Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

T-shirt they gave Deborah with her
flu shot at BYU.
It's that time of year again.  You know, sweaters and pumpkins, frosty mornings and hot chocolate, aaaaaand coughs and fevers and sneezes.

If you want to hang with us, with Aaron, be invited into our home, PLEASE get a flu shot!  If you choose not to, I can respect that.  Please respect that we won't be able to be with you until flu season is over.

I get that some people don't like needles (hey, you're looking at one of the biggest needle babies right here!)  I know others don't trust the vaccine.  Whatever, really, it's your choice.

But last year, 107 kids died from the flu, and 96 of them had not had the vaccine.  I know that doesn't seem like a large number, and you're right it's not.  It's a tiny, infintisimal number compared to the number of kids in the country.

Except if your child is one of those 107.  Then it's a huge, mind boggling, soul numbing number.  And I aim to do everything I can to not have my child be one of those crushing statistics.

Besides, I had the flu once.  24 years ago come January.  Yeah, it was that fun.  And frankly, that's a trip I can skip without any regrets.  So come on, jump on the band wagon, and help protect the little ones around you.  Little ones like Aaron and your sister's new baby.  We'll thank you for it.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
-Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Lord Is My Shepherd

It's been a rough weekend, emotionally, mentally, brought on by someone outside the home making some poor choices.  And it's not over yet.  Then, I left my purse in the parking lot at Wal-Mart yesterday.  Fortunately, it was still there when I got back.  Plus, we've got a lovely weather change going on, which causes significant sinus headaches for me, and asthma flare-ups for Aaron.

Needless to say, I was sitting in church today feeling pretty sorry for myself.  And pleading, once again, with the Lord for comfort and guidance, and just to feel His love a little bit more.  And as always, He was there for me.  Our opening hymn?  The Lord Is My Shepherd.

I don't know about other people, but when it's a familiar hymn, I sometimes see images in my mind.  As we sang, scenes from my life, my weekend, played through my mind.  Juxtaposed with the stressful times were images of a crazy goal scored by one kid, and goals saved by another.  And others having fun cheering on brothers or hanging out with friends, a daughter all dressed up to compete.  I could feel Him by me.  Regardless of how things play out over the next few days, He is with me.  He is my shepherd.  What more can I ask of Him, than to stand by me, to guide me through the valleys.  No want shall I know.

So once again, I try to turn to the good things, the good times.  And there were good times this weekend.  We finished out the soccer season with two wins (one for a team that has never won before, yea!!), and one loss.  And the weather was gorgeous!  I finally got around to taking the fall pictures of my kids.  It's only the younger five, because once I spend a fortune on Senior pictures, they get to be 17 forever.  And that was actually fun, too.  Aaron was a riot, trying to get him to look at the camera while smiling was quite the trick.

All in all, I have to say, I'm walking in green pastures and yes, my cup runneth over.

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:31

Some of the funny times trying to get a good shot of this kid.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oh, my, where to even begin.  Yesterday was soooo full, in the very best of ways.

Sisters:  Birthday girl and missionary.  Love this!

It was Deborah's birthday (although we're celebrating on Sunday).  I have been so blessed to call this girl my daughter, and now my friend.  I always dreamed of having girls that could grow up and be my friend, and reality has turned out to be even better than the dream.  Especially in the last few years, she's been by my side, working and helping to keep things going.  Love that girl.

And Mary came HOME!  Back early in her mission, she counted out the transfer cycles and sent us an email saying that if she calculated correctly, she'd be coming home on October 15th.  Deborah fired back that she was holding her to that birthday present.

I simply couldn't sleep the night before she came home. Finally gave up and got up at 5:30.  I'd made her cake before and it was waiting for her at home.

We got to the airport, and I felt like I couldn't even stand still, bouncing back and forth on the balls of my feet, trying to see up past the escalator, down the corridor.  Absolutely impossible, but it didn't stop me from trying.

Waiting for her with signs we made in Family Home Evening.

Finally, FINALLY, there she was.  My beautiful second daughter, coming down the escalator.  I waited as long as I could, and then the tears (which had been threatening all day long, by the way).  I had her in my arms again.  Until that moment, 18 months really hadn't seemed that long.  But at that moment, I think I felt every single one of those days.

Something that's been on my mind a lot as her homecoming has gotten closer has been Aaron.  He made it.  He's still here.  When she left (and David and Jonathan), she didn't know if she would ever see him in this life again.  Another thing I shoved deep into the back of my mind.  Some thoughts just don't bear being considered, but then, they have to be.

I've been realizing that if/when he passes, I'm going to have to go dark on social media.  (And no, just because I haven't been on much doesn't mean something bad is happening.)  But my children deserve to get this news personally, from me or from someone close to me.  And they deserve to
know first.  But right now, they're scattered, and that's going to continue to be the case probably from now on.  One of the realities of my life is that I have emergency numbers for each of their missions in my cell phone.  That's just the way it is.  But she's here, and so is he.

Another part of October 15th is that it's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  Across the globe, we cast a wave of light remembering these little ones.  From 7-8 p.m. in each time zone, candles are lit to remind us.  I have to admit, I wondered about doing that this year.  It was Deborah's birthday.  We were having family over to see Mary.  She was being formally released as a missionary at 7:00 p.m.

But then Deborah's alarm (yeah, the birthday girl) went off at 6:50, as a reminder to light those candles.  And I figured that if the birthday girl wanted to do this, it was a good thing.  So we lit them, and I was glad I did.  I have so, so many families I remembered during that time.  The gentle glow of light was a soft reminder of the sweet souls we all miss so much.  Sweet angels, watching over their families, and missed so desperately.

God gave us the gift of life; 
it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.