to fun locations with their kids. This amazing family spends tons of time together as many of them are working together in Eric’s business.
As I went about dating like crazy, being engaged, writing a missionary. On, off and braking and having my heat broken. Cynthia just picked a really great man and got about building an amazing marriage.

We actually got engaged and married the same year.
For her colors she Choose every pastel in the rainbow which left me with red which pretty much describes our lives. She has lived with her family, In the same community for most of her married life. Her wonderful kids are all married and filled her home with grandchildren. Her life has been for the most part ordered, peacfull and serene from the outside. We all have our times.

I have lived in SLC, Los Angeles, Iowa, back to SLC and now in Buffalo. For me it is a mammoth undertaking to get my kids together. Hers can come by every Sunday if they want and most of them live within 10 miles of her. Can I tell you how envy this…….Her energy and ability to be and enjoy being a grandparent? She is also a caring daughter in law. Eric is from a family of boys and Cynthia has loved his Mother as if she were her own with Helping, caring, holidays and events. Just recently she helper her move north from St George to get additional care for Eric's father. She, Eric and two sons packer he up moved the lot and set up housekeeping with new furniture and amenities in their new dig in a matter of days.

We never more did one than one or two events as the four daughter in laws. We were all missing our lives with our families so much I don't remember much bonding. About 10 years ago my mother sprung for a trip to Europe for the three of us. Mom, Cynthia and Myself. It was wonderful. Cynthia and I were about the youngest on the tour and we had a ball exploring beyond the restructions of the tour. We saw and did thing that we had only dreamed of doing. I discovered a new adventurous side of my sister and we started to love each other as adults and friends.

Several years ago our family was in a severe accident. Jacky, one of Cynthia’s daughters was with us traveling to Lake Powel. From the canyon she called her folks for helps before the dust was settled. Eric and Cynthia came up the mountain. As my family was being life-flighted and sent by ambulance all over the Valley, Cynthia and Eric quietly collected all our belongs, food and preparations for a week at Lake Powell and took them to our home. For weeks I would stumbled upon their carefull handy work. Tears would roll down my cheeks thinking for their dear servicer to our family.

I only have one sister but she is a treasure. Sometimes if I can find her home I will call and see what is going on with her. The conversation usually starts slow as we catch up a bit on the parents or a currenting challenge but them if I can get her talking I am in for a treat of all the comings and goings of her fun family, filled with the delightful relationship of this family that work together and support each other.

I only have one sister. She is an amazing wife and mother and women I admire.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day 2010 My Mother

My parents sent me a vase of roses this week with a card saying they hoped I would have 23 more mothers days. Wow, I would love that but the changes are not real good. In fact this just may the last chance I have to pay tribute to the amazing mother that has taught, nurtured and loved me. The Chemo seems to be working. I have high hopes for some good days ahead but I think Keeping foccus on today and tomarrow will be good for me just now.
I wake up early in the morning feeling good, rested and thinking, "What if anything can I do of value today".

My thoughts have been on my Mom for a week now. I will not write a history since she is the writer and has done a pretty good Job of documenting her life. I just wanted to touch on her influence on me and what she passed on of most values.
Her ability to Work, Create and make the world a better place continually by her Can do, Can do it better and Get involved attitude.

Mom has survived Cancer now three times and is 82. I am still in my fifties and counting down. It is hard that I cannot have that extra 20 years to keep doing what I love but her example of doing all you can while you can has shaped my years and given me a wonder full life

Well here is the list of the things my Mother could do and tried to teach me.

She could keep a house. Every Saturday we cleaned, did laundry, changed beds, moped floors and folded clothes. The rest of the week we lived in the house but once a week it was neet and tidy. Every day you made your bed, picked up your clothes and took care of your responsibilities.

Mom was the one every one wanted on the committee, the Primary, the PTA the lunch group the party planning team because she was a doer. She had ideas, energy, time and talent do do not only her part but more. When she was the Sunday school chorister she was the best with visual aids and fund songe for the kids. When she was the PTA president new things were tried and she flew up the ranks.

When she sewed for herself and her daughters everyone wanted he to sew for them. She found the best dance and music teachers she could find for us and then became the costume master designing the things we would wear or paying for lessons with dresses that matched her daughters.

When she dipped chocolates, made bread or built a tray of brownies she became your new best friend in hopes that you would be the lucky recipient of her gifts.

She would design a new Christmas tree these most years and make the decorations by hand. Gifts were always wraped with care in the best paper with lovely bows and displayed under the tree days bedore Christmas. Parties sparkled with her themed decorations. Never crape paper but always something classy.

We learned ot tie bows like a florest, crochet, kit, embroider and sew because that is just what you knew to do if you were a women.

For Mom everything from her being valedictorian in High school to the same as she graduated from BYU when we were in our teens was done perfectly. She was a perfect librarian, teacher and principal having her students know more, do more and accomplish great things because she believed she could and so could they. On special days we attend BYU with her. We were inspired to be better.

She has written books, kept family history alive, connected family members as they have grown apart and never misses to send out birthday and Christmas cards. She is loyal to friends both old and new. Every great grandchild knows that Grandma Thompson loves them, knows their names and remembers them on special days. She was as determined in the Grandparent roll. Each Christmas for years had it's theme with some sort of hand crafted gifts or personally selected items to bring the group together.

I have been driven to be just a shadow of this great lady as she studied the Gospel and learned to be a great missionary. Her spiritual strength was always solidly behind all these other achievements in fact the motivation to gain that principal of intelligence that she hoped would rise with her. I never did learn to make home made chocolates. I stopped sewing for myself soon after I got married. However her example of working to make things happen has stayed with me. If I am breathing I can do it, Make it better, nicer or sweeter for someone.

I love you mom for your example on how to live a rich and wonderful life. We are all better because you choise to be our Mother. Love, Susan

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thanks for all your prayers and expressions of love and concern. TODAY WAS A LITTLE HARD. I WAS GLAD Merril WAS WITH ME FOR THE NEWS. HERE IS MY, NOT SO SCIENTIFIC REPORT.
1. Chemo to start ASAP maybe next Wednesday
2. Cancer looks like it is in the liver, lungs and maybe bone's. Doing a biopsy on Wednesday of the liver OUCH (cannot do a bone Scan since the volcano is keeping the radioactive stuff they need to inject into my Cy borg veins grounded for NOW)
3. On Friday they are putting in a "medi port" this is a little port they put under your skin by the collar bone where they can put chemo drip or draw blood. I guess I will have it for the rest of my life and will actually be a Cy Borg before Dad who really wanted to be one.
4. They said that when breast cancer re accrues they treat the symptoms( like My breathing being cut off) with drugs (chemo hair distroying goo) until there is a response or until the patient says STOP i have had enough. Because it has been three years...since the first Chemo.... that means this is not a aggressive, but a slow growing cancer and possibly very recptive to the chemo(good for me, bad for Cancer but we don't care about IT).
Average survival for second onset breast cancer is three years. Since I am "ABOVE" average and "President of the WORLD" and "bossy" we will plan on longer, MUCH longer.
5. tHE GROWTH IN THE LUNGS IS ACTUALLY LYMPH NODES SITTING BY THE Bronci. They are most likely full of cancer.
6. We have to cancel out cruise to Greece but think this should be a very Buffalo Summer. Soo start looking at when you could come for a visit
7 The girls shopping trip to NYC is still on. They may have to get a MOM stroller for me but I am not going to miss this.
8. We will do Powell in October borg body or NO

Hope this answers most questions. I guess if there is any new news from the OUCH liver biopsy, I will let you know
Love, Cy Borg Sue/ Mom