Sunday, November 30, 2008

True HULLite

This is a picture of Hull City Center. Dad was always so very proud of his birthplace. Wherever he went, he made sure everyone knew he was from "Hull, Yorkshire." When people in the States asked where we were from, Mom and I would say, near Leeds as most people have heard of Leeds. Dad would get a little annoyed, ok a lot annoyed with us and tell them, "We are from Hull". Now when people ask where I am from, I say "My Mother." ;)

Dad has visited the States on several occasions, even lived here in the early 90's but nowhere was home unless it was Hull. He missed several things about the place when he was not there. Mostly, it was Rugby League. He was always happy when he was watching rugby. He missed that so much whilst here in the US. The other thing he really missed was 'familiarity' with people. He missed his family (siblings) and people he knew and would regularly see. He also missed the food and in particular, pastry. His favorite was a currant slice, which I noticed had a name change to currant corner, when I was last in England.

So in tribute to Dad loving Hull so much, I thought you would love this. Thanks to Rebecca for sending it to me. Dad had 4 children and Rebecca is the only true 'Hullite'. (Although she lives in Bilton which is just out of Hull.....)Michael lives in Whitby, I am in the US as you know and Jared is in South Africa.

1. You know exactly what someone means when they said 'im off onta road'
2. You couldn't care less that The Deep is the world's only submarium.
3. You've had a pattie buttie.
4. You've gone to Hull Fair nearly every year of your life.
5. You know that Bob Carvers is the best place to eat at Fair.
6. You always see that big hole in the ground down Whitefriargate, but never really know why its there.
7. You pronounce Whitefriargate 'witefrigate' and no one understands you if they're not from Hull.
8. You know what a croggy and a tenfoot is.
9. East Hull- KR. West Hull- FC. Fact.
10. You don't think that there is anything odd about a white telephone box.
11. Boyes is pronounced 'boysies'
12. It's 'Prinny Quay' and 'Proszy Cenner'
13. You say 'of' when you're supposed to say have. Eg. 'Yeah I would of done it.'
14. You say going into town, even though Hull is a city.
15. You know that the band Everything But The Girl were from Hull and were named after a shop on Bev Road.
16. You know that if there's one place you'll get in underage; its Spiders.
17. You don't consider Cottingham, Hessle, Beverley etc as a part of Hull, and you tend to think they're posh.
18. You're allowed to slag Hull, but when someone else does, it gets PERSONAL!
19. You frequently wonder, WHAT THE HECK is that big TV doing in town?
20. You say 'proper' a lot.
21. You know what 'gizza skeg' means.
22. You were so proud when City got in the Premiership!
23. You love the smell of the cocoa factory!
24. You feel at home when you come back to Hull and see the Humber Bridge!
25. You know the difference between a chav and a townie.
27. You know that 'rag' means to take the mick out of'.

I really did laugh at all of these. If any of my American friends have any questions on the vocabulary used here, please let me know! ;)

"We love you Dad"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I will be right here waiting for you

This picture was taken in England in July, 2007 on our surprise visit. We had so much fun. I knew the time would pass and it certainly did. We went for 6 weeks and I savored every moment.

John was 3 and Olivia was 1. I thought it was great how they just 'fit' right in with everyone despite the fact that we live 5,000 miles away and we obviously didn't see our cousins and aunts and uncles on a regular basis. When we arrived at the SLC airport, John thought we were already at "Grandma's house" Think about it if you went to the airport to pick up and drop off your grandparents everytime you saw them, you can understand where he got his thinking.

I really wanted to go to England and surprise my Dad for his birthday. I still want to go over there and surprise him. I have decided to go over when the time comes when he is released of his suffering and pain. I hope I am making the right decision. I have spent wonderful times with him and got to go over for a 3 week visit by myself this past May. I know this time, I would not want to come back if I went over now. So it puts me in the predicament of wanting to go over and be with my Parents, but NEEDING to be here for my family.

Reminds me of the song "Right here waiting for you" by Richard Marx
Oceans apart, day after day
And I slowly go insane!!!

"We love you Dad"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who wants to be a "Johnnyaire?"

Let's play a game in celebration of John's birthday! E-mail your answers to me at and put "John's Birthday Game" in the subject line. The answers will be posted on Tuesday December 2nd. Please send your questions on or before Tuesday 12pm MST/7pm GMT.

These are questions that I have asked Dad in the past, so the answers came right from him. He was not sure you'd be able to answer the question about his favorite sport! :)

Most of you will know my Dad's famous question "Have you got that tenner you owe me?" Click here to read the post. A TEN POUND note will be sent to the person who answers the most questions correctly. If the winner is in the US, you will receive TEN DOLLARS.

