Thursday, December 28, 2017

Post-Christmas, Pre-Baby

Well, in the interest of documenting this information like I did with Lynnaea and Corbin, I'll post about where things stand in my pregnancy.  Because I just went back to read theirs and am so grateful I posted it and could find it easier.  I don't know that we plan to have any more babies (on purpose), but just in case, it's nice to have stats for comparison purposes ;).

But first, I'll start with Christmas!

We had a nice Christmas.  It is a little chaotic, and Jeremy and I both tend to be wound a little tight when it comes to chaos.  We're trying to be less so, so that it can be more enjoyable all around.  But overall it was still good.  I just like to try to have controlled chaos (which, as you know, is an oxymoron.  Haha).  Our kiddos are well-loved for sure.  Dinosaurs, poster art kits, books, air spinners, an awesome stool made by their grandpa...  They got lots of really neat stuff that they really enjoy.  I got a ginormous bottle of Mexican vanilla from my in-laws -- and this is very exciting to me!  I also got other great stuff like a book about foodie holidays and a wok and a pretty cheese plate, etc.  And the kids got me and Jeremy a 1000 piece puzzle of TV history.  I'll probably break it out after Baby arrives and Jeremy is off work for a couple weeks.  I do love puzzles.

So here are a few Christmas morning pictures (we also had cinnamon rolls for breakfast).

 Well, I'm awesome...  I only took 3 pictures with my camera and the rest are on my phone.  So there you go:  three pictures from Christmas morning.  I don't want to mess with getting the pictures from my phone to the computer at the moment.  I'm just that lazy ;).

Now, this is a picture of me at 38 weeks, 1 day.  Or 2 days, technically, I guess.  Since it was taken around 2 a.m. Sunday morning (Christmas Eve) while I was up wondering if I would be waking up Jeremy to go to the hospital.  I really didn't want to be in the hospital on Christmas.  But I had contractions that kept me up for 2 hours, so I wasn't sure if they would progress and be the real thing.  They didn't.  They eventually tapered off.  I've noticed the swelling go down a bit in my feet, which is nice.  For a while there I had serious cankles and my feet were so puffy they hurt.  My blood pressure has been good, though, so there weren't big concerns about a toxic pregnancy.  It was just uncomfortable and ugly.
And this next picture is from today at 38 weeks, 6 days.  I've had another night of contractions (the night before last night), and these were more consistent and more painful.  So Tuesday night was another night of wondering if we would end up in the hospital.  The problem is that this is Jeremy's on-call week, so we kind of want to make it through this week before the baby comes.  LOL.  But we'll deal with whatever happens.

So in addition to two nights of contractions, the baby has also dropped.  A lot.  So I know it's just a matter of time.  Ergo, when I went to my doctor appointment today, I asked her to check me so I knew where things stand.  And here's where they stand at 38 weeks + 2 days.  I am about 50% effaced and at a 2/3 (though she said if she had to pick one, she'd pick 3). 
So we're aiming for Sunday, because my doctor is on-call and will deliver and that's Jeremy's last on-call day.  But it'll be what it'll be.  I'm nervous and excited all at once.  If only childbirth wasn't so painful ;)!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Born That Man No More May Die

The first Sunday of December, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a Christmas devotional.  This year, we tuned in from home, now that we've joined the throngs of people with things like Roku sticks.  It was awesome to be able to do that.  If you're interested in hearing the talks (which were amazing), you can follow this link.

The choir, in the beginning of the devotional, sang Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing.  I've heard this song a bazillion times.  I've sung it close to that many times.  Who hasn't?  But, like other things in life, sometimes you'll hear a song you've heard your whole life and suddenly something different stands out.  Something powerful.  And you'll find yourself not able to sing, because of the tears streaming down your face.

That's how it happened for me this year.  The words I used as the title for this post hit me really hard and impacted me greatly.  Perhaps it is because we lost Brad this year.  And that still seems so unreal to say (or type).  I don't go moping through life at the loss of my brother.  But there are moments that blind-side me when the grief washes over me and the pain is fresh.  I miss him terribly, and yes, my heart is still broken that he is not here.  But I know I will see him again. 

