January 2013

January 2013
Our Little Family of Three

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Privilege of Equality

Not only was Martin Luther King, Jr. correct in his passion for equality, I personally believe he was inspired. Even in our day we are still faced with equal rights issues. I have been taking a class at UVU for special/gifted students and am shocked to learn of the statitistics associated with special needs/gifted students.

Just the other day as I was pulling out of the parking lot I saw a UVU shuttle pull over, at one of the regular stops, and drop off some students. One of the students was a girl who most definitely had a physical handi-cap. I don't know if she had "minor" Cerebral Palsy or something else (I don't claim to be an expert in disabilties) but she got off the bus at the same place as the other students and limped her way to the building. This wasn't some kind of a I-twisted-my-ankle type of a limp, either. Every time she took a step it almost looked like her leg bent sideways, her hands were held up to her chest and were curled and held unnaturally. It looked difficult. It almost looked painful. Yet here she was, not allowing this to stop her. I came to admire that girl within the first second of seeing her. But with that admiration came the question, "Is this fair?"

So why do I bring this up? I bring this up because I was heart broken when thinking about how inconvenient it was for her to be dropped off so far from the building. Maybe it didn't bother her to walk that distance in the cold - but it bothered me. Don't people who deal with physical, mental, and emotional diablilities deserve some sort of convenience? To be treated equal...what does that mean? Does that mean we offer convenience to those who have been dealt the hand of inconvenience or not? Does being equal mean to be fair - or fair to be equal? I dunno. I don't claim to know. I'm just thinking.

And what about the deaf and the blind? Are they treated fairly? Are they enjoying the equal rights of those who are "normal" or are they receiving services on their own level of need? It seems we, as a country, have come a long way in equal rights...but it seems like we still have a ways to go.

I think it is marvelous that we are to the point where we can judge someone by their character and not the color of their skin. I have many friends of different ethnicities and I can honestly say it doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, I tend to forget what race, culture, religion, etc. they are because I really don't care - so long as they're a good person. I am grateful for this.

But can we look at a handi-capped person the same way we look at a person of a different race? Let me re-phrase that. DO we look at a person with a handi-cap the same way we look at someone of a different race (regardless of who's doing the looking)? Instead of seeing a handi-capped person can we see a person with a handi-cap? First a human with feelings, thoughts, struggles, dreams, goals, and hopes - second the handi-cap of the person? I feel we have some growing to do in this area of equal rights. I only say this because I have seen some of the looks my adorable niece gets. I don't think those people are bad or horrible for reacting the way they do. They are simply ignorant, inexperienced, and uneducated. That needs to change. Some children and adults are able to recognize when someone looks at their handi-cap and not them and I'm sure it hurts. It hurts (and infuriates) me when someone looks at Mercydez in a way other than loving.

I feel it is the same with the elderly. It almost seems like the younger generation thinks to grow old is a disease and by staying away they won't catch "the bug". The sad thing is, is that the older generation is the one with the most experience, knowledge, and ideas. They are the ones who can teach us what will lead to success because they have walked the road of trial and error. Yet it seems we put Dad and/or mom, Grandpa and/or Grandma in a center and forget about them. So, when someone comes along who will listen, dad and/or mom, Grandpa and/or Grandma are so excited to have someone who cares and who will listen, they talk non-stop for hours. Why are we doing this to the ones who we can learn so much from? Is that fair? Is that treating them as an equal human being? I have to say, not everyone does this and some who do have valid, heart braking reasons. But for the other large amount who don't, unfortunate as it may be, I wonder...

Again, I am not pointing fingers. I have need for improvement and growth in this area and I'll be the first to admit it. With that I ask, again, what does it mean to have equal rights? Is it something that is determined simply by the color of ones skin or is it more than that? Can someone with a disability (regardless of what it is) be looked on the same as an Oriental, Hispanic or African-American?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was not only a man above and beyond his associates. No, he was more than that. He was inspired by God. His influence will be forever felt. I love people. I think we all have great potential, I really do. And it truly doesn't matter if you're of a different race, elderly, or handi-capped. We are equal and deserving of what's fair, right, and equal.

I hope we can all stretch ourselves and appropriately apply Martin Luther King, Jr.'s conviction into our own lives.

I am not pointing fingers and I am most definitely not angry. I'm just sharing my thoughts on equality and what it means or what doesn't mean.

