Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missing my baby

I hope you all had a beautiful, peaceful day. We did. (Well, the peaceful part might be a little subjective. . . :) It was an AMAZINGLY GENEROUS Christmas. We were simply overwhelmed by the gifts that were given to us. A true echo of the love and infinite generosity of our Father's Gift to all of us.

Christmas morning collage

Christmas letters will be coming your way soon! I am just hoping to have them done by New Year's. I love receiving Christmas letters, even if they're months late. It's just so nice to stay in touch with our friends that way, even if only once a year (or every other year!).

I want to share some very real feelings from today.

I have a DVD playing in the background of Sissel with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is absolutely gorgeous, and is filling my heart. I remember so clearly watching and listening to it last year as I cried and wrapped presents the night before Christmas.

It was so wonderful to perform acts of service in Benjamin's honor this year, and also to receive gifts for him from my family. They also did special acts of service as gifts for him. I love you, family!!!! I don't know how anyone ever survives the death of a child without supportive family and friends!

DSCF4600 edit

This Christmas was not as hard as last Christmas, but I was surprised by how hard it still was. I miss my little son!

I just keep thinking back on those few short hours with him, how soft he was and how perfect. My mind had not yet accepted the fact that I would not be keeping him, and I just felt wonderful and so happy and grateful to have him. Then when it became apparent that I would have to let him go, I tried desperately to memorize every little detail. I wrapped his fingers around mine and tried to engrave on my mind that feeling of his tiny hand against my fingers.

He would be a robust, adorable 13 months by now.

When the boys opened a new set of Magnetix today, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a deep sadness. It's funny how seemingly random things trigger that. One of my greatest fears is to have one of my babies choke on something. We had thrown away our last Magnetix set because of a scare with Hummer. As the boys tore off the wrapping paper and saw what it was, they all looked up at me to see my reaction (they know I'm paranoid. :))

I paused long enough to stop myself from starting to cry (I have lots of practice with that now!), and said, "It's okay. There's no baby here to choke on them." So they tore into it! :)

But the rest of the day I just kept feeling that familiar bittersweet realization that tints my whole life now. We do have a baby. He is perfect and he is safe. But he is not here.

DSCF4606 edit

Dear, sweet Benjamin--

Were you close today? Did you see your gifts of love? They were amazing.

I miss you terribly still. I try not to "clutch" onto you, as I know you want me to be happy. But oh, how I ache to hold you and see your brothers enjoy you. I long to be feeding you and changing you and rocking you.

I still have moments where I stop to listen because I think I hear you crying. Strange, when I never heard you cry even once.

Merry Christmas to my very own angel. I will try all my life to be worthy to be your mother.

How wonderful to think that you can wish Happy Birthday to our Savior personally!

Stay close.



Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 12 - {a healthy body}

100 days of gratitude tag

I don't get sick much. I am so blessed that way! Whenever I do get really sick, it helps me remember what a blessing that is! The flu I had (or whatever it was) lasted about a week, and by Thursday it was pretty much gone.

I feel such a sense of relief and gratitude to have my energy returned! Thank You, Heavenly Father!

Several experiences of the past year have made me realize that good health is truly a gift from God. So many people are afflicted with chronic pain, and face each day knowing they will hurt a lot.

Grief has taught me what that must be like. To have sleep be the only relief sometimes, and often sleep is hard to come by!


I had one brush with the reality of physical afflictions this past July. My heart began to skip beats more and more regularly. Soon it was at the point where I was dizzy and exhausted, lying on my bed most of the day. I went to see the cardiologist and he put me on a heart monitor for a month.

We went to Arizona for several weeks right after this, and the arrhythmia stopped! At my follow-up appointment when we got back, the doctor concluded that it was largely stress-related, and to tone things down a bit and stop drinking so much coffee. (Ha! I had to tell him I don't drink that OR tea or any caffeinated drink, for that matter.) :)

He threatened me with medication if it recurs, which for me truly is a threat if I want to have another baby soon. I am so, so grateful that the problem seems to have stopped, for the most part. I still have little blips here and there, but I think it's going to be just fine.


Race for the Cure

Another look at many people's reality came in October. Benjamin's angel-nurse Jaime, who is now one of my dearest friends, invited me to run the Race for the Cure with her. Her mom died from breast cancer when Jaime was 2, and she wanted to honor her.

