Monday, April 24, 2017

Another 'Out of the Mouths of Babes' Moment

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In Primary yesterday, I was trying to teach the 2nd verse of a song that talks about feeling safe with your family in your home.  I asked several of the kids, who they would turn to for protection from harm.  Many of them answered 'My dad', some, 'My mom'.  I held up this picture, and while pointing to Del, I said, 'I would call him' to protect me!'
This sweet little 7 yr old girl, sitting in the front row, looked up at me questioningly asked 'Why would you call the Bishop?'.  Before I could answer her, she hesitantantly asked, 'Do you live with the Bishop?'  I laughed as the other kids were trying to tell her, through giggles, that we were married.  She snapped her head to look at me and exclaimed 'You married the Bishop??'
Shocking, I know.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Saturday at Blackjack Oaks

Emerson helping Papa unload the 'cow poop' from the back of the truck.

Emerson checking the grape arbor to see if we have any grapes yet.

So hard not to eat the blueberries too early.

A new large barrel
 to play in.

Hide and Seek

Emerson has on lookers

Grandma Shirley enjoying the sun

Emerson was fascinated watching the neighbor in his 'digger'.

I love this boy.

Loves to climb everything.

Emerson in his world of diggers.  He's in heaven

Today's find?  A turtle.

The neighbor offered to have Emerson take a ride on the digger.

A dream come true for our little farmer.

Scavenger Hunt At Nana's House

We had been missing our little Crump grandchildren, so we planned a special Saturday in March, where I planned a very detailed and fun scavenger hunt for them.  I had directions to finding several items that I had hidden all through the backyard and forest out in the back.  I had activities for them to do and directions for them to follow - all in poem form with hidden secrets. And they each had an adult partner - Preston with Kylie and Madi with Papa.  They had a great time.
Then we had them play on the slip and slide and the playhouse and swing set before naps were had, and then we took them all to Chick-filet for dinner.  By the end, I was exhausted, but so glad to have spent such a wonderful time with the kids.

A Visit From Heaven

My brother in law Mike had to come to Dallas for a Dental seminar.  So, luckily, he had two little tag a longs that came to Texas to play!!  And boy, was I glad.  I knew Rachel was going to come and was absolutely thrilled about that.  But then, when she told me she was dragging mom down here with her, I was beyond ecstatic!!  What a fun visit we had.  We are one's that just love to hang out - relaxing, talking about family and kids, playing games and eating all the great food we were raised with - M&M's, shrimp dip - great dinners and just lots of gossip.  The first day they were here was Rebecca's birthday.  Whenever us sisters get together and one or more isn't there, those of together take a picture and send it to the one NOT there...that was Becca this time - and so we wished her a happy day and then rubbed it in.  And I think it's a pretty dang good picture of us with mom.
Anyways, the time together was much needed and very very relaxing.  I love each and every oneof them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'Now It's Personal' -

