We had a birthday party for Brigham while he was here. Lisa made him a double decker cake and Brooklyn decorated it for him. We went to the dollar store and bought party decorations. Brigham loved his party. He felt special.
Oh how I love this boy. He melts my heart. He brings me joy. He is such a good boy.
The Lord's timing and mine are a lot of times very different. I have fully learned to understand that His timing is perfect and mine is the flawed and limited viewed one.
We had been trying to sell our Yukon Denali for the past seven months. It was priced right and yet not even one person called to come see it. However, two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, the car sold, to be picked up and paid for on Thursday evening. We were thrilled. This also meant we needed another car ASAP, as I cannot get in and out of the red corolla.
On Friday, Thomas contacted a couple of people about test driving their cars. We were trying to get the lowest miles, best gas mileage, for the least amount of money. We figured we would have to get a car with 70,000 miles or so on it. Saturday morning, not one of the people we had arranged to meet showed up. Thomas located another car and they said to come right over.
When we pulled comps it was priced a little over our price range. Still Thomas felt he should go look at this car as no one else answered.
When Thomas showed up, the car was in perfect condition. Only 30,000 miles. Driven by an 87 year old man. Perfectly cleaned and babied. It was in pristine condition. Thomas told him we had thought the car was priced a little high at $10,999. And asked if there was any room. Although for the condition it was priced rather fair.
Thomas asked the guy if there was any way he could come back in the evening to make sure I could get in and out. He briefly explained my condition. The man told Thomas that he would drive the vehicle to our house so I wouldn't have to leave the house.
When they guy got to our home, the car was perfect. There were bars on the door and globe compartment. It worked perfectly.
The man was touched by our story. He asked if we could do $9000. Two thousand less than asking price. He said his dad would want him to do something kind.
We were the first and only ones to test drive their car. It was listed only 2 hours when Thomas test drove it. Had our car sold earlier, we would have purchased another car. But, this car wasn't ready. This one. Our car. For a phenomenal price wasn't ready.
Whenever we wait on The Lord, for his plan, for His timing, we always get something better than we ever dreamed of or imagined. He wants what is best for us. He wants to bless us.
Do we stand complaining? Asking why He has forsaken us, when in reality, He has a much better outcome? If we wait patiently, we shall be given more than we desire?
Or, do we criticize the Lord, and ask for our will be done.
In the end, no matter what the situation, no matter who or what is involved. Ultimately, all things boil down to one question..... My will be done or Thy will be done?
Ironically enough, when this life is over, that really is the only question the Savior need ask us. While on your mortal mission, were you more concerned with my will or thine own will? And in the next life, my will be done or thy will be done?
If we can answer truthfully and with our hearts completely turned to our Savior, Thy will be done. We will be wrapped and welcomed into our loving Savior's arms. Our time here on earth will have been worth the journey. We will have learned the ultimate lesson. When we follow our Savior's will, He will do far better with our lives than we could ever dream of.
Thy will be done.... Each time I utter those words, my life becomes better.
2 years and 10 months. That is the time it took for me to accept the inevitable. We needed to sell the car because I was no longer able to drive and would most likely never be able to again.
Giving up one's freedom is hard. To me, a car respresents freedom. Freedom to go at a mment's notice. Freedom to pick my son up if he gets stranded. Freedom to drive myself to a doctor. Freedom to go to a store. Freedom to pick up milk. Freedom to go have fun. Freedom to be spontaneous. Freedom to be me. Freedom to be alone. Freedom to get away. Freedom to be a mom. Freedom to not rely on everyone else for absolutely everything.
I am so glad that life comes one day at a time. Line upon line. Precept on precept. Here a little and there a little.
I cannot imagine if almost 3 years ago, I was told, "you will never drive a car again. You will have to rely on everyone for everything. You will not be able to stand longer than a few moments without passing out. Putting your arms over your head will cause you to collapse. You will not be able to ever be in the sun again. You will not be able to sit in the family room with the windows or door open. You will not be able to go to Hayden's school parties, plays, field trips or activities. You will miss doctor appointments and award ceremonies and play dates and memorable events. You will miss out on so very much. You will be so sick that you will wish you were dead. You will be in excruciating pain. You will endure transplants and comas and meningitis and illness walked by very few. You will loose almost all you valued of yourself. You will no longer be able to do day to day simple things without help."
I would have lost it. I would have thrown in the towel. I would have quit before I ever started.
But life does come a day at a time; in small increments that we can endure. We don't have to conquer it all at once but one moment at a time, one day at a time. We don't have to look too far ahead or walk with a foot in the past. Today. We are enough for today. We will be given what we need for today. Our Savior's love and help.
