Sunday, July 28, 2013

Journey to Narnia

About a month ago, I had the impression that I needed to read Narnia to the girls again. I posted about the last time I read it to them - in 2010. I felt it calling me again and it has been a wonderful experience.

Every evening, after they get in their jammies, the girls and I pile onto our bench swing in the front yard and read about the adventures of Digory, Polly, Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter. And now we're just beginning the adventures of Shasta and Bree. My girls LOVE these stories. I LOVE that they love them. Next to the scriptures, the Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books. They are, in a way, like scriptures to me.  They bring me closer to my Savior. As I came to the first mention of Aslan in The Magician's Nephew, I had to stop reading as tears filled my eyes and emotion choked my throat: "The earth was of many colors: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else. It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright, it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away."  I was filled with such love - love for my Savior, love for my family, love for Aslan, love for C.S. Lewis for writing these books.

Here are a few more quotes that touched my heart:

But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”  -  Aslan in The Magician's Newphew


“But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?' 

Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. 

'My son, my son,' said Aslan. 'I know. Grief is great.” - The Magician's Nephew


“No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice.”  -The Magician's Nephew


“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


"Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do." ― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

And one quote that comes from the Introduction of this particular book (which is very precious to me, because it was a gift from my Aunt Althea, who died a few years ago). It is from Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis and I had never read this before:
"As you read The Chronicles of Narnia, let them carry you too to a place that you know well and store it in your mind. There will be times when you need to go back to your Narnia to seek the kindliness and comfort of this magical land; when you do, you will find Aslan waiting for you."

This is a time when I needed to go back. I am so thankful I did - and that I got to take my children with me. And, yes, Alsan was there waiting for me with messages of love, comfort, wisdom, and peace.

"To Narnia and the North! Bra-ha-ha!" - Bree, The Horse and His Boy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Link's Story

Many of the people that have read this blog know that Link died, but many don't know how he LIVED. Link had quite a journey in his short life on this earth, and our family did as well. I wanted to document his entire life adventure here & hope to have it as a separate page to keep on this blog. 


 In June of 2012, when we had the "big ultrasound" and
found out we were having a boy, we were a bit disoriented. After three girls (ages seven, five, and three), we wondered if it was possible for us to ever have a boy. But we were filled with joy and excitement. Visions of father-son campouts, matchbox car races, and dinosaur-printed onesies filled our minds.

We discussed names. I knew it had to start with the letter L. We had names in our family that started with the letters H, I, J, K and M. We were just missing the L. My husband, Jason,  liked the name Lincoln – as in Abraham Lincoln. Good, strong, noble American name. But I wanted just Link – as in, he would link our names and our family together. In the end, we compromised and decided to name him Linkin – and just call him “Link.” His middle name, Dallin, comes from a combination of his grandpas' names - Dan and Billy. Each of the girls also have names from grandmas & great-grandmas. 

After an exhausting 18-hour labor, Link was born the evening of November 7, 2012. They handed him to me and at 9 lbs, 6 oz, I just remember thinking “Are you sure he is really mine? He is huge!” He had beautiful, enormous cheeks  and broad shoulders. We were instantly in love. Our fourth child. Finally a son.

Jason and I as well as his grandmothers got to spend some truly sweet, precious moments with him before the hospital did their first checks and tests.  That was when they first noticed that his blood sugars were critically low. He was rushed to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to get started on a glucose IV. We were assured that it was more of a precautionary step and that he should be able to wean off the glucose in the next day or two and come home to three very excited, anxious sisters. I remember a photographer coming into our room the next day and asking about pictures. I informed her to come back tomorrow. Link would be out of the NICU by then and we should be ready to take pictures before we headed home. The next day came, and with it came a phone call from our doctor, telling us that Link was still having low blood sugar issues and he needed to be transported to a larger regional hospital, 45 minutes away, in St. George, Utah. He said the ambulance would be there for transport in about an hour. I hung up the phone in complete shock. What was going on? This was not how it was supposed to be. How was this possible? All our other babies were so perfect & healthy! We were supposed to be able to take him home and be a family.

