Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Kezia started Preschool today.

McKinley & Ireland are both at school.

Jason is at work.

I am home.


People say "what will you do with that extra time?"
I just give them a wounded smile, shrug my shoulders, and push back the tears.

I know many mothers long for this day. Can't wait till all their kids are in school and they can have that freedom. I also look forward to that day. But not yet. Not yet. Because... this is not "extra time." This is time that was supposed to have meaning and purpose.  I'm not supposed to be alone.

There is supposed to be an adorably handsome baby boy with me right now. Blue eyes. Chubby cheeks.
I am supposed to be able to hold him in the mornings. Feed him new food. Play pat-a-cake and eensy-weensy spider. I'm supposed to be able to sing to him. Dance with him. I'm supposed to feign frustration as he pulls himself up on furniture, knocks things over, gets into the cupboards, makes messes. I am supposed to hear his sweet babble echo through the walls of my home. I am supposed to comfort him when he falls or when his poor gums ache from the pain of a new tooth coming through. Together, we are supposed to go grocery shopping. Together, we are supposed to clean and do chores and run errands. Together we are supposed to laugh and smile and play. TOGETHER.

Me being here. Alone. So quiet.  It is not supposed to be this way. And it hurts.

I've been reading A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser and he states it this way:

"Loss creates a barren present, as if one were sailing on a vast sea of nothingness. Those who suffer loss live suspended between a past for which they long and a future for which they hope. They want to return to the harbor of the familiar past and recover what was lost... Or they want to sail on a discover a meaningful future... Instead, they find themselves living in a barren present that is empty of meaning. Memories of the past only remind them of what they have lost; hope for the future only taunts them with an unknown too remote even to imagine."

Yes - that is how I feel today. Wishing for that harbor in the past - where we were a complete family and I didn't hurt so much. Instead, I feel lost and I don't have the means to move on.

I know I will somehow pull myself together. I know I will use this time for something good.

Maybe I'll start swimming again.
Maybe I'll do family history work.
Maybe I'll volunteer in the girls' classrooms.
Maybe I'll organize.

But not today. Today it hurts too much.

Yesterday hurt too much, too.  Yesterday, August 26th, was Link's 5 month angelversary. It's been five months since he was here on this earth. FIVE months. It still amazes me that I have gone this long - breathing in and out - when he does not. He has truly been gone longer than he was here & that knowledge seeps into my heart and makes it heavier than I think I can bear. Every fiber of my being wants him here. And while I really just want him here physically, I know that he has been here in spirit and given me signs of his love. Here are FIVE signs of his love that happened yesterday:

1. See these perfect, tiny footprints?  They are my son's. I didn't have them until yesterday. I don't know why- maybe with all the craziness of getting to the St. George NICU they never gave me a copy, but it broke my heart when I could not find his little footprints anywhere. I had Jason stop by the medical records office yesterday & he brought them home. I can't tell you how precious these are to me. I just held them to me and sobbed. We have moldings of his tiny hands, but we didn't have anything from his tiny feet. I am SO thankful to have these.

2. Speaking of footprints... my sweet sister sends me a new bead on the 26th of every month for the beautiful bracelet she gave me. I now have 5 beads on my bracelet. This one was so perfect for yesterday. I have definitely felt the Lord's strength carrying me through these difficult days.

 3. Another reminder of my son's and my Savior's love for me and my family. We were just finishing up family home evening yesterday evening when I glanced out the window and saw this beauty. I wish I would have gotten the whole thing into the picture. But it was a full rainbow stretched over the valley. I cherish the hope & love I feel whenever I see a rainbow.

 4. And, to finish the day,  this sunset. Just so beautiful. So amazing. So wonderful that I got to share it with those that I love. Made me feel very blessed
5. I make it a habit when I'm waking up to close my eyes for a minute and try to grasp for any dreams that I can remember. This morning I was able to recall a dream I had about Link. I'm not sure where I was, but I remember that I was holding him. I remember thinking (as I have in the past when I have dreamt about a loved one that has died) that there must have been some mistake. He wasn't dead! He was in my arms! He was beautiful. I got to hold him and I think I got to kiss him. I remember those gorgeous chubby cheeks. I just remember the JOY I had as I thought I would get to have him back & keep him. It broke my heart to wake up all the way and realize that he was indeed gone, but such a precious gift to be able to hold him and love him in my dreams. Any dreams I have of him are truly sacred and special to me.

So... after all these manifestations of love... maybe I'm not so alone after all?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Message

We were given a LOT of books to read when Link died. Honestly, most of them, I haven't gotten to yet. A lot of them I want to read with Jason, so that slows reading progress a bit since we actually have to find time for us both to be in the same place at the same time. And that time has to be quiet and uninterrupted. And we both had to be awake. Amazingly, or maybe not-so-amazingly, times like that are scarce for us.