And we can handle and conquer and endure anything we are asked to for one day.
I know because I could have never handled almost 3 years without driving and without my independence, completely relying on all those around me to help fulfill mine and my family's needs. But, I have been able to handle, endure and conquer over 1,030 individual days.
I am grateful that I do not walk alone. I am grateful for each ride given. For each errand ran for our family. I am grateful for a loving Savior that helps me to endure. I am grateful to have learned the importance of one day.
If I thought about it today, and thought to the next 1,000 plus days, I would be overwhelmed. But I only have to face and endure this day. And that, with my Savior's help, I can do.
Goodbye car. Thank you for the many miles of fun, the laughter you held, the tears you saw, the moments we will always treasure and all the places you took our family to grow in love. You were such a blessing. But I am finally ready to accept and embrace my future. I have learned to be strong, one day at a time.
Hayden came home the other day to these cute messages on his door.
Hayden is my #1.... Cute....smart....good friend....witty.....funny. And we all love you!
He smiled. I saw his heart smile. His self worth grew.
It's not the big, grand and glorious things that make the difference in others' lives, it is the small things.
In the scriptures it states, "By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass."
I am grateful for the Aunt Suzi's in Hayden's life. For the grandmas and grandpa and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and teachers that all do small things to help bring to pass the bigger things such as wonderful self esteem in Hayden's life.
It does take a village to raise a child. We have an amazing village. We are SO blessed.
Hayden taught Family home evening the other night. We invited Lisa and Chad down so Hayden could teach someone besides me and his dad. When I asked what he wanted. FHE to be on, he thought and asked if he could make the Tree of Life lesson work playing the "flour game".
I asked him how he would relate it. He said by using the cuts of the knife to symbolize all the ways the world tries to cut us down, and make us turn our backs on the Savior. I smiled. He can use the flour game as almost any object lesson.
When Hayden looks back on our years of family home evening, I wonder if he will think all we did each week is play the flour game. It is his favorite.
As we cup the flour and put a penny on top. Each person takes a turn cutting away the flour without letting the penny fall. The one that makes it fall must dig the penny out with their teeth and tongue, no hands allowed.
Lessons we have learned playing the flour game:
The world will try to break you down. Don't let them.
Build your faith on solid ground not sand. (Or flour)
Testimony requires constant strengthening. Constantly building up the flour. Or the adversary will cut at our testimonies and destroy them.
The Holy Ghost builds us up. Satan tries to destroy us.
The Savior is a rock not shifting sand.
Thee list goes on and on.....
I guess if the flour game is all he remembers, I will still smile. He will know we tried to teach him and make learning fun. We tried to instill in him gospel truths that would guide him when he finds himself in sticky and sliding situations. And most of all that he will know that he is a son of God. That he is loved and known by the one on high. That he is valued and loved. That he matters. He has a Savior that walked this path before him. That came to this earth to die for us. And through his sacred atonement, we can live ago and be forgiven of our sins. And that he parents love him.
Hayden, I have a testimony of FHE. It helps builds families. It helps seal families together. It teaches gospel truth. It helps strengthen families. It builds testimonies. It teaches our families where we came from? Why we are here? And what will happen to us when we die? It is an inspired gift to bring families closer to one another and closer to our Savior. Family home evening is important for our understanding the truths this life contains. Always make it a priority.
And when you teach your kids....teach them the flour game and all the ways it taught you the gospel.
I am the LUCKIEST mom in the world because I get to be this amazing boy's mother.
There is no greater gift I have been given. There is no greater love anyone could have than a mother for her children. I adore Hayden with all of my heart. He is my reason to smile. He is the reason that I force myself to keep fighting this debilitating disease. He is the reason I never stop searching for answers. He is the reason I plead my heart out each and every morning and night in prayer. He is my reason for fighting to get better in every way.
He makes me want to be better, try harder, walk taller and be a better example of Christ.
He has brought me more joy, love and good moments than I could have ever dreamed of.
Thank you, Hayden. You made me dreams come true. You are my example, my light, my strength and my true joy. I love you! Always and forever and no matter what!
I am seriously the luckiest mom around. My sweet husband and amazing son spoil me rotten. They love and adore me. I feel cherished and respected and completely loved. How lucky am I? I know that I am so blessed by these two amazing guys that I am so lucky to call mine.
Hayden went with Thomas and wanted to spoil me with the perfect gifts. Thomas said that Hayden wanted to pick it all out and make it extremely special for me.
I absolutely love this first picture of me and Hayden on the couch. That smile. That smile speaks volumes. In that smile, I feel so much love, I see such pride in his choices for gifts, the sheer joy he is finding in giving me the perfect gifts and making it the perfect Mother's Day for me. He really has learned that giving brings so much joy and happiness.