We spent two long weeks in the St. George NICU with Link as they tried and tried to wean him off the glucose.  Link’s sisters got to visit a few times and they were enthralled by their new brother – they loved to feed him, hold him, and kiss those chubby cheeks – even if it was only through the isolette or with him attached to any number of IVs and monitoring devices. This was a trying time. Physically, I was recovering from just having a baby. Emotionally, I was torn apart from wanting and needing to be there for my baby and also knowing that my three daughters needed me, too. Thankfully, we had a lot of support from family and friends in helping with our daughters. I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking for the Lord to heal my baby and let me take him home. I also prayed for patience, peace, the ability to learn what He wanted me to learn from this trial, and pleading for an eternal perspective. Gratefully, we had a visual reminder right outside our hospital window of eternal perspective – a beautiful view of the St. George temple. I also worked on keeping a gratitude journal to remember all the miracles and blessings we experienced along the way. They were not few. At the end of two weeks, Link’s doctor came to visit with us in our boarding room at the hospital. He said that everything they had done to get Link to wean off the glucose was not working. They were going to try a new medicine, but if that didn’t work, he was recommending transport to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where they had specialized diagnostic equipment and experienced physicians and surgeons.  Again, shock prevented me from processing this information. Philadelphia? That’s across the country! We have three little girls at home! Still… we had to do what was best for our son and all we could really do was trust God and hold on for the ride. Link's doctor also arranged for Jason, Link, and I to have blood drawn for a genetic test that might provide more answers. 

The medicine did not help Link’s condition and on November 26th, 2012, Jason, Link, two nurses, a pilot, and I flew across the country in a small life-flight plane to Philadelphia. Link’s three sisters went to live with their grandma and grandpa in Salt Lake City, Utah. I felt like my heart was being stretched in two – one part of it stayed behind in Salt Lake City with my daughters. The other part across the country in Philadelphia with my husband and son. The genetic test results came back within a couple days of arriving in Philadelphia,  showing that Link had received a recessive-mutated gene from Jason, giving him a rare genetic condition – hyperinsulinism. Hyperinsulinism is a condition where the pancreas simply produces too much insulin. The
genetic test results pointed to the likelihood that Link’s hyperinsulism was coming from a focal lesion on his pancreas. They performed a PET scan and confirmed that he had a focal lesion in the body of his pancreas.
On December 7, 2012, when Link was one month old, he underwent surgery. That day there were more than 200 people fasting and praying for Link.  The surgery was successful and he ended up having a 50% pancreactectomy. After the surgery, everything about Link’s recovery was amazing – nothing short of a miracle. They said he was in the top five fastest recoveries they’ve seen for his condition. Within a few days, Link was up to full feeds and within a week, he was taken off the glucose IV. What a joyous, blessed day that was! We finally had our “wireless Link”!

Throughout Link’s hospital stay in St. George and Philadelphia, we formed a strong bond with him. He was such a good baby – even with all the pokes and prods (typically he was poked every three hours to check his blood sugar level)  and IV lines. He started smiling just before he reached a month old and had such an amazing, pure, sweet spirit. Beautiful blue eyes. Adorable cheeks that were impossible not to kiss repeatedly. Being in the hospital with him for almost two months was so very difficult, but looking back, we also feel so very blessed for that precious one-on-one time we had with him. Especially Jason never would have spent as much time with him if he hadn’t been in the hospital so long.

