Sunday, January 23, 2011

Passing the Baton

One thing I always admired about Krista was that she was always engaged in a good cause. She had too many things to do to not be. Today in church she was released from her callings as the Ward Music Specialist, Ward Choir Director, Cub Scout Bear Den Leader and Relief Society Instructor. It’s hard to remember a time when she didn’t have multiple callings at church. She was always happy to serve wherever and whenever she was needed.

Since Krista’s passing I have felt the weight of her responsibilities fall upon my shoulders. No longer do I have her to share the workload of cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, shopping, paying bill and raising Jacob and Emma. And the list seems to grow daily. There have been other needs that exist because her death was so sudden and unexpected like figuring out what to do with her consulting business, her support group and website, her children’s book that is close to being published, her blog and many other little details that I have discovered over the last few weeks. These are the many things that give me little time to sit and worry about how things are going to turn out because I’m too busy trying to get everything done.

Today I’ve gladly accepted one more of Krista’s old responsibilities. I have been called to be the Ward Music Director. I’m responsible for selecting and leading the congressional hymns and arranging the special musical numbers for our weekly sacrament meetings. Though it’s only a little of what Krista did I’m glad to do it. I have learned from her to serve wherever the Lord needs me. No calling is too small, nothing we do for others is insignificant in the sight of the lord. As it says in Matthew:
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - St Matthew 25:40
I hope to continue Krista's legacy and always be engaged in a good cause and serve the Lord wherever and whenever He needs me. To serve the Lord we must serve others and it is in serving others that we forget ourselves and find joy and peace.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Month One

Those of you that regularly follow Krista's blog know that we keep track of many dates and loved to find reasons to celebrate. Every 20th of the month was our "month-a-versary" (it was always fun to see who would remember it first). We have the season of Jacob and the season of Emma which included their birthdays, homecoming days, adoption days and sealing days. We even celebrated the 12th of each month since her diagnosis as another month she outlived her prognosis.

Today marks one month since her passing. A lot has happened in that month. There has been a lot of pain, a lot of tears and a lot of heartache. On the other hand there have been many angels that have blessed my family through countless acts of service. There has been a lot of comfort given through friends and family. There has been a lot of thoughts and prayers for me and my family. And there has been a lot of tears of joy for the outpouring of blessings that we have received.

I have said many times that life is messy. If it weren't so we wouldn't learn and grow and reach the divine potential that is in all of us. The Lord wants us to trust Him in all things. During times of trial it is of utmost importance to trust in Him and rely on Him. If we do He will strengthen us to endure the trials that shall be placed upon our backs. And He will pour out His blessings upon us so that our burdens will be light. I have felt His love many times this past month. When the pain and sorrow seemed too much to bear I would fall upon my knees and plead with my Father in Heaven for the help and strength to endure. Every time He has blessed me with his love and peace and I knew that all would be well.

I know my Heavenly Father knows me and loves me more than I can comprehend. He has been patient we me and has lead me step by step to become what I am today. There is much more that I need to learn but I know with His help all things are possible.

Looking back at this month there is much to celebrate and be happy for. Most of all it is the "month-a-versary" of my dear wife's successful completion of her mortal trial. No longer does she need to endure countless MRIs, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, injections, blood tests, pain and sickness. She is in our Heavenly Father's hands now. And it is one less month till we are together, never to be separated again.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lead, Kindly Light

When I was very young my mom endeavored to teach me to play the piano. I remember countless hours practicing while I wished I was doing something else a bit more entertaining. Whenever I would complain about it my mom would tell me that someday when I was a missionary I would be in an area where I would be the only person that could play the hymns for church. At that point I would just roll my eyes and get back to practicing still wishing I was elsewhere. Needless to say, my mom's prediction came true.

While I was serving a mission in Japan there was rarely an area I was in that had someone who could play the piano. I was able to provide the accompaniment to the congregational hymns for most of the two years of my mission. I'm thankful for a mother that had the foresight to not give up on a young boy knowing that the benefit greatly outweighed anything I lost. I never became a great pianist but I learned enough to play hymns (which was my mom's goal) and compose some simple arrangements and original songs.

Many times when I find myself alone with my thoughts and the pains of mortality I turn to the piano for comfort. Sometimes it's much easier to express my emotions through the piano then verbally. Today was one of those days. While flipping through the hymn book I came across "Lead, Kindly Light". This brought back a flood of memories and emotions. A few years ago Krista used the first verse in her post titled "One Step Enough For Me". She compared it with our experience of adopting our Emma. Showing that sometimes we just need to trust the Lord. Knowing that he has a plan for us should be enough. We don't need to know the outcome we just need to take that next step and put our trust in Him and let Him lead us to where He wants us to be.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

As I sat at the piano reading the lyrics I got to the third verse with tears streaming down my face I read:

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

I have lost my angel. Thankfully it's only for "awhile". I look forward to the day that we meet again, to once again see her smiling face and walk hand in hand. I know, with the Lord, we are never lost. He is the good shepherd and He knows his sheep. We must put our faith in Him and trust that He will lead through this trial, for there is no way around it. And if we are faithful we will reach the end of our journey and look upon His face and hear the words "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.. enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:21.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Magical Tender Mercies

Since October Krista and I have been planning a surprise trip to Disney World as a Christmas present for Jacob and Emma. After Krista passed away I thought about what to do and realized that Krista wouldn't want anything to get in the way of our plans for the kids. So after the last present was opened on Christmas morning I told the kids where were going the following Monday. Words can't describe the excitement expressed by Jake and Em.
The following Monday at 4:20am I woke the kids, packed the car and left for the airport.

