Tuesday, July 24, 2018

the aftermath

the tati after miscarriages was bitter, sad, & heartbroken. i couldn't be around anyone who was expecting without feeling that twinge of jealousy. being that way was hard & i hated those feeling. i knew they weren't good, but i couldn't help it. even after my successful pregnancies, i continued to almost roll my eyes when another mom so easily got pregnant. i would instantly count how many months apart their babies would be - like that would tell me if they struggled or not & worthy of my happiness. i am now rolling my eyes at myself. ugh.


but this loss, while harder physically than even my c-sections, has been a completely different experience. i am sad, but not heartbroken. i mean, really, 25% of women experience a miscarriage - i have had 3. only 1 to 2% of pregnancies are ectopic & even less lose a fallopian tube due to rupture. when i look at those stats, i do wonder why me & every time i get ready to be mad at Heavenly Father for putting me through another loss, i am overwhelmed by the love He has shown me through this entire ordeal.


-  my parents. they made plans in february to come see us for gus's first birthday. in february, they bought plane tickets to get in to fort smith on the 15th. i even told them they could fly into okc or tulsa & we would come get them, but no, they flew to fort smith. & what a blessing! i went to the ER on the morning of the 15th. they got to my house just a few hours after my surgery. if they hadn't been here that first week post-op, i probably would have needed ashton to stay home from work. plus, who doesn't need their mom when life is hard?


-  dinners. i am so grateful to my wonderful ministering sisters & a relief society president who is so quick to serve.


- flowers. never underestimate the power of flowers. they can bring so much joy & no one can ever have enough. it might be a simple gesture, but it's telling someone that you are thinking of them & that means the word.


- wonderful grandma fry passed away on May 23rd & she is so missed. when my mother in law told us, she said, "i can't help but think she is with your babies right now, getting to know them." those words resonated in my heart. i felt not only grandma fry there, but my grandma thorkelson too. they are surrounded by family & i will have eternity to raise them.


- the biggest tender mercy (tied with my parents being here, of course) was the disappearance of jealousy. i even helped throw a baby shower a week later & did it happily! i have had a few friends call to tell me they are expecting and i experienced true happiness for them. i even told a friend that finally my loss doesn't outweigh someone else's joy.


as far as my baby though, i am still numb. i knew for nearly 2 weeks that i was pregnant before i went to the ER. i had plenty of time to dream and plan for my January 9th baby. we had names picked. we had already discussed the need for a minivan. & while i was hesitant like i always am early in pregnancy, i felt good, peaceful, & secure in this new pregnancy.


but, here i am...empty.

empty, but not mourning. i haven't had a real good cry & i keep going back & forth on how i feel about that. with every miscarriage, i have cried for a good week. i miss baby, but i feel ok. maybe i am used to the loss part? part of me worries that it means i didn't have a relationship with this little one & that terrifies me. but as i sit here, writing these words, i know that isn't true. sweet baby is there, with my other babies gone too soon & the sweet angels waiting to come to us. i am so proud that i was chosen to help their sweet little spirits gain bodies. it is such a tender mercy to have this knowledge & a testimony in the eternal bonds of family.


my army in heaven continues to grow.



my ectopic experience

the evening before Mother's Day, May 12, 2018, i saw a bright red streak & defeatedly told Ashton that we were losing our baby. i kept waiting for the cramping to start, the clots to pass - i know how a miscarriage is supposed to go. but the bleeding stayed light & inconsistent & the cramping never came.


that night, i woke up to a pain in my lower left abdomen. there was still a little bit of bright bleeding, but the pain was sharp & direct. i felt pressure & bloated. i reached out to mel (thanks girl for being awake at 2:00am!) we discussed the pain & she mentioned that it could be ectopic. i had recently read women describing their ectopic pregnancies on a facebook group & my pain didn’t match what they described. I eventually was able to fall back asleep & woke up the next morning feeling well enough to go to church.


no bleeding of cramping the rest of sunday & monday.


