Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 26 - { better-than-we-deserve neighbors }

Our Rooba (whose name continues to mutate) is good for many things:

Hand sanitizing. . . .



A pre-wash cycle for our dishes, thus saving on our water bill. . . .

(nice, short, sound-free, low-quality videos below)


But her heroic efforts at roto-tilling the garden, while appreciated, lacked the continuity and evenness that one would wish for. . . .

Thankfully, however, our garden is now planted and thriving.


I would like to introduce you to the nicest neighbors ever:


A recently retired couple, who are very involved with service activities at their church and with community organizations. They are talented at so many things and amazingly tech-savvy.

And they are just plain nice. It can't be easy living next to a noisy family like us, but they seem to think it's entertaining rather than annoying! (so awesome).

They have watered our plants for us when we were out of town, let us share the Sunday paper with them, given on-demand gardening advice, invited us to church, shared their many tools with us, invited our boys over to play with their granddaughter, visited us in the hospital after Benjamin was born, shared their home-project expertise with us, any thing you could think of that would be nice to have a neighbor for, they have given freely and with love.

I always worry that we are completely in their debt, that we can never be as good friends to them as they have been to us!

And so, this is the last straw!

I came home a couple of weeks ago to find that Roger had come over and roto-tilled our garden for us.


I thought: That's it. They get a post on my blog. 

(My charity never faileth. ha :)


Some people-- like these good neighbors of ours--help us understand Heavenly Father's love better. We are forever in His debt because first, He has given us our lives, the very air we breathe. And second, every time we "do something for" Him He blesses us again, ever more richly than we deserve. (*see King Benjamin's teachings about this*)

I am so grateful for these wonderful neighbors who are "peaceable followers of Christ", and with whom we will never catch up in the Niceness Contest. :) We love you guys!



100 days of gratitude tag

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

another heart-melter

 2004 0422 Fluffy and Hummer

                                                                 Fluffy and Hummer, Apr 04

I keep finding these pictures I want to share!

I like to set my Google Photos Screensaver to show only pictures from only the current month, but from any year (since we got the digital camera). It's a fun way to be reminded of older pictures that I might not ever get around to looking at otherwise. (And when I see the red eyes all big on the screen, it prods me to go fix them right now). :)

Hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 25 - { Beloved Becky }

100 days of gratitude tag

As I have reflected on what I am grateful for, it has struck me how often it is WHO I am grateful for, not what! (or "for whom", I suppose I should say--ha! I'm such a nerd.) I'm planning to start including at least once a week in my gratitude posts, a person whom I am greatly blessed to have in my life.

Today it's one of my amazing sisters-- Becky, who has her very own blog here.


           Becky and me in front of the Mesa Temple, 1980

I wrote a poem for Becky for Christmas 2004. When I read it again this week, it made me cry because it is only truer now than it was then.


We two young trees grew together in a  grove,
Our roots so entwined
Our trunks looked as one
Which memories are mine?
Which influences only hers?

She is wise yet harmless,
Her soul without guile--
A peaceable follower of Christ
Bearing the fruits of the Spirit.

She changes the world,
this sister of mine,
the world of each person in the shade of her love.
And I, blessed for having shared that shade
Nearly all of my days.


Becky is 20 months younger than I am. I'm afraid that I often took her for granted during our growing-up years, although at the same time we were the closest of friends. We played pretend together, created our own worlds of imaginative adventures, had "pillow parties" and crocheted together. We knew all the same songs, and could quote all the same movies. We loved being silly together. I have so many awesome funny memories of when we were in seminary together and sharing a room in PA. (Did I ever mention the time when I woke her up in the morning for seminary, and she was still on her knees from praying the night before?! Or when I heard a scream from her bedroom and went in to find her on the floor because she had put on her backpack and fallen over backwards?)

Now that we are grown-and-married Mommies, I hope I don't take the precious love of this sister for granted any more. She has provided unconditional love and comic relief and wise counsel and sweet comfort all my life, even more so during the past year and a half.

I am so grateful for you, my beloved Becky! Thank you for shading me in so many ways and at so many times! I am so blessed to be your sister.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

drooling over this picture of Baby Hummer

2004 0420 Hyrum fell asleep sucking on his thumb 2 edit

          Is it any wonder I'm greedy for another one?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

help! - silly putty removal?