(My siblings and spouses can play but are not eligible to win! ;)

"What is John's favorite color?"
a) Blue b) Green
c) Brown d) Grey

"What was John's favorite food"?
a) Fish and Chips b) Chilli Con Carne
c) Stew and Dumplings d) Pizza

"What was John's favorite drink"?
a) Dandelion and Burdock b) Lemonade
c) Coca-Cola d) Apple Juice

"What was John's favorite chocolate bar?"
a) Milky Way b) Bounty
c) Snickers d) Mars

"Who is John's favorite Film Star?"
a) Marlon Brando b) John Wayne
c) Alan Ladd d) Clint Eastwood

"Who is John's favorite singer?"
a) Elvis Presley b) Dean Martin
c) John Denver d) Buddy Holly

"What is John's favorite sport?"
a) Rugby Union b) Golf
c) Cricket d) Rugby League

"What is John's favorite game?"
a) Checkers b) Chess
c) Cluedo (Clue in the US) d) Monopoly

"What was John's first car called?"
a) Cadillac Jack b) Mini Martin
c) Mazda Mike d) Jaguar John

"What is John's favorite pastime?"
a) Going to the Movies b) Kissing Val
c) Collecting coins d) Stamp collecting

"We love you Dad"

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Even though it is Thursday right now for me, I realize that in England my Dad's birthday is HERE. I didn't think he would make this birthday. Today, the 28th of November, Dad is 69 years old. I can't bear to think of him in the state he is at such a young age. BUT, today we will celebrate. Today we won't think of the sadness, we will thank God as I do everyday for making this world a much better place because our husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend was born 69 years ago.
Today in the US, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. I wrote a list of all the things I was thankful for. The list was pretty long. Everything I am grateful for goes back to God. Without him, I would not have a wonderful family, Lance, Natalie, Kayleigh, John and Olivia. Without him, I would not have wonderful parents, brothers Michael and Jared or my one and only favorite sister, Rebecca. Without him, I would have nothing. How grateful I am to God for all that I have.

A little history: John was born to George and Hilda Sims on November 28th, 1939. He was the 6th child, brother to Joyce, Hilda, Barbara, Alan, and David. (Following John was Geoffrey, Sylvia, Norma and Janet. (Janet only lived a few short hours, and Dad has talked to me all my life about one day being re-united with her). Dad used to tell us how he was always grateful for the gifts he was given from his parents. He didn't get much but he knew his parents did their best for him. He told us how he remembered receiving coloring books and crayons as a young boy.

He loved rugby from a very young age and went on to live his dream of playing for Hull Kingston Rovers. He married the love of his life, Valerie Houghton in 1962. He had 4 children, Michael, Maxine, Rebecca and Jared. He joined "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1968 and has been a devout 'Mormon' ever since. He has worked hard all his life doing his very best for his wife and family and has been a wonderful friend and true servant of God.

These are pictures from his 68th birthday which he celebrated with my family and I here in Utah.

Dad chose to go to 'Chuckarama' for his dinner. He liked the fact that, due to him not eating properly, he could choose what food he wanted and eat it at the pace he wanted. This restaurant is a buffet style and he liked the variety. Whilst he didn't eat much, he liked what he did eat. Truthfully, he really didn't want to go anywhere, but as it was his birthday, he wanted to make the effort. I AM SO GLAD HE DID.

We let the staff at the restaurant know it was his birthday and they came to sing to him. There were 'singers' surrounding the table and I was very emotional as they were singing. (I covered it very well however.) All I kept wondering was what must have been going through his mind.

Not only did they sing to him, they brought him birthday cake and ice-cream. He really enjoyed the cake and told me so afterward. So even though Dad won't be celebrating this way, or anyway today, we can still sing for him.

"Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday DEAR DAD

Happy Birthday to you!

One day Dad, there will be plenty of time to rejoice and celebrate. It will be a time we will embrace you and thank you once again for everything you have done for us. God gave us the greatest gift of all, his Son Jesus Christ who made it possible for us to live eternally as a family.

"We love you Dad"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A walk in the park

This picture was taken in East Park, Hull, England, July 2007. I really was amazed with how great it looked. The greenery is always welcoming to my eyes being that I now live in the desert.

Many wonderful memories of this park. We used to go very often. Dad will always be remembered by his children for all the time he spent with us. Besides the time he spent at work or with his callings in the church, Dad spent ALL his time with his children. He was at his happiest when he was with his family.
East Park is the biggest park in Hull. We had fun playing on the swings, hiding in 'rockies' and looking at the animals/birds. We had a lot of fun on the swings. slides and roundabouts. There were tennis courts, an outdoor pool, football and rugby fields and the infamous bridge that crossed a lake where we would have many fun times on the motor boats and the rowing boats. Dad was the best at rowing. We would end up 'stuck' whenever Michael or I attempted to row. Mom used to grasp on to the edge for dear life, always worrying at the thought of falling in.

