Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Few Moments of Joy Can Make You Forget the Pain

I have many, many cousins.  Of all of them, my cousin Jilliam has the most unique story.  In my opinion, he has a sad tale--a situation that breaks my heart and makes me wonder what the Lord possibly has in store for him when this life is over.  What is in that mansion in Heaven that will make up for the nights and days of loneliness, and the life-long struggle of having a disabled body?  It will have to be glorious, because I cannot even imagine what it could be....

Jilliam is not the usual case in a group home for disabled people. 
He is mentally sound, he is literate and witty, he understands you and can communicate back...
...if you are willing to wait long enough to listen

Jilliam was born with Cerebral Palsy, and so his muscles did not develop the way they should have.  His hands and body cannot function in the easy ways we take for granted, and if he wants to communicate, someone has to hand him a stick and he will pain-stakingly use his body to bend over and push one key at a time.  A conversation that would take you 2 minutes could easily take him 20.  I can tell you from personal experience that it is worth waiting to hear what he has to say.

For Christmas last year, he worked on this gorgeous card.  It was my favorite Christmas gift by far, and it still makes me cry that he gave this to me.  This card, given on Christmas Day was the sweetest, most thoughtful, and unexpected gift I had received.  I will save it forever!

My family came to visit Jilliam with me, and we all had a wonderful time.  We sang him some carols and then we all sang O Holy Night with his computer machine. :) 
We made some funny faces and laughed so hard!

And Jilliam raised his arms to flex his BUFF muscles to match the BOD cologne the family gave him.

Tonight we were able to have a Surprise Party for him!  It turned out GREAT!
It's a good thing we only had one candle, because we forgot the matches & had to modify how we planned to light it. : )
Jodi and I decorated his front port in the middle of the night so that he would wake up to confetti, streamers, and a sign calling him an OLD MAN for his OVER-THE-HILL 40th Birthday.  : :)
Tyson's gift was to decorate Jilliam's wheelchair.  At Christmas time he told me he wanted to do that, so tonight he got his wish, and Jilliam got ROCKET stickers on his wheelchair. : )

 Using Mitch's own words, my husband is a "flippin' genius".  We pulled out the croquet set and Mitch-Gyver strapped the croquet mallet to Jilliam's wheel-chair.  It was a beautiful sight!
 Mitch was a great coach, and Jilliam's friend, Ryan, got to play, too!

We had a lovely group assembled to celebrate with Jilliam!  This wasn't even half of them!  Jacob and Velma made it, so did some friends, employees and staff of the care facilities, another group home also came to partay with pizza, cake, happy faces, and fun!  You only turn 40 once!


If you've read this far, I want to tell you one more thing...

Jilliam is a thoughtful, loving, sacred soul.  He is an indispensable part of my family.  When he used to live in Prescott, before the facebook world existed, and before I had text messaging service, we would call on the phone.  I would ask questions and he would type his response into his computer as I would wait, and then he would push the button that made his computer voice read to me what he was trying to say.  Sometimes I would have to ask him to push that button 3 or 4 times before I could understand what the computer voice said over the telephone receiver.

One night he called me to talk about some things on his mind and to see how I was doing.  I was lying in bed and full of sorrow of my own.  I had just lost, yet again, another baby by miscarriage.  He asked me what was wrong and I had to tell him "I'm losing my baby."  I explained that the baby had been growing like it was supposed to and all of a sudden at the doctor's appointment, there was no longer a heart beat.  And in order to find out why this kept happening, I had to have surgery and testing...not to mention, my heart was broken.  I can still hear his gentle voice mourning for me.  He was in a situation of his own where his hand was having problems, and in order to keep his limited mobility, he was going to have to have a second surgery the next day on his hand.  He was scared of what might would happen, the long recovery and was worried that the surgery might not be worth it.  That night we cried together and lifted each other's burdens in a way that still lifts my soul.