i called multiple OB's & clinics. no one would see me since i wasn't an established patient. it was unbelievably frustrating, to say the least. i knew i was pregnant, knew i wasn't miscarrying, but i also knew that something wasn't right. everyone told me to go to the ER, but i was feeling ok & not up for forking over $150. i even called the nurses line for my OB in Utah & explained my symptoms. she took my information to my doctor & called me back to tell me that he wanted to get me in for hcg blood draws & an ultrasound at the appropriate time. it was then that i had to sheepishly tell  her that we had moved, i couldn't get an OB to seem me, but i wanted to get an opinion before going to the ER. i even cried as i told her how much i missed them - i will blame pregnancy hormones.


at 5:30 am on tuesday morning (May 15th), a loud roar of thunder woke me up. i realized that pain was back. i sat up. went to the bathroom. walked around. the pain stayed. i said a prayer asking for the pain to be strong enough for me to go to the ER if i needed to.


the pain quickly got stronger. i couldn't sit up. i had to stay standing. my stomach was unbelievably swollen. i got ashton up to give me a blessing. i pumped while i was standing (couldn't leave gus without milk/i didn't want to be leaking at the hospital).

then, i drove myself to the hospital. big bolts of lightning flew across the sky as a pink sunrise began to appear. it was awe inspiring & my heart was calm.


i got to the hospital around 6:10. the nurses seemed skeptical when they checked me in.

"why do you think you're miscarrying?" 
"um. actually, i am not so sure that i am. i just know that something is wrong. i have miscarried before, but this time it's different."
"when was your last period?"
"August of 2016. i am still nursing my son."

the looks i got from that last answer!

"are you sure you're pregnant?"
"yes. i took a test 10 days ago."

they got me to a room. drew some blood. got a urine sample. i waited. the pain started to fade & i was worried that i had come for no reason. a kind doctor came in & talked with me. he felt my abdomen & the pain on my left side was wince worthy.



around 7:50, there was an ultrasound. she couldn't see much so she asked me to empty my bladder & did the longest transvaginal ultrasound ever. i could tell that she concentrated on my left side & it wasn't my favorite.


more waiting & around 8:30, the kind doctor was back. he explained that my hcg levels were at 4000. an embryo can typically be spotted between 1000 & 1200, but nothing was in my uterus, but there was  a 5 cm mass just outside of my left ovary. an OB (ironically enough, one that i called just the day before) would come to talk to me about the next step. it was most likely an ectopic pregnancy, but they couldn't say for sure.


shortly after, the doctor came back & said that the OB was stuck in a surgery, but would like me to go to pre-pop where he would meet me & explain what was happening. all the doctor would tell me was that i would be having a procedure.


around 8:50 both my ER & pre-op nurses came in & i was not at all ready to go for surgery. they were rushing me for an IV & getting me in a gown. they were also surprised that i was alone & said i should get ashton there ASAP. since ashton wasn't there to take my belongings, security had to be called to hold onto it for me. my angel husband got the kids dressed, ready & to pre-op within half an hour!


more waiting, but now in pre-op. nurses kept talking about this procedure, but no one could tell me what it was.




the OB made it in & pulled up pictures of my ultrasound. fallopian tubes are about the width of a pencil & the embryo in my left  tube was 7cm. he said it was definitely ectopic & that they would go in laparoscopically via three incisions - one in my belly button & two lower, along my c-section incision. they were hopeful to make two cuts into my tube & pull the embryo out, but if my tube had ruptured, it would also need to be removed.


ashton & i were told that the surgery would be finished in about 30-45 minutes. shorter if all went well, longer if  the tube had ruptured. ashton took the kids to the waiting room.


minutes later, the OB came back & said, "you're a pretty tough person huh?" i was a little confused & said something along the lines of, "ya, i think so." thinking he was referring to my history with pregnancy loss & how well i was holding it all together. he then told me that i had about 300 cc's of blood in my stomach. my tube had definitely ruptured & would need to be removed. he was shocked that i wasn't in more pain.


the anesthesiologist came out & within 5 minutes, things were out of focus. i barely remember moving onto the operating table - something about a pink cushion that my bum had to be below?? then i was waking up with this faint memory of pushing nurses off of me & struggling to breathe. apparently, i asked my nurse all the same questions over & over (she was obviously annoyed) & i was insanely thirsty.


my nurse helped me use the restroom & then i was being wheeled to the car. talking to ashton now - that whole surgery/recovery took about two hours.


my ectopic experience was not at all like those of the women who have shared on various LDS mom facebook groups that i belong to. many of them described unbearable pain - like throwing up from pain. an ulstrasound tech said that she can tell just by looking at a patient that it's ectopic because they are sickly pale with dark circles around their eyes. i don't think anyone would have been able to look at me & tell that something was wrong.


