Friday, June 12, 2009
Thank you D Wheeler for your post...
"Since becoming a Mom I think at least one person a day performs a RAOK for me. For example, one time I was in Target and my son was being particularly fussy. We were in the check out line, so, we didn't have too much longer inthe store, but it was one of those 'hurry up and wait' life moments where everything takes longer than it should.
The lady behind me took out one of those bubble blowers like they give out at weddings and started blowingbubbles for my son. Then she gave me the bubbles to keep as something that I could use to help entertain him in "emergencies" like this one.
Something simple, small, useful, and easily portable. It was wonderful and made my day much easier. "
Friday, June 5, 2009
And that is how we get today's story... from a memory inspired by one story. Here is the original
I was just over at If You Give a Mom a Moment and this post reminded me of one of my summers in Connecticut. It was my first summer actually. Through a few small miracles I found a job at a small sandwich shop called The Crow's Nest. It was in a marina and our deck looked right out over the Connecticut River -a gorgeous view. The owner had a habit of hiring foreign help for the summers. He hired me a few weeks before his summer help had gotten there, so when this bunch of girls showed up, I was the one in charge of training them.
Kristina was from Russia. Her English wasn't that great, but it was still better than the others who had arrived with her. They were from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Columbia. That first day was a rough one for her, I could tell. Imagine if you were 18, in a new and far away country where you hardly knew the language, your family literally half the world away, and you had to learn a new job. She was on the verge of tears all morning. She seemed sad, lonely, and I'm pretty sure she was thinking something along the lines of What the heck have I done in coming here?
Then, just before the lunch rush hit, a man came in. While he ordered he thought to ask where we were from. When she said "Russia" he instantly switched from English into Russian. Everything about her brightened as she smiled and talked with this man. Even in the moment I was feeling that Heavenly Father was totally watching out for his daughter -who didn't believe in Him at all. What were the odds that there was A. Someone in the area that was completely fluent in Russian, and B. That he would come to The Crows Nest on the same day that she had arrived, and C. That he would think to ask, Where are you from? It seemed to be exactly what she needed that day, because after that she was cheerful and the tears behind her eyes were gone.
Truly, He loves us.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thank you Erin for sharing this story with us...
Something happened yesterday that reminded me that God watches out for
me. I was reading books with Aidan at the library (if you remember, I don't go
to the library very often). After about 45 minutes we walked up to the desk to
check out the books we had chosen. There was a girl standing at the desk asking
about library cards, and she looked really familiar to me. I was pretty sure I
knew her from Iowa, and not Utah. After I was finished checking out my books, we walked out of the library at the same time, and I asked her, "Who are you?"
(Yes, not really couth, but I needed to know who she was.) She said, "Emily." I
said, "I KNOW you from Ames! What are you doing here?" She said, "My husband got an internship nearby and we will be here for the summer."Now let me back up a bit.
If you haven't been reading my blog for long, you will know my husband and
I lived in Ames, Iowa last year. We were only there for a year, but it was a
wonderful year. Everyone at church was so welcoming and kind. We loved the town. We grew up a little bit there because we had no family to rely on, but our ward became our family. We miss our friends. We miss our ward. We miss a lot about Ames. When we moved here to Cedar, I had a really hard time at first because I missed so much about our wonderful year in Ames.
Emily and her husband Pete were in our ward in Ames. Her husband was Aidan's nursery teacher (and he was awesome). Emily was in the Primary presidency, and I was in the Young Women's presidency, so we didn't get many opportunities to get to know each other. When she found out she was moving to Cedar for the summer, some people in the ward told her to call me, but she said, "Erin and I didn't get to talk much. She woudn't even know who I was if I called her."
Since they are only going to be here for three months, they found a place that has cheap rent on a month to month contract, and is furnished. But it is in kind of a questionable area. They only got here on Wednesday night, and they are already having concerns with where they live. Emily was just hoping she could find a stay at home mom that she could hang out with over the summer, because her husband will be gone a lot (and they have a five month old baby boy).
I love how God put us both at the library at the exact same time, less than 48 hours after Pete & Emily moved here. I love how God knew that Emily would need me this summer, because she has no family in Utah and she would likely be lonely. I love how God knew that bringing Emily into my life right now would be like bringing a little piece of Ames back to me for a moment. And now I have the chance to build a new friendship with someone, which I always love. So thank you, God, for reminding me that you care about me and that you watch out for all of us.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Here is a beautiful post, by Fiauna, about the human spirit. Read the original here.
"She moves confidently down the sidewalk, white stick in hand, sunglasses shading her eyes as traffic rolls by at 40 mph. I don't know her story, but every time I see her I am amazed at the indomitable strength of the human spirit. I am assuming she is blind, at least to some degree, but you would never know it by the way she walks--it's the cane and sunglasses that give that much away. I also assume she is walking to pick her child up from the elementary school a half mile away. I see her almost every afternoon, and almost every afternoon I am hungry to know her story. It is obvious she has great strength, she's a fighter.
