Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beauty for Ashes..

It has been a crazy, very busy few days.  Halea has continued to do so well with her wisdom teeth, but she ended up with this horrible "cold" thing that everyone is getting.  I think that no one will escape it.  It seems to have an incredibly loooong incubation period.  Hayden had it in the beginning of December.  None of us ended up with it until about two weeks ago when Hilary ended up with it.  She has been better for over a week, and now Halea has it??  Crazy.
There were a few interesting things that happened on Friday that made me think a little.  On Friday when I was in the ER helping a family who had tragically lost their sweet 4 month old little girl the grandmother told me something really interesting.  She was telling me that her little granddaughter was always so sweet.  In fact at this very young age she said that she would often put both of her hands on either side of your face and just look at you and smile.  That was something that Tatum did often when she was very little until she got sick and could no longer move her arms.  It always struck me when she would do it.  I always thought that Tates knew that she wouldn't be here long and so she was soaking us all in as much as she could.  One particular time that she did this thing where she looked right at me it was like a bolt of warmth went through me.  Like she was looking deep into my soul.  It was so purposeful on her part.  As if our spirits were connecting and communicating on a different level than I could understand as a "human" of flesh.  It makes me wonder, hearing this grandmothers story, how many of these little ones that leave us too early get to know.  How valiant they must be.  How lucky we are to be in their presence and to be counted among those that they came to reach.  
That night my friend and I stopped to get Halea some KFC mashed potatoes and mac and cheese because that sounded good to her, and I'm that kind of mom!  After the lady took my order she asked for my name and I said Heather, and she repeated, "Heaven".  My friend and I started laughing.  I said, "well sort of".  The girl chuckled, and probably thought I was crazy.  Truly I feel like I do walk around with a few little pieces of heaven that are close.  It made me think about how I want and need to portray that to people that I come in contact with.  I want them to see that Heaven inside of me.  I have a friend that has two kids with special needs, one of them has already graduated to her place in Heaven.  When people meet this friend, they can feel that around her.  It oozes out of her pores.  You truly can almost see it.  I hope that I can achieve that some day.  That without asking or knowing that people will feel that special testimony inside of me oozing out of my pores.
On Saturday we went to clean the church, again!  The kids don't think that anyone else in our neighborhood helps to clean the church.  Needless to say they were all super excited to go.  The kids don't realize that if they wouldn't protest so hard that we wouldn't feel such an urgent need to teach them to serve:)  Some day they will learn.  We were almost done and Heidi and Lance were cleaning the outside glass on the doors.  Every time they would spray the windows with the cleaner, it would freeze before they could wipe it!  It was pretty funny.  They finally just had to leave the doors unfinished.
The rest of Saturday was not the very best.  I had a lot of running around that I ended up having to do and it seemed that every time I stopped at home, someone was complaining to me or whining about something.  I wasn't all that sad that I wasn't home for a lot of the afternoon.  That made me feel pretty sad by the end of the day.  As I was driving home I kept having these fears about something bad happening to one of the kids.  It is pretty common to have a heightened fear of someone dying when you have lost someone close to you.  I know that it isn't strange per say, but the thoughts are always unsettling for me.  It made me want to get home and be with my family.   I had announced on Friday night that we were only having leftovers on Saturday and that I wasn't cooking.  When I got home I decided that I needed to do something for my family, a service if you will.  What is the best way to learn to love someone, or to renew and deepen love?  Service.  Halea was still eating soft foods mostly so I decided to make Chicken Pot Pies for dinner.  Nothing can turn a frown upside down like a yummy pot pie.  Usually my pies are not really "pretty", but this one turned out so pretty I had to take a picture of it!
I really felt better after I did something nice for the day.  Lesson learned, again!

Sunday was a fun day.  Lance and I taught a Sunday school class for the youth.  He is such a great teacher.  It was fun to watch him and learn from him.  Holden gave a talk, and he did a good job. When he gets embarrassed or nervous his smile is so sweet and his dimples so deep, I could just squeeze him.   Apparently Hilary gave the prayer in her class and according to her she blessed Tatum and Trevin to gain weight.  Hopefully her teachers don't think we are crazy!  Our niece and her husband came down for dinner and we watched the last NFL playoff game.  It was a fun day filled with the spirit and fun times with family.

Monday Lance got to stay home from work.  I had a few work things to do and the rest of the day we just relaxed and hung out.  We watched a MLK video (Walker tradition for such holidays)  to remember how far we have come.  It is sad to watch how awful we humans can treat one another.

For the past few weeks I have anxiously been anticipating tonight.  Tonight we were starting our monthly Relief Society gospel class.  To be taught by the same neighbor that taught it last year, the same neighbor that painted us the amazing oil painting of Christ's tomb.  As the evening approached I started to feel a little heavy and maybe apprehensive.  It was this month last year that things were starting to come to a head with Tatum.  It was after that first class, as I was walking home, that I felt a spiritual confirmation that Tates was sick.  I felt inspired to begin praying for things that could help us all survive what was coming, not for Tater bug to be cured.  I was given the assurance and the peace that I we were going to be OK.  I had never experienced a spiritual experience quite like this.  I was so grateful for it, but as I approached the class tonight it all came flooding back to me.  The reality that has taken place, in such a short amount of time, since that night is unbelievable to me.    As I sat down with about 50 other people, who were there anxiously seeking to feel the spirit and to learn more about our Savior, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I love all of these people and I am so grateful to be surrounded by people that seek these things.  The discussion and "lesson" were amazing.  My good friend did not disappoint.  I will probably reference some of what I learned until next month, because there is so much that we covered in just over an hour.  My favorite part of our discussion was talking about the scripture where Isaiah explains what the Lord hopes for us and what we give in exchange for these gifts. It is in Isaiah 61 v. 1-3, and my favorite part is in verse 3 when he says we will receive "beauty for ashes".   There is a lot of symbolism in those words.  Throughout the scriptures it says that we must face the  "refiners fire" so that we can become what the Master knows we can and should be.  When something burns, there are ashes left behind, but underneath is the beauty.  From our hardships and challenges comes such change and beauty.  My neighbor gave the analogy of the Provo Tabernacle that burned and gutted the inside, and is now becoming a Temple.  Beauty risen from the ashes.  Or the Yellowstone fire that burned a huge area of that beautiful park over 20 years ago.  That area of the park has become, with time, even more gorgeous than it  was.  Beauty from ashes.  I have felt this fire within me this past year.  I know that I can rise a better, more beautiful person because of it, if I allow it and seek that change.  We all have this potential, and our Savior sees that in each of us.
.  This is what "beauty for ashes" looks like.  Sweet, peaceful, submissive to His will, understanding, loving, patient, teachable, no malice or guile, content, wise.   Forever grateful for this sweet influence in my life.

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