The splash boat was a higlight for us too. If you sat at the front or the back you would often get soaked. We also had fun on the 'showboat'. It was a boat that took us all round the lake and every could relax.

We were the kind of family that didn't need any money in our pockets to have fun. Most of the time we would all have an ice-cream, but if we didn't, that was ok. We always had a lot of fun and especially enjoyed feeding the ducks. I believe Jared got bit on his bottom on one occasion.

As we got older we enjoyed going there for walks and would often talk about all our happy memories at East Park.

"We love you Dad"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

This picture was taken one year ago today. Mom and Dad flew in to spend Thanksgiving/Christmas and New Year with us. Dad was really not well at all and I was so proud and happy that he made the effort to come spend time with us. I KNEW this would be his last trip to the United States.

The memories I have of this time spent together will stay in my heart forever. This just proves even more that even though my Dad was sick, he made the effort for the love of his family. As ill as he was, he traveled for 24 hours to come and see us and spend time with us. Something we will never forget. This was to be the last time Lance and my children would see him.

My Parents spent 6 weeks with us. It was a different vacation to times past. Before, we traveled to various places and had lots of fun doing different things. This visit I saw a big change. Dad slept/rested more. He felt weak/sick and didn't have any energy or strength to do the things we had done so many times before.

Still I remember, we were going to make the most of our time together, and we did! Lance has been so selfless on so many occasions. He has ensured that my parents had a comfortable and fun time and did so much for them. I will always be grateful to him for that.
Oh how my heart breaks thinking that there will never be times like this again, but oh how my heart rejoices thinking of all the bright and happy times that we will share in the life after this one. Roll on the day! ;)

"We love you Dad"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missionary Monday

A special THANK YOU to David Kirby, (left) for sending a submission for this weeks "Missionary Monday".
I always will remember John Sims as being one of the highlights for me while I was in Hull serving as a missionary.
I served in Hull during the winter of 1996-1997. John was always good to help out the Elders with rides, splits and meals.

What a wonderful member of the church. Who knew this 5 foot something, 170 pounds wet man could have a mammoth size heart and character. What is that scripture, "When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of you God."

John is a wonderful servant of the lord. I wish John and his family the best.

With Love,
David Kirby

P.S. Rocky you are still hard as nails mate, hard as nails.

David, Renae and children

"We love you Dad"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Godspeed your love

Have you seen the movie, "GHOST?"

This picture was taken in Las Vegas, May 2008. It was the day before I was leaving for my surprise visit to England. Little did I know what significance this picture would have when I took it. I have been wanting to take a photography course for some time now as I am not very good at taking pictures.

Every time I look at this picture, I think of the movie, GHOST! I think of how the good spirits come to take 'Sam' at the end. Without a doubt, do I know that the light will shine strong and bright when Dad goes back home. Many times I have imagined him throwing his arms around his Mother and Father and his brothers and sisters who have passed before him. During one of our very last 'real' conversations, he reminded me how we have so many ancestors to get to know and be re-acquainted with when we leave this earthly life. Dad not only has many many ancestors but many many friends. It really is a wonderful picture in my mind as I see him laughing, chatting and hugging people.

I laugh and cry at the same time when I think of him begging God to bring my Mother, 'his Val' home as he will just miss her terribly. I guess as there will be no pain or heartache after this life that he won't miss her as much as she will miss him.

Dad has led a very good life. He has served his fellow men. He has been a wonderful husband, father and grandad. He has loved his family and done his very best for them. He has been a good friend. He has exemplified so many fine traits during his life.

The light will draw him home one day soon. His wife, family and friends don't have to doubt for one minute where JOHN SIMS will be going.

Lonely rivers flow to the sea,to the sea
to the open arms of the sea
lonely rivers sigh 'wait for me, wait for me'
I'll be coming home wait for me

"We love you Dad"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is a DAD?

A Dad is a person who is loving and kind,

And often he knows what you have on your mind.

He's someone who listens, suggests, and defends

A Dad can be one of your very best friends!

He's proud of your triumphs but when things go wrong

A Dad can be patient and helpful and strong.

In all that you do, a Dad's love plays a part

There's always a place for him deep in your heart.

And each year that passes you're even more glad,

More grateful and proud just to call him your dad!

Thank you, Dad ... for listening and caring for giving and sharing

but, especially, for just being you!

"We love you Dad"

Friday, November 21, 2008

I just called to say "I LOVE YOU"

This picture was taken in August 2007 at Xscape in Castleford.

I posted about really missing receiving letters from Dad on Nov 11th. (Click here to read the post)
Not only do I miss the letters, I really miss his phone calls too. I have called/rang my parents daily for the past 7 years. Sometimes my Dad and I would have lengthy phone calls, others would be short and sometimes they would be quick "Hello's". (The quick calls usually meant Dad was leaving to help someone who needed him.)