I hope you'll listen to this incredible, life changing video. It's a little over 11 minutes but it's absolutely beautiful. Not many people have heard the entire speech offered by Martin Luther King, Jr. so I offer you the opportunity now.(I believe this is it in it's entirety. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

God bless those who are "different"!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Corbin Kirkham

This week has been incredibly insane. I know of a family with a little boy named Corbin. Corbin spent the first year of his life in the hospital because he was born EXTREMELY premature. He has been fighting and proving medical clinicians wrong since day one (much like my precious Mercydez). There's nothing I love more than when a clinician is told where to go and how to get there - especially when it's a child who does the talking. Corbin is one of those who reminds these arrogant clinicians they're NOT God.

Anyways, Corbin was able to come home a few months ago (he is now 15 months old). His parents, Chance and Stacy, have done an incredible job taking care of their boy. They have loved him, protected him, fought for him, held him, and sacrificed for him. They are honestly incredible parents. The love they have for their son is unreal. Seriously, they amaze me.

Monday was a hard day for the Kirkham family. Corbin suffered a severe asthma attack and was life flighted from St. George to Primary Children's Medical Center. It was a horrifying night for Chance and Stacy. I'm sure Corbin was equally terrified. Since Monday Chance and Stacy have been fighting for their son, yet again. They have been faced with extreme pessimistic opinions (from the lovely doctors) and forced to remind the clinicians that Corbin isn't a lab rat, he's their child, a human being. Stacy has a way with words and isn't intimidated to say what needs to be said, regardless of who she's talking to. I admire that about her. She is incredibly strong and determined to protect her son, even if it means telling the doctor off (GO STACY!).

Corbin has had a rough week and is still at Primary's as I type this. Chance has had to go back to St. George and having an extremely difficult time, at times moved to tears because he feels so guilty. Stacy has dropped everything and is staying in SLC with Corbin. I'm telling you, this family is amazing. It's been a roller coaster for them and it breaks my heart. Corbin seems to be improving just as a clinician decides to throw in another set of meds and then he drops again. Uhg! I wish I could knock out a few of those doctors/clinicians. I'm sure Stacy has had to practice a high volume of self control these past few days...

I know many of you don't know these three, but I do. I can't stand to hold back, not offering what I can. So, I'm going to make a special request in behalf of this wonderful family. Please dedicate a day to Chance, Stacy, & Corbin. Please offer fasting and prayer in their behalf. They are in need of a huge uplift. Little Corbin is in need of strength.

They are all exhausted and frustrated. They are tired. If you don't believe in fasting and/or prayer please offer a moment or two of silence to them and their needs. Offer an hour or two of meditation...send positive thoughts their way. ANYTHING. If you're able and willing, I hope to have everyone offer Sunday (January 18th) to the Kirkham family. However if you don't read this until after Sunday I would encourage you to fast, pray, and/or meditate as soon as you can.

I don't post this to put guilt or unnecessary sorrow on your shoulders. I post this because this is their reality right now. I will end this request with one question to get some thoughts rolling on how much of a difference you can make. If this was YOUR reality, would you need and appreciate a spiritual uplift from loved ones and strangers, all the same?

Please, do what you can. Anything will help this incredible family.

Chance and Stacy, stay strong. Keep fighting! I love you guys. Read the book we gave you. It's hard to pick up but you'll quickly learn it's even harder to put down! That book is incredibly lightening (meaning it makes things seem lighter, not so heavy) and offers an unreal amount of hope and truth. Oh, I wish I could do SO MUCH MORE!

Corbin, my sweet Corbin...hearing what you've suffered because of your unthinkable asthma attack just cuts my heart into pieces. I hurt for you, little guy. I cry for you. It's not fair that you have to suffer through this, yet you find it within you to offer a simple smile just as your mommy is looking over you with an aching heart and an exhausted mind. You are such a hope to me. How do you find it within you to smile? You are special, Corbin. You are strong. You have repeatedly made that clear. My sweet boy, I offer you my heart and my spirit. My entire soul is with you and your beautiful Mommy and your extremely dedicated and loving Daddy.

You can get through this. As your Mommy always says, you've gone through so much and come through it! Remember that! Don't let the doctors hopeless mentality stop you from proving them wrong yet again!

We love you three so much. We're gonna get some postive vibes sent your way as soon as we can!

My best friend, "My cute boy", My husband

I've been alone since Wednesday and I'm gonna be alone until this coming Wednesday. Travis went out to Minnesota for some "business and pleasure" as he puts it. :)

Typically I try and do everything I can to avoid situations like these. I hate being away from Travis and I say that EVERY TIME he goes anywhere with out me. It's not that I'm needy. No, to be needy would mean whiny (sp?), clingy, and annoying. I feel I am none of the above. I just happen to enjoy being with Travis. We always tell one another we're best friends as well as spouses. When I say that I truly mean it (and I believe he does too). I love to be with him. It doesn't matter what we're doing either (unless it's having a heated discussion. Those moments I could do without as I know he could too). We just love to be together.