I recently read the blog of a high school friend. She has ALS. And she is young--oh so young, with three sweet kids to care for. In the matter of one very short year, she has gone from running marathons to acquiring her first wheelchair. And she laughs. She laughs because it is easier that way. She also has great strength. She, too, is a fighter.
My sister cares for my kids with the loving tenderness she reserves for her own. It is I who reminds her NOT to lift my sleeping angel from her car seat, with a warning: Mindy, you recently had a stroke; no heavy lifting for you. She runs. She runs despite a weakened leg and a foot with some remaining palsy. She listens to my sob stories and cries with me, when it should be the other way around. What difficulties have I been dealt in this life that compare with hers? She, too, has strength. She's also a fighter.
I think about these stories, and so many more, and I am in such awe of the indomitable strength of the human spirit. In a way, I know that we are all this strong; I've seen my share of tough times, and I made it out alright. But sometimes I catch myself thinking: I could never handle that. Or I think: That would kill me. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, it is true; these women are living, breathing proof of it. So, where do you find strength? What drives you to continue fighting? Think about it."
Friday, May 15, 2009
"I love this little girl of mine. She brings a lot of sunshine into my life. I woke up this morning to find a note she had written me. It was so beautiful it brought me to tears. It makes mothering all the more worth it!:
Love, The one who loves you so much.
(I Love You) Mommy!!!
I mean it alot!
What was even special, too, is the other day she had made a list entitled "All About Me" and she wrote things about herself...like her favorite color, favorite food, etc. Then she wrote: "My hero" and put "My mom". Wow! Now that's something HUGE to live up to, but it sure lit up my day! I've certainly got an angel on my hands to bless my life, don't I? I'm truly blessed."
Original post is here.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Did somebody go out of their way to help you?
Have you seen a touching expression of love?
There are Angels Among Us every day. We just have to open our eyes.
Share your stories! Email them to me or put them on your blog... people want to believe!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
A blogging friend of mine posted a touching post about music the other day and it got me reminiscing...
My daddy was a band teacher. When he was younger, he and his brothers sang in barbershop groups, played in a swing band, and sang at every family function. He sang me to sleep each night with old “standards” while he stroked my forehead with his thick, course hands. He filled our home with piano arrangements of songs like "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" and "Melancholy Baby." Music was a part of our home. Our life.
Many of my siblings are musical. Each has their own special musical prowess. My baby sister, especially. If anyone ever wanted to hear what an angel sounds like, they would only have to listen to her sing.
Me? Not so much. I think my ADHD attention span kept me out of that line in heaven. I love to sing. I love music. But I have no technical skill. No gift for it. But I FEEL it. My hubby can listen to a piece of music and identify all the different instruments and different rhythms. I just notice if it makes me move or think.
I have learned that everyone enjoys music in different ways... But one thing is sure... And that is that music is so very powerful. It has the ability to influence for good or bad. It can move a person to tears or make them dance with joy. I believe that there is a part of our beings that exist musically.
In the case of my sweet daddy, music helped him fight the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. My dad suffered with this heart-wrenching disease for about 20 years, the last 6 years being spent in a nursing home.
My mom, having been his sole care giver, suddenly had nothing to do once he was placed in a care center. Wanting to help and show her love to him somehow, and knowing how much my dad loved music, she would walk to his nursing home each day, hauling a keyboard behind her on a luggage carrier. (She herself was burdened down with the pain of osteoporosis)
Each day, she carted that keyboard to my dad's nursing home so he could play. And each day, though he couldn't remember her name, he played songs on the keyboard for my mom. Songs like he used to play on our home piano when I was little.
Eventually, the nursing home saw how important the music was to my dad and found an old piano to keep in the lounge for him to play. And my dad would play. The nurses loved my dad. Despite the fact that he would get ornery during personal hygiene routines, he won their hearts. In fact, one of his nurses, used to be one of his band students. (Talk about coming full circle)
Almost to the very end, even though my daddy had forgotten everything else, he remembered the music. It wasn't until a few months before he passed that he stopped playing... I think because he couldn't physically sit up to the piano.
I love that the ability to play piano and feel music was so engrained into my father that he couldn't forget it. I love that my mother, inspired by love, kept him playing as long as she could. And while I could have never admitted this at the time, she was my dad's angel.
Music is very powerful. And while I recognize that I may not have the gift for performing it... I also recognize the gift for enjoying it. And for that, I am grateful.
"Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following right on up until you die." -- Paul Simon
Thursday, April 23, 2009
My friend’s heart is broken. She recently experienced a loss beyond all comprehension. I have been touched by her personal struggle; her determination to conquer despair and foster peace. Learning about this dear person has given me cause for thought.
