Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Message from Miles


Did you hear I'm one?

Why didn't you come to my party?

I saved a cupcake for you.

But not the cupcake wrapper. That was just too delicious to save.

My mom took it away so I couldn't eat it anymore.

Thanks to Melissa for snapping this one. Now Mom can always remember how much she hurt me that day...

I'll admit, Mom distracted me with another cupcake, but after I finished it I found the first cupcake wrapper. And ate it. All of it.

Then I ate half the other one before she noticed me. She let me eat the rest of it.

That made me happy.

I'm sure you'll hear all about how much my mom loves me and about how this family couldn't survive without me. But she keeps saying she's gotta get that big old camera out and take some pictures of my adorable face first.

I guess she's just not satisfied with all the flash photos she took at my party, even though I'd say I look pretty dashing anyway.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Bit of Serenity

"How was Girls Camp?" they ask. I see in their eyes that they're silently laughing that I had to endure three full days in the North Carolina woods with 19 teenage girls, where the temperature floated in the 90's, and the rain fought valiantly one evening to make us pack up and leave. They're visibly surprised when I respond, "It. Was. Awesome."

I love camping. I seriously, seriously love camping. I love the dirt and the tennis shoes, the tents and the dew-damp pillows, the trees and the bug spray, the pony-tails and naked eye-lashes, the tripping over roots and murderously late bedtimes, the sitting in the dirt and eating tinfoil dinners, but most of all, I love the bonding that seems to happen among the campers.

We camped right near a lake that held water almost too warm to be refreshing, but perfect for playing. We swam across that lake at least once a day. And, as long as no one mentioned the f*i*s*h word, I was quite happy and content to bob along and pretend that we were the only moving things around.

I have to tell you, though, that I felt quite unprepared as I watched the other leaders start taking multiple trips from the cars down to their condo-sized tents with their arms full of the necessities of life for three days. We had three huge tents for six leaders, so they didn't have to spare any comfort due to space! Double-decker queen-sized air mattresses, cots, full sheet sets, plastic bins full of clothes (and one leader brought at least 5 pairs of shoes!), makeup, hairdryers, a card table and chair to go between two mattresses, rugs to put inside the tents, mirrors, scissors, blankets, pillows, shower caddy's, rotating fans and buckets full of snacks. I sheepishly picked up everything I brought with me in one load - a sleeping bag, a pillow, a duffel bag, and a camping chair - and plopped them inside my tent. While they were all busy setting up their fortresses, I rolled out my sleeping bag and pretended to keep myself busy by changing the orientation of my pillow.

As much as I teased them for it, however, I will readily admit that I was a huge supporter of the rotating fan that kept our tent cool at night.

And, of the yummy-smelling Bath and Body Works soap next to the water spicket.

And, of the Chick-Fil-A that was hauled in for lunch one day.

These ladies know how to CAMP, my friends!

The camp theme this year was Survivor, and each ward chose a survivor location. We picked the best one - hands down!

We all got colorful sarongs, flowers to go in our hair, and we learned how to hula. It was so much fun!

We painted faces,

and rocks.

Can you figure out what's wrong with this painted rock (other than the
fact that the word 'DOWN' is crunched at the bottom)? It took me 20 minutes. TWENTY!
But when I figured it out, I laughed super hard! The girl who made it laughed pretty hard, too. :)

One of the funniest moments was when several girls had to sing 'Ring-Around-The-Potty' as they danced in a circle around it. Punishment for leaving personal items and garbage cluttering the table overnight. One girl had left 6 items out...she had to stand inside the potty while the rest of them sang the song. And oh, it was nasty. I was very grateful that by some miracle, all of my belongings made it into my tent before the collection was taken!

But, I think the best single line I heard the entire time was from Brooke:

"OUCH! My hair is caught in the zipper...I need help, you guys!"

Tying the Loose Ends

Thanks for being patient with me through my blogging hiatus. :) For some reason I felt a little awkward after I'd emptied the sad contents of my heart onto the screen, and I felt like my next post needed to round out the picture you may have of how I'm dealing with my little Jess. I spent, I kid you not, over twenty hours mulling things over in my head, writing, editing, deleting, re-writing, thinking, praying and pondering over all of the beautiful experiences I've been through and all the lessons I've learned because of that sweet, little boy. In the end, however, I realized that I simply cannot put into words all the brilliant things that stem from him, and the few experiences that I have been able to put into words are still just a little too personal and special to share this way.
I don't regret letting you look in on a moment when I was crying for him, because you sincerely helped me through it. I guess I hope that you can remember that the sorrow I shared with you is just one snapshot out of hundreds that make a very treasured album. So, please forgive me for not explaining the 'whys' ... and just know that the overall feeling I have of Jess is one of celebration, happiness, and true, unconditional love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Building Strength

I think one of the hardest things about grief is not knowing how to help the griever...whether it's yourself, or someone close to you.

It has certainly been true in my case. Especially in the beginning, my grief changed forms so quickly that what may have helped in one hour, would set me to tears the next. Even today, when heartbroken friends ask for advice on how to help another loved one through a similar situation, I have no sure answer. Of course, I have thoughts and ideas guided by my one perspective, but the grief that accompanies the loss of your own child is such a personal thing, that the only one who really knows what is needed is our Heavenly Father. And, the most important thing that I learned through this trial (there are hundreds of other 'almost-the-most-important' things...), it's that He knows me better than I know myself. He does. And that He honestly, really loves me and wants me to be happy.

You, my friends, have been the answer to my prayers. As scared as I was to blog about my most tender feelings, I feel I was guided to do so. I didn't know it, but I needed you. I needed your kind words, and I needed your prayers. My heavy heart has lifted almost as suddenly as it came on. I think there are a few reasons for that... It's comforting to understand the reason for the change in emotion; it's helpful to 'talk it out' with you and hear your kind words of encouragement; and the Lord has heard the prayers that have been said in my behalf, and has found it fit to answer them quickly.

Yes, there's still a little pain - - - but it's good pain. Like the pain in your muscles the day after a hard workout; the pain that tells you you're getting stronger. I'm sure this next week and a half will be touched with it...but I welcome it.

Thank you all for being exactly what I needed.