Sunday, May 8, 2011

Soul Surfer

I am lagging on blogs and probably will only continue to do so. Life is too busy and who really reads this anyway. But yesterday, Saturday, I ran a half marathon in Provo and as I got lost in the zone of my thoughts between miles 7 and 10 I decided I needed to post about something that happened this weekend. As I ran I thought about what I will say and now that's all forgotten (it was really poetic) but nevertheless I will attempt to capture my thoughts..

So we spent Friday night at my parents house in Provo. My family has been wanting to see the movie Soul Surfer together since before it came out. It hits close to home for us on many fronts- it is filmed in Hawaii, it's about surfing and it's about a girl, Bethany Hamilton, who got her arm bit off by a shark. My sister, Haylee, was born without one of her arms and shortly after this incident happened to Bethany we spent a summer in Hawaii. Haylee had quite a few people ask her if she was the girl who got her arm bit off. :) Anyway, we got a babysitter for the boys and went Friday night. My bros weren't able to make it but Spencer, my mom, my dad, my sister Haylee and I all went together. I loved this movie. I loved the clips of familiar places on the North Shore- turtle bay, sharks cove. I loved the surfing. Though I'm not a very good surfer, I sort of live vicariously through my sister Angie and she has become quite the surfer so the surfing touched me too.

But above all I was touched by watching this girl learn to live without her arm because that is my sister Haylee's every day life. I watched her try to do every day things I KNOW Haylee struggles with - things like cutting up fruit and putting a pony tail holder in your hair. I FORGET about this trial for Haylee. I forget because she doesn't make a big deal of it, like Bethany, she just gets on with her life and makes the most of it. I forget she doesn't have an arm! But as I sat through the movie I coudln't stop thinking about my beautiful sister who deals with this every day. Like Bethany, she must question "How is THIS God's plan for me?" Like Bethany she must want to give up on her dreams because she "cant' do it" with just one arm. Like Bethany, she must fear her future and want to look "normal" sometimes.

But also like Bethany, Haylee is an inspiration, an absolute inspiration to me. You should see the talent this girl has in sewing. She makes the CUTEST things and I am constantly a benefactor of her talent as she makes bath puppets, finger puppets, swimming suits etc for my kids. And once again I forget that she is sewing with ONE ARM! Imagine something as small as putting in a straight pin with one arm! Seriously, how do you do it? Like Bethany, Haylee has a quiet faith in God I know she relies on just as Bethany did. No one knows her trials, I do not know what it's like to be without a limb, but the Lord knows the pain and Haylee turns to Him. She has a goodness and a purity beyond anyone I know. Haylee has an amazing smile. As I watched Anna Sophia Robb, the actress who played Bethany and saw her smile at people, her hope, her faith and courage despite her challenge, I was just reminded of Haylee. Haylee is the same way. Life has not been easy to her and has dealt her so many challenges but she just keeps going, she just keeps trying and she just keeps smiling her beautiful smile.

I cried through the WHOLE movie. I haven't cried that hard in YEARS. I literally could not stop crying. It was one of those things where I had to sit and try to regain composure before I left the theatre and then the minute my dad asked me if I liked the movie I started to cry again! But it wasn't a bad cry. It was a cry because of the love I have for my sister, the sudden understanding of her trials and the inspiration of her life. Recently my mom and I were talking about trials and I told her that "life is not tragic because of trials, it is beautiful in spite of and sometimes even because of them." Someday because of Jesus's resurrection, Haylee will have a perfect arm, but while in this life she endures the trial of a missing arm. I am not going to say that her trial makes her life better but watching her and how she navigates this trial, how she smiles despite trying times and how she doesn't give up, sure brings more meaning and more beauty to my life. I am so thankful for her life, her beauty and her inspiration.