I REALLY MISS THE CALLS. All I can get now is "I love you and God Bless". Those words are good enough for me. The wonderful thing to me is that these are not words that are new. All of my life I have heard these words. They have been a daily, (many times a day) part of my life.

I will always treasure the memories I have of our phone conversations. In every single call, Dad would always ask if he could do anything for us. It didn't matter that we lived 5,000 miles away, he really was genuine when he asked that. It was part of his dialect. He was always wanting to help. My answer every single time would be "The best thing you can do for me is to love my Mother." He always promised me he would. He always kept that promise.

Many times I would check my voicemail and hear my Dad telling me he loved me. I so regret deleting those messages. Little did I know at the time, that one day soon he would barely be able to talk to me. Many times he would call me and forget about the time difference. He would see the time as 10:00am and didn't realize that for me it was 3:00am. :) I was always grateful to hear his voice that I did not care that I had been fast asleep just moments before.

We tried to teach Dad how to write and read texts. Not that he couldn't read or write but using a phone was completely different. :) He gave up (or maybe we did) before we could teach him how to enter the world of texting. I can't remember how many times he told me he had 'lost' his cell phone. One day he told me had lost it and we laughed when we called the number to look for it and it was fastened to his belt. :)

One day soon, we won't need a phone. We will just converse with each other, forever!

"I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart"

"We love you Dad"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When the red red robin.......

I am not sure when this picture was taken. Dad is the 3rd from the right at the back.

Dad loved rugby. He loved Hull Kingston Rovers and would often talk about the Robins. Here is their song!

When the red, red robin comes bob, bob bobbin' along, along,
There'll be no more sobbing when he starts throbbing His own sweet song.
Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head,
Get up, get up, get out of bed,
Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red,
Live, love, laugh and be happy.
What if I've been blue,
Now I'm walking through fields of flowers,
Rain may glisten, but I still listen for hours and hours.
I'm just a kid again, doing what I did again, singing a song,
When the red, red robin comes bob, bob bobbin' along.

I miss him talking about Rovers. Whenever he would visit us, he would tell everyone about the 'hard mans game' and try explaining the game. He would be really happy when I logged onto the internet and pulled up the Hull Daily Mail so he could see the score and read the updates. He would tell us how Uncle Geoff (his brother) was taping ALL the games for him to watch when he got home. He was very passionate about rugby league and in particularly, Hull Kingston Rovers.

"We love you Dad"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winnie and friends

These sweet little girls are Rebecca's and Gary's. Savannah (Mae), Samantha (Nicole) and Sienna (Loren). The only friends Winnie needs are these!

Dad loved spending time with his grand children. He used to dance with them and sing and playfully tease them. He was the kind of Grandad that always had some 'goodies' (candy) to give the kids. He used to love giving them Milky Ways.

Dad did so much to help all his children. Whether it was so they could have a night out, or a 'peaceful' trip to the store, he was always there to watch them. He had so much energy once upon a time to run around and really make them laugh. As his condition worsened, the energy was gone and his nerves shattered.

I was 18 when my Grandad (Dad's Father) died and had many memories of him. I feel so sad that our children will not get to know their Grandad. We can be sure to tell them lots of stories about him and his legacy will live on.

"We love you Dad"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dad's heart will go on!

This picture was taken in May 2007. It was outside the Bellagio Hotel.

We spent many fun times in Las Vegas. As you can tell by the picture it was a hot day. What you cannot tell is it was a VERY hot day. It was actually 102 degrees. Standing by the water was very refreshing. We actually felt like jumping in. Dad loved coming out to the States. It is almost a year now since he came here for the last time.

A refreshing addition to your entertainment options, the Fountains of Bellagio were destined to romance your senses. Take in a complimentary Las Vegas show of water, music and light thoughtfully interwoven to mesmerize its admirers. All for your amusement, the most ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived amazes against the beautiful backdrop of Las Vegas' lavender sky. Each dynamic performance from the Fountains collection is unique in its expression and interpretation. Fall in love with the stunning nature of this unprecedented aquatic accomplishment while relishing a clever concert of opera, classical and Broadway tunes.

On this particular occasion, Celine Dion was singing:

Every night in my dreams I see you, I feel you,
That is how I know you go on
Far across the distance and spaces between us
You have come to show you go on
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go till we're gone
Love was when I loved you
One true time I hold to
In my life we'll always go on
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
You're here, there's nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

Little did we know during this visit that Dad would be struck by this disease but these words are very poignant. His heart WILL go on and his spirit too.

I would gamble all I had to make Dad well again. I know it has to take more than a gamble for that to happen.

"We love you Dad"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Celebrating Mom's 70th birthday!

I took this picture when I was in England this past May (2008). We were celebrating Mom's 70th birthday at Mustafa's on Anlaby Road in Hull.