What happens when an angel’s wings are broken? Who is there to mend them? At what point do those who minister, become ministered to?
There is a story from the Old Testament that offers the answer to that question. The prophet Elisha and his companions awoke one morning to find themselves surrounded by the army of the enemy. Immediately, Elisha’s servant was fearful, as anyone would be. Then Elisha spoke these words…
“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 KJV)
At that point, the servants eyes were opened and he saw the mountains surrounding them FILLED with horses and chariots of fire.
(Yeah – that is pretty cool!)
I am convinced that when the angel’s wings are burdened with sorrow, heavy with grief and broken from pain, there are, waiting in places we cannot see, real Heavenly angels ready to sustain us through our battles.
Eventually the angels wings heal. Eventually the pain lessens and burdens are made lighter. But never are those unseen, divine forces taken from us.
So, to my dear angel friend, who is struggling to find her wings again, know that there is more celestial power than you can see.
And to those of you who want to help someone today; offer a hug, a smile, a tender touch. You never know, you may be the one that helps heal those angel’s wings.
Friday, April 17, 2009
But see, that is just the kind of guy he is.
He is the oldest of 7 children and is always looking out for his younger siblings. I find out about secret acts of kindness he does for those he knows are struggling. His heart is always tender towards the one that is suffering. That is one thing I love so much about him...
Here is a post of his. (I am taking spousal liberty here, he has no idea I am posting this :-))
In it is a song he wrote for those who struggle. At the time, I believed it really lifted the spirits of those who needed it. He has been an angel to many people. And my hope is, that by posting this, he will again, be an angel to someone else.
When I was a young father, I worked overnight shifts at a group home for
adults that had schizophrenia. They each lived in their own apartment, but
needed someone living close by to help them when they started feeling afraid,
alone, or needed some other type of support. Each had a story, although some
could barely remember it. They each had a family somewhere, but few ever
visited. One lady in particular really had a painful life. She had some
beautiful young children who were removed by CPS because she was deemed to be an unfit parent. Her parental rights were severed, they were adopted, and she never
saw them again. Their pictures in hand, she cried herself to sleep most nights.
Many of of the men and women who lived there kept the television on day and
night, because it left too lonely of a feeling to turn it off.
I had challenges of my own, or so I thought. My body didn't respond well to working overnights, and I was always exhausted. I missed my wife and young son, who I got to spend little time with. I made about $1200 per month, and my family's health insurance premiums cost about $850. That obviously didn't leave much for anything else, so we had to find other ways to bring in some money. I wondered how long this would continue, and I didn't see any end in sight.
My sister had challenges. She thought she had found the man of her dreams, but she had just found out that he was moving on and the relationship wasn't heading where she hoped it had been heading. This was her first real boyfriend, although she was now an adult, and she worried she'd never find someone again.
My mom had challenges. One night she called me while I was working in the middle of the night and was crying so hard she could barely talk. I don't remember what was wrong, I just remember the pain in her voice and thinking for the first two minutes of the call that it was one of the adults at the group home calling for support.
All these things weighed on my mind. Why do people suffer? How do you endure even one more day when it feels unbearable? How do you find a ray of hope in complete darkness? A thought came to my mind that my mom told me often growing up -- "sometimes all you can pray is that you can make it through the night."
The thoughts of my mother, my young family at home, my sister, and especially the woman living in the group home who had lost her children stayed on my thoughts throughout the remainder of that night. I pulled out a pen and paper and wrote this song:
Joy Cometh in the Morning
copyright 2000 Tim Penrod
Over, finally through
Don't remember ever feeling so truly
Finished, such despair
Life is ruined, and I don't even care
Hour upon hour lying here
Trying to hold back each crushing tear
I'm weeping for a night
There's nothing left to do
No sleeping this night
Forget that there's a morning
Following my mourning
And crying from my soul
Emptiness has taken control
Weeping shall endure this night so hard
This night, life broke my heart
Behold, I knock upon your door
As one who's been through weeping before
I carry a healing salve
Some rescue from your world that seems bad
Hour upon hour waiting here
Let me wipe away your painful tears
By healing you this night
Have faith that this is true
And cheering your heart tonight
Forget that awful sorrow
By choosing now to borrow
Some Balm of Gilead
To soothe your soul from everything sad
Weeping may endure this night of mourning
But joy cometh in the morning
Sometimes all we can do is pray to make it through the night. Thanks, mom, for
those words of wisdom.
This Easter season, I am grateful for He that has been through weeping before...He that can heal. We sometimes bear burdens so great that no person on earth could ever understand. Only the one who suffered for the burdens of all can truly understand. He knows heartache, loneliness, rejection, betrayal, grief. He knows you and I.