Go see the movie!! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thoughts on LDS Conference

It was conference weekend, the weekend where members of the LDS faith get to listen to our leaders, the 12 apostles and the prophet and his counselors give us direction and inspiration. I love conference. It's changed a bit as I've become a mom. It's MUCH more chaotic and that's taken me some time to get used to but I'm more accustomed now. In fact I think I’ve enjoyed this conference more than any other since I’ve had children. I’ve enjoyed WITH my children instead of in spite of them. I’ve loved coloring and Parker’s comments, Ben running around and playing and climbing on me occasionally or coming to color or cuddling. I have loved snuggling with Penny and making her laugh. I am less concerned about quiet and more concerned about the atmosphere and if my kids are enjoying it, and we have. It feels so good. But beyond that I really have been so inspired. I have found a few themes and of course don’t know it it’s just because they are things I’ve been thinking about or if they truly have been themes. But I have heard a lot about families. I loved a talk yesterday morning about women, it really made me feel the Lord’s love and the specialness of my calling as a woman. I wrote this in a notebook I was taking notes on:

“So many talks on children and women and now the song “I know Heavenly Father Loves Me” and it makes me cry.

My greatest role, my most important priority right now is these children and my wonderful husband.

Ben playing with tractor and bringing them to show me, Parker coloring his conference packet and counting words for treats. Penny sucking on her thumb and giving me a beautiful smile. Spencer’s righteous leadership in our home”

I have also heard a lot of talks about testimony, about how to gain a testimony, about doubts, about why people lose their testimony’s and how to avoid that. This is also so pertinent to my life lately as people close to me have doubted their testimony's, which in turn always makes you think more about your own. Elder Bednar spoke this morning about light and he talked about doubts. He said that if we have doubted we are NORMAL but that if we keep true to our covenants and nourish our testimony’s daily we will be okay. I have so found this, that as I read and study and stay true to what I know, the answers come. They come in quiet but profound ways. I hear His voice as I read my scriptures, as I teach my children the gospel, as I reach out to my neighbors. I know He lives. I'm so grateful for the prophet and apostles and the leaders who spoke, conference filled my soul.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A little late in coming

So I'm a little late on this news but Ben's casts are off!! YAY!! He got them off 2 1/2 weeks ago. He screamed bloody murder while they sawed them off and was kind of afraid of his legs or something but I loved seeing his sweet little scrawny legs (even though they REALLY smelled). He didn't walk for a week and I had to carry him everywhere (he had actually gotten quite mobile with those casts) but week 2 he started to walk occasionally and now week 3 he's doing awesome. He's so proud of himself walking, loves that he can put on shoes and is really starting to keep up with Parker better. I LOVE it. He still has some pain and will cry out at night (I think after being on them all day it hurts him) or if I touch his feet in certain places he winces. But I guess that's normal, the doctors said his Achilles tendon is still healing. We have a check up in a few weeks and will wear the braces at night for 2 more years but we are on our way. Horray! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. Oh, and the day after we got the casts off we headed to Disneyland! :)

I chose to go on the ferris wheel and didn't realize the wind would make it FREEZING. We were all miserable. Parker said after we got off "You chose wrong mom!!"

We went with Bry and Cailin, my mom, Sadie and KC and all of us. We had a great time!

Sunday before everyone went home we went to church and then stopped at a park. I love this pic of my mom, don't her and Penny look so much alike! :)

After Disneyland I got to meet up with my two of my BFF's from High School- Summer and Megan. Summer just happened to be vacationing in San Diego so she drove up to meet me in Anaheim and we drove up to stay with Megan in Paso Robles. We had SUCH a good time. The kids played amazingly together and we just talked and talked and talked.

Penny's getting so big!! Love the rolls!

We weren't supposed to get Ben's casts wet and since they don't fit in shoes it was a little hard to do snow activities but the day before we got them off it snowed and so I took him out and we made a snowman. Notice Ben's bent knee, duck footed stance. Doesn't that look annoying and miserable.

Parker's been snowboarding quite a few times this year and is really starting to love it.