On December 19th, after an 18-hour fast without dropping blood sugars, the doctor came in, raised his hands in the air and proclaimed “he’s cured! He’s a cured baby!”  Tears came to my eyes as I heard those words and I could not stop the grin that formed on my face.  After just three and a half weeks in Philadelphia  we had a cured baby. What a miracle! What a blessing!  During his recovery, we never let the family really know how well he was doing. We didn't want them to get their hopes up. We also thought if it was possible, we would like to surprise them for Christmas. When we had first arrived in Philadelphia, the doctors informed us it would be 4-16 weeks before Link could be discharged, so we bought round-trip tickets to Salt Lake for Christmas to be with the girls. No one anticipated he would recover so quickly that we wouldn't need to use the ticket back to Philly! On December 21st, we flew to Salt Lake City with our son – but none of our family or friends knew Link was coming home with us! There was a couple on the plane that we had met in the Philadelphia LDS ward we attended while we were there and we asked if they would help us carry out our Christmas surprise. After we got off the plane, Jason and I went to meet grandma and our daughters and hugs were shared and tears were shed – the girls were so thankful to have their mommy and daddy home – even if it was for a short time. But – to their surprise, the people we met in Philadelphia came a few minutes behind us with the car seat carrier. On it was a huge red bow. As she handed the car seat to us, she said “I think you forgot this! Merry Christmas!” Oh the joy and happiness!  More tears! The girls and grandma were overjoyed at this true Christmas miracle! We surprised each member of our families with the news that Link got to come home with us – he was home – for good! He was a beautiful, healthy, cured baby! He was seven weeks old when he finally was able to come home to Cedar City, Utah. To be a complete family in our very own home felt too good to be true. I wept freely many times at the miracle to be home with a healthy baby.

The next two and a half months were joyful bliss for our family. We didn't travel. We mostly stayed at home and warmed ourselves in the glow of the happiness of being together as a family. Link’s sisters smothered him with kisses and hugs. We had to set a timer to make sure everyone got enough time to hold him. We had to take turns with who got to take a bath with him, sit by him in the van, etc. He was truly loved and cherished. Beautiful memories were made and strong bonds were formed with his sisters.  He was healthy. All his follow-up appointments went well. There was no lasting effect from his condition. He grew. He smiled. He giggled and laughed. He cooed. He "talked." He played with his toes.  He was always putting his fingers in his mouth. He was getting really good in his exersaucer and jumper. His presence and effect in our family was profound. He was our miracle baby. He was our duder-dude. He was treasured and held and loved. March 3 was his blessing day. He was so incredibly handsome in his little white outfit - complete with a tiny bow tie. I remember dressing him in that outfit, trying to wipe the tears away. I just was so thankful for him and he was JUST so handsome. Both sides of our family came to celebrate him, hold him, kiss him and rejoice in his good health. 

Taken the night before he died
Then, on March 26th, 2013, without warning, our world was turned upside-down.  I had put Link down for a regular afternoon nap. When I went in to get him up and feed him, I saw that he had rolled over. I thought that was strange, but I didn't panic until I picked him up. He was limp. He was cold. He was blue. He wasn't breathing. I held him as I ran out of his room. I screamed. I called 911. I put him on our living room rug. They walked me through giving him CPR. After a while some police officers came & took over for me - giving him CPR. I called Jason. I cried. I screamed "He HAS to be okay! He has been through too much in his life already! He HAS to be okay!!" They were asking me questions & I was trying to answer between sobs and screams. I felt nauseous. I felt sick. I felt despair into the bottom of my stomach.  Jason came. The paramedics came. Jason went with Link in the ambulance & I waited till my sweet friend came to get my two younger daughters. Then I rode with a police officer to the hospital. He drove fast, but not fast enough. I called my mom. She said she had to look at the caller ID to make sure it was really me. I was frantic. We said a prayer on the phone.
When we got to the hospital, Jason met me in the hallway. We went to the room that they were working on my baby, my Link. There were no signs of life. I sobbed. I went to where his body lay & held his tiny hand and the doctor told us that he was gone.

Everything else is kind of a blur. People were there at the hospital - helping, talking, giving hugs & holding hands - our bishop, our friend, Jason’s brother.  An officer put us in a tiny room and asked a bunch of questions. I kept looking at him like he was speaking a foreign language. I was just in such shock.
Eventually we left the hospital and went home. I went into my room & sobbed. My friend brought the girls to our home & we had to tell them that their baby brother had returned home to Heavenly Father. Friends, family, ward members were coming & going - helping with the girls. Cleaning.