We started reading Gaze Into Heavenby Marlene Bateman Sullivan. It is a book my grandma gave me & has near-death experiences from the early members of our church. It is very neat. We are about 3/4 the way through that book. The peace and love and beauty of heaven that was described in that book was so amazing - and also comforting to know that Link is partaking of all those wonderful things. However, there came a point in reading that I really felt strongly that we needed to pick up the book The Message, by Lance Richardson.

The Message  was given to us by four separate people. I felt like I was getting the message to read The Message. So I listened. I'm thankful that I did. The Message is the story of a man's journey across the veil - who he met, what he learned, and how it applies to us today. We just finished it yesterday.

We were driving up north a month or so ago &  I was reading to Jason when I came across the paragraph below (bolded), I had to stop reading for the emotion that welled up inside of me:

"Oh, Grandpa, it is so good to see you." 

"It's great to see you, Lance. We've been anxiously awaiting your visit." He stepped back and took a long look at me. "You look good! I can see your Dad's characteristics in you. I've enjoyed helping you and your family so much over the past years." 

I appreciated his assessment. But his final sentence caught my interest. "What do you mean by that, Grandpa? How have you helped us?"

"Oh Lance, you'd be surprised how involved many of us are in your lives," he responded. "it's really quite exciting. We'll show you more about how it works in a while." 

Randy looked at me with a smile. "In most cases, Lance, when you pray to God for help, it is your dead relatives and loved ones who are sent by God to help you in answer to your prayers. Thus we weld links and bonds of love within the family forever. The family is the central and eternal unity of our society...And so, those relatives of yours who have lived righteous lives can be used as ministering servants, by God, to assist His children who are still in mortality. We serve you, and you serve us. It is the mode of heaven." (underlines added)

I think I choked up right at the moment I read the word "links." The symbolism gets me every time. I love my son's name.

The spirit bore witness at that time the truthfulness of that statement. And that was the moment my mind started thinking about Link and realizing that his mission while he was here - and continuing on the other side - is strengthening those "links" in our family chain  - as well as forming new ones. My heart was full, knowing how many loved ones from the other side have helped us and continue to help us every day. I also started really having a desire to serve them as well and have been pondering how to do this. I have come up with some exciting ideas and we plan to implement them on his angelversary. I will definitely be doing a blog post about that, but I wanted to share the initial idea  and share my testimony that I do know that God has an eternal plan for each one of us - and it is always connected with FAMILY. That word - FAMILY - is so very sacred to me. It was always important to me. Now, it is truly sacred. I am so thankful for a knowledge of forever families. I am SO thankful for the knowledge that my sweet son, my grandpas, my grandmas, aunts, and other relatives and friends are not only WATCHING OVER us, but actually HELPING us in a very real way.

We will definitely be sharing copies of this book. It was awesome!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

July Newsletter & Slideshow

FAMILY:  July is generally a busy month for our family, but this month seemed EXTRA busy this year. The 4th was spent in Richfield – painting patriotic nails, going to the parade (Uncle Jeff was on the 20 year class reunion float & Grandma & Grandpa Devenish were on the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers float!), playing at the park, doing the water slide, riding on the Razor, enjoying the fireworks. We were in Richfield on the 5th – Ireland’s birthday – and we celebrated by driving to the Manti Pool. Everyone had a lot of fun! See Ireland’s section for more of her birthday fun. We got to have Camri & Daken come stay with us for a couple days and had so much fun having FHE (including a “Golden Rule” lip sync), going to see Epic in the movie theatre (& getting ice cream at Bullock Drug afterward), playing water games in the backyard, going to Discovery Park, making stamped baked & painted clay, and putting up & trying out our new porch swing. We loved having them! On the 12th, we went to Lagoon with the Edwards & Potts. The girls had SUCH a fun time going on all the rides, eating yummy food, and being with their cousins & family. They are still talking about how much fun they had and when they will go back. Grandpa Potts took us all to see Despicable Me 2 while we were – thanks Grandpa! And on Sunday, we celebrated Ireland & Joshua’s birthdays with presents and singing and cake J The 22nd, we went to a potluck at the park with some friends. The girls had fun – at least until Ireland crashed on her scooter & we had to take her to the instacare. The 24th was spend here in Cedar & the girls got to ride on a float! We went to the ward breakfast in the morning & then headed over to main street. The girls and Heidi were dressed up as pioneer girls and we had fun waving to everyone on main (though we were almost the last float and it took a while to even get going) and getting otter pops at the end! Jason wasn’t able to come in the morning but after the parade we met him at Arctic Circle for lunch J On the 27th, we had a major rainstorm in Cedar and got 2.2 inches in about an hour. It was REALLY coming down! We got some water in our basement, but it wasn’t too bad, but the Bealers’ parents had a couple inches of water in their basement & Jason went to help while we hung out at the Bealers without electricity. It was actually pretty fun to have candles, eat yummy food, visit with friends, and watch the rain come. By the time we left, the power had turned on again. Amidst all that was going on this month, what really made it busy was our extra projects – we finally got a fence in the backyard (though we had to sacrifice some grass to get it), the upstairs deck got finished (after a month!), we got a patio set for the upstairs deck. We put up a swinging bench in the front porch (which we have loved climbing on to read Narnia – we’re on the 3rd book), hanging hammock chairs on the bottom deck and HOORAY! A big tube slide from the bottom deck to the backyard grass! (that one only took us a few attempts because it would be so boring to put it together the right way the FIRST time!) ;-)