With all of the modern helps we have, and even with loving people in his life, he still has the hardest life-long set of circumstances of anyone I know.  I have been learning that all it takes is a few moments of joy to change someone else's day--and to change your own day for that matter.  Spending time together with friends and family is like a fountain of healing-balm that we must commit to partake from often

I am a better person for knowing Jilliam. I'm so lucky to be related to him. I love him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

True Love is a Beautiful Thing

 Last night/this morning I was woken up by a phone call--Lindsay was on my doorstep.  I didn't know what for, but I obviously let her in, because she's welcome at any hour of the day or night.  I opened the door & Mike was with her...I don't know why I didn't catch the clue until she grinned and said, "I'm engaged!"   Haha!  I was so happy!  I gave her a big hug and the next couple of hours looked like this:

 In the digital age, it was necessary to use the lap top and announce to everyone on facebook the fantastic news. : )  Such a funny world we live in, but here I am blogging about it. 
Aren't they so cute?  They're so happy!
Last night there was a lot of texting and sharing the news.  They already have a date, and lots of plans. It makes me happy, because it's all a great plan!  Last night I was pretty much just happy & excited for them.  Today I've gotten choked up a couple times!  I'm so happy for Lindsay.  She's been there for me so many times, and I'm so excited that she's getting the desire of her heart--to marry a worthy man in the temple for time and all eternity & start the journey of love and family with with him.  We really like Mike--we've been routing for him since the first night we heard about him.  Since we've met him, we've just liked his personality and the way he deals with things, not to mention that he's funny & is an all around great guy and a perfect match for Lindsay!  He really does love her & he shows it.
Proof that we woke up just to celebrate. : )  Mitch's hair is sticking up a little, but you can't tell because half of his face is cut off, Haha!

I had an experience yesterday morning where I was feeling irritable, but really that means that I was being the irritating oneI apologized to Mitch a little later and he said to me:  "I love you forever".  What he said to me made me feel the Spirit.  I know he loves me & I know he loves me no matter what.  It made me want to be better and it made me wonder if I do the same for him--if I show love and express it even in the moments where maybe he feels like he should just be apologizing instead of receiving love.  I hope so--I hope that I fill the void he needs on his bad days and I hope that I express true love.

I think that's what love & marriage is all about.  It's about the good days, the bad days, and all the days in between. It's about having a confidant for anything and everything.  It's about service, kindness, and cherishing each other NO MATTER WHAT.

I love being married--it has enriched my life in ways I could have never imagined.  I believe I have found true love & that it's beautiful, and so when I see it in action in the lives of other people, too, (especially of a dear friend) it makes me get all choked up inside because I know that they'll be able to find the same happiness by taking this leap of faith and this wonderful step forward.  WHOO HOO!  It's so great! 
We love you and are happy for you Mike & Lindsay!  Congratulations on getting engaged!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Desperately Important Scarf...

...and Bebe's Birthday.  :)

I own a scarf.  I love that I have a scarf!  I almost never ever need a scarf, but I wanted one, and Christmas morning, my DREAMS came true!  Mitchell bought me the one thing I could not live without when we were at Disneyland this year, and he hid it until Christmas--he even put on the best believable facade ever--being disinterested & annoyed that I would want to make such a frivolous purchase that day.  So I restrained, and he bought it behind my back anyway.  I LOVE HIM!  Don't you love the scarf, too?  It's so beautiful!  I also got the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic for Christmas from Taylor, and I can relate COMPLETELY to the Girl in the Green Scarf.  Sometimes the manikins just speak to you, and sometimes you just really must have that "Desperately Important Scarf".

