Sunday, December 30, 2007

Finding joy right now

Lately I have been praying often to be able to enjoy my life right now, and not be so focused on the past and the future. Today I was blessed to really find joy in just spending time with my sons. We worked on their memory books (taking turns so I could be with them one-on-one), and wrote in their journals (they like it when I write while they dictate), and coming up with some goals for the new year.

Each one of my sons is so precious to me. I imagine how Heavenly Father feels as He watches me attempt to raise them well. I imagine that He cringes at some of my mistakes, but if He could instruct me personally I think He would say, "Just love them as deeply as you can. That will make up for the silly mistakes, as long as you keep loving them like I love them." It is an amazing trust He has placed in us as parents, to allow us to learn to be like Him through trial and error teaching our children, who are really His children! Today as I looked into their eyes and heard some of their deepest feelings, I sensed the nobility of their spirits and was awed at the love I have for them and they for me.

I have read that the challenge of grieving is learning to integrate the loss into normal life. My amazing extended family has helped so much with this. My parents and siblings gave Benjamin a very special Christmas gift that was the highlight of Christmas day for me and DC and gives us a way to include him every year in our Christmas celebration. It brought so much comfort to have something just for him on Christmas morning. And also Chris's sweet sister Ginger and her husband had our names for Christmas, and they gave me a BEAUTIFUL necklace, with Benjamin's birthstone in the pendant. I have loved having it because it gives me a physical reminder of him continually while I go about my day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waiting for 3 o'clock

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
by Kate DiCamillo
Excerpt from Chapter One
Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a rabbit who was made almost entirely of china. He had china arms and china legs, china paws and a china head, a china torso and a china nose. . . . His ears were made of real rabbit fur, and beneath the fur, there were strong, bendable wires, which allowed the ears to be arranged into poses that reflected the rabbit’s mood — jaunty, tired, full of ennui. His tail, too, was made of real rabbit fur and was fluffy and soft and well shaped. The rabbit’s name was Edward Tulane, and he was tall. He measured almost three feet from the tip of his ears to the tip of his feet; his eyes were painted a penetrating and intelligent blue. . . . Edward’s mistress was a ten-year-old, dark-haired girl named Abilene Tulane, who thought almost as highly of Edward as Edward thought of himself. Each morning after she dressed herself for school, Abilene dressed Edward. The china rabbit was in possession of an extraordinary wardrobe composed of handmade silk suits, custom shoes fashioned from the finest leather and designed specifically for his rabbit feet, and a wide array of hats equipped with holes so that they could easily fit over Edward’s large and expressive ears. Each pair of well-cut pants had a small pocket for Edward’s gold pocket watch. Abilene wound this watch for him each morning. “Now, Edward,” she said to him after she was done winding the watch, “when the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the three, I will come home to you.” She placed Edward on a chair in the dining room and positioned the chair so that Edward was looking out the window and could see the path that led up to the Tulane front door. Abilene balanced the watch on his left leg. She kissed the tips of his ears, and then she left and Edward spent the day staring out at Egypt Street, listening to the tick of his watch and waiting.

There is something about this book that really strikes me deeply right now. When I read the first chapter I suddenly felt like the author was writing about me! Not as the little girl, but as Edward the rabbit. I know how he felt, sitting on that chair and watching through the window, with the clock ticking nearby. I feel the same helpless waiting feeling, that I'm just trying to pass the days until my joy returns. Three o'clock is when the Savior will come again, and my sweet baby will be restored to me.

The last two paragraphs from the chapter also resonate with me:

Edward said nothing. He said nothing because, of course, he could not speak. He lay in his small bed next to Abilene’s large one. He stared up at the ceiling and listened to the sound of her breath entering and leaving her body, knowing that soon she would be asleep. Because Edward’s eyes were painted on and he could not close them, he was always awake. Sometimes, if Abilene put him into his bed on his side instead of on his back, he could see through the cracks in the curtains and out into the dark night. On clear nights, the stars shone, and their pinprick light comforted Edward in a way that he could not quite understand. Often, he stared at the stars all night until the dark finally gave way to dawn.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Final gifts from our True Loves

On the eleventh day of Christmas our true loves gave to us. . . .