Of course, Thomas and Hayden picked out the perfect gifts that I would love, just as they always do.
They bought me a book that I have been wanting to read "The Power to Become".
I also received an orange purse. Hayden's favorite color. I love it. The purse is bright and bold and reminds me of this boy I love so completely.
I was also surprised with a couple of new shirts and a skirt for church. Am I not the luckiest mom and wife around? Definitely! Hands down. I scored big time!
Mother's Day morning, Thomas and Hayden got up and made breakfast for me, Grandma Joyce and Grandma Julie. He went all out. French toast with a strawberry glaze, eggs, toast, bacon, and hash-browns. Yummy!
Joyce absolutely and with all of her heart, LOVED that her son and grandson would get her a corsage to wear to church. She was in heaven. I love the smile it put on her face.
Thomas bought each of us a purse. He did a great job picking the perfect gift for each of us.
Poor Julie, when she comes over, she is mauled by the pups. They love and adore her. I guess they too, were wishing her a Happy Mother's Day. She definitely spoils them to pieces.
She loved her purse and corsage, as well.
Thomas and Hayden pulled off the ultimate best Mother's Day. It was perfect. I was with my boys and that alone would have made it the perfect day. Gifts are nice. It is great to be remembered and appreciated. But when it all comes down to it....I just need my boys. I need my husband and my sweet son. Everything else...just icing on the cake.
I tried to think of the perfect birthday present for Jodi. She loves books, but no time to read. She could use a night out with Troy, but no babysitter on the west side of town yet. She is buried in homeschooling and doctor appointments for her kids. Decorating her new home. Young women presidency duties. Spends every night at the ball field and more.
I thought the perfect present would be 24 hours sans kids. 24 hours of not hearing, "Mooooommmmm!" 24 hours of no whining. 24 hours of peace. 24 hours of calmness. 24 hours of having things in the same place you left them. 24 hours of no messes. 24 hours of nothingness.
But, how to pull it off? She is in Glendale. Ummm. I can't hardly watch Hayden, much less 3 extras. No matter how much I love these precious kids or amazing sister, I couldn't pull it off alone.
So after dinner at Mi Amigo's, Jodi spent the night. The next day we all hung out in the morning. Jodi had a lunch one with some of her friends to celebrate her birthday. The kiddos stayed with me. Suzi sent Hailey to take the three oldest to the reptile store. Hayden needed to to for scouts and entertainment and break for me. Tman and I watched movies. Then Jodi took her munchkins to visit friends for a couple of hours while I slept. She brought the kids back and so began our 24 hours of us and them.
First of all, I bribed Hayden. I told him he could earn babysitting money. He helped to see needs. He diffused situations. Phoe played with each of the kids. He helped his dad when he got home. He was worth his weight in gold. We played. We went to the $ store to buy balloons and streamers and plates for Brigham's birthday celebration. We then went to Baskin Robbins for yummy ice cream. Then back home for a movie party and popcorn and slumber party in the family room. My goal: tire them out and hopefully they will sleep well. I went to bed before they did absolutely worn out. With nothing left to spare.
Thomas helped get kids down. They slept. Of course, the morning Jodi was here, all kids slept in until after 8 am with the younger ones closer to 9 am. When I am going solo, all awake by 6 am, including my sleeper Talmage. So our day began bright and early with asthma attacks and tired kids.
By 9 am I was ready for a nap. Good thing I have so many recruitments. Lisa came and took all four at 9:30 am. She took them to the $ store. Gave them each $5 to spend. They went to the store to make Jodi a birthday cake and Brigham wanted one for his early birthday party. Lisa then took the kids a
Back to her house. The kids made and decorated 2 cakes. One for Jodi and one for Brigham.
I kept Brigham in the afternoon but one on one, they all are great.
The afternoon consisted of Lisa and Chad taking all of the kids to Josh's pool to swim. They had a ball. I slept long and hard.
When they got back, Suzi brought pizza for dinner. Whe took Brigham to the store to buy a birthday present. Talmage and I watched a movie while Brooklyn and Hayden played Minecraft.
Thomas was on his way home. Lisa was taking the kids back to Jodi. I hugged them all, made it to the couch and completely crashed.
I love these kids so much. But man sakes alive, I was exhausted. But I survived.
I am so grateful for all the back up I have. I am grateful for Thomas and Lisa and Suzi and Hayden and Hailey for stepping in to help. I could have never done it alone.
I think it was the perfect present for Jodi. I loved having the kids at my house.
My sweet sister celebrated another year on this earth. We all celebrated all the ways that she brings joy and peace and happiness into our lives.