*2nd Update: He emerged from the bathroom with a red scalp (from forcibly removing the silly putty), and only slightly pink hair. I had received a couple of your comments (THANK YOU!) and told him the ideas. He tried the hairspray, and then took a shower with shampoo, and it worked! Phew! I think I'm going to follow Tricia's good example and ban the stuff from our house. . . .

*Update: He has gotten the main mass out, but now the whole top of his head is tinged bright pink and is very sticky. Worst of all, he won't let me take a picture!! He locked the door when I went to get the camera.

Exacto's been in the bathroom for a long time with the door shut. I kept calling him, and finally I went up and asked him if he was okay. He said, "Yeah."

I said, "Well, what are you doing?"

He said, "Trying to get silly putty out of my hair."

Apparently he had put a ball of bright pink silly putty on his head because he thought it would be neat to see it turn into a "puddle" on his head, then take it right off. It didn't come off.

He said he's tried ice and that didn't really work, and then he tried hot water, and that didn't really work.

Any ideas?!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Emulating Jesus Christ

temple scaffolding -oquirrh mountain

                                                      photo credit Rickety Family (I edited)

Building on His firm foundation requires us to emulate Christ's character. There is no joy nor is there any security in giving Him mere lip service. Emulating Him is the key, and our emerging character is the refined structure of our souls. After all the circumstantial scaffolding comes down, character is what is left.

from Elder Neal A. Maxwell in 2002

I just found this quote this morning, and it took my breath away. I wonder what character will be revealed after my "scaffolding" comes down?

Hummer has decided to catch a bird for me, preferably a hawk. He has the front door wide open, and a cup full of chicken feed, and is waiting patiently for a bird to fly in.

Exacto has Quiz Bowl today. H and I are about to go watch his team compete.

< H just said sweetly, "Mommy, when are you going to finish that post?" >

Bye now! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Maybe outdated, but still awesome

It's been a rough week until today, and I'm ready for something light and funny. This video "Sarah Palin's New Career: Jazz Singer" really hits the spot. Hope you enjoy it.

P.S. Whoever the pianist is has my amazement and kudos. It took talent to come up with this!!


P.P.S. I miss you, Sarah Palin. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 24 - { twelve years of real-life romance }

anniversary surprise for gras

Of all the blessings I am grateful for, this is perhaps the greatest. How can I ever be sad or complain, when I am sealed eternally to my beloved and our children? No matter what happens in this life, as long as we are faithful, our bond is permanent and unbreakable.

As my grandpa wrote in his journal -- soon after being sealed in the Mesa Temple to his beloved just before deployment to active duty in World War II -- "Now I have something that can never be taken away."

I love you, Darling. Many, many happy returns!


100 days of gratitude tag

Friday, April 17, 2009

A post-Easter breakfast tradition


Egg Goldenrod

You will need:


1. Hard-boil the eggs (1 per piece of toast)

2. Peel, and set aside the yolks

3. Meanwhile, make a white sauce (2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. flour, 1 c. milk, 1/4 tsp. salt) - make more depending on the # of pieces of toast

4. Cut up the egg whites and add to the white sauce.

5. Pour over toast (buttered, if you want), and sprinkle crumbled yolks over the top.


I have fond memories of discovering this recipe while I was a college student. One of my best friends from Pennsylvania lived in a nearby apartment, and we often had Saturday breakfast together after going to the Provo Temple.

One time she fixed this for me, and I was enchanted! It looked so pretty and cheerful. And it was just so creamy. Mm-hmm.

It morphed into a post-Easter tradition quite naturally, as the hardest part of the recipe is boiling the eggs, and after Easter, there's no shortage of boiled eggs around here!

The boys all love this recipe, and I have to nearly triple it because they always want seconds and thirds. Just 1 serving is plenty satisfying for me, though. It's the type of breakfast that makes you feel good for the rest of the morning. :)

Try it!! You will love it!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 23 - { the little lost library book that now is found }

Last November I checked out a library book on "Nursing School Entrance Exams". I flipped through it, and put it on the desk to read gradually whenever I had a few minutes. It got buried by Christmas cards and bills and paperwork, and I forgot about its very existence.

