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As I’ve said many times before, one of my favorite quotes is, “There is nothing permanent except change.” How has your life recently changed?

Over the last few weeks I’ve become very acquainted with a place in our community — Birch Creek Assisted Living Center. This is a wonderful new facility in our valley, where residents can live in a safe home-like environment. How wonderful are the people who live and work at Birch Creek.

As some of you may have read on my Facebook page or email, I recently fell while I was outside walking our dog, JJ. It seems my body doesn’t work the way that it used to. Somedays are better than others. The “super caregivers” at Birch Creek are providing the excellent support and assistance that I am in need of at this time.

Since Birch Creek is brand new, my room went from being completely empty to feeling “homey,” thanks to the help of Jane and my family. My sons moved in my heavy furniture, and my daughters and daughters-in-law helped to make sure I have everything I need.

My daughter-in-law Alisa decorated my room. She brought many familiar things to hang on the walls to make the place feel more inviting. There are many paintings and keepsakes that remind me of the time that I spent in Hawaii, New Zealand, and the isles of the Pacific.

There’s the mission picture from when Jane and I went to Hawaii and served in all of the church schools. Above my bed there’s a picture of the first house I lived in when I grew up in Magna. The walls are also decorated with drawings, pictures, and letters from my grandchildren.

One of my favorite things is a really clever digital picture frame. It’s a very neat thing. It’s not just any picture frame. It’s connected to the internet, and all of my family members can send pictures to it so that I can keep in touch with everyone and see what’s changing in their lives. It has some older memories and more recent memories too — pictures from now and then. It also has a feature that allows for live video chats. Very special.

Jane also brought her latest Shutterfly book that contains several pictures that tell the stories of many memories of our children and grandchildren. She spent a long time making it for our family’s Christmas gift this past year.

One special Christmas gift that I received was from my granddaughter Natalie. She made me a wall-canvas with one of my favorite sayings, “NGU — Never Give Up.” It’s a good one, as is the large tapestry of my family tree that she made me the year before. It has everyone’s names as well as our family motto, “No Empty Chairs.” Many special things are in my room here at Birch Creek.

Another great thing about Birch Creek is their remarkable visiting policy. They do allow visitors — especially remarkable during this pandemic! They have a great COVID-19 protocol where visitors are screened upon arrival. This has kept them free from any cases of COVID during this time. They really do a great job at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Pets are also allowed — which is great for JJ and me. I enjoy him coming and look forward to his visits. The other residents sure love him too. His visits sure brighten up the place!

I also get to attend church here, which has been special. Jane can come and go with me.

There are many great people here at Birch Creek who I’ve been getting to know during mealtimes and the activities that they plan for us. There are many options that range from games and singing to crafts and trivia to puzzles and bingo to even Tai Chi!

I went to Tai Chi the other day and enjoyed it. It’s a great thing for people who want a new way to keep their balance and be able to defend themselves when necessary.

One unique activity at Birch Creek is the “Birch Creek Bells.” They have a whole musical bell system of their own. Residents play songs together each taking turns to ring their bells. One of the songs we played was “Back in the Saddle Again” — which sounded more like “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” to me. Practice makes improvement.

Music definitely adds a lot of happiness to life. I have a great playlist that I listen to in my room. It includes one of my favorite songs, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“Somewhere over the rainbow / way up high / there’s a land that I heard of / once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow / skies are blue / and the dreams that you dare to dream / really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star / and wake up where the clouds are far behind me. / Where troubles melt like lemon drops / away above the chimney tops / that’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow / bluebirds fly. / Birds fly over the rainbow / why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly / beyond the rainbow / why, oh why can’t I?”

Did you have a nice Valentine’s Day? The Birch Creek staff planned a special Valentine’s luncheon for all of us. My daughter Jill decorated my door and window for Valentine’s Day. She didn’t just do cards. She went above and beyond. She is very artistic and crafty — there are fancy, elaborate hearts everywhere! It’s sure festive. I also received some special Valentine’s cards and letters in the mail from friends and family near and far. They sure meant a lot to me.

Residents at Birch Creek enjoy receiving mail. Letters are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. When’s the last time you sent a letter to brighten someone’s day?

To send a letter to the residents at Birch Creek: Birch Creek Assisted Living Center, 532 South Main Street, Smithfield, UT 84335.

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