That is the power of these words.  Born that man no more may die.  What a beautiful promise.  Especially for those of us who have lost someone we cherish so much.  

But something else also hit me powerfully in that moment.  Again, nothing new to me.  And yet it struck me powerfully in that moment and I saw it differently.  And that is the mission of that little Baby, whose birth we celebrate this season.  Born that man no more may die.  His mission was unique.  And vital.  But the mother in me aches, because I understand that phrase.  How grateful I am that He came.  That He chose to come -- to be born -- that man no more may die.  I don't know what Mary knew or understood about the mission her baby boy was to perform.  I only know, as I sit here, very heavy with child myself, that a mother's love is indescribable.  I don't know if I could handle the magnitude of pain associated with my child being born that man no more may die, considering what that entailed.   

But I am grateful that she was strong enough to teach him; and that He was strong enough to do the will of His Father.  I am grateful for what that means for me.  I am grateful He was born that man no more may die.  I am grateful for that precious little baby boy -- the hope of the world.
(We took a better picture after this, but this one cracks me up ;)). 

Monday, November 20, 2017


I name this post thusly only because we are a mere 4 days away from Thanksgiving.  In a way, I think it hints that I may write a blog called Post-Thanksgiving...  I wouldn't hold my breath.  I'm batting about zero in my blogging lately.  It still cracks me up that I used to blog almost daily and now I'm lucky if I blog once a month!

Ah well.  Life does have its priorities.  Mine have just changed over the years.

Jeremy just finished outage.  Good gravy that was a long 5 weeks.  6 days a week on 12 hour shifts.  I was starting to feel like a single parent.  And it gave me such appreciated and admiration for those women who ARE single parents.  It's no joke how much work it is to raise littles.  I often take for granted the help that Jeremy brings to the table at the end of the day.  I sometimes don't realize just how much his presence helps our home and family run more smoothly, just because he's here to help take up some of the effort.  So it's probably good for me to have opportunities to be reminded.

Last night he and I went on a date.  We don't go on many dates, but I wanted us to squeeze in at least one more before this little girl arrives.  and time is running short.  7 more weeks until my due date, but I have already started having Braxton Hicks contractions (thankfully only one day so far).  Though I'm definitely tired and feeling quite beached-whale-like and ready to be done with pregnancy, I am not so done that I want my baby to come before she is fully ready to come.  So I'm hoping to avoid any further contractions until after the 37 week mark, when lungs are fully developed, etc.  But anyway, back to our date...  We took the kids to my parents' house where they had fun playing with cousins.  Corbin has been pretty clingy with me lately, so I am always hesitant to leave him.  But, though he had a couple of meltdowns, they said overall he did great.  My sweet little guy.  Jeremy and I went to Olive Garden for their never-ending pasta bowl (but I don't have a lot of room in my body for food these days, though you will see a picture which will make that statement seem like a lie!), so my never-ending pretty much ended after the first plate.  I did have a little of a second type, but then passed it to Jeremy (who also helped me finish the first plate).  We left with our tummies full.  And we headed to the movie theatre to see WONDER.  Jeremy is not a big movie person, so I rarely ask him to watch a movie with me at all, much less in a theatre.  But this one I kind of felt like he would like, and I really wanted to see it after I read the book and found out they were making a movie.  The book, as is typical, was better than the movie, but the movie was awesome.  Which should tell you what I think about the book.  I did my share of crying, though.  Such a heart-felt and touching movie (and book).  It is one I would recommend.  And I was right about Jeremy liking it.

In other news, since my last post, I have gotten another year older (hello, 37!) and had a blast hanging out with Julie and April in Birmingham.  I got a milkshake up there at this place called K&J's Elegant pastries that probably should have put me in a sugar coma -- and which did nothing for my waistline.  Haha.  But it was for my birthday, so I figured it was all good.  The kids had their own ice cream cones (which you'll see pictured below).