Then in December we sold our desk to make room for our new sectional. Before the people came to pick up the desk, we put everything from on top and in the drawers into Wal-mart bags that went into the kitchen. About a month later the bags migrated into the garage. (Obiviously, organizing is not a natural skill of mine.)

I had Chris return a whole stack of books to the library, including some nursing-school type ones, and assumed it was in there. Meanwhile, whenever I received the email from our library saying it was due, I just kept renewing it, thinking they must have shelved it without discharging it, and every time thanking my lucky stars that someone hadn't placed it on hold!

I've been trying since Christmas to get the paper mess under control, and to figure out what to do with all those bags of paper in the garage. (I think paper is my mortal enemy). Girl in a Swirl recommended a great organizing book, and it's given me the Umph to get going on the paper! Yes, ma'am. I pulled in those bags this morning, and ATTACKED them, sorting like a fiend.


Guess what was in the very. . . first. . . bag. . .


Yep! "Nursing School Entrance Exams"!!! WAHOO!!!

And my first emotion? Not shame (maybe it should have been!). Not annoyance at myself. No beating up of self going on at all.

100 days of gratitude tag



It was just sheer GRATITUDE. 




Can't wait to go to the library!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What I would do with a spare $525

So it's probably a really good thing I don't have it! :)

I am SO DROOLING over this. . . .


Just found out a little more about it:

A Place of Her Own  by artist James Christensen available from Snow Goose Gallery.

"I wanted to create a retreat, a secluded little nook filled with art and books where a woman could really get away from it all. Here, the tension melts away as lilting strains of lute music drift across the overstuffed cushions. The objects in the room represent the things that I believe are important to a full and satisfying life: Rembrandt's painting 'Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer' (culture and the arts); the medieval Unicorn Tapestries (magic and belief); maps (curiosity and exploration); sheet music (music and creativity) and the books, treasures which represent the collected wisdom of the ages. Take a close look at the books - there's one of my very favorite new books buried in there somewhere!" - James Christensen.

Canvases released 2008.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 22 - { easter morning }

Tomorrow morning is one of my favorite times of the year. I love celebrating Jesus' Resurrection!

We had a wonderful trip to the Memphis temple today. We did our normal switcheroo routine, so that each of us gets to do a session, while the other enjoys the boys.


I love these pictures that DC took during his turn with the kiddos.


(My half of "enjoying the boys" was not quite as positive and full of the Spirit as you would hope, especially for just coming out of the temple. It started before we even left the parking lot--they were loudly arguing about what color the temple is! Sheesh. It was only downhill from there. My shining example of patience did hold out for about 20 minutes, though, which is longer than usual lately!)

Anyway, I think the best part, besides actually being in the temple, was the ride home. Hummer fell asleep, and the other two were watching "Wall-e" in the back seat, and so DC and I had nearly TWO HOURS of uninterrupted conversation. Now that is heaven. We talked about Benjamin, what we imagine he is doing now, why he doesn't have to experience earth life like we do, etc. We discussed decisions that need to be made regarding our sons here on earth. I asked my Darling how he thinks I am doing. Am I passing the test?

We realized that today was a very appropriate day to be in the Lord's House, performing work for the dead. As Mormons, we know that Jesus Christ, in the time between His death and resurrection, was in the Spirit World, organizing the missionary work for those in spirit prison (see 1 Peter 4:6, and D&C 138:30).

I love thinking that we spent this day before Easter helping with those missionary efforts by providing the ordinances for those children of Heavenly Father who need them to progress! Maybe Benjamin was serving alongside us today!


And now, some Easter thoughts. . . .

I hope I have written often enough about my feelings about my Savior, Jesus Christ, that anyone who even briefly reads this blog knows that I love Him with all my heart.

(Some of my favorite past posts about Him: My Truest Friend -- Ten Months -- Day 8 - {modern prophets} )

I wish that we celebrated Easter more thoroughly, more on the level that we do Christmas! One of my favorite Pres. Hinckley quotes is: ""There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter."

And so I attempted to write some of my thoughts about what Easter morning means to me. . . .

(I know it's not the best poetry but hopefully it describes the beauty and hope I feel when I think about Christ's Resurrection. The scripture following gets the job done for sure. :)




easter morning

a tomb burst open

satan's power baffled

fatal crack in death's stone


easter morning

a life gently returned

tears spent and dried

a family firmly reunited




100 days of gratitude tagLet the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King!