Travis has had the great opportunity to spend some time with his parents, his brother and wife, extended family, and his close friends. I know he's having a great time and that actually makes it easier on me. I am trying to focus on the good. I am so grateful he is able to see his loved ones. I know he loves them very much. It was soooo cute because as he was packing his things Tuesday evening he was just bursting with excitement! He loves his family so much and always has a great time when he's with them. I couldn't help but get excited for him! Even when I dropped him off at the airport and watched him walk away...I couldn't help but smile because I knew in a matter of hours he'd be with his family. That doesn't mean I didn't cry that night when he wasn't there to eat dinner, talk, and cuddle with me! I just love my husband! I really do.

I am also grateful that he doesn't have to be reminded to call me when away. He checks in with me regularly, sending me text messages and calling at least twice a day. It's so nice to know that when he says he loves and misses me, he really means it. It's not just something he says.

He has started a tradition too. Each time he leaves and I have to stay behind he writes little love notes and hides them around our room/house. There's one note for every day he's gone. In order to find the note I have to call him to get my "clue". By the time I run out of love notes he should be home. I know it sounds cheesy but when you're like me those little notes completely make the day a better one.

I guess I'm posting this blog because I'm kinda struggling tonight. I just want my boy....so by posting some things I'm grateful for I may be able to avoid crying my eyes out. No, in all honesty I'm so happy he's enjoying himself and getting some art stuff taken care of in the process. I just wish I could be with him. Like I said, I love to be with my best friend, my cute boy, my wonderful husband.

I love you cutie. I hope you had a good time tonight with Timmy, Nolan, and Katie. I'm thinking about you and can't wait 'til we're back together again. But until then just know I'll be blasting the heater! (Inside joke...sorta. He! He!)

Enjoy your family and friends for me! ;)

Starting Back Up Again

Well I've officially started my second semester at UVU. I've been going to school now for a week and a half. I have a million and one classes which are keeping me extremely busy and my stress levels are rising quickly. However, that doesn't change my level of gratitude for being back at school.

I'll post a copy of my schedule just to PROVE how honest I'm really being:

Music Theory I
Vocal Lessons

Aural Music Skills I (I'm taking this class again to confirm what I learned last semester)
Aural Music Skills II (I'm auditing this class & planning on taking it again next semester)
Group Piano
Assisting w/Special Needs class (5 week comitment)
Percussion Practicum (intro to percussion)
Math - my last general class!!!!!

Music Theory I
Exceptional Student (an education course)

Aural Music Skills I
Aural Music Skills II (auditing)
Private Guitar Lessons
Group Piano
Master Voice
Percussion Practicum

Music Theory I
Intro to Music Technology
Assisting w/Special Needs

As you can see Tuesday's and Thursday's are BY FAR my hardest days. If I can stay on top of my homework I'll be okay. Needless to say it's going to be a crazy semester. I'm hoping I haven't over done things....I just want to graduate. I know I will delay that glorious day by retaking classes but I don't want to graduate and still question my knowledge and my ability to teach. What can I do?? Just hold on tight, I guess.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My hope

I hope you have the time to read my previous blog. By doing so I pray the same joy and hope comes into your life as I have experienced in my own.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Much love,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My One Year Old Baby

I can't believe it was a year ago when my entire life changed.

This picture was taken the day Mercydez was born. Isn't she adorable?!!!

Taken a few weeks ago: Since the day she was born Mercydez has had a lot of expression. We always laugh when we get pictures of her crying! She's so adorable with her squinty eyes!!! My sweeeeetttiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!

Time seems to have flown by. I was talking with Ashley and we're in agreement. This year has been so hard yet so rewarding, so bitter and so sweet, so terrifying and so phenomenal. How grateful we are to have Mercydez in our lives. She has been nothing short of a miracle. We are so blessed to have her.

I remember the first time I saw my precious Mercydez. She was so beautiful. I cried my eyes out. In fact, I was crying so hard the nurse asked if I okay! I smiled and said I was okay, that I was the twin sister of the mother, and that Mercydez is the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen (at this point Nic took it upon himself to tell the nurse I was his second wife. She thought he was serious. It was hilarious!). I just wanted to hold her and love her from the very first instant...but being that she was in the NICU I could only look at my baby. It was always hard seeing her hooked up to machines...all the wires, tubes, and tape. But that didn't stop Mercydez from looking as cute as ever and showing her personality. Nic and Ashley felt so strongly about naming their baby Mercydez. They felt, and still do, that the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father had everything to do with their little girl. So they decided to name her Mercydez, intentionally putting the word "mercy" in her name.