We went to the Peanut Festival, sort of.  We went on Pre-K day, so it was free.  No rides or concessions, though.  Just the educational stuff.  The kids don't know any better, so they didn't care.  They had fun.  We wanted to go as a family in the evening and let the kids experience the fair, but then Jeremy got called into work and that plan got dashed.  So we'll just do it next year when he's sure to be off during fair time.  Plus I won't be hugely preggo then, so maybe it'll be more enjoyable for me!

We also went to the parade.  It's nice that my dad lives a block off Main Street, so we can enjoy watching the parade.  I love the marching bands.  But I think I could do with about 1/3 of the pageant winners.  I always forget just how many pageants they have here until I watch the parade and see float after float of waving princesses.

So that's a very brief overview of the last month.  Now here's a few pictures.  We'll start with the big beached whale one and move onto better ones ;).  Okay, actually, that picture is the last in this group.  And I'd forgotten that we had Halloween in there too.  So here are our Halloween pictures this year.  Lynnaea wanted to be a spider.  She wore black shoes for trunk or treat, but it happened to be the same day as dance class (where she was allowed to wear her costume), so she used her ballet shoes and then changed.  Corbin was my dinosaur.  I was a magic 8 ball, because I had to do something with this gigantic stomach ;).  We only did trunk or treat and said Halloween was done.  Other than doing the Hila-ween party on my birthday, but I didn't actually snap pictures of that.

And the rest:
 Julie made me a delicious mint chocolate birthday cake.  Because I think mint and chocolate is the perfect combination.
 Corbin had blue monster ice cream in B'ham.  Lynnaea had strawberry.  In the future, I'm avoiding this much food coloring for Corbin.  I think he has a sensitivity to it, and it's not really great for our bodies anyway.

 These were at Pre-K day at the Peanut Festival.  Christina and Connor joined us.  They loved being on the tractor, and then being a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 
 And here they are collecting the peanuts that were poured from the cement truck during the parade.  I love the happiness on Lynnaea's face here.
 Above is me and the kids at Aplin Farms.  We went there to pick out our pumpkin and just check out the farm animals. 
 The kids loved visiting the library while the monster was up over the book drop.  This was another dance day.  They also loved that their grandma was the one who made this monster.
 The days have gotten so much nicer, and some days we would just go out front and draw with chalk.  The kids love it.
 Again at Aplin Farms.  Same trip as above, but for whatever reason, this one loaded way down here.  Just my cute little pumpkins.
And this is at the Pre-K day at the Peanut Festival.  It was a picture taken by one of the HIPPY ladies, which is why Christina and Connor are kind of off to the side.  That was a hot day.  Blah.  I'm so glad the cooler weather has arrived and seems like it's here to stay.  For a little while at least.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October, Supposedly

So my calendar says it's October.  The weather outside my door says it's more like the end of August.  LOL.  I'm ready for Fall, y'all!  I can't get in a hot chocolate drinking mood when the thermometer outside keeps reading 90 degrees!

It's been a crazy little while.  Natural disasters abound, and, though not horribly impacted, our little corner of the world did get quite a bit of rain and wind from two hurricanes in the last month (Irma and Nate).  These are the times I'm grateful for the counsel of a living Prophet.  Our little family can be better prepared, but at the same time, I am grateful for what we have done thus far to prepare.

My in-laws came for a visit for about a week.  The kids LOVED having them here.  So did Jeremy and I.  We took them to the beach so they could experience the Gulf Coast.  Jeremy took each of the kids into the ocean and into the waves.  They both really loved it.  The anxiety mom in me had to just trust that he had a good grip on them.  It is insane how much I love my babies.  Not really insane.  Just something I had no concept of until I became a mother.  Or maybe I'm just a crazy person...

So just a few pictures, because what else can I do?  I'm so behind I'll never catch up.  So I just start somewhere ;).
 Here's our little family at the beach in Florida.  It was a nice day, and a Monday, so not many people there.  Plus we went to a State Park, so had to pay.  But totally worth it for the covered picnic spots and bathrooms.  And fewer people.
 Lynnaea spelled her name in the sand.  She has gotten so good at writing her name!  Sometimes, when I look at her, I can't believe she is almost 4 1/2. 
And this is what I've been doing:  getting fatter.  Hahahaha.  We have a baby girl growing and wiggling around in there.  Which means I keep growing too. 

