Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Funeral

I attended a funeral today following a tragic suicide death in our neighborhood last week. A 46 year old father of 3 teenagers took his own life a week ago. The event itself, the aftermath, and the effects on many, many other lives are all tragic and overwhelmingly sad in nature. There has been a bit of a pall over our neighborhood as a result. However, in the midst of the gloom, I have seen miracles and a tremendous outpouring of love and kindness.

The funeral was simple. There was a life sketch given by his brother-in-law followed by two talks given by our current bishop and our previous bishop. I had a number of thoughts as I sat and processed it all. The casket was followed into the chapel by his family. It wasn't a small family. Many people kept walking in to fill in the first several rows of pews. All I could think was, "Wow, look at all these family members who loved him. Why didn't he see or recognize that before he chose to take his own life?" From there I looked around at the large congregation gathered. It was like a reunion of ward members from the last several years. There were people from all over gathered together to mourn with those that mourn. As I looked at each of them, my mind's eye was flooded with memories. I could make a long list of the amazing things I've seen done by those people over the years. There is so much good being done in the world.

I saw people from lots of different social circles in the community. His wife works at the elementary school, so there were several teachers and staff members there. Again, I was struck by this thing that brought us all together to talk about Christ. No one was separated by the social context that might have brought them there. It was abundantly clear to me that as fellow beings, we have so much more in common than we'll ever have different. We just want to be happy.

Each of the talks emphasized the hope, peace, and comfort that come from the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was worded in different ways, but the message was clearly one that Jesus Christ can do the impossible. He can fix the broken pieces, even when so many things are broken. One of the speakers referred to a story a woman once wrote about how she dealt with suicide and its after effects. It's called "The Broken Bowl" and I thought it was beautiful. You may read it here yourselves.

The funeral capped an emotional and pensive week for so many. I'm sure it marks only the beginning of a very long road for his wife and daughters. I've heard a number of people questioning a lot of things this week. As I ponder it now, I can only remind myself that we have absolutely zero control over what has already happened. Those things are in the books. What we have control over is what we do today. We can impact the present and the future. Maybe we can make a choice today that will be a bright spot in someone else's day. And we can certainly move forward with a hope of a brighter day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Random Musings

My niece Jessica is pregnant! Her brother Andy called everyone in the family to let us know. That's the happiest news I have heard in a long time! She's going to be an adorable pregnant woman, but mostly she's going to be an awesome mom. Congratulations, Jessica!

I recently attended a baby shower for my niece Meagan. She has a little over a month before her due date and she's as cute as ever. It's gonna be a big year for Cheyenne to have two new little babies in the family!

It's amazing what a teenage boy can do with a little freedom in the kitchen. About a month ago, Daniel decided he wanted to make a fruit pizza that looked like a real pizza. This is what he came up with.

Then last week, he came home from school and thumbed through some recipes. When I asked what he was doing, he said he was thinking of making chocolate chip cookies, but then he saw the recipe for eclairs and thought that sounded good. He proceeded to make a batch of delicious eclairs from scratch without any help from me. I was so proud.

This last week was beautiful!! We had some serious spring weather. I even got some yard work done as I cleaned up some of the ugly dead stuff in the yard. Sadly, it's raining and snowing outside tonight. I knew it was too good to be true. The positive thing is that it won't last for long. Spring will come.

I wish I could say the same for my nephew Adam in Siberia. His recent letter mentioned that it's finally warmed up to normal winter weather. That means that now it's warm like a cold Utah winter. He says it's warm enough that it can snow now. Clearly, there is a good reason that God did not send me there on a mission!

Goodbye, shingles, hello, cold sore! I feel like one of those stress balls with water in it that you can squeeze and cause a bubble to pop out the side. Just as one bubble goes back into the ball, another one pops out somewhere else. After three weeks, the shingles have gone down leaving just some red marks. But as soon as that happened, a giant blister popped out on my lip. It's really attractive. I can hardly wait to see what is to come when this dies down. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Random Musings

It's time. I've neglected my electronic life for far too long. I wish you all could have read the amazing blog entries that were scripted in my mind that never made it out to cyberspace. They were good! But, alas, you will have to settle for a few random musings about life as I pull them out of my head and drop them in here.

I'll start by saying that the past 4-6 weeks have qualified overall as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month. (For anyone who hasn't read the book, I'd like to recommend Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.) I won't bore you with the details, but it's been less than stellar. Like Alexander in the book, I considered moving to Australia, but then I remembered that some months are like that -- even in Australia. Plan foiled. Since I won't be moving, I guess I'd better pull myself up by the bootstraps and keep going. And though there will still be lots of unfortunate and fortunate moments, I hope I end up with more fortunate ones.

Unfortunately, I learned that excessive stress (see item above) really does cause shingles. Fortunately, I only broke out in a small area, but it's been annoying enough that I can imagine how awful a large breakout would be. If there are any of my 3-4 readers who have had them in the past, I now have some serious empathy for you.

Sundance ski resort's cross-country trails are awesome! A sunny day makes them incredible. Fun friends to ski with make it even better.

I bought a coffee maker recently. This is not a job that should be left to an ignorant mormon girl. I can only hope I chose the right features for my future houseguests.

The American Fork Junior High Wind Ensemble does not play like any junior high band I've ever heard. Apparently they really were practicing on all those days when Daniel had to be there for hours. I'm still not sure I agree with that kind of pressure at this age, but the end results are pretty unbelievable. We expect to get a DVD of their performance soon. It may make an appearance on this page.

Spring is in the air. Woo hoo!!!

It is possible for more than 1,000 people to crowd into Noah's. It happened last Friday for some national broadcast by Glenn Beck. I've never heard him speak, but it was cool to see pictures of that many people gathered.

Cheyenne learned to do a figure 8 on her bike in our cul-de-sac. It was impressive, but then I asked who taught her how to do it. It was none other than our former Bishop who brought her home the other day and did donuts and figure 8s with his van in our cul-de-sac. Gotta love her skills of observation.

I recently compiled pictures of all the cakes I've decorated since I started at age 8. I'm a couple short of 100. Fortunately, they've gotten better since I was 8.

We had our second annual (sort of) Harvest Open House at the end of February. It's a very fortunate thing that Dale makes such good bread. He's the best.

That's about enough musing for now. I'll muse some more soon.