It was an amazing experience to be part of this race. Jaime had a family emergency come up and had to go out of town that weekend, so I went ahead and did it in her mom's honor.

Nearly 46,000 people participated--it was one of those experiences I'll never forget.


DSCF3631 DSCF3638

Watching the "Parade of Survivors" was the best part. I was in awe of those brave, strong women who had beat cancer. I met one of them (see above, the one in the middle smiling at the camera) who had been in remission, but had recently discovered it was back. She had undergone a double dose of chemo the night before the race. She's married with two children still at home.

Wow. Am I spoiled.



So I come to my last for-crying-out-loud-I-need-to-stop-taking-my-health-for-granted reminder. Ever since I had Hummer, I have been plagued with migraines that coincide with--well, you know, that monthly visit from Auntie Flo. Migraines that keep me in bed for hours and make me vomit. During a migraine I have  been known to wish for someone to just take a hammer to my head to relieve the pressure and put me out of my misery. No medication seems to even touch these babies.

But, they are ALWAYS gone after a day or two. And I get this new-lease-on-life feeling, and do just great for the next 4 weeks. I am grateful for these regular reminders that I am SO LUCKY to feel good for most of my life!



I am so, so grateful for the physical strength and well-being I have.

I have been blessed to never break a bone.

To deliver four beautiful sons.

To hike to the bottom of Grand Canyon and back up again.

To wake up pretty much every day feeling new energy.

To be able to take care of my beloved husband and family.

What an incredible blessing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 11 - {a most adorable niece who knows just what to say to melt my heart}

 image 100 days of gratitude tag

This is my gorgeous sister Mandy and her two beautiful children: Ari and sweet new arrival JJ. Aren't they delicious?

I am grateful for all my beloved nieces and nephews (I LOVE BEING AN AUNT!), but today I want to talk about Ari. :)

She is so fun to talk to on the phone. She'll just go off (for 10 minutes if they let her) talking about all kinds of things and you have no idea what she's saying. It is hilarious and so cute.

She was my little buddy this past summer at our family reunion. Mandy was big and pregnant, and didn't have Tapa there to help, so Ari and I hung out a lot and had a blast.

Now she's given me a new reason to adore her. . . .


I gave Mandy a DVD of "Emma" for her birthday, one of our absolute favorite movies.Emma

She called me to tell me that they were loving it--having watched it 2 or 3 times just this week. . .


AND she told me that my brilliant and adorable niece Ariella Rose enjoys watching it, too.


Every time they turn it on, for the first few minutes she points at the screen and says, "Shell? Shell?"


Yes, my sweet niece thinks that I look like Gwyneth Paltrow!

{sigh of absolute delight}

I'm going to sleep well tonight.

I love you, Ari!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What shade of green are you?

My Aunt Mary Ann posted this fun quiz on her blog, and I thought I'd see what shade of green I am. . . .

You Are Olive Green
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.

Try it, it's a fun one. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bloggy love

I just received my first blog award! Twice!

Two of my sisters here in Arkansas {heart} my blog. :)


This makes my day, because they are both women whom I admire deeply. They both have rock-firm testimonies, and a gift for showing love to others.

Thank you, Kara and Andrea!

As a recipient, I'm supposed to do three things:

1. List 5 things I love
2. Name 5 people who I would like to pass this award on to
3. Give some blog love to the person who gave me the award.


5 Things I Love

That's easy. . . .DC, Exacto, Fluffy, Hummer and Benjamin! :)

imageAnd just in case that's considered a cop-out, here are 5 more. . . .

dark chocolate,

Dickens' novels,


being with family,















2008 11 01 Mom, Sisters Cackling 005

5 People to Whose Blog I Now Bequeath This Illustrious Honor

Vauna, at My Healing Heart - DC's sister is awesome. She's been through (still going through) some tough times in the past year. She shares what she's learning, and it's so uplifting to read her thoughts.

Mandy, at My Sweeties & Me - my little sister who's living in Florida right now, putting her hubby through dental school. They have two of the cutest kids ever  (aside from all personal bias!) :)

Megan, of Love the Life You Live - one of my sisters in grief, having lost her two precious daughters earlier this year. She is a wonderful writer, and always seems to express exactly what I needed to be uplifted that day. I always love her posts.

Becky, at It's a Wilding World - wow, they're all sisters so far! This is my other "blood" sister. She has a great and unique sense of humor and an extremely cute little son, as well as some powerful spiritual insight, that makes reading her blog a joy.

