Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jodi's car

After going to a long and painful doctors appointment, Julie stopped at QT to get me a diet coke. Imagine my delight and sheer surprise when I looked over and saw Jodi's car. I was so excited!!! Her van, I checked the license plate, yep... Handicap parking plate. 

With absolutely no energy, I pulled myself out of the car, dragged myself in the store, anxiously awaiting hugs from my cute little niece and nephews. I searched. No cute kids. I walked back outside. No Jodi, no Brooklyn, no Brigham and no little Talmage. 

I was so confused. 

Then, much to my dismay, out walked a cute little old grandpa. He clicked the button on his keys.  He climbed in the car. Then he backed out and drove away. 

I stood there. Frozen. Sick. Stuck in awe and disbelief. 

I was positive it was my sister. I was so beyond excited to see her and the kiddos. Instead, disappointment and heartache filled my heart. 

I would have thought I was hallucinating but what are the odds... Same van. Same color. Same handyman plate. Our same favorite store. 

Oh how I miss my sister!!!

My boys and my pups

This is our evenings. I love hanging out with these incredible people. The joy they bring... The happiness they share....amazing. Those smiles mlet my heart. I am seriously the luckiest person on earth that these incredible guys, and pups, are mine. I'm so very blessed!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hayden and Jackson

I love these two and those smiles. 

They can play for hours and hours....Infinity. Minecraft. Skylanders Swapforce. 

I love listening to their conversations, their thoughts, their ideas and laughter. They think alike in so many ways. They both are fantastic at video games, love movies and could play all night. 

I hope they will always be friends. Great kids. 

Jd and gang

Two weeks ago my brother, JD, his sweet wife Cassie and their precious three sons, Bryson, Coby and Tanner came to visit. 

They spent several hours at my house. Jd was concerned about my health. He especially did not like some of the medications and wa so worried about my teeth/gums/jaw. I loved how caring he was asking questions and trying to clear the confusion. 

Hayden absolutely loved playing with the cousins as they wrestled, shot Nerf guns, played swords and ran and laughed like crazy. It was so great to see them. 

I love talking to JD. He is so smart and so knowledgeable. We pulled out scriptures and discussed important gospel truths. We discussed one of our ancestors. John D. Lee. We talked of the early days of the church, the persecutions, the struggles, their trials and their undeniable faith. 

JD amazes with his scripture knowledge and facts. He can flip to scriptures all over the place. I could talk with him all day and night about different gospel topics. It is easy to see that he is a seminary teacher. 

I miss him dearly while he is away. I love him. His sweet wife. And of course, my amazing nephews. I so wish they were closer. As I'd I didn't miss them enough, I find out that Cassie is pregnant. I will love having a precious new niece or nephew and oh so wish I was close enough to cuddle and snuggle this new little one. 

Congrats JD and Cassie! We love you and cannot wait for this baby. 


With Joyce coming and staying with me at least one day a week, I have had the pleasure of sitting Nd talking with her, finding our more about her life and what her childhood and early marriage years were like. We have talked of Thomas as a boy and his struggles and strengths while growing up. 
My favorite are the quiet talks regarding our Savior, his love and our purpose here. 

The other day, as we sat talking, she said something that really made me think. 

We were talking about random acts of kindness (RAK) and how I want to implement that into Hayden's homeschooling. I want to teach hi to look for ways to serve, give back and pay it forward. Little things. I want him or grasp that little kindnesses. Small things. 

Joyce told me that one of her gifts she uses to lay it forward is her long arms. When she paused there, I am sure I looked confused. I waited for explanation. She said she had been praying of how she could be a true daughter of God and help others each day. As she prays, she asks to be able to find ways to serve and then follow her promptings. 

One day, while at Walmart, she saw a lady struggling to get something down off of a high shelf. She immediately followed the prompting to help. She told the lady that she had long arms and could reach the top shelf, and how could she help her. The lady was grateful. At that moment, she was shown that help comes in all ways. Since then, Joyce didn't just act on the prompting that time, but while in the stores, she continues to find people she can help with her long arms. 

I was so touched by this story. I thought of myself. I thought of others. How many of us? Me? Would think that having long arms was a gift so that you could help others. She didn't just help the one time she was prompted. But learned that is a way she could make a small difference in someone's life each day. She said she hardly ever walks into a store without finding someone to help. 

I love that. I loved her for sharing. And I have been thinking. About it for weeks. 

The Lord promises us that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

He uses others to help answer the prayers of so many of his children here. My short arms have appreciated the help of others on many occasions. It is the gesture that someone cared that made a difference, not the big or small. It's not the service rendered so much that matters but that you were seen and recognized, someone cared enough to help, and you were no longer invisible. What would the world be like if we each used our long arms, or gentle hands, or anything else to serve and love one another. That is definitely a world I would want to live in. 