We arrived at our hotel, Jambo House at the Disney World Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our room overlooked the "Savannah" where you could see zebra, impala, giraffe, antelope, wildebeest and many other animals roaming around.

Despite the cold and the parks being crowded nearly to capacity we had an wonder time. We saw shows, rode rides and ate more good food than we should have. The parks were lit up for Christmas with Cinderella's Castle covered in lights shining like a beautiful ice castle.

The highlight of the trip for Emma was a tossup between meeting "Prince Stitch" and the Princess Storybook Dinner at Epcot Center.

When we first arrived at Epcot center we saw Stitch signing autographs and taking picture. So we quickly got in line and waited. When it was our turn to meet Stitch he noticed the shirt that Emma was wearing that said "Someday My Prince Will Come" and indicated that he was her prince. He even signed her signature book as "Prince Stitch" and kissed her hand just as a prince would. Emma was smitten to say the least and even insisted on getting a Stitch stuffed animal before we left.

Later that day at the Princess Storybook Dinner she was able to meet Cinderella, Ariel, Princess Aurora, and Mary Poppins. But her favorite by far was Belle who signed her book "To: Emma Love, Belle" and even kissed her book leaving a lipstick kiss on the page.

Jacob loved the Stitch's Great Escape! Even though he was nervous while waiting in line and was scared a couple of times during the ride. But the biggest scare came early Friday morning.

When we were going to bed Thursday night Jacob was complaining that his stomach hurt. I thought it was just all of the food we had eaten that day and sent him to bed hoping he would feel better in the morning. But things just got worse. At about 2:00am Friday morning I was startled awake with Jacob crying and throwing up all over his bed and the floor. I quickly got up, cleaned him and the floor and took the bedding off of his bed and called housekeeping to bring new bedding and to further clean the floor. It took about an hour and three more calls before they came to the room with new linens and cleaned the floor. In the meantime Jacob vomited a couple more times and was complaining that his stomach was hurting. He didn't have a fever so I was hoping it was just bad food that needed to work itself out. I bought a Sprite for him to sip on in hopes of it settling his stomach. Nothing helped him feel better and he kept vomiting every hour or so until all that was coming out was saliva and mucus. I realized this was getting dangerous for Jake and called the front desk to see what medical options were available. they recommended a visiting doctor that I could make an appointment with. I called the doctor and after talking to him about Jake's symptoms he recommended that I take him to the ER. The hotel's concierge arranged for a cab to pick us up and take us to the local hospital's ER. They even gave us a voucher for the cab ride to and from the ER.

Once at the hospital they immediately hooked Jacob up to an IV and started giving him fluids to help with the dehydration caused by the vomiting. They also gave him a dose of Zofran to help settle his stomach. They then gave him an bottle of apple juice to sip on to see if he could keep it down. But after drinking only half of the apple juice Jacob started to complain and cry about how bad his stomach hurt. Shortly after that Jacob quickly sat up from the hospital bed and projectile vomited so hard it hit the wall 8 feet from where he was. We were quite scared at this point. I also realized that it was three weeks to the day from when I was with Krista in the ER when she passed away. I was worried about losing Jacob also and didn't know what to do. The doctor decided Jake needed a CAT scan of his abdomen in hopes of diagnosing the problem. The CAT scan showed that Jacob was constipated and other tests showed he was fighting a viral infection. The two together created a dangerous situation keeping Jake from being able to eat or drink anything. At about 3pm the doctor told us she wasn't comfortable releasing Jacob and wanted to admit him to the hospital for another 24 hours. I explained that our flight home was the next day and if he was admitted we would miss our flight and have to deal with the hassle and cost of rescheduling our flight. She finally agreed that if Jacob could keep down a popsicle for an hour or so she would be willing to release him. As soon as she left to order the popsicle we knelt down by Jacob's bed and prayed to Heavenly Father, acknowledging our faith in His ability to heal, and asking Him to heal Jake so he would be able to once again eat and drink and that we would be able to return home as scheduled. Things turned around rather quickly after that. Jacob ate the popsicle without any problems and kept it down. His stomach quit hurting and he was able to use the restroom. By the time the doctor came back to check on him he was smiling and cheerful. The doctor commented that it was the first time she saw him smile and that his complexion looked much better. After having him walk around the ER and pressing on his stomach she agreed to release him. At just after 5:30pm we left the hospital headed back for our hotel room. Needless to say we decided to forgo any New Year celebrations that night and go directly to bed.

I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves us, who knows us and is concerned about our well being. I'm thankful for the power of prayer for I know that if we have faith for that which is right we shall receive it just as it is stated in 3 Nephi 18:20:
"And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."
I also like the words from Ezra Taft Benson's Last General Conference Talk as LDS Church President:
"He wants to help you because He loves you, and He will help you if you pray to Him and ask Him for His help."
I know this to be true. I know God loves each and every one of us. He wants us to be happy in this life as well as in the next. If we will just follow his Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ He will give us peace and joy greater than anything we can imagine. And if we ask Him for that which is right, having faith in Him and His Son, he will give us what we ask for.

I'm thankful the the many tender mercies that the Lord has shown to me and my family, especially in this time of need.