Dallin, Vita Didii - one of my little brothers. He just returned home in July from a mission to Toronto, Canada, and is now a full-time student again at the Y. He's the one who got me started with gmail and all this blogging business! He's one of those everyone-likes-him kind of guys, and I love reading his insights about the gospel.


To My Arkansas Sisters Who Gave The Award

Kara is a friend close to my heart ever since May, when we coincidentally were on the same flight to Utah. She had recently moved into the ward, and I hadn't had much chance to get to know her (a common occurrence when one is serving in Primary! :). Amazing how a three-hour-flight can be enough to discover a newfound friendship! Kara is absolutely beautiful, and has a tender heart. She's had many health problems, and she and her husband are facing the heartbreak of infertility. Yet she cried with me over the loss of my fourth baby. Kara, you are truly one of the "peaceable followers of Christ."

Andrea has been such a blessing to me. She reached out to me at a time when I could not muster the strength to reach out to her. I have not known her long, but she is already such a dear friend. Her talents are endless, and she is very generous with them. She has taught me a lot about Photoshop / digital scrapbooking, and now I'm benefiting from her gift of making a home beautiful. (Stay tuned for updates on my blog!) She and her husband have three of the sweetest, best-behaved kids you'll ever see, and I love them, too. But the greatest gift I have received from her is the selfless love she has extended to me. Thank you so much, Andrea!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A slice of humble pie

Anyone out there try making Bakerella's cake pops?

Well, if you'd like to see the anti-climax of my Thanksgiving weekend, visit this post on my seester Becky's blog to see our deformed reindeer pops. . . .not for the faint-hearted!


"I look heedeous."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 10 - {my testimony}



I am home sick today, with a severe cold or maybe it's a mild flu. Anyway, I have aches and drips and a bad cough, so unfortunately I am missing today's meetings. My amazing DC got the boys ready and took them, and also will play the piano for the meetings, as I was supposed to be playing the organ. I {heart} you, DC!


100 days of gratitude tag


I'm sure most of you know that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Every first Sunday of the month for us in the Church is "Fast Sunday", which means members fast for two meals, and then give the money saved by not eating to the Church to be used to help those in need. (This is beyond the principle of tithing, which we pay regularly based on our income).

During our worship service on Fast Sunday, after partaking of the Sacrament, we are given the opportunity to stand and share our witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have only done so twice since Benjamin's death. It is very hard for me to share such deep feelings without bringing to the surface overwhelming emotions that make it hard to talk. But today I had been semi-planning to do so, until waking up ill. . . .

Maybe sharing it this way will be easier--or at least less damp!:)

Of countless blessings Heavenly Father has given me, I consider my testimony to be one of the most precious. It sustained me through the difficulties of my teenage and young adult years, and helped me to choose good things that will forever bless me and my posterity.

But over the past year, which has undoubtedly been the hardest time I have ever experienced, my testimony has become means of sheer survival. I have clung to it as the knowledge of my only hope. I share it now as my "pearl of great price." 

{tears already beginning to stream down my face, thereby enhancing my congestion at an alarming rate} :)

I know that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior and my truest Friend. I know that He came to earth as the immortal Son of God yet also the mortal son of Mary. As such, He was willing and able to give His life for all of Father's children, and then take it up again, thus shattering the consequences of the grave! This has always been a source of great comfort to me, but my knowledge of it has been tested by the experience of burying my beautiful little baby boy. As I stood there at his grave after he was lowered into the ground, I was filled with an unearthly peace. There were angels surrounding me then.

In the months since that time, I could not always feel angels nearby. I have had to lean on knowledge through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost.

imageIn less heavenly moments, that knowledge is still there, and it reaches to the deepest roots of my heart. I know, better than I know anything else, that the end of this life is not the end. That I will hold Benjamin in my arms again, and this time feel his warmth and see his eyes smiling at me. That when we are all reunited, it will be never to say goodbye again.

Jesus Christ has also conquered hell and the consequences of sin. I try so hard, but I am so human. I forget things. I get mad. I fail at things He has asked me to do. I hurt people's feelings by accident, and shamefully, even on purpose sometimes. I could never live in the presence of my perfect Father again, if it were not for Jesus' suffering as He paid for my mistakes. This deepest love that He showed all of us gives me the hope of being clean and worthy through repentance, so that I can have the dearest wishes of my heart of being with Him and my family forever.

