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Long-winded Christmas musings and observations in operating My Merry Christmas.
Family Life As the title says...
Old

Love and Loss at Christmas

Posted 12-13-2010 at 08:56 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 12-13-2010 at 09:05 AM by Jeff Westover

He was a man sometimes overlooked. That happens a lot to people in wheelchairs. For more than 30 years he battled with MS. A body that once loved to play basketball and, in its youth, engaged in competitive sports had fully rebelled. But the man inside the body was not bitter. He was a cheerful “old soul” – a man who simply wouldn’t or couldn’t be put down. His name was Randy.

I would see him primarily at church where he would sit in the back, in his wheelchair, each week, greeting those who walked by with big smiles and a hearty hello. Occasionally I would be called upon to teach a class and Randy was always there with an engaged mind and a willingness to participate. I loved hearing him speak up, if only because his perspective usually sharpened the point I was trying to make.


In good weather Randy would drain the batteries on his wheelchair, thrilling in the speed he could achieve as he raced up and down the street. I once asked him why he did that...
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Old

Simplifying Christmas

Posted 12-05-2010 at 11:25 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 12-05-2010 at 11:27 PM by Jeff Westover

We had an opportunity tonight to go as a family for a Christmas devotional in Salt Lake City. This annual event is held in the LDS Conference Center, a facility that holds some 21,000 people. Like all Christmas events downtown it is free but you have to have a ticket to get in. We lucked into some tickets at the last minute so we rushed down there to take part in it.

When we got there we discovered we had seven people but only six tickets, so I had my wife head on out with the kids as I fought traffic to get to one of the parking facilities. It was very late, almost for time for the event to begin and I was simply stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. By the time I found a spot and began my walk, it was 25-minutes into the event and I didn't want to disrupt things by trying to find my family amongst all those people.

So headed on foot to wait outside across the street at Temple Square.

For those not from this area or even familiar with Salt Lake...
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Old

Where to put the stupid tree?

Posted 11-10-2010 at 12:55 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Last weekend I found myself driving on a blazing trip to California so my wife could attend to the business of a family medical emergency. I tried to fly her out there but a last minute deal on a one hour flight was more than $1000 so I put her in the car and literally dropped her off at her mother's house and turned around and came back.

This kind of thing was no big deal for the kids as I have left them home alone before, especially since my 24 year old daughter had no work committments for the weekend. As I was literally going out the door -- kids somewhat in shock over the sudden-ness of it all -- I told them if they wanted they could put up the Christmas tree in my absence.

It was a stormy weekend, they would be inside most of the time and it was an activity I felt would keep them happily occupied.

Wrong.

Our main living room -- where the tree has to go -- is very inflexible. It is rectangular in shape, has a large picture...
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Old

Lessons on the Side of the Road

Posted 09-22-2010 at 10:37 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

My wife and I were just returning from a wonderful evening together last night when it happened.

We had seen a presentation about relationships and how to communicate effectively. It was a presentation filled with hope, humor and terrific insight. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to going to the event but unlike others I had been to this one I greatly enjoyed because it made me pensive about the people I love and the relationships we share.

I was shaken out of those thoughts of controlling our critical nature, being positive and communicating effectively as we were driving at about 40 miles per hour down a busy local road. It happened so fast my wife never saw it. I just said “Oh my gosh!” and it happened.

I had hit a dog.

There are few feelings in the world as sickening.

It reminded me a little of a near tragedy I experienced several years ago on a road trip to Idaho. We were on the Interstate, driving at 75 miles...
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Old

50 Christmases

Posted 08-13-2010 at 08:42 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 08-23-2010 at 09:45 PM by Jeff Westover



Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my Mom and Dad. They never had a wedding. So my siblings and I got together to throw them a party, complete with cutting a cake.

It was a big deal, especially since my Mom suffered two strokes in May. There was considerable doubt as to whether we should even try to hold such an event but the doctor insisted that we go for it. "Your mom needs to have something to look forward to and it will help her meet her rehab goals", he told us.

Indeed, he was correct. In the last few weeks before the party Mom made significant progress.

Her strokes were did not leave her conventionally disabled. Most stroke victims show left side weakness or paralysis but Mom's was particularly cruel in that it affected the parts of her brain that control memory and personality.

We quite honestly were grieving in May, thinking Mom might not...
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