----------------------------------------------------------

it's been just over two month since everything happened & since i wrote most of this post. there is still some of that numb feeling.

when i went into my follow up appointment, my OB kept saying things like "if you had taken a step too hard, things could have changed drastically in seconds" or "it was a good thing you got to the hospital when you did because you were a time bomb just seconds from going off". i still can't believe that i had gotten to that point. like i said earlier, i just didn't feel like things were that bad.

life has kept going. it has kept me busy. being down a fallopian tube hasn't changed much, at least not yet. i might say differently when it comes time for us to try getting pregnant. & then again - how much of it will be because i do miscarry often vs. only having one fallopian tube? my OB doesn't think having one tube will make much of a difference. he also told me he has a feeling he will see me again in a few months because of a positive test, so let's hope that comes true!

one last thing. this will probably be the hardest part about having had an ectopic pregnancy. as soon as i get that positive pregnancy test, i have to come in and begin blood work & early ultrasounds. this is because once you have had an ectopic, you are more likely to have another. well, because of my miscarriages, i have tried to put off having an appointment until 10 weeks. in my experience, when i go in at 8 weeks & we look at the ultrasound, doctors always say something along the lines of "you must not be as far along as you thought because there is no fetus yet, just a sac." but that is what happens with blighted ovums & within a few weeks, i am miscarrying. so...yay for doctors being proactive, but boo for knowing i am going to miscarry around 6 weeks & having to go 4 more weeks anticipating it happening. hopefully, this isn't the case. hopefully, i go in at 6 weeks and hcg tests double as they should & everything goes smoothly. hopefully.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

life in fort smith

fort smith has now been our home for three whole months & it really has started to feel like home.


life here is slower. traffic is almost non-existent (except for on the one major street we have). there isn't a whole ton to do - no aquarium, zoo, kids museums, etc. we have one target & seven walmarts (this is arkanasas after all). there are quite a few parks & we even have a water park, but none of that is useful for the winter. we have learned to let go of costco and embrace sam's club. we find ways to keep busy - library, play dates, running errands, coming up with activities to do at home...


we recently got passes to a children's museum about an hour and a half north. we went last week & rooney loved it so much, we had to get one. i imagine we will try to go once or twice a month.


our ward is full of amazing people who have welcomed us in. a few women do a preschool for an hour once a week & rooney is always talking about her "school". i was called as the relief society compassionate service leader, which has forced me to get out of my little comfort zone & get to know people.


ashton has settled in with work. he has sundays & mondays off & his hours are a little different day to day. he is really enjoying being in the tower & training. he is doing a great job.


things are different here & we still have some adjusting to do - i think getting used to not being close to family will take the longest, but we are so happy to be where we are.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

just a stay at home mom

since moving, there have been a few instances where people have asked me what i do for a living. i have always replied: "Oh, I am just a stay at home mom."


just?! JUST?!!!


i can't believe that came out of my mouth. what i really should have done is proudly say, "I am a stay at home mom of two kids & i am amazing"


i have dreamed of being a mom since i was a child, so why do i suddenly feel like i can put my role down?


i had worked part time after having rooney & it was hard, but having a break from my kid was actually really nice, even if i was working. at work my schedule was determined by me, i got to talk to adults, & i never had to share my food. now, i am not saying being a working mom is easy, because IT IS NOT.


but being a stay at home mom is not easy either. & i think people often just assume SAHMs have it simple - play with kids, cook some food, & hang out all day long. hahahahaha that couldn't be further from the truth. i spend all day running around like a chicken with its head cut off. it is not a pretty sight.


i am almost always bra-less around the house, in sweats & a baggy shirt, hair in a pony, no makeup & that's as glam as i get. that does something to your self-esteem. at least i get a shower in everyday, right?


