The Mercy Finder

The Mercy Finder

Friday, May 15, 2015

Catch a Falling Dad

There are times I know the angels are watching and silent note taking, but also protecting and assisting with soft landings. Tonight was one of those nights. Dad took a second spill in one week, and this one appeared like it wasn't going to end very well. I was helping him move from his chair to his wheelchair via his walker, but we just didn't quite make it to the wheelchair. Previously, I've thought that his legs just randomly give out, but tonight I think there may be a sudden quick little seizure that occurs, and down he goes. Life is sort of unpredictable at 100 years old.

I was able to catch him, somewhat, or at least break the fall. But he's 190 lbs. and I'm not. And this time he was heading forward not backward. We landed; it wasn't so bad. I turned him over assessing any damage which there wasn't any, and called 911 for their excellent "Back to Bed Assist."

After things settled down it became very apparent to me that Dad almost sliced his head open on the stair near where he fell, or cracked it open on the hard cold tile. Yet neither occurred. And it wasn't because of my superior caregiving ways. I remember trying to cushion his head as I saw him going for a face plant, but somehow, and I add, miraculously, his head was turned and he fell short of the stair as I reached for his head before he went bump. But I know I didn't do it alone because physically and logistically it wasn't possible. I didn't have enough hands and arms to catch all of him. But others did.

I believe if I had my X-ray vision to see more refined matter I would have seen many of our loved ones past surrounding us and cushioning the landing. As it was, I felt their spirits and and all I could whisper was a tear-filled "thank you!" How grateful I am for the "Keep Dad Safe Assist" that I receive over and over again when I send out my heavenly 911. The simple prayer that I learned as a child, "help us to have no harm or accident befall us," is still my daily prayer, continually being answered by a loving Father in Heaven.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


There's really no way to express what I'm feeling right now. Well, I suppose there is but I'm too tired to go there and the list is so long of what still needs to be done. It's been 3 days since Mom passed away on Wednesday, September 5th. Someday, I will write the book that seems to be scattered all over my computer in bits and pieces, sort of like her cognitive ability as it began to fade and parts of her personality became puzzle pieces that slowly pulled apart and rearranged, but never quite fit back together.  Someday, I will. But for now, I put one foot in front of another, look out for Dad including assembling what he'll wear to the funeral and hoping he has the strength to make it "just one more day".

I think my mom is happy. I think she may be rejoicing and frolicking and exploring and laughing and laying down another perfect hand of Rook. I hope she's missing me like I'm missing her. I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she understands how she'll always be my hero. I hope...I see her face again.

Death by consensus is hard. With 6 brothers and sisters and everyone with an opinion, it took four hours just to revise the recently written obituary.  However, it is done and here it is.  Last week I felt prompted to order Mom's birth certificate just to verify how she really spelled her middle name. To our great surprise it is May with a "Y" instead of an "E".  And even though it arrived in time to correct the obituary and the program,  some members of The Committee argued for an "E" since that's how she spelled it during the last 40 or 50 years of her life.  

Olea Mae, MaY you enjoy your time without us because I promise, when we start returning home we will make you be our mom again and look for you to rub our heads and scratch our backs and tell us, "this too will pass".

                                                     Olea Mae Babbel Woolf
                                                           1924 - 2012