I had other pictures I thought I'd saved somewhere.  Like of the kids in front of a peanut by the Krispy Kreme.  And on the carousel at the mall.  But since those didn't end up being where I thought I'd saved them, I guess I'm done ;). 

We're going to do a Hila-ween party for the first time in 4 years.  I'm excited.  Maybe I'll even get around to posting a blog about it ;).  One can hope, right!?!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


I'm such an awesome blogger anymore...

But let's be real.  Other than those people who actually have popular blogs and, usually, lucrative ones, not that many people seem to be doing the blogging thing much anymore.  It's all about the facebook and twitter and instagram.  Of those 3, I think I'm signed up for two.  And I only use one.  Sort of...  I've gotten out of the habit of sharing a ton on facebook lately. 

But since I've grown tired of getting anonymous comments (that are sales pitches for ridiculous products I can learn about by following their link -- no thanks) on my most recent post (though, if I counted, I'm pretty sure I'd learn that it was one of my most commented on posts...), I've decided to write a new one ;).

So what gives with my 1.5 month hiatus? 

Well, we went on vacation.  More on that below.

And I've been reading a ton.  I tend to go in phases.  Currently I'm in my "all I want to do is read" phase, and I've largely been doing just that.  I've read over 10 books since the end of May, and since some of those were 500+ pages and not the most engaging books ever, I'd say that's quite an accomplishment for me. 

And I'm totally using the pregnancy card.  Because it's true.  And exhausting.  I feel lots better than I did during weeks 6 through 10.  But I'm still really tired and take a nap almost every. single. day.  It's sort of ridiculous.  And it also means I lose out on that really productive time when the kids are down for a nap -- because now I'm napping also ;).  Growing a human is no joke.

Speaking of which, I'm a little over 17 weeks.  Starting to feel the baby move.  Going to listen to a heartbeat tomorrow.  And then the next appointment will be the ultrasound.  And I'm seriously thinking about finding out gender.  We already think we know.  But if I can get confirmation on that, we can down-size some of our baby stuff.  Because I'm pretty sure this will be our last one.  Granted, Heavenly Father may have other plans for us, and that's fine.  But this will be our last intended pregnancy (at least as of this moment...).  Because, for the record, this doesn't get any easier as you age ;).

So anyway, that's what life has been like these last several weeks. 

And now, to re-cap our vacation.

We flew out of Atlanta.  And we'll never do that again.  Too crowded and too much extra hassle.  But we survived.  Then we rented a car at SeaTac.  Something else we'll never do again.  Let's just say this trip was all about trying out new things -- and learning what we won't do again.  LOL.

The first full day at Jeremy's parents' house, the kids got lots of farm life experience.  Corbin loved the chickens.
 Then we went to one of Jeremy's brother's house and they have rabbits, goats, chickens, and ducks.  The kids loved petting the bunnies.  AND both the goats gave birth while we were there (on two separate days), so Lynnaea loved "herding" the baby goats.  She also learned that a goat does not lay an egg.  Which was her previous supposition.  I wish I'd have taken some pictures of her with the baby goats.  But, true to June and early July in Washington, my allergies acted up something fierce, so I tried to stay inside a lot. 
 I did a lot of napping.  And most days this cutie was my nap partner.  He is pretty much the cutest sleeper ever.
 We attended my friend's daughter's wedding near Bainbridge Island.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful venue.  And a very beautiful wedding. 
 So I snapped a picture of us waiting for dinner.  Much to Lynnaea's chagrin, we had to leave before the dancing, because it was getting too late, and we had over an hour drive back to my in-laws'.  But we really enjoyed being there for such a special time.
 Corbin felt quite overwhelmed at times.  He kind of made my in-laws' house his "new normal" and preferred to be there.  This was Saturday when I took the kids to Bremerton to stay with my mom.  He pretty much clung to me most of that night.
 We enjoyed seeing a lot of the family on the 4th of July.  But I didn't take any pictures.  I was pretty lame about that this trip.  And then, since getting the pictures off my phone isn't always the quickest process, I was pretty selective about the ones I chose.  So now you get to see Corbin sleeping on Jeremy on the way home in the airplane.
 Which leads me to say this about our return:  that was the most horrific beginning to a travel day ever.  We left my in-laws' at 3:10 in the morning.  Lynnaea had eaten a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast.  And then puked it all up all over the rental about 15 minutes before we reached the car rental facility.  So we had to stop to get gas and spent 15 minutes changing her and trying to clean out the car as much as possible. 