my day consists of constant thoughts of what i need to be doing. for example:


while i am working out, i am thinking about what to make the kids for breakfast. as i am showering, my thoughts go to what is the weather, how do i appropriately dress my kids. then i step out of the shower to ashton who has to run to work and a crying gus. i nurse guster all the while thinking of something fun to do with rooney today when i see a sock on the floor which reminds me that i have laundry in both the washer & dryer. so i fold one load as i try to read rooney a christmas story while gus sleeps. then i am working for my dad so i start that & of course gus wakes up 10 minutes in. he is poopy & they both need a bath, so i take a break to bathe the babies, which is sort of a circus. once they are clean, smell good, & dressed, we head back downstairs. i am holding gus on my lap, reaching out to my computer perched on the couch arm (because little man can literally reach anything & will push off my lap to get to my computer), trying to edit some company names, & asking rooney to hold on because she is obviously ready for lunch, but doesn't know what she wants to eat. she asks me to list off all of her options, but picks ramen, she is always picking ramen these days. i make her some ramen while gus is screaming in his stander. i run between the stove, gus, & my computer - trying to get it all done. i go to get rooney a bowl and realize the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. i put that on my mental "to do" list for later today, get her some ramen as quickly as possible so that i can nurse gus who is so ready for a nap. while i am nursing him, i realize today is the 14th, there is book club tonight & all of the hoops that i want to ship out for christmas need to be in the mail within FIVE days! eventually, gus gets down for nap, rooney shortly follows after frosting a sugar cookie that we made yesterday (legit the best, softest, chewiest cookies & frosting), & i finally eat lunch - which makes me start thinking about what on earth i am going to make for dinner. it's only 12:30.

i need to: unload the dishes, fold more laundry, make my bed/tidy up the room, clean the kitchen (still a flour mess from our cookies yesterday - did i mention they are amazing?! & so worth the mess), go to the post office, finish an 8" hoop that will easily require 6 more hours + so many more little nativity ornaments (& really, i would love to turn hoops&threads into something more, but that also requires more time), make dinner (hopefully leftovers are good with everyone because i need easy), maybe go to book club?, keep my kids entertained, happy, & alive for the rest of the day, & address/stamp/send out all our christmas cards.


sometimes, i get sad thinking about all the things i want to do, but never feel like i will be able to get to because life is so buys right now. & i know, i know, that someday i will miss these days so i really do try to enjoy every single minute of the crazy.


my brain is in a constant state of chaos. i am always multitasking. & i am pretty much exhausted all the time. when ashton gets home from work, i physically, mentally, & emotionally crash. the poor man.


so i am no longer "just" a stay at home mom.


i AM a stay at home mom, i am so blessed to be a SAHM. this has always been my dream!

 & i do so much in one day, even if my house doesn't show it!


me with my little bosses who make all the chaos but also make it overwhelmingly worth it.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

( s p i d e r ) stories

we lived in a basement before arkansas (ps! we're in arkansas!)

& with basements, you get spiders. even when your landlord (your fabulous in-laws) sprays regularly. i spent the majority of my husband-less summer without any spider sightings. until the last week or so.

IF YOU DECIDE TO READ ANY OF THESE, stories 1 & 4 are the best.

story 1:

it was midnight (you find your self staying up way past your 10:00 bedtime, plus it is the only time i got me time) & i was climbing into bed. i always turn my phone flashlight on because no husband + dark is very scary. as i was plugging my phone in, my light scanned over something moving in my room --- a big, scary, spider. i grabbed a sandal to take care of the spider, something i would normally never do, because you know, i normally have ashton.

the sneaky spider runs to the corner, where my sandal isn't able to reach him, or her? the corner of the sandal knocks the spider a big & CRAZY TINY LITTLE SPIDERS START TO SCATTER. baby spiders?! you've got to be kidding me.

it was a holiday so i was able to call ashton & not feel too bad about waking him up in the middle of the night. he told me to get the vacuum & we debated about it for awhile because i was worried mama spider & all those babies would disappear. i ran real fast. vacuumed it all up & immediately ran the vacuum outside. all of this while gus slept & stayed asleep.