Dad was not feeling well at all but of course he would not miss out on his wife's birthday celebration. I sat next to him at the table and we both chose to eat 'Lamb Chops'. Absolutely beautiful. We both knew we had made the right choice when we saw them but as we were eating them we knew for sure we had :) The wrong choice was our dessert. We chose 'Fruit Salad' and we decided to share it as we were pretty full after our lamb chops. I was picturing in my mind, fresh fruit. It was canned fruit cocktail. We just kept laughing and pushing the dish in front of each other as neither one of us liked the look of it. It really was awful. The ice-cream was melting as we were just looking at it and laughing. It cost four pounds fifty. ($9)

Here is a picture of it. The picture is blurred as Dad and I were laughing so much at it. We had swirled our spoons around in the ice-cream not wanting to eat any of it.

After we were finished laughing, we paid for our food and went to Asda and bought ice-cream! We then went to Rebecca's and Gary's and had Raspberry and Apple Crumble and ice-cream. It was absolutely fabulous. I cannot even look at fruit cocktail anymore without thinking of Dad and I laughing at it.

Dad was always known for striking up a conversation with anybody. We saw him chatting to some people who were in the restaurant. We wondered what he was saying as they kept turning round and looking at Mom. Suddenly, Dad spoke very loud and said "I know you would just never believe she was 70 would you."
Apparently the guy at the table was celebrating his 70th birthday too and Dad was just so proud of how wonderful 'his Val' looked for her age.

I think the grapes in the fruit cocktail were older than she was. They certainly looked it.

"We love you Dad"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Lance

It is Lance's birthday today. Dad's birthday is in 2 weeks time. I didn't think he would make his birthday and he seems to be hanging on for something. I am putting together an album for him of best wishes and cards.

Dad always enjoyed celebrating our birthdays. He love the gift giving, the cake and ice-cream, the balloons and the games. He would love to give us birthday cards and presents. Dad taught us from a very young age that no matter what we received we should be grateful for. He always was. No matter what he received, he was most thankful for. I remember one year, I bought him a 'snickers'. I wrapped it all up pretty looking with a bow and he opened it and simply said "OH thanks, my favorite chocolate" and ate it right away." Of course I was joking with him and had a 'real' gift for him, but he did not know that. When he opened his 'real' present, he again was thankful and said, "oh the Snickers was all you needed to give me, I loved it". (I have just remembered they used to be called 'Marathon')
In the UK and Ireland, it was originally sold under the name "Marathon". Mars standardised many of its global brand names and the name was changed to Snickers in 1990. For 18 months before the name changed, the words "Internationally known as Snickers" were printed on the side of the Marathon wrapper. Following the name change, the bar moved from being Britain's ninth most popular bar to the third most popular

Today has been a plain ole' struggle for me. Some days I seem to cope but just lately I haven't been doing so well. It is difficult for me as I so feel the need to go and see my Dad, to just put my arms around him and thank him for all he has done. I would tell him I love him and of course I would cry. I feel the need to be over there for my Mother too. I would want to help give her a break and offer some comfort and support for her. I would cook her a meal, run her a hot bubble bath, sit with her and just simply BE THERE.

I am torn! I have chidren here that I NEED to be here for and I have parents over in England that I desperately WANT to be with.

"We love you Dad"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Internet problems

Did you miss my post yesterday? I could barely sleep as I had not posted. It really bothered me.

I had a very busy day/evening yesterday and when I arrived home at 1am, I figured I still had to post to the blog. Alas, Lance had been working on the basement and it had affected the wiring, this meant no internet connection.

I am at a friend's house posting today and just wanted to let you know I will be back to my regular postings tomorrow.

Thanks Friends!
"We love you Dad"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Food Glorious Food

This was taken last year, December 2007 at Subway in West Valley City, UT.

Poor Dad. For the last couple of years, no matter what wonderful food you mentioned to him, he didn't really fancy anything. He always used to love food and was always grateful for whatever was made or bought for him. He would tell us anything he ate just tasted like lead. (With my cooking, I wasn't surprised :) This particular day, he said he could eat a sandwich and Subway is just the place for that.

Dad's favorite food was stew and dumplings. He would often tell me how much he loved his Mother's stew and dumplings. He said he missed that and how he was glad he had married somebody who could cook good food.

Dad used to ask me if I would make stew and dumplings when he was visiting us. I told him the stew would be no problem but that we couldn't get dumplings. (Those are the best part of it).
He loved to eat jam/jelly sandwiches and I used to roll my eyes when I saw him first spread butter and then jam on his bread. He loved fish and chips, roast beef and yorkshire puddings and most desserts. He loved pastries and would always ask if we had any cream pies. I have to admit, I do miss the British pastries. You just cannot find anything good like that here in the US.
He loved pork pies and I will always remember him eating bowls of porridge. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day", he would always tell me (as I don't eat breakfast).