That night was the hardest night of my life. Every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was his little blue face. All I could feel was his cold lifeless body. We let the girls sleep in our room. Jason slept on one side of me. Our oldest daughter on the other. We were all so close & they were breathing in and out, in and out. I just felt like they were breathing for me. They were my life support when I felt like I couldn't make myself breathe. Still, even though they were breathing for me, my heart was shattered, and I could not sleep. I tossed & turned. I felt shock and grief in the pit of my stomach that kept coming. Finally, sometime in the middle of the night, I got up & went into Link’s room & grabbed the blanket from his crib. I laid down in the bed next to his crib & just sobbed & sobbed. Oh, how I needed my baby boy in my arms. How I NEEDED him. My prayers were desperation. They were pleading. They were demanding. They were "God - can't you see? Can't you see how badly I NEED him? I need him! Please NO!" They were "Oh God, NO! You have the wrong girl! I CAN'T do this! I CAN'T! Other women can. They are strong. They are courageous  They are faithful. But I can't. Please don't make me!"
After a while, Jason came in there. He laid there & cried with me.

The next few days were full of things that no parent should have to do for their child. And, indeed, my mind would NOT accept that this was happening. We chose pictures, we went to the mortuary and picked out a beautiful tiny casket, we went to the cemetery and chose a plot, we put together a program for the funeral, I put together a slideshow, we dressed my baby boy's body for burial....and all the while my mind is screaming "I am not here. This is not happening. I will wake up. He is fine. He is beautiful. He is healthy."

Words came from my mouth. I blinked. I breathed. I pumped milk for a baby that wouldn't drink. I cried tears constantly.

And in the background were angels seen and unseen. So many amazing people were coming & going. Flowers. Cards. Paintings. Gifts. Food. So much love. I have to admit that at the beginning, I didn't want any of it. I just wanted it to all go away. I wanted it all to disappear & I just wanted my baby boy back in my arms. But I felt the love & support. I felt the prayers.

Most of all, I turned to my husband. He told me everything was going to be okay - even when I was looking at him with tear-swollen eyes and asking "How? HOW can it be all right? How can we do this?"  He is my anchor. He is my rock. He helps me to breathe. To remember. To kneel. To trust.

The day of the funeral was horrible and sweet and surreal. Somehow I got up and got dressed. Somehow the girls got dressed, too. Somehow I got to the church & as a little family, we kissed & talked to Link's body. Somehow I stood there for an hour and a half while people came. They came. From all over. Family. Friends. Loved ones. They hugged me. They told me they were sorry. They told me how beautiful he was. Somehow… somehow I listened as my father gave a prayer. Somehow I tucked my baby boy into a casket of white and watched as they closed the lid – never to see his face in the flesh again until the resurrection. Somehow I sat through a funeral where heartfelt prayers were said, beautiful talks were given, memories were shared, sweet poems were read, powerful songs were sung. Somehow we got to the cemetery and I listened as my sweet husband dedicated the grave. Somehow I stayed there after everyone left with my groom by my side and watched as they put his tiny casket into a vault and placed the lid. Then somehow I left the cemetery and came back to the church and talked some more.

Now... it's been four months since Link died. It still hurts. I know it will continue to hurt, but I cannot disregard the tender mercies - the love letters from heaven -  that have happened in our lives since the passing of our son. Some of them are too sacred to share, but they are real.  This whole experience has tested my faith in the Plan of Salvation, but I can say that I know that I will see my baby boy again. I know he is happy. I know he watches over us. I don’t know why this had to happen – especially with all he went through his first two months of life, butI know my Heavenly Father loves me. At first I wondered how he could do this when he knew how much it would hurt me - and I'm sure I will keep on wondering that - but at the same time, his peace & love have abounded. There was a rainbow on the day of his funeral. The forget-me-not plant that my grandma gave me is blooming like crazy.  I've had some amazing dreams. I've heard some very healing, loving songs. Read and heard some wonderful talks.  The fact that he died on the week of Easter - with General Conference to follow the next weekend - is a complete tender mercy. I wrote this the week that he died:


An empty crib.
An empty room.
An empty car seat.
An empty exersacer.
An empty jumper.
An empty Bumbo seat.
An empty swing.
An empty tiny chair.