And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness.

Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy!

And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy!

And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!

And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

~ Doctrine and Covenants 128:23


Praise be to God for the matchless gift of His Divine Son! I will sing to Him tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2009

a deep thought for the day

sorry in advance - I just couldn't resist! :)



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Search the Scriptures Diligently - VTing handout

I absolutely loved the quote by President Ezra Taft Benson in this month's Visiting Teaching message. I wanted to be able to see it often and help prod me into a better scripture study habit. So I decided to type it.

Then I decided to make it pretty.

An hour later, I realized that if I was going to actually STUDY the SCRIPTURES before the boys got home from school, I'd better stop fooling around on the computer and DO IT! :)

Two hours later--now the boys are home and I DID study the scriptures and that feels so good.

I thought it might be nice to share my work. I'm not a real expert on prettifying (I usually leave that up to my talented friends!), but I hope someone out there likes this! Feel free to print it out if you'd like. :)


Scripture Quote ETB


Credit: I used parts of the Skylit kit from Carina Gardner's Peony Place

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 21 - { heavenly conference weekend }

015 (2)This weekend was heaven on earth for me.

To spend eight hours listening to gorgeous music and the powerful, uplifting words of the prophets while seated on the couch next to my Darling Cutie. . . .

And on a blanket in front of us, three of our sons enjoying MnM's and colored pencils and Conference packets. . . 

It really felt like we came out of the world for a couple of days.

Didn't it seem like a lot of the talks were about being "of good cheer" in the face of adversity?

Elder Scott's talk in particular struck me deeply.

In fact, I need to repent. I have shared a lot of negative emotion on this blog lately, and I am sorry!

Starting from the moment I felt the Spirit prompt me during Elder Scott's talk, I have resolved to stop complaining about this trial. Start focusing as much as possible on the eternal joy I have to look forward to.

The words of the prophets this weekend made eternity seem not so far away.

I know it doesn't mean I will suddenly stop feeling pain. In fact, I realized yesterday for the first time that I will surely go through loss again before this life is over. I will likely have to say goodbye to many of my loved ones before eternity arrives.

So I want to be like Elder Scott and not complain. I want to focus on the wonderful, living people around me that I love so much. I want to look toward eternity as something that will arrive sooner rather than later and live each day completely and as joyfully as I can.

{ Hummer is up from his Quiet Time now, and I need to end this post. }

Can't wait till the transcripts are posted on the Church's website so I can post some of my favorite one-liners!

Until then, I sing out my gratitude for this beautiful weekend. I feel so refreshed and strengthened!

I thank Thee, Heavenly Father!100 days of gratitude tag

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 20 - { life with exacto, fluffy, and hummer }

note: this post has a soundtrack! Click play to hear it -- and don't turn up your speakers too loud. Unless you really like Mozart.

Music Playlist at

There are three wonderful young men in my life, who bring sunshine to me every day. Here's a post about some of those warm rays. :)




These guys are pretty unique. Have you ever met a household of boys that breaks out in song, singing MOZART? There's a CD we have that's just one of those cheesy Mozart collections, like "Mozart classics", or something like that. The first track is the overture to Le Nozze di Figaro and they LOVE it, especially Hummer. I'll be downstairs and suddenly hear it booming out from upstairs. Hummer says that the louder it is the more beautiful it is. He'll put the track on repeat and just sit there listening, saying reverently, "Beautiful. Beautiful."

(The only track they don't like is a soprano solo from one of the Masses. They always say, "Fast forward!" as soon as that operatic voice comes on. Rats. I was hoping they would be REALLY unusual and love opera. . . .of course, then they'd probably get beat up at school. :)


Last week was such a blast because Exacto and Fluffy were on Spring Break, and they had a whole week to be with Hummer and play as much as they wanted.

One of their favorite games lately is Train the Puppy. Not our resident puppy, though. Hummer is the trainer, and Exacto and Fluffy get on all fours, and the house reverberates with human barking and "NO! BAD DOG!" and "GOOD PUPPY! You did SUCH a good JOB!"