JASON: Jason was busy with a lot of the projects around the house this month. Also – on the 18-20th, Jason went on a big hike with the scouts to Great Basin National Park. He did a lot to prepare for it – bought a nice mess kit, mini stove, light sleeping bag & pad, etc – and spent a while getting packed so it wouldn’t be too heavy.  He got to go to THREE different sporting goods stores (Sportsmans, Scheels, Cabellas) while he was in Salt Lake to find all his gear, so he had fun doing that.  He said the hike was really nice – we got to see some neat videos where they hiked to the top of Pyramid Peak. He also got to fish in a couple of the small lakes around there & caught some nice fish. He said when he reached one of the peaks, his heart was hurting that he wouldn’t get to go on that hike with his son, but after that he had a distinct impression that Link was indeed with him. That was a special experience for him. It was a 12 mile hike and it turns out Jason didn’t have the best socks or shoes for the hike. When he got home, he had two baseball-sized blisters on his heels and a few smaller ones on other parts of his foot. He was not walking well for over a week L He also went cat fishing with McKinley & Joseph while they were in Salt Lake & had fun & caught some big ones!

 HEIDI: Heidi had a tough time on the evening of the 4th of July. It was great to be with family & celebrate independence – and at the same time she really missed her baby boy and wanted him to be there with everyone to experience the festivities. Much of July was spent getting her home ready for the Potts retreat in August – organizing, decorating, creating, cleaning. She was able to hang more decorations in their master bedroom, build a headboard for their master bed – along with putting together a bed frame, put together a memorial shelf in Link’s room and clean out some of this things (that was another difficult time), paint a bench for the front porch, hang some decorative stars, hang the swinging bench, buy the patio set for the upstairs deck, and do lots of organizing and cleaning. It has been a lot of work, but after these projects got done, it really started to feel more like home. On the 19th, Heidi & the girls went to the Enoch cemetery to support another angel mom on her son’s 1st angelversary. It was a neat time & she got to meet a couple other local angel moms. She continues to run with Krista & LuAnn, but realized she scheduled her trip to see Tiffany over the weekend of the Cedar Half L That was a big bummer. She did read some really good books this month – Flipped and Forbidden Sea.

-McKinley’s creativity continues as she makes various projects & inventions – one of which was duct-taping a can to her shoe for some makeshift stilts. She even had mom video tape her talking about her invention.
-McKinley was so sweet on the 4th of July. While the big fireworks were going off, she came into mom’s room while she was having a hard time missing her baby boy. Mom kept telling her to go out & watch the fireworks, but McKinley wouldn’t leave. She said “Mom – you are more important than fireworks.”
-McKinley was quite the dare-devil at Lagoon, which surprised us because she’s scared to go down a hill on her bike – or go up ladders either. But she was gung-ho for Wicked, The Colassuas, and even the Rockets! Mom & Dad had fun with her since she was the only one of the girls who was tall enough to go on all the rides.
-Trisha did mom’s hair while we were in Salt Lake. Mom got in the van afterwards & McKinley said “Mom – did you get your hair repolished?”
-McKinley has really gotten into watching Wild Kratts this past month – a real show/cartoon about a couple of brothers that learn about all kinds of different animals.
-McKinley has been working on learning to type with an online program and she’s also worked on memorizing her multiplication tables.
-McKinley says “My favorite part of July was going to Lagoon and going on Wicked!”