As for this picture--I love it for another reason, too, besides the fact that I'm sporting my new scarf in it. :)  Heber had a birthday, again.  But this year, more than ever, I just look at him and wonder where the time went.  He's the baby of the family, and as the oldest sister, I used to just cart him around on my hip.  There are 12 years between us, but I have always felt close to my brother, Heber.  He's a great kid!  I used to hug him and tell him I was going to squeeze him forever.  Sometimes you just wish you could!  I've always thought he was adorable & we'd squeeze his chubby little cheeks.  I don't know what happened, but his face isn't round anymore, he's taller than ALL of his siblings and just keeps growing, and at school last year, his coach nicknamed him "Casanova".  Wouldn't those girls just leave him alone?  He's MY baby brother!  : )  He cracks me up, because for New Year's we were shooting off so many fireworks that when my mom asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he decided he wanted a bomb-cake.  My mom with all of her creative cake-making skills once again delivered an original masterpiece, and it was tasty! 

Happy 15th, Mista Hebe!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Funny Conversations

D-Jo:  Remember, there are salt water animals and freshwater animals, and the salt water animals would die in a lake or river, so they have to stay in the ocean.  And the goldfish and other freshwater animals can only live in the lakes because the ocean is too salty.
Tyson:  Let's just mix the sea water and the fresh water together.
D-Jo:  You can't really do that, because then the salty water wouldn't be salty enough for the salt water animals, and the freshwater wouldn't be good enough for those animals and they would both die.
Tyson:  Okay, well then the catfish and the dogfish will just need to stay in the freshwater at Lake Powell.
D-Jo:  Right.  : )

D-Jo: (Reading) Rinoceros are the only animals with horns on their noses.
Tyson:  What about Triceratops?  Triceratops have horns.
D-Jo:  Yeah, but Triceratops are not alive anymore.
D-Jo:  No they're not, because they're dinosaurs.
Tyson:  Triceratops are alive anymore!
D-Jo:  Really?  Where?
Tyson:  They are alive at the jungle!!!!

Tyson (to me & Mitch):  I love you both more than 3 garbage trucks.
Mitch:  Are they full or empty garbage trucks?
Tyson:  (LONG pause & contemplation)  Full.  Dey are full.  I love you more than 3 FULL garbage trucks!!!

The next day:

Tyson:  Mommy, I love you more than a dead tree.
D-Jo:  Thanks, son, I love you more than a dead tree, too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Faith of a Child

My oldest son, Tyson, is only 3, and he already demonstrates faith and gratitude.  Whenever he loses something he loves (like his blanket, or the purple Bob books, or most recently his brand new Hot Wheels motorcycle), we will do everything we can to look for it, and at the point where we're defeated, in pure and simple faith he will say to me, "Mommy, let's just pray to Jesus!"  So we do.  We kneel down by his bed, or in the living room, or by the couch at grandma's, and we will ask for help to find what he's lost.  In every instance we have found what he's lost.  In the case of the little reader books, a friend came over a couple days later and found it in a totally random place that we would have never looked and Tyson immediately said, "Jesus helped us find the purple book!"  It's so sweet!  I remind him to say a prayer of gratitude, and so then we'll kneel down again and tell the Lord, "Thank you for helping us to find _________."

This morning, Tyson was getting in the car with his brother and daddy.  They were going to buy more eggs for a special New Year's breakfast.  I was sitting down to play the piano, and he darted back into the house with excitement to tell me:  "Mom!  Come look!  There's ice on the flowers!  Jesus gave us snow!"  A couple of days ago, there were reports of snow in the valley (which I haven't seen since I was little), and I thought it would be fun if we could see it.  But since it wouldn't stick and was so light in the places it was coming down, I talked myself out of trying to drive to the areas where the clouds were dark to show the boys, because there was no guarantee we would happen to find it.  We sent up a wishful prayer that if it was the Lord's will, that maybe we could get snow over by us, too, and we bundled up and played outside until there were no dark clouds over us anymore. I figured the answer to our prayer was "no", and that was okay.  But here we are, 2 days later, and the ice on the flowers-which really does look like snow reminds my son of the prayer we said, and it makes me cry that he would immediately remember whence the blessings came. 

What a great way to start off the New Year--with another simple prayer answered.  We love the Lord!