I am the luckiest person in the world to have this amazing person as my sister. And if that was all, I would be so lucky. But she is so much more than that.... Jodi is my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, the one I turn to when I am at a loss for parenting, the one who I rely on to help me find the strength to keep fighting this illness the one who reassures me that I am enough, the one that makes me laugh when I am all out of tears, the one that can find the penny in the haystack, the one who can find a reason for me to keep going, who stands with me while I have faced some of life's most challenging moments, a second mom to my son, an incredible example of true Christlike love and my best friend.
Jodi is a perfect example of a Christlike disciple. She is the virtuous mother. She is the shining example of our Savior's love.
And out of all of the people in the world, I was lucky enough to be her sister. Words cannot express my gratitude or appreciation to my Savior.
For Jodi's birthday, we all celebrated at Mi Amigos. Mexican food yumminess. Lisa, Suzi, Rosie, Kaylee, Rashelle, and I had a great time. It was so good to get out of the house. Loved visiting with them. Loved having my sister to talk to.
Happy birthday Jodi! You deserve a year to celebrate you, not just a single day!
With me being sick, it only took over 2 months for me to venture out to her house.
On our way to the cabins, we stopped at Jodi's to spend the night. Her house is absolutely amazingly gorgeous. So pristine. So perfectly beautiful. I am still in awe that every detail is so perfect for her family, even though they did not build it. My dad and brothers did great. To me, it is one more proof that our Father in Heaven is in the details of our lives.
He inspired my Dad and Josh and. Jake to buy a piece of land exactly where He needed them in Glendale. He had them build the perfect spec home for Jodi's family. It was everything they could have dreamed of. They are right by a fishing pond and skate park for Brigham. They are close to shopping. Right by the beautiful and amazing Peoria park with splash pad for Talmage, ball fields for the kids, sand volleyball, skate park, and more. Close to the movies, bowling alley and family fun all around.
The backyard will eventually contain a pool, football field, basketball court, outside movie screen, and more. The home is built for ward parties, get togethers, young men and young women activities, fire sides and more.
And although I miss my sister like crazy. I know this is where she is supposed to be.
I loved visiting with her and playing with my adorable niece and nephews. We love them with all of our heart. Love these kids. Love their faces. Love the joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces. Nothing brings me more joy.
Thomas and Troy got up on Saturday morning and took the kids for a hike over to the creek for them to play. Jodi and I stayed back and enjoyed the peace, quiet and beautiful weather. We sat outside and talked. I could talk to her all day. She is such an amazing sister and incredible joy and gift in my life.
The kids loved exploring Oak Creek, being with their dads and just being together.
Troy dared the kids to take the Polar Plunge challenge. Brigham and Brooklyn took the dare for $5 each. Of course, Hayden and Talmage, who despise cold water, would have nothing to do with it.
They looked freezing. Crazy kids. I love that they are always up for an adventure and a challenge.
Cute Talmage didn't even want to get his shoes wet. He thought his dad's lap was a much safer place to be.
Exploring, planning and just becoming one with nature. I wish I could escape this heat and stay there for a month... just letting the kids be kids, to discover, roam and breathe in the fresh nature air.
Talmage bailed and headed back to the cabins, safe with mom and Aunt Jer, as soon as he could. He is not ready for all their high adventures yet. He is still content to be home with the moms. Which I secretly, absolutely love!
The kids had to spend their Polar Plunge challenge money at the little store on the property. Yes, Hayden is eating a treat, although he did not take the plunge. How did he score then? By simply saying to me, "Mom, I didn't give into peer pressure. I knew I would hate it. And I wasn't sure if you would get mad. Should I be punished for not giving in to peer pressure, or rewarded for being true to myself?" How was I supposed to argue with that. Absolutely. I always want to encourage him to walk his own path, head high and secure in his decisions. I never want him to succumb to peer pressure. My reply, "Absolutely Hayden. Here is your $5 to buy yourself a treat at the store. Although you do realize we have a bazillion treats inside, don't you?" Why is it a treat from a country corner store brings much more excitement than the same treat sitting on the counter? I'm not sure, but they LOVED it!
Hayden and Brooklyn chose ice cream...yummy.
Brigham spent his money on flavored sunflower seeds and bottle candy.
Talmage went with an old classic and stand by KitKat.
I love how each of their little personalities shine through in all they do. Oh how each of these cute little mugs melt my heart. Take me back! I loved each and every moment.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, these pictures say it all. We had a great time! We loved, we laughed, we bonded, we smiled, we played, we strengthened relationships, and had an absolutely incredible vacation. To me, the best gifts are those of time and memories. Thanks, Dad and Bonnie, for helping us to create some amazing memories.