It was so sad to see him not enjoy his food as he once did. He used to have to eat little and often due to some surgeries he had had on his stomach in previous years. He was always happy to eat whatever everybody else wanted.

Up until a couple of years ago, he would fast (as part of his religion) and always did so without a murmur. He was a very good example of that and even felt guilty that he couldn't do it no longer when he got ill. He would always say, "Sorry I have to eat when I should be fasting, I wish I didn't have to."

Whilst on the subject of food, whenever he would see a beggar in the street, he would always go over to them. He didn't always like to give them money as he was always concerned they would just spend it on alcohol or cigarettes. Many many times, I would see him take a beggar into a bakery and buy them a sandwich and a drink. He always had a good heart. Always looked out for others and their well being and always felt good for doing so.

Desserts spelled backwards is STRESSED and that is exactly how I feel just now. I might just eat some chocolate as chocolate always makes you feel better. (As long as it is Cadbury's :)

"We love you Dad"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I like driving in my car

(It's not quite a Jaguar.....Remember the song by Madness?)

This picture was taken in July 2007. We were going to Whitby to visit Mike (my brother) and his family.

Probably one of the most favorite things my Dad liked to do was drive. Sometimes he had no clue where he was going and really had no place to go, but he would just get in his car and drive. He found great pleasure in simply driving. He was never the type to simply sit down. He liked to watch nature programs and rugby but was never a TV lover. He loved to read books but liked to be outside for the most part. Dad told me on several occasions he would always find somewhere to go, something to do, someone to help whilst he was driving around. Whenever he was helping others was when he was at his happiest.

He told me once that he used to purposely drive the streets to see if there was anyone who needed his help. He found great happiness in helping others.

A good laugh in our family was when we would go to Beverley, Hornsea, Bridlington, Scarborough in one trip. Oh best not forget Withernsea :)

I will always be grateful for the fact that I have had two years to really grow to love and appreciate Dad even more. I have always loved him, but I have grown to love him deeply. I once heard that cancer is a disease of love. I wondered what that really meant and I began to realize it was due to the true bond it creates. I have learned more about Dad than I thought I would ever know. I have seen many blessings and even though my heart is breaking, I am so grateful for the time we have had together.

A prize will be given to the person who can tell me how many cars Dad has owned! :)

"We love you Dad"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letters from home

This is a picture of Dad at Brazil Street Post Office.

You never know how much you will miss something 'til it is gone. How I miss the letters and postcards from Dad. He wrote to me faithfully every week and often more. I always looked forward to receiving whatever he sent. Sometimes I would receive a long letter, others would be short, sometimes a postcard. I used to tease him and tell him whether he wrote on toilet paper, I would be grateful and one day I received a letter written on toilet paper! :)

Wherever he went he always had a pen, paper and envelopes with him. He wrote to my brothers whilst they were serving missions without fail. He wrote to missionaries, people who were sick, and friends.

Every letter he would let me know how things were back home. He would tell me of his love for his family and ALWAYS would write about his love for God and his Son, Jesus Christ. He would tell me how grateful he was for his membership in the church and for his family and friends. One thing he NEVER did was complain. Of every letter I have in my possession, and there are many, there isn't one where he has complained about anything. Even during his illness, he would always talk about the positive things.

Another of his sayings was "It is better to have a blunt pencil than the sharpest memory". He would write so many things down. To avoid forgetting something, he would always write himself messages. Many times I would get into his car to find a sticky note with a message on it stuck to his steering wheel. He would write things down that impressed him to be remembered at a later date. He always kept a diary and write personal notes and reminders.

Here is an excerpt I would like to share from one letter:

'Maxine, I do not know why I have cancer. I do not know the answer. What I do know is that I have it for a reason. I know God will take care of everything and I put my faith in him 100%. I love you and want you to endure to the end. All my love angel, Your Dad.'

It is amazing how many letters I have. I will treasure each and every one of them. This post has been a teary one for me. I have received a lot of help, advice, good words and strength from Dad's letters and now I know I won't receive another one and that is painful. :(

The letters that come to my mind just now are 'L O V E'

"We LOVE you Dad"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Home Evening

Every Monday evening, as kids we were taught not to plan anything. We spent Monday evenings as a family. We would have a lesson which could have been anything from respecting others to living forever as a family. We would always have a game which was normally the 'dark' game (described in a previous post) and treats.

'Family Home Evenings' were always a lot of fun as little kids. Once we hit our teenage years it was a different story :) However, our parents were very strict with this and no matter what, we had to be home on Monday evenings.

Our parents taught us well and we are all trying our best to raise our children as they raised us. Our youngest daughter, Olivia will sit at the table and will not eat her food until it has been blessed. I bet she already knows her Mother is not the best cook in the world and is being safe.