And here we are, a year later. Mercydez is home with us, no longer in the NICU. She has been home longer than she was in the hospital...which is comforting to her family. She has endured so much and taught us so much. She is a miracle, through and through.

I remember the day she came home, it was May 1st. My brothers and Nic's brothers rode motorcycles up to the hospital to pick her up, while Nic and Ashley took their SUV. The boys escorted and surrounded the SUV all the way home. I don't know if any one remembers how cold it was on May 1st, but it was freezing. The boys were nearly suffering from hypothermia when they arrived. But they didn't complain! They were proud and honored. We had all the cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts...EVERYONE at home waiting for the great arrival! We knew they were almost home when we could hear the motorcycles down the street. It was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed. This little girl, protectively surrounded by her uncles. She is so loved. She is so wanted. She is so needed. As soon as they pulled into the drive way I just cried and cried. We ALL had been waiting for this day for months.

Nic and Ash decided to take a family vacation in June. Trav and I, of course, followed. We all headed down to St. George to enjoy a play at Tuacahn (sp?) and the warm weather. It was a blast because we almost everyone from the Gourley side (Ashley's family) and quite a few from the Haws side that joined in on the fun. Nic, Mercydez's amazing father, decided to ride his motorcylce down...and of course all his brothers/brothers-in-law had to ride their motorcycles as well. It was so cute because Nic would constantly drive up to the car and peek through the window to make sure Mercydez was doing okay. Ashley would frequently ride on the motorcycle with Nic, so I had the great opportunity to sit with and take care of my sweet niece. We stayed down in St. George for about 5 days, if I remember correctly. We all had a good time swimming, playing games, riding bikes, taking walks - and it was even better that our little baby was with us.

Mercydez and Daddy cuddling and napping together. The love within this family is phenomenal.

In July we had the biggest and best 6 month birthday party a 6 month old could ask for! Nic and Ash went above and beyond! We went to a place called Jump On It - or something like that - and had the ENTIRE family there (I'd have to say there were between 50 to 75 people total)! It was so fun to play games, eat pizza, cake & ice cream, open presents, and cuddle with the one we were celebrating, Mercydez! And she looked so cute in her princess outfit - tutu and all! What a great 6 month celebration Nic and Ash put on for their little miracle. A good time was had by all.

Here's the six month old princess, tutu and all!!! You can't read her shirt but it says, "The Princess Has Arrived". Well said.

We have had nothing but adventures. Many know that Mercydez came down with Pnuemonia (sp?) in August at the Haws family reunion. The reunion was up in the mountains by Snowbird. I remember the night Ash called and told me Mercydez was sick and that they were taking her to the ER at Primary's. I laid in bed and cried and cried. I made phone calls to about everyone I knew and asked them to pray. Doctors wanted to admit Mercydez, but Nic and Ash wouldn't have it. They are determined to give the best care (better than hospitals because their care involves love) and to keep her home. They want her to be comfortable and surrounded by love every moment of her life. Many were shocked because Nic and Ash refused to have her admitted to the hospital. I, for one, was not. I was grateful. Nic and Ash have a lot of power on their side. They are very aware of their daughter and are determined to do what's TRULY best for her...even if it's what's hardest for them. I have admired that about them from day one. They are incredible parents and would NEVER do anything to hurt their little girl. Anyone who knows them knows this is true.

The Haws Family: Reunion 2008

Fundraising Yard Sale For Mercydez Haws, August 2008

Many people came out and supported our efforts to raise money to help assist with the care and costs of taking care of Mercydez. We had many people donate items to be sold, donations of time (whether it was planning, setting up, or at the yard sale), and many donated money. This is a picture of a wonderful friend of Mercydez's. Her name is Rachel. Rachel's mommy is a woman named Christy. Christy was the one who came up with the idea of the yard sale and headed it up. Racheal has a little sister named Heidi. The two of them decided to donate what they had in their piggy bank. The most tender thing is that the money they were saving was for their first trip to disney land. What a sacrifice. This was a very emotional day for everyone involved...many tears were shed. Thank you again to all who helped in one way or another.

September we all participated in a walk for heart disease awareness. It was a lot of fun to get together with many other families who have had loved ones with similar life styles as Nic, Ash, and Mercydez. It was really great to have family and friends there to support and walk for such a miracle baby and her parents.

All the family walking for Heart Disease Awareness. My in-laws came and supported too! It was a beautiful day for a walk!!!

Mercydez was set and ready to walk for awareness too. Isn't she adorable in her cute sunglasses?!