I am a Marriage and Family Counselor, and I love the field of psychology. But one thing I know for certain is that theories of behavior are man's ideas of how to help
one another. They can help, but nothing heals like the healing of the Savior of
Mankind. And the funny thing is we don't always even realize that we are in the
process of being healed in the very moment we think we've been abandoned.
I am grateful that there was one who loved us enough to make this sentence true:"The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed."For those who find themselves in the middle of a dark night: Believe and hope that joy, and healing, cometh in the morning.
Friday, April 10, 2009
"you know that song -oh i believe there are angels among us, sent down to us, from somewhere up above, they come to you and me in our darkest hours to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with the light of love-
yesterday, i was surrounded with angels i've previously only known as
friends. hubby HAD to go to work, i wasn't feeling ready to be alone -and then
kemra called. she stayed on the phone with me for at least four hours. shortly
after i hung up with her -there was a knock on my door. i wasn't sure i wanted
to see anyone, but i got up and answered it anyway. wendy was standing there.
"Hi." she says, "I was just walking home, and I thought I should stop by and see
you. A little random, I know, but how are you doing?" I say, "Good. I'm good. Do
you want to come in?" She steps in -sees the flowers and the heating pad and the
mess my house is (was) and says "What's going on?" I tell her. "I knew I was
supposed to stop by. What can I do?" -she visited me for awhile. She brought me
movies and red raspberry tea. She asked me to please call her if i need
anything. then, not so long after she stopped in, my sister in law showed
up. she brought me sweet potato fries -the ones she knows I love, and then she
cleaned my house. how great was all of that?
thank you, all of you. thanks for the emails and the phone calls. thanks for the thoughts and prayers. i feel your love"
Friday, April 3, 2009
The news has always been full of unsettling information. Especially lately. Communities, nations and the world seem to be in constant turmoil. It can get a person down. It is difficult sometimes to recognize the Hand of God on a planet where belief of Him is smothered by the loud voices of opposition. And yet, in this crazy world, there is goodness. We just have to open our eyes.
Goodness comes in many forms. In my case, it appears in the form of a good neighbor. I have learned many lessons since living in this home, one of which is what a good neighbor is.
The good neighbor looks after your kids when you are not around – keeping them from running in the street or beating up their brother. She doesn’t judge you for having a messy house or frumpy cloths. She celebrates with you during your happy moments and cries with you during your difficult times. The good neighbor helps stop plumbing leaks. He is willing to pull your “ox out of the mire” to keep your home from catching fire. He is there to assist in priesthood blessings. The good neighbor pays attention to your home while you are away. She visits you while you cry over your child in the hospital. She goes beyond her own comfort to help you pull off a wedding reception. She scrubs your floor while you are in the hospital. He helps lift boxes. He gives your children rides places. The good neighbor looks past your imperfections but still helps you keep perspective. She listens while you complain and validates your feelings. You can call the good neighbor in the middle of the night for help. The good neighbor helps you figure out what illness your child has. You can count on the good neighbor for emotional strength and support. You know the good neighbor is there for you, come what may. You learn compassion from the good neighbor. You learn “tricks of the (mothering) trade” You learn how to be a good neighbor. The good neighbor gives you more than you could ever return.
Our family has been overly blessed with such neighbors. And it makes me think about what this world would be like if we could all be good neighbors. Reaching out not only to our next door neighbors, but to those we interact with each day. How would this world be a better place if we each took a little more effort to be a good neighbor? How have you been affected by a good neighbor?
I believe that the world, especially now, needs more good neighbors. More people to reach out, get involved and love those around us. How can you be a better neighbor?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Read her original post here... she is a beautiful author who says it so much more eloquently than I ever could.
"Thanking My Angels
Today my heart is full. (Oh, that sounds so much like a church talk. Well, in a way, I guess it is.) Today we spoke of the Ministering of Angels, something I thought I knew everything about. I've heard the pioneer stories and loved them, truly. I've heard many personal stories and have enjoyed and felt uplifted by them. Well today was my day for an epiphany.
As I sat in class today (which wasn't supposed to happen. I was supposed to be teaching primary, but thanks to conference, the lesson schedule was rearranged and I was allowed to attend my classes.) I listened to the lesson with polite reverence.
The woman teaching the lesson shared touching stories from her own life; stories
of angels who have come and gone. As she spoke she shed a few tears. Then she
spoke of her daughter's experience of being a peer tutor for the challenged students of her school. I was especially moved.
We all know how I feel about my daughter, and those like her. They are truly angels sent to teach us how to become more Christ-like. What I didn't expect to learn today is that when we serve these special angels and their families, we become angels
Through the experience of raising my daughter, I have had days when I have felt down, depressed, desperate, at the end of my rope. I have also had days when I have felt strong, capable, blessed; I have felt the ministering of angels. These angels come in the form of friends who help, family that offer support, and strangers who share a knowing smile or a kind word. And sometimes these angels are like this teacher when she said, "I am in awe of the mothers of these special children ..." Awe? That word is so powerful. To stand in awe of a mother doing her best to rise to face the challenges ahead of her--I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.