We returned the car, had to haul 2 car seats, 2 backpacks, 2 pieces of luggage, and 2 kids (one of whom smelled like puke) to the shuttle for the airport from the car rental facility.  We got to the Southwest line (which was loooong) and mid-line, Lynnaea said she had to throw up again.  Which she did -- in my hand.  So we frantically ran around trying to find a bathroom while Jeremy stayed in line with all our bags to check in, because hey -- we got there about 45 minutes before our flight was to leave and hadn't gotten anything checked in yet as far as bags go.  So I changed Lynnaea again and tried to wipe her down as much as possible.  Get back to the ticket counter and Jeremy is up at the front.  30 minutes to flight departure and we still haven't gotten through security.  I really didn't think we'd make the flight.  All our stuff was late-checked. 

Tender mercy of the trip:  the sniffer dogs were out at the security lines which seems to mean it's a lot easier to go through security.  Jeremy's bag was flagged (a bunch of electronics mixed with the squeezie pouches apparently looks suspicious), but even with that small bump, we arrived at our gate just after family boarding had ended (we were A boarding group, but we'd missed that too).  But the kind lady at the beginning of B let us go first (bless her). 

Once on the first flight, Lynnaea puked in the puke bag one more time.  And then she slept.  And so did Corbin.  Sadly, our first flight was the short flight -- to Oakland, CA.  Corbin was still in his pajamas, so we changed him in Oakland.  And pretty much it was time to board there.  On the second flight, Lynnaea had more tummy troubles (but on the other end), and we visited the potty twice during the "fasten seat belts sign" is on phase :/...  But I think they understand with kids.  Lynnaea pushed the flight attendant button in the bathroom as I was washing my hands, so I had to hurry and open the door to assure them we were fine.  And then, after that, I made Jeremy take her the last time.  And then, thankfully, the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful.  Just long. 

We made it to Atlanta, and the other tender mercy of the day:  so did all our late-checked bags.  We finally got to our car and started the 3 hour drive home.  But we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat, so we didn't get home until 10.  By that time, Corbin had cried himself to sleep. We still had to throw Lynnaea into the shower so we could get all the vomit smell off of her.  AND, we had to strip down her car seat and wash all that PLUS all the vomit clothes. 

For now, I've pretty sworn off flying.  My current plan is to drive out next summer and see how I like that.

Life back home has been fun.  Several pool days out back.  Enjoying popsicles, S'mores, and hot dogs.  Trying to "cook" in a home-made solar oven.  Looking forward to cousins arriving soon and having snow cones. 
So now I'm somewhat caught up.  And it's getting close to my bed-time ;).  Oh!  We signed Lynnaea up for dance.  She's super excited.  I have to learn how to make a tight bun.  Hair is not my forte.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Growing Hands

I have really been slacking on this blog.  Over two months since my last post.  It's crazy to think I used to blog almost daily

Of course, I've been slacking on lots of things lately. 

Because I've been busy growing hands.  Hahaha.  (I got that phrase from a gal who said she told her husband that after he'd asked what she'd done all day while she was pregnant with their first kiddo.)

Tomorrow I'll be 11 weeks pregnant.  We heard a great heartbeat at 8.5 weeks.  My next appointment is in a week. 