Empty eyes.
Empty arms.
Empty laps.
Empty hearts.

An Empty Tomb.

I am SO thankful for the resurrection of my Savior. SO THANKFUL! How horrible it would be to think that this was the end for my precious son. How horrible not to have the hope that the resurrection brings!

The Lord has taught me so very much through my son Link in his short turn on earth. The first big lesson was to find joy in the journey.  The Lord repeatedly tried to help me understand through prayer, scripture and song the need for me to submit to His will and not to wait until we got home to enjoy my son – to enjoy the experience – to cherish every minute with him – to praise God’s name – even as our family was torn apart and we didn’t know when we would be together again. I know this lesson is supposed to be applied even after Link’s death. We are still to find joy – even amidst the “furious winds” – for we know that it’s these horrible, difficult trials that will push us along in our journey to the “promised land” - being reunited with our Savior – and our son.

Link’s death has been an extremely difficult trial for every member of our family – from my husband down to our three-year-old – and extended family and friends, we have all felt the aching loss. It really does amaze me how such a tiny person can leave such a huge hole in our hearts and in our family. 

At the same time, this trial has brought us closer as an earthly family and closer to our heavenly family.  It has solidified our knowledge of the plan of salvation, the power of the priesthood, the infinite atonement of our The Savior and the resurrection! We truly know that our son is the “Link” that will hold our family together forever. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June Newsletter & Slideshow

