Trauma–an unwanted teacher.

I had an incredible experience yesterday……

Have you ever heard of the Nie Nie dialogues blog?  This is an incredible story of a woman who with her husband was in an almost fatal plane crash.  83% of her body was burned, 35% of her husband’s, and the pilot died of complications from the accident.  They have four small children and were living in Arizona at the time.  After the accident, she was in a coma for three months, while they tried to heal her body.  Last year, this blog won the award for ‘most inspirational blog’.

Yesterday, one of my dear friends emailed me the link to the blog and a new video about the blog author:
My New Life

As I watched the video, I about fell off of my chair.  Stephanie’s mother speaks for a few moments about her recovery.  Her mother was my relief society president when we lived in Provo.  I know this family.  Suddenly the story is personal.  The accident was in August of 2008 but for me, it was literally yesterday.

I cried as I read what I could find about the story, recovery and life today.  I cried because of all the pain and heartache and trial that they have experienced and the struggles still to come.  She and her husband have complications, discomfort, and disfiguring because of their accident.  But they are ALIVE!!  They are AWAKE!  They can WALK and TALK, LOVE, LEARN, and LIVE!!  Their story is incredible and motivating!

We all have times in our lives when tragedy reaches out its cold arm and embraces us.  Just a month ago, one of the families in our stake lost their 27 year-old son to a heart attack.  Three weeks later, the same family lost their wife and mother to complications of bronchitis.  Healthy 27 year-olds don’t have heart attacks and complications of bronchitis?  Since when is that fatal?  Another of my young friends told me yesterday that in the last 18 months, seven of her friends have passed away…..four from suicide.  And in August, last year, another friend’s sister lost her husband, brother in-law, and father in-law in a plane accident.

How do we respond when we or another have such difficult and unexpected experiences become an immediate part of daily life?

When it was our turn, I just wanted to put on a brave face.  I didn’t want to be a burden to others.  I didn’t want to appear needy.  As others offered their services, to clean our house or do our laundry or even just to come and sit with us, I told them we were doing fine.  Don’t worry about us.  I was told, very clearly one day, “You are denying others the blessings of service and I am not happy about that.” 

Slim was one month old.  He had perforated his bowel.  Infection, stool, and air spread through his abdomen and all over his vital organs.  He had emergency surgery.  We weren’t sure he would make it through the surgery and so he was blessed in the hospital in an infant’s hospital gown with only us as his parents and our best friends, Vallen and Wendy,  just the five of us in that sacred, sterile space.

Everyone wanted to help, but I didn’t know what they could really do.  But they knew….someone anonymously paid our rent, someone else paid the utility bill, a friend stocked our fridge with easy to prepare items, another came over and did our laundry, some sent money, some sent letters, some just came by and sat with me and let me cry and held me.  Now I know what to do when others whom I love experience tragedy.

It helped their hearts to serve us.  It relieved our burdens to be served.  Our hearts were knit in unity and love through our experience together.  When we experience a trauma together, mine or yours, and we work together for healing, we become one.  We must share these things with each other.  Trauma is an unexpected teacher, with an unwanted lesson, but with unlimited and soul changing consequences for all participants, if we will let growth and healing take place.

Blog Worthy Comment

Today Smiley went running across a wet driveway and into our friend’s garage where he slipped and fell onto his left hip.

Later in the day, Smiley says, “Mom, it feels like my rear is broken!”

Yes, I am still laughing. 🙂

Springer’s Blessing Dress

 So here is the blessing dress I made for the Springer’s little girl.  B. was one of my young women.  She married in the temple to a fabulous returned missionary!!  And now they have a beautiful little girl.

When we had Sun, I wanted to make her a blessing dress, but with all of her older brothers, trying to do so just wasn’t even a possibility.  Needless to say, Heavenly Father knew of my wishes and my heart’s desire.  He prompted my favorite aunt to make one for me.  I cried and cried because it was exactly the way I would have wanted it, style, material and all.  Plus it came from someone who is extremely important to me.  (Thanks Janelle 🙂

Now I have had the opportunity to ‘pay it forward!!’  The Springer’s were in the process of moving and having a baby and choosing law school all within weeks of each other.  So I had the fortune and ability to make one for them.