-Happy 6th birthday Ireland!!! Mom forgot to bring the birthday things to Richfield this year, so we had to improvise with a homemade sign and crown. She chose chocolate cereal for breakfast, ramen noodles for lunch, and pizza for dinner. The afternoon of her birthday, she chose to go swimming at the Manti swimming pool. We went with Grandma Devenish, the Reeds, and the Hamiltons. It was a lot of fun! Some favorite gifts were an umbrella & sleeping bag from mom and dad, cowgirl boots from Grandma Devenish, a new dress and necklace from the Hamiltons (who took her to two different stores because she was so picky and one was not soft enough and one was not sparkly enough and one was not twirly enough), and a leotard with a tutu from Grandma Potts. She got a wonderful chocolate cake from Grandma Devenish and a My Little Pony cake from Aunt Cindy later in the month.  
-On Ireland’s birthday, she said “Do I look all grown up now, mommy?”
-The Sunday after Ireland’s birthday, she raised her hand in primary & the primary president said “yes, Ireland?” and Ireland said “I have a question. Ummm… it was my birthday last week, so…” wherein they proceeded to sing her happy birthday J
-One day, mom was in Link’s room – on the floor, crying. Ireland came in, sat on her lap, gave her a BIG hug, and cried as she said “I miss him, too.”
-At the potluck on the 22nd, Ireland crashed on her scooter & mom took her to instacare. They x-rayed her arm and said there was a tiny fracture. They sent us home with a brace which she wore for a few days & then it felt better.
-One morning Ireland apparently REALLY didn’t want to do her morning things. Mom asked her to do them, she walked away, and then came back with a paper that said “NO NO NO NO” about 50x.
-Mom found the girls making some creation out of the craft things and she asked what they were doing. Ireland said “We’re making a hide out for the creditors.” (critters) J
-We were driving somewhere one day & Ireland was asking about how mom knew where to go. Mom started explaining about learning addresses & then Ireland interrupted “Well, you know where to go because the Holy Ghost gives you directions.”
-Ireland says “that I love you, mommy. Mommy is great. I liked going to the parade and I liked my cake and ice cream was so yummy & delicious and I like for my friends to come over.”

-Kezia said “Once Tundra died, right?” (We love how she says “right?” after most of her statements or questions).
-Mom was teaching her primary class & heard a child screaming REALLY LOUD somewhere. After a few moments, she realized it was her very own child & told her class she’d be right back. Mom found Kezia two doors down screaming her lungs out. Mom tried to talk to her and finally understood that she had seen Jenny (Dowse’s) mom in the hall and wanted to go say hi, but they didn’t let her. Sometimes she gets a little fussy about little things.
-One day after church, Kezi said “They told me in my class that if you get married in the temple, you can stay with them forever.” Love that she is learning such precious truths.
-We went to the Enoch Cemetery to support a friend’s baby’s one year angelversary. We wrote on balloons & mom asked what Kezia wanted to say on her balloon. She said “Dear Link – come back to our house.”
-Kezia has had a hard time staying in her seat the whole time of Primary. She keeps running back to mom to tell her something or give her something. One time was cute, though. We had just sung “Give said the Little Stream.” Kezi ran back to mom & said “Mom – I have to tell her that it’s Link’s song!” (she remembered that Link’s bedtime song is to the tune of “Give Said the Little Stream”)
-Kezi had a fun time being on the float for the 24th of July – but we were one of the last floats & by the time we were halfway down Main Street, she told mom “I’m running out of waving.”
-If it were up to Kezia, we would have at least 10 more people or animals living in our home. If she meets a person or animal she likes, she will sigh and say “I wish that doggy/kitty/girl lived with us, mom.”
-When we eat breakfast in the morning, before mom can pour the milk on her cereal, Kezia always has to pat it down flat.
-Kezi pointed to her gums one day and said “My guys fell better!”
-Kezia calls Wild Kratts (the TV show), Wild Crafts. We actually think that sounds like a GREAT reality show!”
-Lately Kezia has been saying “Ah- Darnit!” a lot J
-Kezia says “dear dad. I love you, dad. I am awesome, dad. Really excited for Lagoon. Thank you for taking us to the movie theater.”


You would have been 8 months old this month, our baby boy. On that day, you sent a BEAUTIFUL double-rainbow that stretched over the entire valley. The colors were so vivid. It was so beautiful. THANK YOU. I’m sure you knew how much we needed that love note from God and from you. Thank you for being there for your daddy when he was missing you at the top of the mountain on his hike. Thank you for watching over us and loving us from above. I’m sure you knew what a hard time your mommy had this month – missing you on the 4th of July… as she put away some of your diapers, toys, and blankets. I’m sure you saw her many tears as she filed away your stack of medical papers. It’s hard not to think of all you’d be doing now. I’m sure this part of the newsletter would be filled with new foods you’d tried, messes you’d made, crawling you’d conquered, fireworks you’d witnessed for the first time, and memories you’d made. We are trying to really look for those love notes instead of on the pain of not having you here. Some days are harder than others. We are starting to plan ways to honor you on your birthday – donations/service to the Ronald McDonald house and your angelversary – strengthening “links” in our earthly & heavenly families. We are excited for this, because we strongly feel you letting us know that your mission was and is strengthening those family “links.” We love and miss you EVERY single day. We look for you in the clouds, the wind, the rain, the sun, the sunrises, the sunsets, and the rainbows. We know you are there. We love you.