FAMILY:  June was a busy month. We were able to visit with LOTS of family and friends this month and that was wonderful. On June 4th, the Circus came to Cedar City! We weren’t sure if we were going to go, but we decided to go as a celebration for finally finishing the Book of Mormon as a family! The circus was great! Clowns, Elephants, adorable dogs doing tricks, tightrope walking, juggling with fire & knives, the balancing chair guy, a quick-change wardrobe show, and plenty of hanging acrobatics  - the girls are still talking about it & can’t wait till they come back! On the 5th, the Riddles hosted a BBQ & the Corrys were also there. The girls had fun eating, jumping on the trampoline and we all had a great visit. We are so thankful for good friends. On the 7th, we went to the cemetery to support Kylee Low & her husband. Their son, Clutch, had his 1st Angelversary. He is buried close to Link and we had a good time eating cupcakes and letting go of balloons for Clutch & Link.  Jason & Heidi were busy moving sand & top soil for the first part of June – it took hundreds of wheelbarrow loads down our steep hill and into our backyard before we were ready for sod, but the 8th was our big day! The sod was delivered in the morning & we had a few families come help us put it in & within 45 minutes, it was completely finished! We were SO HAPPY! After much watering and waiting, Jason finally let the girls run and play on it & they had SO much fun! We are LOVING having grass back there! Sydney is also in heaven. She runs back and forth and rolls around on it like crazy. She acts like a puppy! Now, we just need to get the stairs & slide from the bottom deck and get our fence put in, so we can really play back there. June 10-14th, Heidi went to SLC with the girls to see family and friends. The 10th, we went to Herriman and had a BBQ at the Warrens house. The Matthews and Hooks were there, too, and it was so great to see them and the girls had fun playing and seeing our old home. The 11th, we went to visit Great Aunt Cindy in the morning, then to IKEA for lunch and shopping, then to Bluffdale to visit some high school friends – Marianne & Gayla. It was so good to see them & visit with them. That night we had movie & hot tub night at the Potts. It was fun! On the 12th, we went to Wheeler Farm with the Potts, Edwards, and Simons in the morning – Kezia LOVED to feed the cows & horses – and then headed to the new Cottonwood splash park. There were a lot of people, but the girls and their cousins had a great time! That evening, Heidi and Kezia went to meet an angel mom in Sandy – Anna Packard & her daughter, Haylie. Anna’s son, Charlie, died about the same age & in the same way as Link died. He died about a year before Link. It was so great to connect with someone who knows our pain so closely. She brought dinner for me and a beautiful quilt. We hope to get to see her & her cute family again soon! The morning of the 13th, we went to Trisha’s house & played with bubbles and Aunt Cindy’s rats that she’d brought and we made father’s day cards. We had lunch there, too, and enjoyed visiting. That evening, we headed up to Park City for a get-together with our friends up there – Molly, Shannan, Anna, Erin, & Britany. The moms had fun visiting while the kids had fun playing. It was a bit chilly, so we headed to Molly’s house afterward & had more fun catching up with each other & sharing our blessings, trials & experiences.  We headed for home on the 14th, but stopped by for a picnic at the park with the Bensons & had a lot of fun. The 16th was Father’s Day & daddy got to go to a treasure hunt in the morning with clues on little ties. He found a new tie, plates that the girls made for him, a cup-full of M&Ms from the ice maker J, an oil vial, recommend holder, a tie tack, and a picture collage of Link for his work. Also – later he got a big framed picture that had the letters of Daddy with pictures of the kids in each letter. On the 21st, we got to hang out with the Reeds – Payson had a baseball game. We went to cheer him on and visit with their family. June 22nd was a very special day. Sedona & Camri watched the cousins while the adults went to the St. George temple to support DeeAnn on her first visit through the temple and to watch her get sealed to her parents. It was a very spiritual time and we knew Link was close – even the pictures have a single ray of light coming down. We are so happy for DeeAnn & the family! After the temple, we went to the Hamiltons for some great food & conversation. The last 2 weeks of June were McKinley & Ireland’s swimming lessons. They did a great job & had a lot of fun! The 27th was Jason’s birthday & he got his favorite cereal and is going to get a Camp Chef for his birthday. That evening, the girls went to Ranel Sobel’s house & they had a neighborhood outdoor movie night – such fun! – while Jason & Heidi had dinner at Sizzler & then watched a Batman movie at home. It was nice! The last weekend of June, we decided to meet Grandma Tew, Grandma Potts, and the Edwards for the Manti Pageant. We left Friday about noon and dropped our trailer off at Palisades Reservoir (we were thankful to get a spot – mom got us the last one!) and then we went to Manti for a tour of homes that Grandma Tew grew up in or her ancestors built. It was neat to see those old buildings still standing –especially the building that used to be the store that the Barton family owned. After the tour, we had the famous Manti turkey dinner & then met at the temple for the show. It didn’t start till 9:30, so we hung out, visited, and played while we waited. Finally, it began and it was neat. Kezia fell asleep after about an hour. Ireland & McKinley stayed up till the end (about 11:30), but were pretty tired. We headed back to Palisades that evening and the Edwards stayed and played with us at Palisades for a few hours before heading back. We had fun playing in the water, taking naps, eating out at Manti, going fishing (daddy got out in his pontoon & caught about 4 fish), & playing in the playground. We stopped at Grandma Devenish’s for a while on the way back & enjoyed our visit with them, too. Heidi started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to the girls this month & they are loving it. They keep begging for Narnia! We also got to have dinner & FHE at the Bealers the end of June – and we got to have them over for dinner, too. They found out they are having a girl – yay! MIRACLES!: Our bishop – Bishop Keate -  went to the scout camp Jason was at (Jason came back early to be to the temple for his mom) and we got a call late Saturday night that he was missing and search and rescue had been called. Jason immediately went to the bishop’s home and tried to help & give them any information he could give. He came home close to midnight & we said some VERY fervent prayers. Finally, about 3am, we got word that he was found and walking out of the canyon by himself. We were SO thankful! He didn’t even get home till about 5:30, but was at church the next day! MIRACLE! The next day our friends, the Hoffman’s little boy (Eli), drank a bunch of his sister’s muscle relaxant medicine and had to be life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital. It was very scary for a while – he was unresponsive and was not breathing well. Again, many MANY fervent prayers were offered for their sweet family & he was able to go home in a couple days. We are SO thankful he is okay as well!