I don't know that my challenges are any greater than any other mother's out there. All I know is that when you share a kind comment, a word of encouragement, or a knowing smile with me, you become my angel. Thank you.
Friday, March 20, 2009
As the second day of school draws to a close, I find myself so grateful for the teachers at my children's school. They are definitely doing a job I don't have the patience for. I know how crazy I get when my five children are all hyped up and full of energy. I can't imagine 30 kids, full of energy, every day, ALL DAY. Teachers definitely don't make enough money for the service they give and while I may not agree or like every teacher, I am SO glad someone is out there trying to make a difference.
As I watched the kids on the playground yesterday morning (I always have to spy the first day to make sure they get to where they need to go) I saw something quite touching. All the teachers were out on the playground so the kids could see them. There were the happy greetings, occasional hugs, chatting with parents. All the teachers seemed in a good mood and relatively happy about being there. Most teachers were chatting with each others in groups of two or three. Or they would be talking with a parent, with a quick hello to their student. But there was one teacher who was different than all the rest.
Barely taller than the 2nd graders she teaches, this teacher blends in well to the elementary crowd. If you don't know her, I am not sure you wouldn't think she wasn't just a 6th grader at the school. She was SWARMED with children. The closest teacher to her was well out of shouting range. She bent down (even though she didn't have to go very far :)) to each one of the kids she spoke to. She gave warm loving hugs to EACH one and they all clung on to her as if she was their favorite person in the world. She looked into EACH child's eyes and smiled and laughed with them. Although I was there to watch my own children, I was captivated by the interactions this teacher had with all the children she came in contact with.
One particular boy was in tears. She tenderly wrapped her arm around him and listened to everything he had to say. Although, I couldn't hear the conversation, I could see his little shoulders rise and fall with each stuttered breath. This teacher listened and comforted him. While all the teachers seem to love seeing their past students, her students loved to see their past teacher.
In my opinion, it sure says alot about a teacher when she is rushed by student after student with a warm hug. Teachers should be a comfort away from home. Having been blessed to have this teacher two years in a row, I know for a fact that she treats each of the children with love. And as a parent, this gives me great reassurance when I send my children to her. This is the kind of teacher that really makes a difference. To this teacher, and I think you know who you are, thank you for making a difference!
Friday, March 13, 2009
It is about that time that God steps in and takes over.
Jill is a wonderful person who is going through a rough patch in life right now. But she is beautiful and amazing. Her time will come when she sees more light days than dark. But for now, she appreciates the love of a sister. To view the original post click here.
"I found out today who one of my anonymous friends is. Jenna.
I can't even begin to express my gratitude. I would call, but I'm a tad emotional and I may make a fool of myself. The flowers, the daily notes in my mailbox, the encouragement to find joy and the assurance that I am a beloved sister and also a daughter of God... these are the things that my spirit has been craving. I don't know how to adequately show my gratitude, it may take me awhile to really put some thought into it.
My despair has been reaching new lows lately. I'm seeing a psychiatrist who tests me on a weekly basis to find out what my mood is like, what my struggles are, and the tests just keep getting worse. I've been 'moderately to severely' depressed and on this past Thursdays visit, there was nothing moderate about it. Dr. Moran promised that things get worse before they get better, and that relief is within my grasp. She is treating me with chemicals, thank heaven for modern medicine!
But I believe my Heavenly Father, knowing what is in my heart and soul, knew that I couldn't take the 'worse' before it got better. Maybe Jenna listened to a prompting, feeling like she needed to reach out to her sister with a little love and compassion. Logically I know that I am valued, and loved, but I can't internalize that right now. Jenna, your thoughtfulness pierced the wall I've been building around myself in order to cope. I love you so much, and I'm so grateful that you are my sister."
Friday, March 6, 2009
I have a great pediatrician. Together, we have tried and tested many different things. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to rid my little boy of this chronic infection, my pediatrician sent me to and ENT.
This particular ENT wasn't exactly what I would call the "cream of the crop." His solution was to keep my son on antibiotics indefinitely... hmmmm. No thanks.
My angel neighbor, who I have blogged about NUMEROUS times on my other blog, suggested that I actually request an adenoid x-ray. The was hesitant to comply, but finally did on my persistence and said it wouldn't yield any results.