We learned from being babies how important it was to pray. We would joke with Dad as he wanted us to have a prayer every time he left the house (Seriously that could mean ten prayers a day!) If we questioned him, he would say "Do you want me to go out and get hit by a truck?" Of course we were going to pray after he said that. Dad taught us to pray before every meal and would sometimes see him blessing a candy bar/chocolate bar. :) He was truly grateful for everything he had.

Now I am married to someone who prays just like my Dad. I joke with friends and say "I often wonder if I should have Lance bless the food as I wonder if my food will be mouldy by the time he gets finished."

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have prayed for my Dad. It has meant a lot to our family. I really believe in the power of prayer. I have learned over the years that just because we simply pray for something doesn't mean we will get it. (I have prayed to win the lottery for years .....:))

Please keep my Mom in your prayers. She really needs some extra strength right now.

"We love you Dad"

For those of you who follow this blog you know that today's post would normally be 'Missionary Monday' but we are without a missionary post this week. If you knew Dad whilst you were serving a mission in England, please send a memory and a picture to me at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Parents

This picture was taken in 2006 at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake City, UT. Don't they look such a cute couple? Rebecca and I were discussing today how they have been inseperable ever since they have known each other.

Dad has learned so much about Joseph Smith during his life. He has read hundreds and hundreds of books and has studied all about him. His testimony of Joseph Smith and of the church has never wavered. He has always stood firm to his beliefs. He was always proud of the fact that they had the same initials.

If you want to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, please visit

We always had so much fun when my parents came to visit. In yesterdays post, I stated that I promised my Dad I would look after my Mother the best I could. When Dad does pass on, we will have Mom come here to visit us for a while. I think it will be really good for her to take a break as she surely will deserve it. We would love for her to live here with us but she feels the need to stay in England. I can understand that. (Just a little :) I do know it won't be the same without Dad with her, but his spirit will always be with us.

We will be able to go shopping until our hearts content. Dad always wanted to come with us but really really did not enjoy shopping. He would sit on the benches in the mall and wait for us. He would always remind us that we had enough pairs of shoes and didn't need any more clothes. WHAT! A woman can never have too many pairs of shoes.

We have been blessed beyond measure with wonderful parents. They are THE best and we as their children have a lot to live up to that is for sure.

"We love you Dad"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mother, I love you

This picture was taken on Mom's 40th birthday on May 10th 1978. (Michael 14, Maxine 10, Rebecca 5 and Jared 2)

It will obviously take me many posts to tell you about our Mother. She is one wonderful person. She has many fine attributes. She has always been the love of my Dad's life. I am so proud that I can say they have always kept their marriage vows and covenants.

Valerie Ann Houghton was born in Hull, England in 1938 to Clarence and Laura (Stephenson). She has one sister Doreen. I learned the lady (and she was a lady in every sense of the word) who we called Nana was really my Mother's Aunt. At the young age of 17 our Grandmother, passed away with cancer. She was just 39 years old.

My Mother and her 15 year old sister went to live with their Aunt, Emily Plaskitt. Their Father, by his own choice left them. My Mother and her sister not only lost their dear Mother but their Father too at the same time. (There are more details which are not necessary to post here.)
I couldn't praise Nana Plaskitt enough. She was a wonderful lady. I remember eating porridge for breakfast when we stayed the night at her house. We used to eat it in small margarine tubs. She had a wonderful neighbor, Ron who used to make jam and I remember on so many occasions we would eat home made bread and blackcurrant jam. Some neighbors I remember are Dolly, Mrs Chenery and Mrs Lord. Her house was immaculate. There was never a thing out of place and I remember a glass cabinet she had with lots of cute little ornaments in it. I was so excited that on my last visit to England, my Mother gave me a treasured ornament of a cat sitting in a chair. I will always cherish it.

My Mother is a very strong person and I truly believe it has to do with the fact that she lost both her parents at a young age that she had to be. One of the funniest things she has ever told me was when she met my Dad and he told her he was one of 10 kids. As Mom had only one sister, she asked my Dad if she could meet his family, 'two at a time.' Isn't that cute? When my Grandma (My Dad's Mother) met her for the first time, she asked my Dad how he got so lucky. "She is beautiful".

They were married on March 31st 1962 and have been in love ever since. There is not one thing one of them would not do for the other. They raised 4 children and are wonderful parents. Even now in Dad's sorrow and pain I know he is praying for his wife and children and grandchildren.

Mom was one of those Mothers who stayed at home with her children and was very active in their lives. I remember whatever was going on at our schools, she was there for us. She cooked wonderful meals and took great care of us. She got very upset whenever one of her children were upset. She shared their joys and their pains and still does.
Mom's favorite color is pink. She loves shoes and purses/handbags. She loves desserts, cakes and pies and mousses and ice-cream. Her favorite drink is Horlicks. She loves to do puzzles and crosswords. She doesn't like the months January and February. She likes BOILING water when she takes a bath. I often wonder how her body could take it. She is always freezing. She loves the sun. She loves shopping. Her favorite time of year is Christmas and her house looks like Santa's grotto. She has taken after her Aunt Emily for always having a tidy and clean home. Mom has always taken great care of herself and with no surgeries, has kept her young looks and her cute figure. She likes to watch good movies, "Gone with the Wind" and "Titanic" are a couple of her favorites and really loves "Remember the Titans" ever since she watched in over and over whilst visiting us.