JASON: Between getting the backyard put in, fixing things around the house, work, and scouts, Jason has been SUPER busy this month. The morning of the 20th, he headed to scout camp at Kolob Reservoir and he got home late on the 21st. They went on a long hike and Jason was able to go fishing, so he had a good time. He was happy to see the sprinkler system he worked on so hard doing its job and see his grass getting greener & taller. He also worked on the upper deck – getting it ripped up so we could get it refinished.  Getting to see his mom go through the temple was an awesome experience for Jason. He felt Link and the spirit very close.

 HEIDI: Heidi still feels like she’s living in a fog of grief, but it’s getting a little better. She’s still running with Krista Corry & LuAnn Keate & that has been good. She read Beauty – a retelling of Beauty & the Beast – by Robin McKinley this month. It was a fun read. She was thankful she got to take that trip to SLC and see her good family and also visit with so many wonderful, amazing friends. They truly buoyed her up and gave her strength and love. For the most part, she is loving being home with the girls. She loves the more relaxed mornings as schedules and she’s loving to try new things and have fun with them. It’s also nice because they’re more consistent with chores & they help with meals. For a week straight in June, she spent probably 6 hours a day working on Ireland’s birthday book. It is certainly not as fun and fancy as her other birthday books, but at least it’s done! She’s praying it will get here by Ireland’s birthday. On the 27th, Heidi was able to get together with the SHARE women here in Cedar and help with making outfits for stillborn babies. It was great to do service and visit. McKinley even helped!  

-The 6th was McKinley’s lemonade stand that she’s been begging mom for. She and Olivia Price spent about 3 and a half hours in the driveway selling lemonade and cookies. She said it was boring, but they did earn about 32 dollars all together & split it between them. They did have fun dancing to the music and waving at all the cars.
-One day mom noticed that down the street at the assisted living center, they were having an old car show – like the ones that you have to crank in the front to get started. Mom told McKinley to come see from the back deck. She saw them & said “were those the cars they had when you were young?” Mom said “yeah, right! I’m not THAT old! Those were the cars they had when GG was a baby!” McKinley looked at mom with wide eyes and said “They had CARS when GG was a baby?”
-McKinley had fun at her swimming lessons. She learned to swim the freestyle stroke better and also learned how to do the backstroke and diving from her knee. Her teacher said she’s ready for level 4!
-McKinley has been creative this summer – she’s tried embroidery, balloon animal-making, treasure hunt-making, card-making, food-making, etc. She’s also been over at her friend’s house – Lindsay Brown – for some swim parties.
-Mom asked what her favorite part of our trip to Salt Lake was & she said getting to be with her cousins and go to the splash park.
-McKinley wrote out a story to the Friend Magazine about Link. It’s very great & she talks about staying with her grandma and having her name over the loudspeaker at school the day he died. She’s working on typing it up to send to the Friend.
-McKinley says “I like to go swimming and I had swimming lessons – oh, and I can’t wait until I’m 8!”