Olea Mae Babbel Woolf, age 88, passed away peacefully in her home in Laguna Niguel, CA, surrounded by family and friends on September 5, 2012, due to complications of Lewy Body Dementia.  Born in Twin Falls, ID, on May 28, 1924, the daughter of Frederick August and Lena Lamprecht Babbel, Olea was the 7th child of 9 children, her parents being immigrants from Germany.  Olea had a strong adventuresome spirit, boundless energy, great enthusiasm, lived unselfishly and loved life.  She graduated from Brigham Young University in 1946 in Bacteriology and completed her 5th year certification as a Medical Technologist at Stanford Medical Hospital in San Francisco.  In 1947, she married Anthony DeVoe Woolf in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.  Olea and Anthony had 7 children during the next 12 years and resided in El Cerrito, CA, for over 40 years.  Although she had a long career in Hematology at Samuel Merritt Hospital in Oakland, CA, Olea’s first devotion was to her family and her faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she enthusiastically served among the children and the youth.  She had a great love for reading, nature, travel, music, singing, and most of all, people.  She was blessed with many gifts but her family believes her greatest gift was her ability to manifest her love for people in her everyday actions.  Olea and Anthony retired to Auburn, CA, living a wonderful life together for over 20 years in the foothills of the Sierras before moving to Laguna Niguel, CA, to live with their daughter, Joyce, for the past 2 years.  Olea is survived by her husband, Anthony; her children, Cheryl (Jay) Munns of West Covina, CA; Joyce Woolf of Laguna Niguel, CA; John (Gayle) Woolf of Murray, UT; Fred (Melissa) Woolf of Alpharetta, GA; Marlene (Kelly) Gallacher of Granite Bay, CA; Sandy (Bill) Marble of Woodland, CA; and William (Alycia) Woolf of Park City, UT; her sister, Pearl (Wendell) Schenk of Twin Falls, ID, her sister-in-law, Ivie Babbel of Manti, UT; her sister-in-law, Mary Woolf, (Georgetown, TX).   She is also survived by her 26 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.  She will be greatly missed but her influence will be felt for many generations.  Her family wants to thank her recent caregivers and hospice workers.

A viewing will be held on September 17, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. with services at 11:00 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3050 Mojave Lane, Provo, UT.  In addition, friends and relatives are invited to the home of John & Gayle Woolf, 569 E. Trunk Bay Circle, Murray, UT, Sunday, September 16th at 7:00 p.m. to visit with family members.  Condolences may be left at  Contributions may be made to

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PHOTO A DAY/Days 6-10

And so I continue with the Photo A Day challenge. I've found this to be quite interesting at it causes me to focus on seeing things all day that would fit into the specific daily category. Provides a different dimension to my quotidian activities.

July 6:  Chair---  a perfect Friday afternoon at Aliso Creek Beach in Laguna. Cousins everywhere.

July 7:  Garden---  I have a little fairy garden in my backyard that is growing and growing and growing. And when the whirly-gig is going around in circles, that means a fairy is happy.

July 8:  Lunch---  I almost forgot about this one since it was Sunday and shortly after getting home from church I started cooking beef stroganoff with my sister for the 20 or so people we were having for dinner, but then I went into the kitchen that night and saw the remains of my lunch still on the counter, and a very little remains it was. Brownies from Zink's in Laguna Beach. I kid you not, I have officially declared these to be the BEST brownies in the world!

July 9:  Big---  Since the Gallachers were in town, early Monday morning we drove Brigham to the train station in San Juan Capistrano to take the train from there to Santa Barbara for EFY.  What great and rapturous joy we all felt when we saw about 10 gorgeous girls from San Clemente all boarding the same train and heading up to EFY with him. We now call it the EFY Express. The express train to Briggy's heart.

July 10:  Favorite Color---  Boy, I would have enjoyed photographing more than one picture of this color. I would have loved to photograph every color, many times. Color, color, color. How blessed we are to see the world in bright, vibrant, full-of-life color.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I'm taking the Photo A Day challenge for the month of July. Although I'm posting on Facebook I've decided to post 5 days at a time on my somewhat forgotten, all too neglected blog. Thanks to my friend, Gayle Humpherys, (who got it from someone else) for the idea.

July 1:  Self-portrait---  (however it turned out to be Self-portraits or Selves-portrait since Miss Annie Jane had a sleepover with her Nannie.

July 2:  Busy---  Just the thought of moving usually makes everyone sick.  Brittany and Jordan moved into their new home over the past weekend. It's been a very busy few days indeed.

July 3:  Favorite Part of My Day---  as if this requires any explanation.