Then, maybe because I annoyed him, this referred me to ANOTHER (who by the way turned out to be FABULOUS)
But the story here is actually about the lady who helped all this happen. I had to set the appointment with this EXTRA SPECIALIZED a month in advance. During the time I waited, I had to have films sent over, records faxed, DNA sampled (ok -- maybe not that last one, but you get the idea)
The last film I had to get was the actual adenoid x-ray. Since the first ENT still had the image, I called them and asked them to hold it for me until I picked it up. Which I planned to do a few minutes before my OTHER ENT appointment since the offices were close to each other and VERY far from me.
Well, about an hour and a half before my SUPER SPECIALIZED appointment, I got a call from the FIRST ENT saying they didn't have the films anymore and I would have to go to the imaging center for the films.
From previous experience with this place, I knew that to receive the films, you had to request them 24 to 48 hours in advance. I only had under 2 hours. Without the films, my appointment with the EXTRA SPECIAL ENT would be a waste. He couldn't look at the whole picture so to speak.
So I called, hoping for the best. I reached a young lady in the file room named Amber. Amber was SO helpful and kind. However, she couldn't find the films anywhere. She dropped everything she was doing and called the FIRST ENT's office and found out they had stuck the films in with another patients films.
After an hour, she located the films and had them ready for me to pick up. Because she went the extra mile and helped me out, I was able to have all the information I needed for this long awaited appointment. And my son was able to get the treatment he needed quickly.
To some, Amber may not appear to be much of an Angel. But today, she was what I needed. She helped our family through an important time. And really, isn't that what Angels do?
Friday, February 27, 2009
It is a tender story about the little angel in her family. I am posting this here because to me it exemplifies the goodness in people. This family has a little angel, Lucy, they get to raise and yet, from the sounds of this story, they are Lucy's angels. Everyone of them.
And shouldn't our homes be a place where angels dwell? A place where we reach out to lift each other. A refuge from the storm?
Check out Shawni's original post here. And then check out her blog and photography. You will love her instantly! The photo at the bottom is one of hers...
Nothing can really prepare you to get a phone call from the geneticist
telling you that your child has a really rare syndrome that will change her
life, and that of your family's forever...even if you and your husband already
knew it in your hearts.
And as much as we kind of knew it was coming, I do wish
the geneticist would have at least told me to sit down, or find a quiet
place...I mean, she MUST have been able to hear the chaos going on around me on
a Friday afternoon when my house was filled with the whole neighborhood.
I'll never quite forget standing there folding laundry trying to squelch the tears that were burning to come out amidst my kids and their friends asking intermittently for a snack, help with their roller blades, wanting a drink, etc. I know kids have an automatic button that tells them they need to start talking to an adult the second she gets on the phone and not give up (at least mine do), and usually I can multi-task. But not that Friday. Not while I felt like my whole world was suddenly swimming around me.
Lucy has a syndrome called "Bardet-Biedl." It's extremely rare, and we are just coming to grips with the fact that we can't go in and sit down with the geneticist and get a concrete run-down of all the things that will change in life. It's different for every child. But most of the children diagnosed have health problems, are overweight all their lives, and the most heartbreaking thing for us is that the majority of these kids lose their vision. Most of them become legally blind by the time they are teenagers, sometimes as early as age eight or nine.
The geneticist has brought up a few different possibilities for various syndromes since we met with her for the first time over a year ago. Each one she mentioned before I mentally checked it off my list right after I heard the symptoms. I knew Lucy didn't' have them. But when she mentioned this Bardet-Biedl Syndrome right before Christmas Dave looked it up and started to worry. Symptoms include slower learning, weight issues, and extra digits (Lucy had an extra toe when she was born).
I never looked it up. I felt that the more I pushed it away, the more likely it would be that it would just disappear. I didn't want to know the symptoms. I didn't want to start to worry. To me it felt like it just couldn't happen to Lucy if we didn't know anything about it.
But Dave knew we definitely needed to test her for it. He had a bad feeling about it right from the start. And as much as I tried to bounce that bad feeling off of me, it gradually seeped in, little by little.
So we took her in for yet another blood test right after Christmas. Just a precaution. Just to quiet our fears. The way I played it out in my mind was that it would come back negative and I could go back to my own diagnosis I had made: Lucy was just a little bit slower than our other kids. She'd catch up eventually as long as we all work with her and keep going with her therapists. All would be well.
But gradually I started to realize this syndrome was a big possibility.
One early morning Dave came back into our room completely ashen-faced after he had checked on Lucy who had been crying. The sun still wasn't up and it was still pretty dim in Lucy's room. He claimed she couldn't see him. (Night vision is the first thing to go with Bardet-Biedl.) I rolled over and told him he was just too worried about the whole thing...he must be reading into things. Lucy is just too stubborn. She just didn't want to look at him.
But two weeks later on another early morning the same thing happened to me. The exact same thing. And the worry started seeping deeper. By that afternoon, though, I was telling myself the same thing I told Dave. Lucy's just so stubborn. She just didn't want to look at me. She must have just been tired. Surely she was just in a funny mood.