Mr. Hummer has recently signed his own personal declaration of independence. Complete independence at the age of 5 is a bit premature, of course, but he won't listen when I tell him that it's just not a good idea for him to drive the car. Or jump OUT of the car and run towards Target as soon as I turn off the engine. (Yikes!)

This little Don Juan, who still kisses the hands of people who are "sweet", now refuses to accept kisses! He wipes them off, screaming, "EW!" It has turned into a game. Instead of tickling him to tease him, I kiss him. He shrieks and runs away. I do it again. He shrieks and runs away. (Just doing my part to get him ready for kindergarten. Hey, it's important! :)

One thing that amazes me though, is that Hummer is reading the Book of Mormon independently! Isn't that incredible? Often, he'll choose that for his bedtime story. He's actually working his way through 2nd Nephi right now. Awesome.



Then there's my sweet Flufferoo.

He's is so tender-hearted, it just melts me. HE still loves kisses, thank goodness.

One of our special traditions when we visit Benjamin's grave is that no matter what, Fluffy runs to hold my hand as we walk. He is the one who usually stays with me while we visit (DC is usually still at church, Exacto waits in the car, and Hummer is half a mile away seeing how close he can get to the lake without falling in).

Fluffy is quite the musician already! He can play the note flashcards in less than a minute now. He's working toward his first piano recital, and has 6 songs memorized for it already.

I love going through his school papers every day, and counting up the 100%'s. (He gets a bean for each 100% paper :). He likes to draw cute little men with the 00's as eyes.

At PT conferences yesterday, his teacher praised him to the skies and made me blush by saying he was likely a genius. But then she said it's because she knows he's smart, but he's off in lala land half the time. She said--and I quote--, "Then I have to say, [Fluufffy]! Helloooo!"



0311 to 0320


Exacto is . . . .

. . . .anti-photo-taking

Nana worked her magic and got some great pictures while they were visiting. Her secret? To give a special gift to all three boys, ON CONDITION that they promise to co-operate for pictures. Fluffy and Hummer don't mind pictures. But it took Exacto a while to decide to agree to this. And yes, he kept his promise. He's pretty awesome that way.

. . . .iPod-sharing

Remember that iPod nano he got for Christmas? I was a bit concerned at first that he would soon have those earbuds permanently in his ears, and we'd have to wrangle out some rules to keep things peaceful. I shouldn't have worried. This almost-11-year-old big brother lets BOTH his little brothers use his iPod almost every time they ask! He knows how much I would love to have one, and so he's suggested several times that I use it while he's at school.

He bought the sweetest little speakers for it, and at night when they were all in bed (and before the batteries on the speakers died), they would listen to stories he downloaded. He'd put it in the middle of H's and F's bedroom floor and turn it way up so they all can hear. He is so the big brother I wished for when I was growing up. :)

. . . .district-chess-tournament-going

Today was the day. My Exacto went to the district level in 3rd grade, too, but not 4th grade, and now, this was his last chance to do the tournament. Hummer and I went to watch. He took one out of the three games. Of course, he was a bit disappointed, but I was amazed at what a good sport he was.

And then there was an impromptu fourth game, which only lasted a few minutes. Look at Hummer's face, and you'll see why I say Exacto wins, hands down! :)


100 days of gratitude tag



"Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not,

let your hearts be comforted;

yea, rejoice evermore,

and in everything give thanks."

Doctrine & Covenants 98:1





life with e, f, h post

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

it takes three.

Spring Break was wonderful, and all too short. Our house always seems unbelievably empty after company leaves! Miss you, Mom and Dad! Miss you, Becky and Smoothie! Miss you, Jofus! We managed to work in trips to Petit Jean State Park, Museum of Discovery, Hendrix cafeteria (quite possibly my personal favorite! :), and spent time at home making way too many addicting cookies, and experimenting with Mom's Cricut and watching movies. In short, it was heaven.

I have several posts rolling around in my head right now, waiting to be written, but this is the one that wants to be written today. :)



My sweet friend Kara, who is undergoing severe challenges to her desire to be a mother, recently invited me to be part of this "common thread" and asked me to add the button to my sidebar with a  link to my story. She says on her blog "My Road to Motherhood":

If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it is that I am not alone. My situation may be unique... but the outcome of infertility is not. The more I open my mouth and let others in, the more I realize just how many are struggling with infertility as well. I have found hope and peace, strength and courage from those with whom I share this one common thread. Having a network of friends that I can lean on for understanding or a listening ear has meant so much to me over the past few months. Often times it is with people with whom I have never even met or barely even know. That thread is what links each one of us together, and it is often times, what holds each one of us together through such a trial.