Talk given Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

I was born into a family that was raised with the gospel.  I was taught and lived gospel principles.  I went to BYU and followed it with going on a mission.  I was married in the temple and had children of my own.  But it wasn't until the following experience that I finally learned and truly understood the principle of the Atonement and our Saviors Resurrection.
In September of 1983, Del and I became the parents of our first son, Michael.  Within minutes of his arrival, we were made aware of complications that required him to be flown to Primary Childrens Hospital in Salt Lake City.  Del left within the hour to drive to Utah to be with Michael, while I remained in Idaho to recover from the delivery.  I was feeling very much alone - literally - as I was left to wonder whether I would ever see our little Michael again.
Over the next few months, Michael had multiple surgeries and several 'touch and go' moments before finally, in December, we were able to bring him home.  Our days consisted of 24 hour round the clock care of changing colostomy bags, suctioning his trach tube, putting a feeding tube down his nose, and at night, as we put him to bed, we had to hook him up to a respirator.  Our lives literally revolved around keeping Michael alive - but it was all we knew.
The next two years were filled with multiple and numerous miracles and hopeful moments of an actual future with Michael.  But on Saturday December 14th of 1985, I called Del at work to tell him I felt Michael was in pain - as he would shake his head as if trying to clear pain from a headache.  It worsened as the day progressed.  I called the doctor.  There was no advice but to just watch him and give him Tylenol as needed.  When Del arrived home, Michael had worsened to the point that I called the Emergency Room doctor and described all the symptoms, but I was once again told to 'keep an eye on him', and if he wasn't improved, I was to bring him to the ER in the morning.
Del felt the urgency to give Michael a blessing, and in preparing to do so, he slipped into our bedroom for a private moment, so as to ask the Lord what he should say.  As shared to me by Del months later, he pleaded to the Lord to give Michael a blessing that would allow Michael to remain with us, just as he had many times before and had his prayers answered as such.  But it was not to be.  Del felt helpless in having the power of the priesthood to bless Michael to stay, but being restrained by the Lord to only bless Michael with a release from this life - along with the counsel to work hard on the other side and to know of our great love for him and our Savior.
I was none too pleased - not knowing of Del's spiritual conversation with the Lord, I was panicked at the words Del spoke in the blessing.  Michael had been released.  After a night of heart wrenching experiences that I won't share at this time, I awoke in the morning to find that Michael had passed just a few hours before.  In the confusion of it all, we rushed his body to the emergency room where the doctor I had spoken to the night before, pronounced him gone.
The next few days were a fog - funeral arrangements were made, family arrived, and the week before Christmas, we buried our son Michael. I found it a heavy emotion to realize that as the world celebrated the birth of a Son, we would now and forever remember the season as when we lost our son.  The Sunday after the funeral was our ward Sacrament Christmas Program with the choir, and I was, of course, the choir director.  I didn't know how I could do it.  I had not the strength nor the desire to even be there.  It was difficult as many tears were shed by those singing and I nearly collapsed during the closing song of Away in a Manger'. It still remains impossible for me to sing that hymn every Christmas - now 32 years later.
For the months following, Del and I functioned in a state of disbelief.  I was in a combination of hurt and feeling completely lost.  I had gospel knowledge of the resurrection-  the atonement and eternal families.  But it wasn't until at that time, that I had ever really applied any of those concepts in my life.
Now, it was personal.  Now, it meant MY son would be resurrected and live again.  No more feeding tube - no more colostomy bags - no trach tube - no more respirator.  Now, it was real - the Atonement, the resurrection.  Now, it was personal.
I was asked to sing that May for Mother's Day.  Me?  I wondered 'why me?' Couldn't someone else do it?  I was the one who was no longer a mother - no longer had my child.  I should have been allowed to mourn and be left to grieve the day.  But that is not what my Heavenly Father wanted of me.  Instead, He wanted me to share my new found personal testimony of the Atonement and the Resurrection, and the joy I could now feel from that personal application.  I was joyous - I was still a mother of a child that would one day, because of my Savior, be resurrected and my child to raise again.  It filled my soul with joy.
That was 32 years ago.  There have many many more times over those 32 years, that I have been able to make the Atonement and His resurrection, personal.  That's the ONLY way it CAN be now for me.  Because now, it's personal.
Toward the end of the inspiring oratorio Messiah, Handel put to beautiful music the Apostle Paul's words that rejoice over the Resurrection.  "Behold, I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?... But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
What a powerful experience it will be to see Michael again - not just as a spirit, but with his resurrected body.
THAT is my Easter.
THAT is my testimony.
THAT is personal.
In the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Special Delivery Packages

When Jordan was this exact age, he was OBSESSED with ropes and everything cowboy.  He had a rope in his hands at any given time of the day, tying up toys, chairs, trees and people.  Yes, one day, a ring came at the front door and I answered it to find the mailman standing there.  Seldom did he come to the door unless there was a package too large to fit in the mailbox or I needed him to pick something up.  Without me saying a word, he pointed out to the mailbox and said 'Am I supposed to take her with me?'  I looked out to where he was pointing to find Kylie, at age 2, tied to the mailbox in one of Jordan's  super duper double magic knots.
Deep heavy sighs and a chuckle from the mailman found me trying to UN tie Jordan's package and I scolded him for  not playing nice with his sister.  This continued for YEARS...even when he was 4, Del taught Jordan these magic rope tricks that after months and months of practice, Jordan was pretty good.  And when we went to Aspen Grove that summer for family reunion, Jordan got up in front of hundred's of other guests and performed his adorable tricks.  I found him so naive and brave to do that, but everyone clapped for him and gave him the encouragement he needed to show them all he had been taught.  It was a very fond memory.
Now, it's Emerson's turn.  This rope gets dragged around all over the backyard when Emerson is out there.  He loves tying up trees, and chairs, and his hands, and grandma's hands.  I'm watching for the day when the front door bell rings, and I'm pointed to the mailbox where I'll find Shirley tied up, ready to be sent out with the mailman.
It's only a matter of time.

In Only Two Weeks

 Shirley has been here two weeks tomorrow.  And bless her heart, she has been miserable.  I feel so bad having had Del go up to get her, only to have her just as or even more miserable here.  The drive here put her back into spasms of pain of which she is really not able to find relief for.  The few times she has actually felt comfortable enough to get up out of her lounge chair have been spent either eating dinner or this...sitting and enjoying the beautiful Texas Spring weather, while watching her great grandson Emerson play in the back yard.

 In the two weeks that Shirley has been here, these two have become quite the BFF's.  Emerson can be found at numerous times of the day, visiting with her in her bedroom - climbing up into her chair with her and just talking away.  He listens to her ramblings and she listens to his.  They laugh together and enjoy each others company.  And Emerson just loves to play with everything Grandma Shirley has to share - the walker, the electric wheel chair - the swivel 'merry go round' chair, her arm wrist wrap, her water jug etc etc...When outside, they like to watch the birds together, the squirrels, the chickens and the bugs.  They both find Emerson entertaining running around the back yard in his boots and boxer shorts...I think Shirley feels young and alive with Emerson around - and Emerson feels extra love and attention from's a mutual and beneficial relationship.

I guess until the newness of Grandma Shirley's arrival wears off, I will find these two together quite often.  I doubt they'll ever tire of each other.  Something new and exciting every day.