Joyce taught me a very valuable lesson that day, seated on the couch. To love and serve and be kind, no matter how small the gesture. 

And Joyce, I am so grateful for you and all of your kindnesses and sacrifices. For bringing meals, mankind dinner, picking up Hayden, running me to the doctor, making me lunch, helping me to the bedroom, doing laundry and all the other ways that you love and serve us. We love you so much!!!

Gunter and scouts

Hayden and Gunter are like peanut butter and jelly or Oreos and milk. They have been the best of buddies for years and years. 

Hayden wanted Gunter to go to scouts so badly. Imagine Hayden's surprise when his parents agreed to let Gunter permanently be apart of scouts and young men's. 

He has been going with Hayden ever since the temple celebration. And they are both loving it. 

The other night at dinner, Gunter looked at me and said, "now that I am going to your church for scouts and young men's, does that mean that you are going to try to convert me?"  I chuckled and said no, as he immediately went on to his next thought. "Cause I'm not ready to join your church yet. Hayden and I have been talking about it. Hayden has explained that we believe the same basic things. We both believe in the Bible, in our Savior, in God, we know we cannot do bad things and we have to keep all of the commandments."  He then added, "he also told me that you guys just have a little more of the truth than I do because you also have the Book of Mormon that teaches you other things you should be doing."

I went to add more of the Book of Mormon and clarify to him what Hayden went. He cut me off and said, "no. I'm good with that. Hayden has the luxury of understanding and believing more. He has two parents that love him and teach him and help him. For me, I am doing my best just to follow he commandments and teachings that I know about. I'm not ready for more truth."

I have thought so much about those words and the rest of our conversation. Gunter is a great kid with amazing parents, whom I love. His mom is one of my dear friends. And I love that boy. 

Hayden is lucky. He has been given so much. Sometimes I look at where he lacks. Where I lack in meeting his needs. But this boy.....he is loved without end and cherished beyond compare. 

I cannot express how excited I am for Gunter to be there each week. It has eased Hayden so much. He is excited and loves it. 

Gunter attending scouts. Absolutely priceless. 

Plus, I love the excitement that these two boys exude when they are together and loving something. Makes a momma's heart happy. 

Date night

I should have taken a picture...what was I thinking? 

Thomas and I actually went out on a date. The first one in at least over a year or two. And it was wonderful! 

A couple of weeks ago, Hayden was with Grandma Julie. I had slept all day and I woke up at about 6pm feeling better than normal. And I was craving Korean food. We decided to go and if I was too worn out from the drive when we got there, that we would order take out and come home. 

Luckily, there were very few people in the restaurant. We ordered. Yummy kimchi chegae (kimchi soup with tofu) for me with steamed white rice, a side of kim(seaweed) and kimchi. Thomas went with his favorite bulgogi marinated beef, lettuce wraps, steamed white rice and garlic. And of course a diet coke. 

While they cooked our dinner, Thomas and I sat and talked. We laughed. We reminisced. We spoke of good times. We laughed more. I looked over at this amazing husband of mine and smiled. I hit the jackpot with him. He loves me and cares for me and takes care of me like no one else could. And although I am so much work, he absolutely cherishes me. 

Feelings of love, gratitude, appreciation swept through my mind. I remembered all of our trips. Our quiet moments talking. Our dates. Cooking together. Family home evenings. Our prayers. The many many moments of laughter. The tears. The insurmountable joy. 

As I sat there smiling, Thomas asked what I was thinking about. I said us. This journey the two of us have walked has been incredible. We have had quite the adventures. We have been to the open wilderness via seaplane in the Alaskan frontier. We have experienced breathtaking scenes while in Costa Rica, Tahiti, Bahamas, Hawaii and more. We have been spiritually uplifted while standing where the prophet Joseph Smith died. We cherished Mickey's world on so many magical vacations. We loved thru the frozen tundra of Italy while our warm clothes were somewhere lost in the United States. We have had picnics and family gatherings. There have been movies and outings and dinners and dates. Family parties. Ward parties. Group outings. Family game nights and so much more. 

Thomas and I. We are the lucky ones. We have lived and loved life. We have been on a constant adventure. 

As I sat smiling at this man that has walked every step of the way with me, been my rock they each heartbreaking moment, held my hand to help endure the pain, celebrated each victory and have laughed with more than anyone. He truly is my eternal companion and love of my life. 

I am so grateful that my Father in Heaven saved him for me. He has brought more comfort, peace and joy to my world than I could have ever imagined. 

I love you, Thomas! Now and forever, throughout the eternities and beyond. My greatest desire...to have him next to me always. He truly has been my greatest blessing.