story 2:

no joke. two days later, i go to pile my pillows on the other side of the bed so i can tuck in for bed. & a spider (bigger than mama and babies) is on a pillow! A SPIDER ON MY BED. ON MY BEDDDD!!! what? this isn't allowed. and it's not somewhere i can just smash it. i couldn't wake ashton up this time, so i called sydney, bless her heart. she told me to get a cup and just capture the spider between the cup and pillow and run the cup outside.

i did it. and thought that i could just tip the spider in the cup & carefully let it out. HA. i tossed the cup and nearly lost the pillow. i threw the cup outside & the pillow on the floor in the kitchen, slammed the door, & ran away. the cup stayed outside for probably a week? i wasn't the one who picked it up either. i think maybe my mom threw it away?

story 3:

about a week went by & i went to get gus' tummy time blanket off the top of a packed up box in my bedroom. i tossed it on my bed while i cleared a spot to lay the pillow. as it hits my bed, i see something scurry under my comforter. NO WAY. in my bed again? but this time, actually in my bed? this can't be possible. at this point, ashton was on the road, heading back to us. i called him and just mostly couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculous this was. he called his brother to save me this time. parker confirmed that the spider was huge and successfully got it outside.

story 4: 

this happened in our new house, here in arkansas. as of last night, we had been here for five full days. as we were getting the kids ready for bed, i commented to ashton how we hadn't seen any spiders yet!

obviously, that jinxed it.

last night we were dealing with a throwing up rooney (day #2, no fever, tired, but not lethargic) so ashton decided to just sleep in her room with her. well, we had the washing machine going  (washing rooney's messy bedding) & that has been thor's new bedroom since we don't really have a space for his kennel. the washing machine is real loud so thor was whining to compete with it. i asked ashton if he had any solutions for what was going on because i was struggling to get gus to sleep. he came down and suggested getting the kennel out. he went to the garage to get it & i heard him say, " oh fetch!" & came back in to tell me that there was a giant spider.

this time ashton was with me so i broke into laughter (1. because what are the chances?! 2. i wasn't the one who needed to take care of the situation.) & immediately ran into the garage, hoping to get a view & a picture from a safe distance.

so ashton grabbed our giant jazz cup and a paper plate, hoping to trap this gargantuan spider. i didn't get a picture, because i used my phone flashlight so that ashton could get a good eye on this spider. ps. it was huge. he wasn't lying.

ashton attempts to cover the spider with the cup, but it runs so ashton just slams the cup on the running spider. of course, it hits it, but not covers it. AND! baby spiders begin to scurry. i can't even believe it & begin laughing as i am safely perched on the bumper of my car. ashton ran inside, not laughing, and grabbed the vacuum. he got all the itsy bitsys' & then went after big mama who had snuck back between boxes. he said he could feel her thump through the vacuum & then spotted her in our vacuum chamber.

thinking about it still gives me the heebie-jeebies. ew gross.

& in case you are wondering, rooney hasn't thrown up since 1:00 am this morning, she ate some, drank a little more some, & took two baths today. i think we are finally in the clear! yayyyy.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

almost.the.end

i have been terrible at keeping the blog up to date this summer.

in my defense, i have a nearly 4 month old, a sassy two year old, & my husband has spent all summer in oklahoma. 

that also means, a lot has been going on. a lot of late nights with a lot of thoughts & no one to share them with. so, i have a list of post ideas on my phone & maybe, someday, they will be written.

tonight, i have to get my thoughts out.

ashton's final (& biggest) evaluation is tomorrow. the evaluation process happens over three days with 4 different evaluations spread between those days. two grounds evals (taxing of the airplanes) & two locals evals (take off & landing). grounds are easier & locals are more intense & therefore worth more points.

on wednesday, ashton had a grounds eval in the morning with a local in the afternoon. he did awesome & finished the day with the highest score. today, he had a grounds & did well, because he is amazing. others are doing well, too, but lots of people are going home. 