July 4:  Fun---  I posted this picture of family and friends at our bar-b-que. But I would have posted the second picture, too, of the Pacific Symphony program for their 4th of July performance. It was great fun for this old gal to get out and take a breather from things on the home front. Thanks for the invite, Metcalfs.

July 5:  On The Floor---  Brittany called somewhat distressed.  "Mom, can you come over between 12 and 12:30 so the babysitter can go to her next job? I'll still be with Annie and her birthday party friends at the nail salon (5 little girls getting mani-pedis)".  "Yeah, sure" I replied, "if you really get home by 12:30 because I have to be in Newport Beach before 1pm.  Needless to say she didn't and I wasn't. And Brooks and Tyler had an exciting time helping unpack the game room.

Looking forward to seeing what the next 5 days brings.  Hint for Day 6...starts with "ch".

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Introducing,,, MY BIG COMEBACK

I'm baaaaaack!

Somehow life went from December to June and I don't know how that happened and I bet you don't either.
I see that this blog background was still Christmas themed so at least that was the first thing to change.. And in the past few months apparently blogger has changed their style, so I'll have to figure out what's up with that.
I will admit life has been crazy but not all bad. This picture sort of sums it up; Chelsea, and Sawyer in bed with me:

And I really like this one of Chelsea after her shower:

And this one just sort of ticks me off. It's a picture taken 3 years ago at my Cousins Reunion.  All the people in this picture are my cousins or brothers. HOW COME I HAD TO BE THE SHRIMP? My folks should have named me Lili Lilliputian Woolf. I mean really! The Gallachers got all the great hair. The rest of the Babbels, Harpers, McKnights, and Schenks along with brothers Fred and Bill got all the height. All my girl cousins and sisters are tall. Guess that just leaves brother John and me, and I got all the brains so what does that leave him?

In reflecting back on my life I am grateful that an ex-husband never used this excuse against me for marital dissatisfaction: 

My headline would have read "Woman wearing bifocal contacts kills husband in furious rage after he has been out catting around and has the nerve to bring the skinny ladies with the big ears home with him.

I swore I wouldn't stay up til 2am two nights in a row, and I'm already a liar. So I'm calling it a night. 

However, I'm ready for Summer, I'm not letting this get past me, that's for sure.  Here's Sawyer to prove it:

And to get us past our typical June Gloom down here my brother Fred sent some beautiful roses for Mother's Day. They truly were amazing. I can almost smell them. Happy Beach Daze Ahead to You!

Monday, December 19, 2011


(My Sacrament meeting talk on  12/18)

When I was about 6 or 7 my very busy mother decided it would be fun to teach Christmas carols to her children and all the neighbor kids so that we could then go caroling to the rest of the neighborhood. We met for several weeks in our small livingroom while my mom taught us as many songs as we could learn. At the end we made caramel popcorn balls, wrapped in red and green cellophane, to hand out, so at least if the neighbors didn’t like our voices, they might like our goodies. Sometimes when I want to remember bygone days feeling the Christmas spirit I think back to those few Decembers as it became a tradition for a while. It was so fun to walk around several blocks singing with our friends who also were in kindergarten thru 6th grade.  There were at least 10 or 15 of us. I learned to love Christmas carols from that experience. I’ve loved caroling anytime I get an opportunity, whether it be on a boat on Lake Merritt in the Oakland Bay Area, for a Mutual activity, on the hills of Bethlehem, and especially in my car with my grandchildren.

The night before I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting the words and melody to the Christmas choir song “O Come Let Us Adore Him” were trapped in my mind. I went to sleep hearing it, spent half the night hearing it, and woke up hearing it. Now, being asked to speak, I’ve decided to use the words from “O Come All Ye Faithful” for my inspiration.

“O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the king of angels. O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

O, Come…What a welcoming phrase. A warm invitation. To step forward, embrace, remember, celebrate all those that are filled with faith. I like being invited to things. I liked being invited to sing to our neighbors. It makes me feel special at the same time feeling part of something larger. But what does it mean to be faithful or full of faith?  Are we full of faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and if so, why, what do we have faith in? 