My Dad has always been proud of my Mom. He was never happy if she was not by his side. She truly is the light of his life. Now during his darkest hour, she is there for him every step of the way. Day in, day out seeing to his needs and taking care of him. Just today during our daily phone call, I could hear her checking on him and asked if needed anything. We both had a giggle when she said "I am just on the phone with Maxine, don't go anywhere". Like he was just going to jump up and leave the room.

It pains me greatly to think that the two of them used to go out daily to run errands, go to the city center, or simply to visit someone, are now housebound. I will always be grateful to her for her patience, her kindness, her love for her family and for inviting the Missionaries back to their home over 40 years ago. She has sustained my Dad in every church calling he has had. Never one to complain.

I know there will come a day when she will need me and I will be there for her. Being that I am very much like my Dad, she will enjoy my jokes and sense of humor. The very last promise I made my Dad, was to always look after Mom. When I asked him, on my most recent visit to England if he was worried about dying, he said "NOOOOO (very strong voice) my only concern is your Mother". I said , "You don't have to worry about a thing, we will take great care of her."

I will honor that promise.

"We love you Dad"

Friday, November 7, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle

Oh the memories. This picture was taken at Sewerby Park (Nr Bridlington).

We always enjoyed going on holiday/vacation. We would rent a caravan for the week and have so much fun. This session of playing on these 'cool' bikes ended in tears. You will notice that the bikes only have one brake on the right hand side. Michael and I were racing each other and I was going way too fast (Nothing has changed there. Lance is always telling me to watch my speed in the car;) and I was about to crash so I put my foot down on the floor. I had sandals on and scraped my toes across the ground to stop the bike. My toes were all bloody and looked just so awful. Amazing how I don't remember too much about the actual day but I most certainly remember scraping my toes really bad.

Dad never had a car when we were younger. We used to ride the bus, or walk or ride our bikes everywhere. One of my earliest memories of school was how Dad used to 'croggy' me on his bike to school. We would show up to school early as Dad needed to get to work. He would wait until some friends arrived then would leave..........he would look at me as long as he could blowing kisses and saying "see you tonight". There were days it was freezing, days it was raining but no matter the weather, we never complained. It was our way of life.

I look back now and smile as I think of the memories I have of Dad right from the very beginning taking care of us. Something that would last for the next 35 years.

"We love you Dad"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Simply THE best

This is a picture of Uncle Alan and my Dad. It was my Dad's wedding day. Look at his cute dimples :)
Uncle Alan passed away after suffering with cancer. I barely recognized him at the end. I remember going to see him at Dove House Hospice and walking into his room. I walked out and saw my Dad in the hall. I told Dad I could not find Uncle Alan and I followed him. As we walked into the same room, I looked puzzled as I had already been in that room and knew it was not the right one. How wrong I was. Uncle Alan was so sick and looked so different, I just did not recognize him.
Not only has Dad been a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, he has always been a great son and brother. Dad has always visited his family members. I remember from a very early age going to their homes even if it was just for a few minutes, Dad always wanted to see if there was anything he could do for them. He loved his association with them. He has shared many memories of them growing up.
Uncle Alan always liked to have parties. He was the host of our New Year's eve family get togethers. He loved music, and he loved his beer. One particular year either 1993 or 94, we were at his house on new years eve. He loved Tina Turner and we were all singing to Tina Turner (karaoke). I believe Jared said he didn't like Tina Turner and that was it! Uncle Alan was very drunk and didn't like that Jared had said that. He told us to get out. I looked at him and thought "WHAT" I didn't even say anything (but always seemed to get the blame for everything :) We realized it was only due to the fact that he was drunk that he got so angry with us for not liking Tina Turner. He said to Dad "John, tell 'em, tell 'em to get out. Being that Dad never wanted any trouble, we left.
Of course we still loved Uncle Alan. (I really like Tina Turner, for the record! ) I remember driving him to Withernsea (approximately 17 miles from Hull) We were to meet Dad and Uncle Gordon there. Uncle Alan swore he would never ever let me drive him anywhere else again. (He never did either) There are a lot of curves on that road to Withernsea and I am not the slowest of drivers. He got out the car looking rather pale. :) I passed him a sack as I thought for sure he was going to need it :) He never let me forget he would never get in my car again. :)
Dad, You're simply the best, better than all the rest. Better than anyone, anyone I've ever met
"You're simply THE best!"
We love you Dad