It also makes me worthy now to have His Spirit with me, whose comfort I so desperately need.

I bear witness of Heavenly Father's infinite love for us. He loves His children on earth today just as much as in ancient imagetimes. I bear testimony that He and His Son appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in answer to a prayer. Joseph was confused and wanting to know which church to join. He went to the woods near his home in upstate New York to find a quiet place for this fervent prayer of his heart.

I'm sure he had never dreamed that the results of this prayer would affect millions of lives around the world! He was called to be a prophet and bring forth a new testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon. It is through the Book of Mormon that I know Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God, and that this Church is truly our Savior's Church.

As it has been translated into over a hundred languages and taken to countries I have never seen, it has been tested again and again and found to be the word  of God. I love the Bible and I  love the Book of Mormon. Both bring me closer to God and keep me connected to Him during my time away from Him. If you have not read the Book of Mormon, you should!!! It testifies of Christ and strengthens the truthfulness of the Bible! It is true. Email me or leave a comment with your address and I will send you one. :)

The ripple effect of Joseph Smith's vision has brought Heavenly Father's greatest blessings to the earth--the Priesthood authority and temples, where families can be sealed for eternity. Those are big enough that I need to save them for a separate Day of Gratitude post.

Finally, I want to share with you that I know we have a prophet leading Christ's Church today*.

This is my testimony, and I'm so grateful for it!









*His name is Thomas S. Monson, and he will be speaking to us tonight at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It will be broadcast at 7pm CST over satellite on Dish Network (channel 9403) and the Internet, if you would like to watch. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and orchestra will perform, and they always show the beautiful lights on Temple Square, too!

12/9/08 UPDATE: I am so sorry I forgot to credit the pictures! Here are my sources:


Greg Olsen "Forgiven"

Walter Rane "The Desires of My Heart"


Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 9 - {Thanks-Giving}

100 days of gratitude tag

Hey, it counts! You can be grateful for Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday! (Until we get to Christmas, then that's my favorite until we get to Easter, . . . .)

I'm also thankful for Exacto's and Fluffy's thankfulness. :) On Tuesday, before we left for TX, there were feasts at school.


 1127 ThanksGiving


It was so awesome to be at school with them. They both made me feel like a million dollars by saying things like, "I'm so glad you're here, Mom!" and by telling me all kinds of things about their class and introducing me to friends, etc. Exacto even specifically thanked me for coming.


That must be how Heavenly Father feels when we thank Him for the neat things He does for us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

2006 11 055

Hummer, 11/2006

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I will miss you, Elder Wirthlin!

I just found out that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin passed away last night. The timing shocked me, because I had just finished reading his talk "Come What May and Love It", and was so inspired by it.

(It is also interesting timing because my sister just had a baby boy on Saturday and named him. . . .JOSEPH. :) I want to post more about my new nephew, but I'm letting his parents handle that first! more later. . . .)

I had been thinking last night about how much he must miss his sweet wife, and about how amazing it was for him to give that talk. When I first started reading it, I thought, "Well, this is good for those smaller trials, like getting annoyed with traffic, etc. But what about the big ones?" Then I realized he WAS talking about the big ones, and he knew exactly what he was talking about.

Can you imagine having such a busy calling for so long, and then continuing to serve after losing your spouse? Wow.


Elder Wirthlin, you're my hero! I'm so glad you're with your beloved Elisa again, but I will miss you--your delightful humor, and your inspired counsel!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 8 - {modern prophets}

100 days of gratitude tag

Thanksgiving was so wonderful, and I'm looking forward to some fun posting about that. Today, though, I need to express gratitude for a special experience, an example of a tender mercy from Father today just for me.

I have been feeling a lot of numbness lately, with all the painful grief tucked down deep. Staying really busy has helped me stay afloat emotionally, and I intentionally avoid probing into the depths that I know are there.

This has helped me get through November. I hope it will also get me through the next few weeks. But I am already feeling some side-effects, one of them being a lack of Hope. Today in particular--I got home from church and could just feel the clouds surrounding me. Doggedly pursuing other interests keeps me from crying and makes it easier to sleep at night and get up in the morning, but it also prevents me from exploring my heart. It leaves me with the numbness. Today I felt inclined to stop resisting and just give up to despair, crawl back into bed and cry. Cry over Benjamin and his absence from my life. Cry over the fact that I can't seem to get pregnant again. Cry over how horribly long a day can feel.