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 pipers piping.
Well, the pipers couldn't agree on a tune and started fighting.
So we thought you'd rather have some "piping" hot cocoa instead.

And eleven cupcakes!

On the twelfth day of Christmas our true loves gave to us. . . .

12 yummy cookies!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 drummers drumming. Well, the drummers got too noisy, so we substituted them with a cookie mix to make a dozen cookies.

Thank you, "true loves"! You are the best!

On the 9th and 10th days of Christmas. . . .

On the ninth day of Christmas our true loves gave to us. . . .

On the tenth day of Christmas our true loves gave to us. . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Highlights of 2007

I turned 29! Again!

DC and the boys were so sweet and loving. They made it a special day. Thanks to you beloved family and friends, too, for your calls and notes. I am so blessed!

On the 7th and 8th days of Christmas. . . .

Day 7

Note reads: On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me 7 swans a swimming. Have you ever tried cleaning your bathtub after seven swans have swam in it? We thought we'd give you bubblebath and let you do the swimming.

Incidentally I have tried cleaning a tub after a duck was swimming in it. Yuck. Much happier to have the bubblebath and soap dish and bath crayons--so fun!)

and yummy hot cocoa!

On the eighth day of Christmas our true loves gave to us. . . .

I love these. They are so cute!!

Well, we weren't even going to think about letting 8 real cows tromp through your living room. It's much easier just getting your milk from the store. Here is something to make it yummy.

On the 5th and 6th days of Christmas. . . .

I've been slothful in my blog-posting, due to being very behind in Christmas preparations. I suddenly realized on Tuesday that not only did I have very few gifts purchased, but Thursday was the deadline for Priority mail shipping in order to have it arrive by Christmas! Yikes! I went into crisis mode, and actually got it all done. Whew!

Our true loves have been faithful, though, and each day has been a delight. Whoever you phantoms are out there, if you read my blog, THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have brought me anticipation for each day, which has been sadly lacking for me ever since losing Benjamin. Exacto and Fluffy and Hummer have also been able to feel excitement for Christmas even though Mom is not always as cheerful as usual. What a blessing! You are angels to us!

On the fifth day of Christmas, our true loves gave to us. . . .

On the sixth day of Christmas, our true loves gave to us. . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pioneer Lullaby

I've had this song running through my head for the past few days. I first heard it when Clayne Robison sang it at BYU. The last verse is especially beautiful to me.

Pioneer Lullaby
Low, lie low, my dear little one,
Under the starlight, under the sun.
Under the bluebells, under the grass.
Low,—lie low as the solemn wheels pass.

Yesterday, yesterday two little feet
Danced on their way, and the summer was sweet.
Faith whispers soft as I bid you goodnight.
My angel walks through a garden of light.

Blessed, oh blessed the day of our Lord,
Blessed the dead—who
rise at his word,
Blessed the angels who swing wide the door.
Blessed the time when I hold you once more.
Blessed the time when I hold you once more.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the fourth day of Christmas. . . .

. . . .our true loves gave to us. . . .

Note reads: "On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 4 calling birds. Well, I called and I called but not a single bird called back. So we hope you don't mind making all that noise yourself this year."

(They didn't mind!)

. . . and four Christmas bells!

On the third day of Christmas. . . .

. . . . my true love gave to me. . . .

three kinds of popcorn!

"and 3 French hens? Well, my French is really bad,
and when I asked for hens they gave me pens. Go figure."

(We loved the cute note with this one. :))

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Our Two True Loves

There are two "phantoms" doing the 12 Days of Christmas for our family! We feel so loved. It is so fun to look forward to seeing what comes each day. The boys always race to the door--I bet it's quite a job trying to stay anonymous. :)

On the first day of Christmas, our two true loves gave to us. . . .

comfy footwear from Old Navy!
. . . .and Hershey kisses!

On the second day of Christmas our true loves gave to us . . . .

two 8-oz. Hershey bars!! YUM!
. . . and Nestle Turtles! YAHOO!