Sunday, February 20, 2011

The General of the Ostler Family

My grandma passed away Saturday morning. I have had her on my mind ever since. I don't think I've known a better representation of the goodness of humanity than grandma. She she was always content with life, was the hardest worker you'll ever know, was patient and courageous in her afflictions, cared about people, and had class in all situations, even when dealt a bad hand.

She was always happy with life. When she was in school, the cool kids would wear their fancy clothes and my grandma wanted to fit in with them, but she couldn't afford it. So she would make spin-offs herself and be perfectly fine with it. She went her entire life with only one vacation. I sometimes get caught up thinking about exotic destinations and luxurious accommodations. My grandma probably had hopes of going somewhere nice too, but she was fine when that didn't happen.

My grandma always worked hard. Always. She started working at her dad's fruit stand and starting at age 12, she would even drive her dad's car to pick up supplies. Orem was a different place back then. I remember her looking after us shortly after my mom passed away. One time while my dad was away, she came over and cleaned the entire house. Then she just sat in the dining area while we slept because she wasn't tired.

Jennica was only a month old at the time of my mother's passing. My grandma and grandpa were preparing to go on a mission with my grandpa, but my grandma took it upon herself to raise Jenny.

When I got back from my mission in 2003, my grandma was in a wheelchair. A slip resulted in a series of surgeries on her knee, eventually requiring her knee to be fused. For the next 8 years, she would deal with the consequences of that slip. It was extraordinarily painful for her, but she hardly complained. She was a champion of champions. She was a fighter though, and showed us all what it means to not take life for granted.

My grandma had a humble sense of pride. She was always aware, even in her jazzy-ridden condition, of how her house looked. She would have me come over and take out the weeds that had overrun her bushes. You would think that at that point in her life, she wouldn't care about how the front area looked, but not grandma. She had us plant a patch of flowers right next to the garden, and directed where they needed to go.

At social gatherings, grandma wasn't the most prominent. But she did her work behind the scenes. She was the peacemaker of the Ostler family. She was intricately involved in her family's lives. She was on everybody's side, even when there were conflicts within the family. Everyone came to her with their problems and she gave her undivided attention.

My grandma had been struggling a lot lately and she's in a better place right now. But it'll still be hard going without her.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

DonorsChoose Shoutout

I love education. I love learning and gaining skills that can be used in the real world. It’s sad to see that much of the world does not have opportunities for getting an education. It’s doubly sad to see that right here in the USA kids are getting lousy educations. I’m sure that politicians will continue to talk about investing in education and improving our system, but the reality is that our education system has many problems and a simple silver-bullet fix is not possible. That being said, I recently came across a program that aids in one of the system’s problems: lack of resources for teachers.

Very simply, our public education system is funded by allotments of money based on how much money the taxpayers pay in that particular locale. This system leads to disparity in different communities. It also leads to some school districts without sufficient resources for kids to learn.

One program that allows for teachers to bridge the lower-income gap in some districts is “” Teachers who are in need of a particular classroom item(s) post the item and donors donate money to it. This lets you donate money to projects you think are a good idea . Plus, organizations help out in the funding., for instance, will donate $3 if you fill out a survey. I did this the other day, but you can donate according to whatever means you have. This program is a way to concretely help students right here in the United States.

My wife teaches eighth grade special education. Special education is especially hit hard when districts are already struggling to come up with the resources to distribute. This, for the simple reason that kids with mild learning disabilities require more time and tailored education. Amy’s DonorsChoose project involves getting a digital projector for her students. This will aid in better interaction and better learning. To donate to her project, click here. It is named "Make Us Equal!"