I am beyond exhausted this go around (which probably shouldn't be surprising, since I am having a geriatric pregnancy).  That's really only kind of funny.  Ha. Ha.  That is really what the medical world calls a pregnancy for anyone over 35.  But I think it sounds like an oxymoron.  And, thankfully, my doctor prefers to use the phrase maternally mature pregnancy.  I think I prefer it too. 

Anyway, the point is, I'm a lot more tired this time around, and have had several days of just feeling yuck.  And chasing a 2 year old and a 4 year old around is a whole load of work in and of itself, so growing these hands (and feet and ears, etc) is definitely adding to the whole exhaustion thing. 

But it's all good.  If all goes well, we'll welcome Baby around January 5. 

And now I can wait another two months to blog again ;).

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pineapple and Mangoes

With a post title like that, I could be talking about my awesome THRIVE Life fruits!  Haha.  But I'm not. 

Reading hasn't been as much of a priority lately.  I want it to be.  But it just isn't.  There are so many other things on my plate.  However, I am managing to get a little reading in here and there, and currently I am reading a book by Sheri Dew called No One Can Take Your Place.  And I'm loving it.  I particularly enjoyed the chapter I was reading today, because it was about one of my favorite couples:  Gordon and Marjorie Hinckley.  And, though I had already recognized the special woman Marjorie Pay Hinckley was (is), I came to see it even more after reading a quote of hers from this book. 

You see...  I'm a bit of a past-dweller.  I am always looking back and grieving the loss of what was.  It's a terrible thing, really, because it robs me of the opportunity to enjoy what is.  And what is yet to come

I'm working on it.  Because my life is a gift.  Yes, there are things I wish were the way they were instead of the way they are.  But I really can't do anything about that, so I need to just let it go and move forward.  Enjoy the blessings of today, because they are plenty and amazing.  Life is an adventure, each and every day.

So the quote from the book that got me...  It was Marjorie Hinckley's response to her daughter, who had recently moved to Hawaii and was missing the cherries in her parents' backyard.  Marjorie told her daughter, "Don't grieve over the cherries.  Enjoy the pineapple and mangoes."

Such a wonderful life lesson summed up in a statement that, superficially, is about fruit. 

Because, yes, the cherries -- I'm sure -- were wonderful.  But they aren't the only wonderful fruit.  And I may have cherries again in the future, but there will come a day when the mangoes and pineapple aren't at my fingertips.  So I need to enjoy them while I can.

And so I shall try...

Here's one thing that's been keeping me super-busy (or should I say TWO, since I'm working on two at the same time...  It seems I never just make one I-Spy Quilt ;)).
And here are my pineapple and mango ;)...  Actually, when I really step back and see how much my babies have grown, I know.  I know intellectually that the time is short.  When I feel Corbin's little toddler arms around my neck as he gives me one of his sweetest hugs (after going to the store without him and then returning home ;)), I realize that there will come a time when I will forget what those little toddler arms feel like around my neck hugging me so tight.  In fact, I've already forgotten what Lynnaea's felt like back then. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beaching It

Well, this is already 3 or so weeks old.  But in the interest of putting something on this blog, I figured I'd briefly say that our little family went to the beach at the end of February for a wedding.  Weather here has been wonky this year, and that weekend in February, it was downright Spring-like.  So the beaches were populated like it was Spring Break-ish time. 

So anyway, this was the first trip to a Florida beach for everyone in my family but me. White sands, blue water, and sunshine.  It really was a beautiful day.  And we got to see a beautiful bride get married (even if it doesn't seem right that that 3 year old little girl I used to spin around in the air was there saying I Do to the love of her life...).

Corbin loved the sand.  Lynnaea hated the way the wave knocked her over.  And we all enjoyed the experience overall :).  And I took a picture with my bestie.  It doesn't seem so long ago that we were the brides...  But that day, she was the mother of the bride.  Again:  how did that happen!?!  But it did.  Time marches on.  Thank goodness for the memories :).