 What a joy!!  I had so much fun sewing that I just couldn’t put it down and every time I picked it up, it was all I could do to stop and take care of my family.  But I did manage to balance things.  Anyway, Congratulations my dear friends!!  I had a ton of fun making such a beautiful item and I hope it works for what you need.

You probably didn’t need so many views, but I wanted you to be able and see the pattern work in the dress.
  Soooooo much fun!!

Joy amid Adversity

So many things to say, but where to start.  I have been sick for the past three days…..The last two days I haven’t been able to much more than get up off of the couch.

I missed  posting for Shorty’s seventh birthday.  Can’t believe my little ones are getting so old.

Two days ago, we took our oldest one to Medford to receive his endowment.  Can’t believe my oldest one is old enough to do that!  We only have about six weeks before he leaves for Brazil.

 Though I struggled to stay awake and participate on Wednesday, and slept through yesterday, today I have enough energy to think and ponder, but not enough to get up off of the couch to do much.

I watched General Young Women’s meeting this morning.  I love watching that meeting because it reminds me that I am a daughter of God, that He loves me, is watching over me and has planned for my success.  He knows my heartaches, sorrows, and struggles.  He is there.  He will listen.  He will help and guide, lead and love.  It reminds me on such a basic level all of those things that we long to know and feel, but hear so rarely.  As President Uchtdorf spoke, I felt my sick soul fill with light.  I was strengthened to continue through my personal adversities and to help others with theirs as we move onto our own ‘happily ever afters.’  (To watch this video, click this link: , click the bottom button on the right once, click on the picture of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  It takes about 20 minutes.)

I called one of my counselors yesterday because her father had a stroke.  I just wanted to see how she was doing and if she needed anything.  “What I need,” she basically said, “is to bring you dinner.  There isn’t much I can do for my dad right now.  But if can bring you dinner and see that my efforts are helping someone, somewhere, it would be very therapeutic for me.”

Isn’t she soooo right?!  I learned a long time ago that an aching heart can be filled when we serve others.  What a beautiful blessing.  What a paradox.  To heal, serve.  Interesting.  True.  In the bleakness of our sorrow, if we will reach in and give out, our aching heart is filled with love and compassion.

OK–enough deep thought for now.  Back to the couch!

OK Linz……This TAG’s for you!!

Four Shows I watch
1. Psyche
2. Dr. Who
3. Monk
4. General Conference

Four Things I’m Passionate About
1. Drewster
2.The Family
3. Teaching my children
4. The gospel

Four Phrases I say a lot
1. Dude!
2. Sweet!
3. Ahhhhh, man!
4. Stop it, SLIM!

Four Things I’ve Learned from the past
1. The truth, spoken in love, still may not be the right thing to say.
2. Love life and live it every minute!
3. Though it may not be what you want, the Lord always gives you what you need.
4. Never take yourself too seriously.

Four places I want to go
1. Oceanside ( a little studio on the beach.)
2. Palmyra, New York
3. Jerusalem
4. To see family

Four things I did yesterday
1. Listened and cheered as Northern Iowa beat Kansas, even though it would bust my bracket.
2.  Watched BYU lose to Kansas St.
3. Watched Scuff’s and Sport’s teams win in Hoopsters.
4. Read and actually had insights into some of Isaiah’s writings.

Four things I’m looking forward to
1.  Basketball season being over
2. Slim’s endowments (next week)
3.  Long-term— GRANDCHILDREN
4.  Watching my posterity grow

Four things I love about winter
1. The end–when flowers and trees bloom.
2. A clean blanket of snow before the world wakes up.
3. Snowball fights and hot chocolate.
4. The one day in Dec. that is always the hottest of the year–like 75 🙂

Four things on my wish list
1. All my kids to have temple marriages and intact families without divorce.
2. College educations for all of them
3. Repeat our honeymoon and follow Drew’s plan this time
4. Piano Lessons

Four people to TAG
1. Brandy
2.  Bonnie
3. Shannon
4. Lara
5. Danielle


Are you really eleven?? Has it really been that many years since you arrived at our house?

You are an incredible young man, Speedy. You have so much energy and a great love for life. You provide the ZEST in our family, Speedy Zest!!

I remember just before you were born. One night, as I was saying my prayers, kind of in that half awake half asleep place, a small voice said, ‘Mom…., Mom………, Mom….., MMMMOOOOMMM!!!’ I was so startled I yelled ‘What?!’ and woke myself up. I thought one of your brothers was calling me, so I crept down the hallway only to find all of them sound asleep. I knew then that the next person who came to our home would provide a unique intensity…….and that is still who you are.