The next week we were at Dave's brother's house. We were gathering the kids to head home that night and when I came out Dave and Max were talking to Lu in the shadow of our car. When I got closer Max told me Lucy couldn't see. I smiled and told him sure she could. But I knew he was right as soon as I looked at her. She was looking through us. She looked just like a blind person. She reached to show us where our noses were when we asked but she missed...by a long shot. Her eyes were just as beautiful as ever...but they couldn't see us. They couldn't see a thing.
The ride home was slow motion. It was like Dave and I were sitting in a bubble in the front seat. We didn't talk...just sat with tears in our eyes thinking what this meant. It was like the commotion and noise of all the kids in the back turned swirly and far away...and completely muted as we sat thinking about Lu.
So, Lucy fit into what this syndrome outlined. Now we just had to wait for the geneticist to tell us what we already knew.
Though we don't know so much of what we will eventually learn about this syndrome, we do know with all our hearts that we adore this child. Each of us in our family could absolutely eat her up. She is so endearing and her smile melts our hearts every time she throws it at us...which is a lot. And we're so grateful for that. We're so grateful that although she may learn things a little slowly, she'll still have her mental capacities. We're so grateful she can walk and she can breathe easily and she can throw out hugs and kisses like nobody's business. We are so thankful that only one in five of our kids has to deal with this (apparently each of them had a 30% chance to have this syndrome with us as their parents). Although this has hit us hard, we know it could be something so much worse, and we are so thankful.
I'm writing all this on this blog because so many have asked. I feel like we almost have a little built in "Lucy Fan Club" that melts my heart. It's taken us a little while to get our heads wrapped around this and to be ready to share it, but Dave and I are convinced that the more people we have rooting for her the better she'll do. I want to thank everyone who has been so concerned about her and about us...all the prayers and thoughts on our behalf. Someone wrote a little bit ago that they wanted to have their own "I Love Lucy" t-shirt. I can't stop thinking about how sweet that was.
And I think the more info. we share about such a rare thing the more info. we may be able to gain through anyone out there with any extra information about it.
Dave and I are determined to become experts on Bardet-Biedl and to learn everything we possibly can and to help Lucy progress in every way she can. I have loved watching Dave come home each night and work with her on various things. I have loved watching the kids work with her, hearing them pray for her (their bowed heads sometimes coming up with teary eyes), listening to them talk about her.
One thing's for sure: we couldn't be more thankful to have this little girl in our family. We feel like we have been blessed and prepared each step of the way. And we feel like she makes our family whole in so many ways.
Love you Lu.
Friday, February 20, 2009
“My older brother and I were going to school, near to the building which was
known as Joseph’s brick store. It had been raining the previous day, causing the
ground to be very muddy, especially along that street. My brother Wallace and I
both got [our feet] in the mud, and could not get out, and of course, child-like, we began to cry, for we thought we would have to stay there. But looking up, I beheld the loving friend of children, the Prophet Joseph, coming to us. He soon had us on higher and drier ground. Then he stooped down and cleaned the mud from our little, heavy-laden shoes, took his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped our tear-stained faces. He spoke kind and cheering words to us, and sent us on our way to school rejoicing.”
It doesn't take much to help someone feel better.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Even though we are in the same ward, we haven't gotten to know each other very well. I always knew she was a wonderful person, but never knew how much so.Thankfully, I found her blog and have just grown to love her and her example. She is truly a light on a hill...
Here is here story... the original posted here.
Change of Pace
Something happened to me a week ago now and I haven't been able to shake
it. Guess that means its worthy of a post...I took Carson for a walk and needed
to pick up a few things from the store before we headed home. It had been a long
walk and my mind was a whirl of thoughts. It has been a pretty rocky couple of
months for me. A lot of "Woe Is Me" was going on during that walk and I found my
self praying through a lot of it. You know from the outside of the gospel it
almost looks magical, has this fix all perk to being apart of it. And its just
not true. Life is life, and the gospel is a wonderful tool to help you
cope,learn, heal, grow and march through it. A talk I had with Natalie a long
while back came to mind.(She has been one of my great teachers:)) She said she
prayed for her own personal revelation. That is what I wanted, and that is what
I prayed for. Just for my own little revelation. No more than 3 seconds later as
we were strolling into Wal-Mart a very old man touched my shoulder. His hands
were shaky and he was still trying to move his body to face me fully.
Old man: Aren't they the ultimate blessing? As he looked down at Carson.
Old man:One of life's greatest joys is right there in your stroller, his shaky hand pointing.
Old man: My granddaughter had a lot of problems having babies, so many
miscarriages.So many. She went to a doctor and he helped them have twins 3
months later she got pregnant on her own, he gave a big smile and small pause,
Old man:Don't worry it will come.....My mouth just dropped and I
blinked at him.