-Irleand’s been having a really hard time lately with dresses on Sunday. She doesn’t want ANY of her dresses. She either wants McKinley’s purple dress (that’s WAY too big for her) or Kezia’s funeral dress (which is too small). She has about 10 dresses, but doesn’t want them. We’ve been late to church about 3 times because of her dress tantrums.
-Ireland & Kezia still LOVE to play My Little Pony upstairs – and watch it on Netflix.
-Ireland has REALLY had a case of the “NO FAIR!”s lately. She has to compare herself with everyone around her and she is constanltly complaining that someone else has something or gets to do something that she doesn’t get to have or do. We are really trying to get her to see all that she has and be content.
-When we were in SLC, we passed by IKEA and Ireland said with a sigh “I wish we could live in IKEA.” J Don’t we all, Ireland. Don’t we all.
-When we were in SL, Grandpa Potts was watching The Mummy. Ireland was supposed to be in her room asleep, but she came out and watched the movie from the hall. After that, for almost THREE WEEKS, she was terrified. She wouldn’t go to sleep on her own. When she finally did get to sleep, she would wake up after an hour or two, crawl into bed with mommy, shaking and whimpering, and would STILL not fall back asleep for hours. It was pretty rough for everyone involved. We tried having her listen to primary songs. Having her draw the scary mummy with silly things on it. Praying with her. A priesthood blessing. Finally, after a few weeks, she seemed to calm down a bit. That will be the last time for a LONG time that she watches a scary movie.
-One day, Ireland put on a new dress, came to mommy and said “I’m planning a good-bye party for Link.” We all proceeded to get dressed nicely and we went in Link’s room. We all sat quietly and Ireland said we could each say something to him, so we each talked to him about how we miss his chubby cheeks and we can’t wait to see him again. It was sweet.
-Ireland was looking around – trying to find her scooter. She came in the kitchen where mom was & proclaimed “I am BRILLIANT!” Apparently, she found her scooter.
-Ireland had a great time in her swimming lessons. She learned how to do the front stroke, bob in the deep water, and roll.
-Ireland took a couple Walmart cards at the Walmart in Ephraim when we were there. We didn’t find out till later, so she had to go and return them to our Cedar Walmart. We took them to customer service and she was scared, but she apologized. We hope that she won’t make that choice again.
-One day Ireland decided to get creative & make a kite! She cut out the diamond on the paper, taped the string to it & even got it to fly for a few seconds!
-We are so proud of Ireland for saving up her penny points. She wanted some princess work gloves, but they were $6. We told her that was six HUNDRED penny points. Every day she would ask if she had earned enough yet. It took about two months – and some self-discipline because her sisters were using their penny points for things like candy – but she finally earned them! She was so happy she wouldn’t take them off for about two days.

-Kezia is probably the family member that talks the most about Link. She still finds clothes for him at the store. She tells people about her brother. She draws pictures for him and says “I’m sending this picture to Link, mommy.” She also said she had a dream where she got to see Link and he went fishing with Jesus Christ. (she never just says “Jesus” – she always says “Jesus Christ”).
-Kezia has really taken to our neighbor, Mahina, who is Ireland’s age. She prays for her constantly that she will get to come play. And one Primary Day when asked how she knows that Jesus loves her, she replied “Because of Mahina who lives by us.”
-Kezia got into Ireland’s play make up one day & put the eyeshadow all over her. She came to mom & said “I think dad’s gonna like my rockstar knees!” (they were blue)
-One day, mom asked Kezia to throw away some pull-ups that were on her floor. She said “But mom – there’s nothing in there!... well… maybe there’s probably some toots in there still.”
-One day when Ireland was using a grouchy, mean voice to Kezia, she came to mom & tattled “MOM! Ireland sounds like Lehi & Lemuel!”
-The Bealers were over one day and the girls were putting on a fashion show – changing clothes & coming out with dresses to show them off. Kezia didn’t want Jaxon to feel left out. She said “Jaxon – come put on a dress!” Jaxon said “I’m a BOY!” Kezia said “Yeah, well, we’ll find a boy dress for you! Let’s go look in my daddy’s closet!”
-Kezia was really good while her sisters did swim lessons. Mom was worried she would be sad, but she was pretty content just to play games on the Kindle.
-At the Manti Pageant, we saw some people dressed as Lamanites with big feather headdresses. Kezia said “Look mom! His hat is static-y, right?”
-She sometimes has a hard time going to sleep at night. One night, she came in mom & dad’s room about 10:30pm and said “I can’t go to sleep. My closet is ignoring me!”


You are still so very much a part of our family, baby boy. Even if people can’t see you, there are still six members of our family. We know you watch over us. We knew you were there as the “Link” in Grandma Devenish’s family chain came together on June 22nd. Thank you for being there. Thank you for shining your ray of light down on us from above. We FINALLY got your headstone ordered. I wanted the sides polished, so it is going to take longer. I am praying it will be here for SURE by your birthday. You can read in your sisters’ sections how each of them have thought of you this past month – McKinley wrote a story about you for the Friend. Ireland threw a goodbye party for you. Kezia dreamt about you and is still finding cute clothes for you at the store. Dad felt your presence strongly at the temple. Mom knew you were there, too. Please keep sending butterflies, warm breezes that tickle our cheeks, rays of light, and most of all the peace to know you are happy and well. We miss you so much, our baby boy. We love you.