Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Dashing and Talented Pierce

Introducing Pierce, preforming Berceuse by Alexander Ilynsky. Preformed May 20, 2014


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Power Of Words

We have a very sensitive son that has typically been kind to everyone. At some point he decided not to be so kind within the family unit and chose to take it out on Emma, his down syndrome sister. It was not pretty at times. He wouldn't even allow her to sit by him at the table. We did everything we knew to do to help him understand her and see how much she looked up to him. We had to institute consequences when he would be mean to her. It was quite a challenge and it hurt our hearts as parents.

About a year ago we got new glasses for Emma. She has pretty poor eyesight but hated glasses. She would hide her glasses all the time so she wouldn't have to wear them. I gave up and decided that when she was ready for good eyesight then we would take her to the doctor for a new prescription. The day came when her new glasses arrived. All the kids gathered around, because who can resist a package in the mail? This son who was not too kind to Emma was standing a couple feet from her when Emma put her glasses on. She looked up and her eyes got big. With enthusiasm Emma said, "You have cute face." This son started beaming.

From that day forward the son has been kind and considerate of Emma. He includes her in what he is doing if she asks and doesn't pick on her anymore than the other kids. Today he was extra kind and excited to play with Emma. Emma adores this brother of hers and now he deserves it and allows himself to feel that love all because she said he was cute.

If we could all be a little more like Emma the world would be a much better place.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Physics - a truck, a lawn mower and a geyser

This is by Doug.  Deanne's guest blogger.....

My dad graduated from the University of California - Berkeley as a Civil Engineer.  In one of his classes, he was the only student to come up with the formula that solved a problem a professor gave the entire class at the beginning of the semester. Needless to say, he was smarter than the average bear.  (No pun intended for those of you who know what the mascot is for Berkeley.) All this was to give you the background as to why my father loved explaining the concepts of physics to me and my other siblings (and whoever else would listen) throughout my life. 

One of the most memorable of these instructional sessions was when I backed his pickup truck into a cement post.  That was back in the late 70's when they built real bumpers with 1/4" steel that easily went through the grill of any car failing to stop at the appropriate distance at stop lights.  After I hit the pole, though it gave me a pretty good jolt, I drove away without looking at the possible damage since I knew how strong the bumper was and it probably wasn't much.  And I wanted to get out of there quickly so I didn't tip off the friends I had just left at the fast food restaurant that I just hit a stationary object. 

On the way home, a police car drove up beside me from behind and as I noticed the officer slowing and staring at the rear of the truck, I had a feeling something was not right back there.  He didn't pull me over so I figured it couldn't be that bad.  After pulling in our driveway, I walked back to take a look, and there was the bumper completely in tact.  It was just hanging down a few inches from the ground.

My dad was surprisingly patient with the whole thing, but here is where a physics lesson had to be taught - when two objects collide, energy is transferred and something has to be displaced if there is enough force.  In this case, it wasn't the bumper, but it was the bolts holding the bumper to the frame that had to give way to the energy caused by a 2 ton truck hitting a 6" steel and cement post. The next day, we headed off to the hardware store and replaced the sheared bolts.  The bumper was as good as new and I was wiser for the experience.

Olivia gained wisdom today in much the same manner.  As you can see by the photos below, something gave way this evening.  In this case, Olivia found out that a self propelled mower can deliver more force than a PVC pipe can resist. The other physics lesson is that a gravity fed secondary water line can build up sufficient pressure to create a 30 foot geyser when that energy is released.
We had the best water feature in the neighborhood tonight!

The kids just went about their business.

Turns out, the city has a policy that they call the fire department for emergencies involving floods.  We had a friendly visit with 3 firefighters that probably were glad to have something to do that did not involve life and death circumstances.  I told the dispatch at the city that is was just flooding the neighbor's horse pasture and they probably appreciated it, but she was determined to get these guys out here.  I think she knew how bored they normally are and that they would like the diversion.

One of them had a daughter in the fourth grade at Clayson's school and he happens to be doing a career day next Friday for all the fourth graders.  He wanted to get this picture of Clayson by the geyser so he could use it in his presentation next week.  Clayson was a bit embarrassed.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Are We Done Yet?

I had a few interesting experiences over the week. First, a friend of mine announced she was having a baby. She is on the older side and was not emotionally prepared for it. She made a statement that she wasn't looking forward to having another baby and all that comes with it. She in no way wanted to be pregnant. Hearing these things have always made me sad but this time my heart hurt. I want her baby! I want to tell her what a blessing it is to be trusted with one of Heavenly Father's children. To help this friend understand that though it may seem hard right now the blessings are more than worth it! I want her to feel the love of her child and rejoice in it.

The next experience occurred while talking with another friend. We were talking about my kids growing up and she asked if I missed having someone crawling around. Most people assume I would be happy to be out of that stage and like most people, that is the way she asked the question. Come to find out she didn't know how old Gideon was, thinking he was around 7 instead of turning 3, so she had no idea, until a few minutes later, what she had asked. I took absolutely no offense. I have been feeling the loss of changing diapers and no shadow following me all the time but how could she have known that?  I wasn't sure how to answer her question. I was a little perplexed, so I paused and said something like "That's a good question". I don't remember how the conversation went after that but she felt so incredibly bad for saying something she felt was offensive. I hope she isn't fretting over that, I would. That question rooted more deeply in my heart my desire to have a little one around again.