Old man Pointing to Carson again: He is here to help you, trust
him, he will do great things.My eyes filled with tears and I whispered thank
Old man squeezed my shoulder hard: You're going to be okay... God is
blessing you, if you look.He slowly walked outside.
I didn't move. I couldn't.
My head was clear. All the negative thoughts that I had thought of I couldn't remember. I found such a peace with what he said. I felt the spirit so strongly.
Thank you kind sir, you helped guide me on a brighter path.
Friday, January 30, 2009
It was during this time of our life that I took our only car in to be tuned up. We had a strict budget and had saved enough to get the tune up it needed. While I was waiting, the car technician, an older gentleman, called me over to talk about the car. As they often do, he recommended some repairs to be done. But there was one that he said was a matter of safety. I can’t remember what exactly it was, but I do remember him telling me that it was imperative we have that part fixed.
I called Hubby and we discussed the problem. But, with finances the way they were, there was no alternative. We couldn’t make the repair.
Somehow, through no ones fault but my own, I ended up in tears when I tried to tell the car technician we couldn’t make the repair. He again, very kindly but clearly, stressed the importance of the repair. And I again, told him we had no choice, the repair would have to wait.
When I went to pay for the tune up, the car tech said he had done the repair because it needed to be done. He then proceeded to pull out the sixty some odd dollars it cost out of his own wallet, and put it into the register in my behalf. I think he said something about how he would want his own daughter to be safe.
I never knew his name. I don’t even remember where it was I took the car. But I will always remember this gentleman’s kindness to our family that day.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Like many restaurants, there is a separate entrance for the take out customers. It is here I usually, hurriedly enter, get my food and go.
Only on this day when I entered, I faced the back of a very, very old woman, hunched over the menu at the checkout stand. It was obvious, she wasn’t aware this was for the HURRIED people.
She talked with the cashier about each and every item on the menu.
Going over each ingredient. How it tasted. If it was spicy. Well, this little exchange went back and forth between the woman and the cashier for quite a while.
Then, just as you thought she was ready to order, she would begin again with another item on the menu. I found it a little amusing, not being in a hurry today. But the man behind me was very agitated.
“Old people,” he breathed. “They are always getting in the way!”
“Naw,” I responded. “I am sure I will be there one day.”
“Well, I won’t!” he proudly stated.
(Nevermind, that he looked almost the same age as the woman.)
The cashier was so pleasant. She knew we were waiting, and communicated to us occasionally that she appreciated our patience.
She was the only take out girl, no one else to help. And even though her take out line was severely backed up and no one came to help her, this cashier treated this woman as though she was her most favorite grandma. Patiently going over each item. Smiling at her when she couldn’t decide between all the yummy options. And eventually, she successfully helped the woman settle on a dish that would please her palate and wallet.
Finally, 15 minutes later, the woman paid and turned to wait for her take out food. She hesitated, and turned back.
“What was your name, dear?”
The cashier smiled warmly and said, “Valarie.”
Friday, January 9, 2009
This is a story of real life angel who made all the difference in the life of my son. A teacher who continued to love my son well after he had left her classroom.
There was a teacher in second grade that knew what the children needed. For S, it was making him feel important with math. He was a whiz at it and she encouraged him to excel beyond the typical 2nd grade math skills. Everyday the class would do “brain warm-ups” with different math problems. Everyday S would try to “give her a headache” with fractions, powers and other difficult math equations. At night hubby would teach him a new one to try out on his teacher.
Oh she would make such a fuss! How could this little 2nd grader be so cruel as to give her such a math problem. Surely she would get a headache. S ate it up, solved the problem and strutted through the day on his math cloud.
He felt important.
These equations were written down each day on a piece of paper and kept at the front of the class until the next day’s equation replaced it.
At the close of the year, this teacher gave S the entire years worth of equations. That was almost 7 years ago. Every time we clean out S’s room, I ask if he still wants to keep it. Every time, he wants to hold on to it. He thumbs through the pages with a little smirk, remembering creating some of these equations for this teacher.
But the unusual thing about this teacher is what she did the following year. S sort of blended into his 3rd grade class and was really having a tough time emotionally. I happened to mention this to his 2nd grade teacher and she stepped up to the plate. She asked him to come in at a specific time EACH day to show her current class tough math equations. After only a few days, S was back to his old self. Excelling now in 3rd grade, smiling more and loving his special assignment.
This teacher didn’t have to do that. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it had she never helped S. But I think about it ALL the time because she did. She just stepped forward and said, “Hey, I think I can help.” Then she did.
This teacher earned a spot in my heart forever. She even came to S’s Eagle Court of Honor.
One person did something so small. But it changed my child. Improved him. Helped him.
Just one person.