Yes, I know I'm not exactly infertile. I never dreamed I would be included in a group like this. The fact that Kara wants me to be is evidence of the pure love and spiritual strength she has. Instead of looking at me as someone who has had four babies and wouldn't understand, she sees me as someone who has lost a baby and has yet been unable to have another. We share the pain of an unfulfilled righteous desire.

It has been over 5 years since I brought a baby home from the hospital with me. I am starting to understand what it feels like to see time pass and other children grow and still have empty arms.

When I married my Darling Cutie I was 19 years old. I was completely committed to Heavenly Father's plan for me, and knew I was doing the right thing. Yet I had the naive worry that my main concern in childbearing would be that I could reasonably expect to have 15 children by the time I finally hit menopause! This was a matter of months of prayer for us, and the decisions we made are too personal to share.

I had Exacto at the tender age of 20. (Only last week, Hummer commented, "That's REALLY young for an a-DULT!" :). Both DC and I were still full-time students, and DC was planning on at least 5 more years of graduate school. We moved to Tallahassee when Exacto was 8 weeks old, and proceeded to be poor as church mice and happy as clams for the next six years. During that time Fluffy and Hummer joined our family.

All three were C-sections, much to my dismay. With the first two I had taken Bradley courses, hired a doula, tried so hard to do a pioneer-style birth, but my body didn't co-operate. Those are stories for another post. With the third, we just scheduled the "section."

A few months after having Hummer, we moved to Arkansas for DC's first real job, although he was still working on his dissertation. I was hit with my first case of real post-partum depression, and ended up needing medication for it.

So by then I thought I had figured out by now what my life's struggles were going to be:

a) I had to have C-sections (this seemed like a cruel joke to me for a long time, as I was one of the most needle-phobic people I knew)

b) we were always going to have money problems (first 8 years of marriage were student poverty, followed by an uncertain future with music as a profession)

c) we would likely always live far from family

d) I appeared to be pre-disposed to chemical / hormonal imbalance that required intervention


This seemed plenty hard enough to me. In fact, I had pretty much reconciled myself to all of the above, and was trudging my way through, thinking how well I was enduring to the end! :)

Solution to a) : faith and Priesthood blessings would get me through the scary deliveries.

Solution to b) : Oh, well. As long as we pay our tithing, we'll have what we need, and I'm okay with that.

Solution to c) : webcamming, frequent visits, frequent phonecalls, family blogs, etc. Sometimes I think we get along better because we don't live nearby and so we really, really enjoy the time we do get together! :)

Solution to d) : ahem, lexapro. (SO GRATEFUL that such a thing exists so that people with emotional illness can lead a normal life!)


Then came the events of 2007. ( To read the whole story of our sweet Benjamin and his short stay on earth, go here. )

My naiveté regarding childbearing was totally blown out of the water. I honestly had no idea that still today in our time of medical miracles, babies sometimes die. Even before they are born.

This is still so hard for me. I have a hard time reading stories of babies who received miraculous healings after prayer. I never even had the chance to pray for Benjamin--he was already gone. I even have a hard time reading about babies who lived a short time, then died. I would have given anything to see his eyes open even for a few minutes, anything to hold him in my arms with his spirit still intact.

And as 2008 dragged by, with my desperately wishing for a baby the entire time, and not receiving one, I started to realize that this is just one more part of life that we can't necessarily control. Sometimes babies die, and sometimes babies don't come.

As my mom has said to me several times, "It takes three." Or rather, "Three", since Heavenly Father is the third part of the equation.

I don't understand why He hasn't sent us another baby any more than I understand why He took Benjamin back. I don't understand why Dave and Kara--who could be the poster-children for the ideal parents and who would be so diligent raising a child in the gospel--haven't been able to have a baby. I find great inspiration in Nephi's words: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."

I know He loves me, and so even though I don't understand everything right now, I will continue to trust Him. Someday all will be well. I know it.

And I will continue to write my Gratitude posts. :)