But I felt a pull to do something uplifting. Someone must have been praying for me at that particular time! Thank you, whoever you were! :) The pull was strong enough to make me pick up the Conference report. It was freezing, so I started a fire in the fireplace, curled up on the couch, and rather half-heartedly started on the talk where I last left off reading.

It was "The Infinite Power of Hope", given by President Uchtdorf. How blessed his words are!


Here are some of my favorite passages. . . .

Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence--when this desire of our heart is delayed--can make "the heart sick."

I have felt that "heartsick" feeling all too many times. I had never realized that it was partly because of my lack of hope. . .my tendency to begin yielding to despair. Pres. Uchtdorf knows personally what this is like, having grown up in Germany during post World War II, and spending much of his early childhood as a refugee. He shares an amazing experience his mother had during that dark time (to read the whole talk click here).

Hope is a gift of the Spirit.

To me this means I can pray and ask Heavenly Father to bless me with this gift.

The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. [It]. . .advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart.

This was so illuminating to me! The adversary has been trying to kill my hope. He could see that as I was beginning to lose sight of eternity and become enmeshed in the things of this world and its pains and unfairnesses, I was pulling away from the Lord. Now that I recognize that, I can resist it!

The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father?  

Why don't I think about that more often?!

Well, because it seems SO LONG until that future! The part that is hard is maintaining hope during the hard times here in mortality.


Here comes my absolutely favorite quote from this talk:

No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations.

Isn't that breathtaking? I remember hearing him say those words during Conference and feeling as though Father in Heaven were saying them to me directly! I just want to engrave that sentence on my heart right now.


The photo below is one I took last December, only a few weeks after losing my precious little son. I was having lunch alone with Hyrum, and he looked outside and said suddenly, "Mommy, why are the clouds so bright?"

I answered, "Because of the sun. The sun is behind them." Immediately the Spirit struck deep into my heart the truth that because of the Son, even the dark clouds in my life are not really dark. They just mask the brightness for now, and someday they will be moved permanently, and the sun will shine down on me in all its brightness and glory and warmth.

I quickly grabbed the camera to record the image and hopefully remember what I had just learned. :)


This bleak "chapter of my life" is only a chapter. I already know the end of the story, and it is such a happy ending.

And to all who suffer--to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely--I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.

Isn't it wonderful that Heavenly Father still sends prophets to the earth today? To me that is sure proof of His continuing love for His children.

Dear Father, I thank Thee for Pres. Uchtdorf's words, and for Thy Spirit in leading me to them today, bringing me strength and comfort!

painting credit: Carl Heinrich Bloch "The Doubting Thomas"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 7 - {a seven-hour drive}

100 days of gratitude tag


We leave tomorrow morning to drive to Round Rock, TX! I'm so, so grateful to have Becky only 7 hours away! Close enough for Seth's baby blessing, and the 4th of July. Close enough for Benjamin's birthday, and. . .



We'll be back Saturday night.


And, so you don't go through Hummer-withdrawals in the meantime :), here's something I just found on the computer after he had been typing today. It probably took him a good half-hour to type all this. I love seeing what's going on in his adorable mind. . . .


hapy  brthdey
to  uoy  beyby  benjamin
hav  a  noys  brthdey  beyby  benjamin
rooby  lic  wich
beyby  benjamin
ant  becy
prezidint  hyngcly


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 6 - {our new chickens}

Let me apologize for the long drought here. I have been experiencing some rather odd emotions and it has made it hard to post, because I don't feel honest unless I share how I'm really doing, and it's hard to explain. This is the fourth or fifth time I've tried to get something written, so here goes. Hope you don't think I'm totally losing it. :)

The weeks since Benjamin's birthday have been peaceful for the most part, and very productive. I felt an almost tangible peace that whole week after his birthday. Then the next week I felt it threatening to slip back into heavy grieving. So I got busy to try to keep my mind occupied.

I decided to start preparing our house for when we will have to sell it. I want us to be able enjoy the changes ourselves, so I've always planned to start early!

I also decided to start a new weight-loss program--wish me luck!

You may be shocked by my next decision: if I am not blessed with another pregnancy by January, I'm going to go back to school and get my R.N.! I've started researching the nursing schools in the area, and am very excited about this. Of course, things will hopefully change and I will finally be able to bring a baby home again. I just found myself starting to be obsessed about that, and it was not helping my mental health. For now, to have these plans helps me face the future.