Here are some of the things I love about you:

You have a GIANT heart, bigger than you know.

Your smile can melt away anger, hurt, and sorrow.

That look you get in your eye, and the smile that comes across your face when your plot for getting your way has been uncovered.

How easily you forgive and forget offenses.

Your willingness and effort to work within the budget, duct tape and all.

The voracious appetite you have for reading.

Your celebration dance when you achieve success.

 Your willingness to continue trying when quitting is so much easier.

Here are a few of the things I am looking forward to:

Watching you receive the Priesthood, next year.

Having some one on one time with you during seventh and eighth grade.

Getting ready for high school.

Watching Dad teach you to drive (because after two of your brothers, I’m not so sure I want to do it anymore).

Seeing you at your first stake dance.

Seeing you at your last stake dance (things change a lot in four years).

Watching you graduate from seminary, high school, and college.

Seeing where you will go to serve your mission.

And of course, meeting your fiance, attending your wedding, and holding your babies (but we won’t talk about that right now, because girls are still mostly yucky!).

Thanks for being our son!! We wouldn’t be the same family without you, Speedy!!

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NEWS at our HOUSE!!

Slim’s visa paperwork is in and immunizations are done.
Spanky was accepted to BYU–Provo!!
And Smiley has almost lost his first tooth, which means he’ll be answering the phone when you call.
Everyone always growing up, moving forward……..faster than I like and without any control.
All too soon they will move on, creating homes of their own, struggling to do what those before them have done—-struggling to raise a righteous posterity, children of thought and wisdom.  Hoping to shape and mold strong, independent souls into men and women of strength and character, able to withstand the moral decay around them and encourage others to rise to the occasion with them.

Eternity’s lenses….

Have you ever had one of those experiences where time seems to stand still??

Today I found myself there, admiring my six-year old as he busily relayed the happenings of his day………his awesome field trip, “Gosh, he looks a lot like Slim. Has it really been 13 years since Slim was six?”….what books he checked out of the library, “Are all six-year olds so cute with both of their front teeth missing? Do they all lisp?”…..where he was when the earthquake hit and how safe the room was, “What will the next 13 years hold? Will they go by so quickly? Did I take time to really appreciate my little people when they were small?”……how excited he is to share his new books with his sister, “I love being his mother!”

I am a much different mother now than I was then. Part of that is because I sleep now and I have some time to myself (not much, but some).

I love watching little people. I love to watch their brains work and catch the gleam in their eyes as the light bulbs turn on. They renew my life daily. I want to be better for them—-to know more, care more, to love more.

I appreciate the little moments so much more now than I did when Slim, Spanky, and Scuff were little. The laughter of wrestling on the floor—a tickle fight, stomping feet because someone waited too long to go to the bathroom, a sleeping preschooler who sat down to watch television and lost the fight with an unscheduled nap, eating the same food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (cheese burritos) in one day—-these things are almost over at my house.

I registered Smiley for kindergarten yesterday. Now, not only do I not have any babies, or toddlers, but I’m almost out of preschoolers. Where did the time go and how did I get so old?

Fleeting moments when time stands still….reminding us we are strangers here. Eternity is home.

Here is a little Smiley-ism:
Me: Gosh, I miss my friends and all my babies are growing up.
Smiley: Don’t worry, Mom. Tomorrow me and Shorty will be your friends.
Me: Ok, but what are you going to do about my babies growing up?
Smiley: We’ll just find some people who have babies and get you some more.
Thought you would enjoy that!

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And the Vedict is????

Ribeirao Preto, Brazil!!!
I can’t believe Slim is going to Brazil!  He is supposed to report on May 19, 2010 to the Brazil MTC.  Hopefully that will give us time to take care of all of his immunizations, passport, and visa.  Wow!  Amazing.  And with him not reporting until May, he and Spanky may overlap as much as a year on their missions.  Spanky will turn 19 just a little over a year after Slim is out and depending upon when he puts his papers in…….well, we’ll see.

Where Will Slim Go???

We have heard that Slim’s mission call is in the mail.  Not many more days to wait to know where and when.  He bore the most amazing testimony on Sunday.  A definite payday for parenting!!