In October Mercydez came down with something. Things were so bad we thought it may be her time to return to Heavenly Father. Again, Nic and Ash stepped up and did what they felt would be best for their precious child. They held her, loved her, talked with her, sang to her, read to her. They bore testimony about eternal families and how they KNOW they will be together forever. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Nic and Ash are incredibly strong and determined. Although that was one of the hardest and longest weeks of my life I have to say it was also one of the sweetest. We had family and friends at our home all day and into the late hours of the night. Mercydez was loved more passionately and graciously than ever before. Many who have issues with the Gospel, bore testimony about families, eternal life, revelation, and the power behind love. Priorities were re-aligned. Expressions of love and support were expressed verbally as well as physically. Everyone came together and it was all because of this tiny little girl. I can't help but be grateful for what Mercydez has done to our families. She is so strong. She is so powerful. And while I hated that week in October - I can't help but express my gratitude for what came because of it. I firmly believe MERCYDEZ KNOWS WHAT SHE'S DOING. Even though to us she seems not to be, I believe she is aware. She is one of the noble ones.

Mercydez also got her first tooth this month! Yay Mercydez!!!

Three Generations: Ahma, Mommy, & Mercydez enjoying some Halloween festivities at Gardner Village (before she got sick).

Thankfully Mercydez was doing better by halloween so Nic and Ash threw Mercydez her first halloween party. We played games, ate lots of candy, and had a darn good time! And of course Mercydez looked so cute in her costume!

Come Thanksgiving we had moved in with my parents (where Nic, Ash, and Mercydez go Trav and I follow). We were able to enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving meal with family and friends. Mercydez had on a gorgeous little dress with a black velvet top and a redish-gold skirt that Ahma and Papa bought her. She looked so stunning. Everyone commented on our cute little baby! I must say she looked absolutely gorgeous!

Christmas brought on a new tradition. Nic and Ash decided to sleep under the glowing Christmas tree with Mercydez on Christmas Eve. It was so cute to see them cuddled up together as an eternal family. So much love surrounds them. The three of them are so incredible. They deserve one another.

Mercydez and Santa, Christmas 2008

Christmas day we opened presents and I have to say! Nic and Ash spoiled Mercydez...but I also must say SHE DESERVED IT! Santa also knew that Mercydez deserved to be spoiled because he sure went big! It was a wonderful day spent with family. Mercydez was the icing on the cake to the whole holiday season!

And we can't forget New Years! Nic and Ash threw a New Years/Birthday party for Mercydez. We, again, had a full house. Family and friends came to play and celebrate! Mercydez got a little tired - okay she was exhausted from all the goings-on! But it was a great night! We danced and played until about 2:00am!
Daddy, Chad, Uncle Trav, and Uncle Luke dancing the night away (dancing to The Three Amigos, "My Little Butter Cup")

Aunt Crystal made this three layer cake for Mercydez. It took her hours and hours. Believe it or not, this is the first time she's ever made a cake like this! It was as good as it is beautiful!

Anyways, we couldn't hold back today! We had to have another party for our girl! We were able to have an informal birthday party! We went bowling at fatcats and had ice cream at Sub Zero (if you haven't been I highly recommend you go! It knocks coldstone out of the water!). It was so fun to spend time with family and friends and celebrate such a perfect little girl...yet again!!! Although Mercydez cried nearly the whole time we were bowling (Mercydez is a home-body) we still enjoyed celebrating! What a deserving little angel.

Even though it seems we hold onto the most terrifying moments, as you can see there have been MANY wonderful, sweet moments this past year. Although death is inevitable, no matter who you are or how old you may be, love is stronger than death. I am a believer in the saying, "Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all". I can't imagine not having the people in my life that I have been blessed to have. How grateful I am for Mercydez. I love her so much.

So now I'm going to post a few more pictures from the past year. I told you..once I get started on how much I love and adore Mercydez I have a hard time stopping. :) But I'm sure you understand! Isn't she just perfectly adorable?!!?!?!?!?!

I have never questioned or doubted the love Nic and Ashley have for their baby girl. I can equally say I have never questioned or doubted the love their little girl has for her Daddy and Mommy. The above pictures were taken within the first month of Mercydez' life. Aren't they beautiful?!

Uncle Travis sharing some kisses with Mercydez. This was taken shortly after her heart surgery, within the first two months of her life.

"Eyes are the window to the soul". Mercydez has beautiful eyes.

Her tiny hand in her Daddy's hand. So small yet so strong.

I love this little girl with all my heart and soul.

Happy first birthday Sweeeeeeetieeeeee!!