today, while telling me how he did i heard him say, "ya, i did alright, thanks. it was nice knowing you man." & my heart broke. he told me that this particular guy needed to score an 85 of his local to continue. he got an 84 (which is an insanely good score!). one mistake, worth 16 points. i just cannot even imagine. it's like ashton is in this cut throat reality tv show. of the 18 people his class started with, only 9 are left. tomorrow can send a few more home too. i just can't even imagine - coming this far &, just like that, it's over. i know it is hard on ashton too. he is such a kind soul.

anyway, he has his final local tomorrow & he is pretty sure he is going to get the tough evaluator. now ashton has done so well with previous evals & his exams from earlier, that he will definitely pass, so i am not worried about that.

i am just sitting here, knowing that at 6:30 am, my time, he will be going into his final eval. i know it will be hard. & i can only imagine how nervous he must feel. i hate it. i hate not being with him. i want to hug him, to give him a kiss, & wish him good luck in person. 

so here i am, at 11:10 pm, too nervous/anxious to embroider (because my hands are too sweaty to get a good grip on the needle), sleep, watch a show, or listen to a talk. tomorrow morning, our lives change. 

within a week, everything we own will be packed, loaded into a u-haul, &  a new adventure begins. so many emotions in that thought too. sadness - - - knowing that we are leaving family for an unknown period of time. excitement - - - a home! my husband back! a new place to learn to love &  explore. anxiety - - - finding a place to live in on such short notice. stress - - - because, MOVING!

but yayyyy ashton is coming home in a few days

my ramblings. thoughts i don't want to forget. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

& jesus listening can hear

last week in relief society, our lesson was on elder holland's talk songs sung and unsung. while his talk is beautiful (i mean, it is elder holland) & contains quotes like:

"Believe in yourself, and believe in Him. Don’t demean your worth or denigrate your contribution. Above all, don’t abandon your role in the chorus."
"'Come as you are,' a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, 'Don’t plan to stay as you are.' We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be."

but, it reminded me of a devotional we studied in a class while i was a student at byu. it was 9 years ago, but the story has stuck with me. i thought i had already written a post sharing the story, but i couldn't find it. if i have, & you have already read it, i am sorry, but it's good enough to read again.


it was given on January 7, 1997 by merrill j. bateman, titled a faith that preserves and strengthens. you can read it in its entirety here, but this is the excerpt i want to share:


In closing, I wish to illustrate with a modern-day story the trust that we may place in the Savior. I know that faith in Christ and obedience to the principles of the restored gospel bring answers to prayers and divine help when the hour is darkest. The story that follows concerns a young girl, the fourth child in a family of six children. Her name is Heather. Three of the children, including Heather, suffer from a rare disease called glutaric acidemia. In each case, the onset of the disease occurred during the first year of life when an enzyme attacked the brain, causing paralysis. The disease results in acid forming in the muscles, similar to that which occurs following a period of intense physical activity. The problem faced by the children is that the acid never leaves and causes great pain. Cindy, the first child with the disease, died just over one year ago at the age of 23. She was one of the oldest living persons known with the disease. At death she weighed about 40 pounds. 
Soon after Heather’s birth, the parents realized that she would be physically handicapped and that her spirit would be housed in a body with great restrictions. As she grew, she was confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak, and could only send messages with her eyes. A direct gaze and a smile meant yes. A blink meant no. Despite the handicaps, one could feel the vibrant spirit inside. 
As Heather progressed, it became obvious to the parents that she was extraordinarily bright. She would play guessing games with the family using her limited means to communicate. When she was old enough, the parents enrolled Heather in a special school to see if she could learn to speak. The teacher was a gifted therapist. One morning as Heather and the teacher visited about the prior weekend, the teacher learned that Heather had attended Primary. The teacher then sang for Heather “When He Comes Again” (Songbook, p. 82). The expression on Heather’s face revealed the delight within her. When the teacher asked Heather if she had a favorite song, the young girl’s wide eyes and engaging smile left little doubt. But what was the song? Through a series of questions, the teacher learned that Heather’s song was one she had heard in Primary. She wasn’t sure which songbook it was in, but it was about Jesus. The teacher sang all the songs she could think of, but to no avail. However, Heather was not about to quit—she wanted to share her favorite song. At the end of the day, the two were still searching. The teacher agreed to bring her Primary songbooks to school the next day. 
On the following morning, Heather and her teacher continued the quest. From the first hymn to the last, the little girl blinked her eyes indicating no. They were still unsuccessful. But Heather was not about to give up. She wanted to share her favorite song. Finally, the teacher told Heather that her mother would have to help her find the song and then they would sing it. The next day Heather arrived with the green Church hymnal tucked in her chair, but there was no marker. So they began with the first hymn. The teacher would sing the first part of each song and Heather would give her answer. After the first 100 hymns, there were 100 no’s. After 200 hymns there had been 200 no’s. Finally, the teacher began to sing “There is sunshine in my soul today . . .” (Hymns, 1985, no. 227). Heather’s body jumped, and a big smile crossed her face. Her eyes gazed directly into the teacher’s, indicating success after three days of searching. Both teacher and student rejoiced. 
As the teacher sang the first verse and began the chorus, Heather mustered all her strength and joined in with a few sounds. After finishing the first verse and chorus, the teacher asked if she wanted to hear the rest of the verses, and Heather’s eyes opened wide with a firm yes. The teacher began to sing: 
There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus listening can hear
The songs I cannot sing. 
Heather’s reaction to these lines was so strong that the teacher stopped. As the reality and significance of the words pressed on the teacher’s mind, she wondered if those lines were the reason Heather liked the song? The teacher asked: “Heather, is that what you like about the song? Is that what you want me to know? Does Jesus listen? Does he hear the songs you cannot sing?” 
The direct, penetrating gaze was a clear answer. 
Feeling guided by the Spirit, the teacher asked, “Heather, does Jesus talk to you in your mind and in your heart? 
Again, the child’s look was penetrating. 
The teacher then asked, “Heather, what does he say?” 
The teacher’s heart pounded as she saw the clear look in Heather’s eyes as the little girl awaited the questions that would allow her to share her insights. 
“Does Jesus say, ‘Heather, I love you’?” 
Heather’s radiant eyes widened and she smiled. 
After a pause, the teacher asked next, “Does he say, ‘Heather, you’re special’?” 
The answer again was yes. 
Finally, the teacher asked, “Does he say, ‘Heather, be patient; I have great things in store for you’?” 
With all her strength, Heather’s head became erect and her eyes penetrated the teacher’s soul. She knew she was loved, she was special, and she only needed to be patient. (Story adapted from Jean Ernstrom, “Jesus, Listening, Can Hear,” Ensign, June 1988, pp. 46–47.) 
Two years later, Heather died because of the ravages of the disease. Her younger brother, Mark, also suffers from the disease but not to the extent of his older sisters. He can talk, although it is not easy. As the parents discussed Heather’s passing and the funeral that would take place, Mark exclaimed, “No go Heather’s funeral!” Heather was his best friend. As the parents tried to explain death to him, he would not be consoled. He was crushed and did not want to attend the service. For two days he could not be persuaded. 
On the morning of the funeral, the father went to Mark’s room to get him up. As he entered the room, Mark was sitting up in bed with a big smile on his face. His first words were: “Dad, go Heather’s funeral!” 
The father responded: “Mark, what has changed your mind?” 
“Dad, had dream.” 
“What did you dream about, Mark?” 
“Dad, dreamed about Heather.” 
“Mark, what was Heather doing?” 
“Oh, Dad, Heather running and jumping and singing ‘There is sunshine in my soul today.’ Dad, go Heather’s funeral.” (Mark’s part of the story was obtained through conversations with the parents and also from the book written by the family: Bruce and Joyce Erickson, When Life Doesn’t Seem Fair [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1995]; see pp. 65–66.)

a few months back, mark came with his mother for a relief society lesson. now, it wasn't until sunday that i connected the dots, that mark's sister was the one whose story has stood out in my life for all this time. when he was talking to the women of our ward, he shared a song that he wrote. there are no words to adequately share the spirit that was felt as he sang his song of hope & faith. he gave each of us a copy of the lyrics & i cherish his words.


listening to him & reading over his song regularly, reminded me that we shouldn't be afraid to ask heavenly father those hard questions & that even if it is years before we get the answer, we must keep holding on to our faith.