This past week I found myself intentionally avoiding thinking about painful things--for probably the first time since this happened. I was so grateful to finally be into productive mode again, I didn't want to be pulled back down. I hope that is not unhealthy. . . . I still feel a huge urge to cry for about 10 years, but it doesn't help me to cry all day (unfortunately I know that from experience). I'm grateful to be healed enough to hold back the crying and save it for the evening, or for during scripture study, etc. I'm finding that I don't really need to cry every single day.

So, anyway! Now you know probably way more than you'd like about what's been going on in my head. :)

On to my next gratitude post!

100 days of gratitude tag


Since getting married and giving birth to my first son, and subsequently three more sons, I have grown accustomed to being the only female around the house. It's kind of nice in some ways, but I admit there are times that I would appreciate another girl around. :)


As of last week, though, the total number of girls around here has increased and now we're WINNING!



  (Exacto says we're tied because of Benjamin, but I say that in this case he doesn't count because he doesn't live here.)


Benjamin is around the house, too!



Okay, so anyway, I'm grateful for two more girls! Some of you may not have met our first chicken, so I'll introduce her here, too.


DSCF4217 edit


This here is the sweetest little hen you'll ever met. She lets us pet her, hold her, and she even follows us around when we're out in the Chicken Run with her. We've had her since November 2005.

Ms. Dickens has survived several companions: her childhood friend, a duck named Chuck; later a rooster named Cute; another duck, named Cutie; and a sweet little gray hen named Priscilla. Her latest compatriot was an elderly red hen named Matilda, who shuffled off this mortal coil last summer. With the cold weather starting, we worried about her not having another warm body to snuggle close to at night.

I mentioned it to our Relief Society president, who keeps chickens, and asked if she had any retired layers that she could spare. She let us come out and choose two. (Thanks, Tracy!)

So, now I introduce our two newest chickens, named by Exacto and Hummer, respectively. . . . .

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DSCF4237 edit


Ruby was hysterical when we brought them home. It was pretty hilarious. She has the run of most of the backyard, but what she REALLY wants now is to penetrate the fascinating, chain-link-fence-enclosed Chicken Run.

Unfortunately the hens are rather clique-ish and completely unsympathetic.

DSCF4216 edit


So even though I'm not surrounded by pink stuff and dress-up clothes, it's fun not to be the only girl. Ruby and I hang out during the day--she's a sweetie. Most of the time. :)

DSCF4211 edit


And sometimes I just go out and pet the hens and have a little woman-to-woman chat. (They're great listeners.)

DSCF4190 edit


Yes, I'm a hillbilly wannabe.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Celebration at the cemetary

2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 214


I worried beforehand about the "Santa Claus" syndrome with this, that my children would ask if the balloons really got to Benjamin. (Hummer had already said that he thought Benjamin would pop his!) But a friend had wisely told me, "Just tell them the truth--the balloons will not get to heaven, but Benjamin will see them and know about them."


Exacto with balloons ~ Fluffy writing a note to Benjamin ~ special bracelets Jaime made for Benjamin's brothers

Hummer's note reads "H z noys and yoo r noys too" (H is nice and you are nice, too). :)


2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 219

It was one of those days that seem too good for this earth. A celestial day.


2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 221

There was a feeling of deep peace and joy. Someone suggested that we sing "I Am a Child of God" as the balloons lifted.




2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 228


 2008 11 03 Jim's Pictures 009 edit

It was a beautiful gift from Father in Heaven that this tree was in full glory that day, just like the day of Benjamin's burial. I loved feeling close to that time again. I never would have expected that before going through this experience! To wish I could go back to that? Yes. That was the last time I saw his face and touched his soft head. I want to remember that vividly, and the sight of this magnificent tree was a blessing!




2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 252





  Nature’s first green is gold,

  Her hardest hue to hold.

  Her early leaf’s a flower;

  But only so an hour.

  Then leaf subsides to leaf.

  So Eden sank to grief,

  So dawn goes down to day.

  Nothing gold can stay.

  - Robert Frost






After the balloons were out of sight, the children enjoyed the leaves that were on the ground. It truly was a celebratory day.

A year since an angel joined our family! We love you, Benjamin! Stay close. . . .

2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 331

2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 441

2008 11 03 Benjamin's BD 445