The subject of faith is beyond exhaustive. We know that faith is a belief in things hoped for but not seen.   In Alma 32:21 we read,  “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true”.

I have not yet seen Jesus Christ in my mortal life, but I have faith that He lives and loves me, that He was born at the meridian of time and walked on this earth doing good, performing miracles and going about our Heavenly Father’s business. I have felt his spirit and influence in my life many times. I have had dreams of Him. I have turned to him as my great and perfect exemplar. When I fall on my knees or hide in my closet in despair or plead for his arms to be wrapped around me, His peace and comfort envelops me as He comes to me.  I have hope for a brighter future. I feel faith-full and I know that when I repent and am forgiven I am worthy to come to Him. I feel joy and I seek His spirit in his holy temple and in the faces of the ordinance workers. I seek for and behold his face in the lost and downtrodden, the beggars and the homeless, knowing that they are not alone, that He loves all of us. I seek for and behold His face in my friends and family, in nature, and in the faces and voices of the members of the Mormon Tabernacle choir as they sing praises to Him. I behold His face in our Prophet Thomas S. Monson, in our apostles, and in our local stake and ward leaders, especially our Bishop, as they minister to us so kindly and lovingly.

I was reading online about Jenny Oaks Baker, the Grammy-nominated violinist daughter of Apostle Dallin H. Oaks. In her biography she mentions how she met her husband at a singles ward on the east coast. She was handing out programs at the door; he walked in. She climbed over several people to sit by him. He started trying to impress her by telling her his father had been a bishop, stake president, and now mission president. She then, which she swears she never ever does, responded with “Well my father’s an apostle!” What was he to say after that? I guess the yin and yang of courtship began. Game on.

As I thought about this anecdote I wondered why he didn’t come back with, “Well, my elder brother is Jesus Christ.” Then she could have said, “Mine, too” and they would have been even more united with all things in common.  As we are. Knowing that Jesus Christ, our elder brother, who descended below all things so He could overcome all things, even death, the great and supernal sacrifice, so that all of us could overcome death, I feel triumphant!

Doctrine & Covenants 88:6-14 is so beautiful. It reads:
“He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehendeth all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead.”
I journeyed to Israel in December, 1999.  It was an interesting time to be in the Holy Land when Hanukah, Ramadan, Christmas, and the new millennium intersected.  I travelled with a small tour group of 15. Because of the political unrest and rioting in Bethlehem we were un-able to enter the city safely. However, on one temperate evening as the sun was falling we gathered on the hills above Bethlehem to read scriptures and sing Christmas hymns.  Several Bedouin women and their small children gathered around as it had become their custom to join in the music and perhaps look for a little handout. It was a magical and sacred experience made even more special by our guide, Daniel Rona, who pointed out one of the women gathered nearby as he told us the following story.  For several years the woman, accompanied by her little boy who was 5 or 6 years old, had been coming to this gathering as Dan Rona brought a group of believers to her hillside. And then suddenly she stopped coming. Brother Rona learned from some of the other women that her little boy had died and she was too heartbroken to return.  Filled with sorrow for this poor woman, who had no modern technology like a photograph from which to remember her son, Brother Rona began emailing past tour groups to see if anyone had taken a picture of this mother and child. For many months, he heard nothing. And then one day a photograph arrived in the mail of the child; one of the people had been going through his slides and found a picture of him.  The next time Dan Rona took a group to the Bethlehem hills, amazingly the woman had returned with the group. She stood back and was shy. Brother Rona walked up to her and handed her a photograph of her little boy. She looked in shock and amazement and then knelt down, weeping tears of joy and gratitude.  A simple gift really but worth everything to a grieving mother, to see her son’s face again. 
I think this is how we will feel when we again see our loved ones, knowing that they live on because Heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten son for our sakes, to be resurrected and receive the opportunity for Eternal life.
Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation; sing all ye citizens of heav’n above! Glory to God, Glory in the highest.  O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.