There were three of us talking during the same visit as the previous friend. The other friend has had two late term miscarriages. I asked her some questions about what she went through and some of her feelings. Since the last miscarriage she has had an adorable little girl. The thing that struck me was he saying that having her littlest girl healed her of the pain of loss caused by her miscarriages. She still thinks of the lost children but she is not in the same pain. I too experienced that in my life and she reminded me of the same feelings I had gone through at another time in my life.

Through my research and study of loss and grief I have come to learn that it is very normal for a mother to strongly desire to have another child after their loss. I am no exception to this. I feel once again the longing for a baby. I was the girl in church that always had someone's baby in my arms if at all possible. I have noticed every baby around, sometimes bringing tears, and a longing to fill my empty arms and the empty spot that Gideon left. We can't replace Gideon but as Doug said when I expressed my feelings, it is more about having the extra love and needing a place for it to go. He too feels we can never replace Gideon but understood what I was feeling. (What a good man.)

People have asked us if we are done adopting. Since Gideon has been gone some have gently broached that subject. After Scott we knew that we had done what the Lord asked of us. We had gathered all the children he required, despite me feeling like there may be a little baby in our future. At that time we felt confident we were done. If we wanted to adopt again the Lord would support us but it would be our choice. I think sometimes we receive revelation interpreting it one way and later realizing that what we thought, was not  really what would happen. I now understand that Heavenly Father was giving us a choice so we felt we had agency but not that He intended for us to be done. With Gideon passing on, our hearts are open and our desires are different. The impressions of a little one have never left and  a couple of months before Gideon died I prayed that if we had a baby to come, please allow Gideon to be here for it. He LOVED babies. In the two weeks before Gideon died the impressions of another child came even more forcefully. I don't know yet what these feeling have specifically been. I know, there can be many interpretations and I have gone through just about every scenario and none feel right except another child we call ours. With all that said I go back to what my friend said, what I have experienced, and what I know to be true. A baby is very healing and we would all embrace that gift.

I don't know what the Lord has planned but we will follow wherever He leads. Doug and I would love to have another little one in our family. From very early on in our marriage we have had a policy that our door is always open. If we are blessed once again with another of our Father's precious children we will embrace them with our whole heart. For now, we will be faithful, praying to be in tune with the will of our Father in all things.

P.S. My promise to be real? Well, this subject is very close to my heart and opens me up like I have never done in public before. Maybe 3 or 4 people have heard me say anything about this. If you feel the need to judge be gentle with me, please.

This post was written the end of March. I don't know why I felt like I needed to wait to post it but now is the time. I was afraid of such tender feelings being judged and ridiculed. I am now stronger in this, and though it would hurt to be judged, I also know that I'm ok and my feelings come from a pure place and not from a place of grief. Thank you all for your support and faith in us.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Mourn With Those That Mourn

Today some of the family had the opportunity to go to the funeral of a good friends Uncle. This Uncle was much like a father and grandfather to our friends. We were so sad to hear that someone they loved dearly was struggling with life. This family has been there for us in ways that have touched us deeply. Through our struggles with Gideon's death they have supported us emotionally, physically and in anyway they can think of. We have grown to love them deeply. Having the opportunity to support these friends was a blessing to us.

We checked Casey and Hannah out of school. Hannah has babysat for some of the grand kids and Casey's best friend Garrett is how we met this family. Garrett is the youngest son of our friends. Garrett and Casey met in Kindergarten and have stayed close. Casey and Hannah desperately wanted to go and show their love and support. We heard of the illness of the uncle last week so on Thursday we decided it would be a good day to bring cookies over so our friends knew we were thinking of them. Hannah spent her afternoon making some very good cookies, with the help of my sister-in-law, Janet, we ran out of sugar. :) (They get the next batch of cookies). As soon as we said hello to our friends they told us that the uncle passed away that morning. This can only be called God Timing. Lives were blessed on both sides that day as Hannah listened to the Spirit prompt her to set aside other plans to serve another.

I don't know why, but it didn't cross my mind that attending a funeral in the same funeral home that Gideon's body had been prepared in may be difficult. Funerals are never easy but our grief is still present just under the surface and the last week has been especially difficult for much of the family. One of the songs sung was "For Good" from Wicked. That song has been going through my head for a couple of weeks whenever I think of Gideon. As the daughter of our friends sang this song the tears streamed down my face. Doug didn't get through without tears either. I could identify with everything this family was feeling.

There was a statement made that touched a part of me that once again needed reminding that all was OK. "We know we have loved deeply when we have lost deeply." I truly love my little Gideon and every day wish I could hold him and kiss his cheeks again. It was nice to hear of the life of another but today, for me, this was about my Gideon. Our perfect pure son. To steal a line from this uncles obituary, "Nothing is harder than the loss of someone we love, Perhaps their greater purpose is to love us from above." Gideon has a greater purpose and we are grateful to be a small part of it until we are reunited.

I understand a little better what it takes to be a better friend and how to mourn with those that mourn through the example of our friends. I saw this quote today and wanted to share it.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
—Henri J.M. Nouwen