 I especially love how my kids are making almost the exact same face in that picture above.  Cracks me up every time I see it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chasing Dreams

November 2008.
I should be in bed. But isn't that how every great story begins?

Not when your kids will wake you up before 7 in the morning ;)...

Life is...  life.  Things happen.  And they change you.  For better or for worse, they change you.  And I guess you (or, rather, I) determine whether it is for better or for worse.

I have decided to start chasing my dreams a little more fervently.

I am writing again.

And though it may not ever be what I dream it could be...  I'm writing.  I'm smiling at the memories my fingers are putting into words on a screen.  And I am preserving something for the future.  And that's what matters. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Be Still

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

There have been times in my life when Heavenly Father has let me know He is "there" and aware of me in very special ways.  Back in 2010, I documented one such instance.  It remains one of my most precious memories, because I knew He was communicating with me in a special way that day.  Today I will document another so I never forget.

Today, our church bulletin indicated that we would be singing "Have I Done Any Good?" as our closing song for Sacrament Meeting. But what we actually sang for closing is posted above. I don't know why it got changed, who changed it, or when.  But I know what that song is for me.

I don't believe in coincidence.  But I do believe in a loving Father and a Savior who love me.  And They love you, too.

Be still, my soul: ...
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Humble and Kind

I've had four weeks to contemplate what I wanted to say.  And this song kept popping into my mind.  Because when I thought over my 35 years with my younger brother Brad, those are words that stood out to me to describe who he is.  Humble and kind.  Without guile.  Chooses joy.  Hopes.  Keeps trying.  Forgiving.  Non-judgemental.  Funny.

The reality is that, though I was the older sibling (by a mere 13 months), he has always been my example.  And I will spend the rest of my life learning from his 35 years.  I cannot claim to understand why this happened; why it was God's will.  I just have to trust that I will understand in time or in eternity. 

Brad was my first best friend.  And he remains one of my best friends.  Forever.  And my heart breaks to know that -- for the rest of my mortal life -- I can't pick up a phone to text him something silly like "coy!" or "Sucky Judge Reinhold".  I don't quite know what to do with that.  He understood my humor, and I understood his.  After all, we grew up together and we did everything together for so many years. 

I'm so grateful he is my brother.  So grateful, beyond words, that I am one of the few who can claim him as such.  He wasn't perfect, but he was (and is) amazing.  Losing him now leaves me with sorrow and regret over things I could have done better. 

Like the time, when I was in Tuscaloosa, he and I got in a fight over the phone because I (in all my at-the-time-childless-wisdom) criticized some of his parenting.  In anger, I hung up on him and went to Institute class.  Where I proceeded to feel incredibly guilty for how I'd behaved and for the things I'd said.  I planned to go home and call him after class to apologize.  But he called me first to apologize.  Even though, really, he hadn't been in the wrong.  He was like that.  He was always the first to say sorry. 

He lived in the present and hoped for the future.  It is why he fought so hard against the cancer that finally took his life last night.  He didn't spend a lot of time looking back at what was, but instead, with faith and hope, looked to the future to what would be.  Oh how I can learn from that.  For that is one of my greatest weaknesses.

Brad was selfless.  Brad never had much of material things, but he would give anything he could.  In one way or another, he was always giving.  Usually it was his time or just opening his home.  Which may not sound like much.  But when I first moved to Washington and had no job and no friends, Brad told me to come over to his house any time I wanted.  And he meant it.  How grateful I am for the time we spent together. 

I could say so much more about my beloved brother.  Though my heart is breaking and the pain is raw, I still know that he continues to live, and I will see him again one day.  And when I do, I will throw my arms around him and hug him tight.  I know he is now whole and far from the reaches of cancer and the pain that it caused.  And I know, because of what our Savior did for us, Brad will be resurrected one day and he will be perfect.  Until then, there will be a void in my life.  I know this.  I will miss him.  I already do.  But I know Brad is not that far away.  And I know my Savior will help me carry the burden of grief and loss.  For surely He has "borne [my] grief and carried [my] sorrows" already. 

God be with you 'til we meet again, Brad.  I love you more than words can say.