We know heavenly choirs sang in exultation to the shepherds gathering on the Bethlehem hills over 2000 years ago, singling Glory to God. A year ago this week, my friend’s 43 year old daughter, Krista, passed away from a brain tumor.  Krista was in every way an exceptional daughter, wife, mother, and fellow-citizen of Christ. She was also blessed with a beautiful alto singing voice and was recorded in a studio singing some of her favorite songs.  At the conclusion of her funeral, immediately after the closing prayer in a completely filled stake center in Plano TX, we in the audience heard Krista’s beautiful voice singing a capella “O My Father,” ringing  out from the sound system.  Her husband had arranged for her amazing recording to be played as a final soul-stirring gift to us, her friends and loved ones. The hushed room sat in silent tribute joining our personal testimonies to the words: “O my Father, thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place, when shall I regain thy presence and again behold thy face?...When I leave this frail existence, when I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high? Then at length, when I’ve completed all you sent me forth to do, with your mutual approbation let me come and dwell with you.”  All of this because of the loving tender sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Several of Kristas’ former choir members heard Krista’s actual voice singing along with the recorded number. One in a choir of angels, singing in exultation.
This past Friday morning I received word that little 6-year old Spencer Felt, the grandson of another friend of mine, was finally receiving a heart transplant. For 3 months all who know and love this family have been hoping and praying for Spencer to be well enough to receive a new heart when one became available for him. Friday was the day. I was overcome with emotion as I received the text, being fully aware that somewhere some other group of citizens was mourning the loss of a child. I sent a prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father, not only for Spencer’s new heart, but for the sacrifice of one other so that Spencer could proceed forward with his destiny.  And I sent a prayer of gratitude that our Savior and Eldest brother, Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, so willingly laid down his life so we could live again.
I don’t know how Jesus did all of this. In the midst of my own personal great torment recently I wondered allowed to Heavenly Father, “How?” How was Jesus able to achieve such perfection when he was tormented and buffeted by Satan, experiencing EVERY temptation and sorrow so that he could succor us?  What incomparable behavior and attributes did he develop such that he could be the Savior of the World and worlds without end?
And the answer I received was he submitted his will to the father. Not to the world, not to Satan, not to the voices of peer pressure around him, but solely to the Father. For me, then, that is the key. In learning to submit our will we take his yoke upon us, and learn of Him. By being yoked to Him, we can best learn of his perfected qualities, though only in our comparatively small ways.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “If we are meek, through our smaller but similar experiences we will come to appreciate Jesus’ perfected qualities even more. Then our adoration of him produces a desire for emulation of him”. 
Elder Maxwell then quoted Joseph Smith by saying, “The Prophet Joseph Smith, whose own life was lived in a crescendo of self-improvement amid adversity, observed; The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, ‘til he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, (he) arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his maker and is caught up to dwell with Him.”  (Teachings p. 51) 
The clearer one’s views, the more one sees “things as they really are,” the greater the happiness.
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n. Son of the Father, Now in flesh appearing; O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Purple Oaks and Birchen Boughs

The sweet calm sunshine of October, now
 warms the low spot;
Upon its grassy mold the purple oak-leaf falls;
The birchen bough drops its bright spoil like arrow-heads of gold.
-William Cullen

I love how this poem perfectly captures the month of October.  I love even more than reading it, speaking this poem out loud. Try it. See how it feels in your mouth. Hear how it resonates in your ears.  Doesn’t it sound lush and bountiful? Like a bushel of golden apples? Ah, October! How do you leave us so quickly?

A few events in the life of the mercy finder this month:

Blessing Day for twins, Brooks and Tyler
Bathtime for cousins
Friend, Merrilyn Collin, gave Sawyer a bear named "Sawyer" from Habitat for Humanity 
Juliette practicing for Zoomar Farm 

The Farm and Pumpkin Patch with Brittany & kiddos, Chelsea & Sawyer... train rides, slides and guinea pigs

Disneyland with Britt, Annie, Jake, & Juliette, wherein Jake learns to be a Jedi
I love you October. Please come again soon.