I've been running with three kids in my Chariot lately. It's pretty sqooshy so I don't like to do it (besides the fact that I'm pushing over 80lbs). But my elliptical broke so if i don't get up to exercise before Spencer leaves at 7:20 than my only option is the Chariot. The kids are troopers and we usually get a treat or something fun. They do look cute all snugly in there though. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ben's Surgery

Ben had his surgery today. They cut his Achilles tendon and put him in casts so that when it grows back it will be lengthened and his feet will be in a better position. It may not sounds fun but I was so grateful to have this surgery today. I feel like I have witnessed a miracle. I have been praying so so hard that this surgery would performed today. We had to reschedule two weeks ago when he had a runny nose and every time we reschedule it means Ben is recasted for an additional 2-3 weeks. We have quarantined him the past two weeks but he still managed to get sick and I have just been praying so hard he would be well enough for the surgery. Even Sunday it wasn’t looking good. But I have just felt at peace about it all. I have prayed so hard and I have felt the Lord would perform a miracle and He did. Ben slept horribly Sunday night- up all night crying like he was sick (Penny slept terribly too, it was rough for all of us). So Monday we stayed home and did nothing and I just prayed and I felt comforted. At 12:15 I put Ben to sleep. He slept for almost 4 hours. He NEVER sleeps like that and I just felt like the Lord was healing him. He was in bed last night by 8pm and slept soundly the whole night and woke when we got him up to go to Shriners at 8am. That really is something for Ben. Parker was hacking up a lung all night. Penny was coughing like crazy but Ben, Ben was okay. I had a prayer in my heart the whole way to Shriners hospital and all through admit that he wouldn’t cough or indicate sickness and that he would pass the check ups of the doctors to get clearance for his surgery. He did cough a couple of times but overall did really well. No fever. No runny nose. No other signs of the sickness he'd been battling for weeks. The anesthesiologist checked his lungs and said he was good to go. I was so relieved. Ben wasn’t very happy to be at the hospital and was very suspicious of everything from blood pressure cuffs to finger heart rate monitors. His favorite was "NO!" But we managed and the drugs they gave him kicked in quickly. Before I knew it he was a noodle. It’s always hard to see your little boy that way yet I just felt peaceful knowing this was a step to an end of the casts. I hated them wheeling him away from me, but I was so thankful at the same time. We are on the ownhill now and I know a miracle has been performed to get us here. We simply could not wear those casts longer. I know that yesterday and last night as Ben slept the Lord was healing Ben. The Lord has watched over us.

Ben has to have his casts on for 4 weeks (I was thinking it’d be 3 so that’s kind of a bummer) but like I said, we're at the end, we have a firm date when they can come off and that feels so good! Ben is home and doing well. And I am grateful.

Excuse the picts. They are from Spencer's phone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recent Picts

First of all, Ben didn't get his surgery due to a runny nose and had to be recasted and the surgery pushed back 2 weeks. Pray he doesn't get sick and we can do this darn surgery, get our last set of casts on and move on. He has done really well but I have also noticed moments of sadness and frustration in his eyes. Jan 25th is our new date for surgery and Feb 14th final casts come off- cross your fingers! And these two pictures are very dear to me. The first one is Ben playing with some Toy Story figures that a very thoughtful friend brought to me the first week Ben was in casts. She brought us dinner which was sweet enough but was also completely inspired to bring Ben a huge gift of Toy Story figures. They were meant for him for sure. I really think the Lord led her and I am so thankful! Ben was able to immerse himself in playing with those figures and just LOVED them- still does- but they were especially meaningful those first few weeks before he learned to get around with his casts on. Thank you Cami! The second picture is of Ben's nursery teacher, Sister Potter. She broke her leg the same week Ben got put in casts and we went to visit her the day after Ben was put in casts. I watched Ben crawl up into her lap, look at her leg, also in a cast, and feel understood and not so alone. I got embarrassingly teary as she took the time to read him stories, give him favorite treats and just dote on him. He SO needed it. In the LDS church sometimes being assigned to work in the nursery with the youngest kids is known as a death sentence. But the nursery leaders in our ward do NOT have that attitude. They really LOVE those children, they know them, care about them and truly LOOK AFTER them and I am SO SO grateful.

We blessed Penny the first Sunday in December

Greg and his girlfriend Kaylee

Bryant and Penny. Parker's lego Dragons he loves to make, Spencer pre-eye corrective surgery, Temple square lights with Grandma and Grandpa AtkinsonThe boys and snow men and ice caves, Ben precasts

Penny 3 1/2 monthes. Her new room with Aunt Angie's bumper pads and Grandma A's redoing the rocking chair to match.

Christmas at the Cleggs, the Polar Express with Grammy and Grandpa Clegg, Gingerbread houses and Christmas loot