Last month, a friend in the ward needed a ride to the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake to visit a sick child. Since I was in the area, the kids and I made good use of the time by going on a lunch date with Daddy, and then enjoyed a quick trip to the temple. Of course, the only thing that interested my boy was the water. I took some pictures while trying to keep all of my offspring out of the fountains. I succeeded most of the time with that goal...
I have some fun ideas for these shots, but I need to buff up on my photoshop skills.
We have had a huge tragedy occur in our ward this last week, and while I have wanted to get on here and ask for support for the family, I have been unable to face having to write it all out. The family could use some help, though, so I need to just bite the bullet and get on with it.
Anyone in Utah has probably heard of the Inndia Powell family recently, as their sad story has been front page and headline news for about a week now. That family is in my ward. They live about 50 feet from our house, and we almost share a backyard.
A couple of weeks ago, their 7 year old son was playing with a lighter when his pants caught on fire. He ended up with severe burns and was in the UofU burn unit. It was a huge burden on the family as the two younger sons had to be passed from family members houses while the parents took shifts being with Anthony in the hospital and going to their respective jobs.
After the stress of all of this, Inndia, the mother, needed a break, so she left her husband at the hospital with Anthony and took her two younger sons with her on a road trip to her home town in Wyoming to attend a birthday party of the son of a family friend.
They never made it. They got caught in a horrendous white out snow storm, lost control of the van, which rolled four times before landing face down in a river, where all three of them died.
Heart breaking. Utterly heart breaking.
I have not been quiet at all about proclaiming the love I have for this ward. It is amazing. I have never been in a community where I have felt so much love and support for everything. Inndia was no small part of that community. She was always ready to help anyone in need, and even ran over some gatorade to us at one point when I mentioned on facebook that I wasn't feeling well. I have babysat her sons on a few occasions, and Emma loved playing with Alex at the park because he would let her boss him around. :) She was Sara's nursery teacher at one point, and was a bright ray of light and kindness in our neighborhood. To say she will be missed would be a huge understatement, but I don't know what else to say.
Thomas and Anthony are now left to try and pick up the pieces of their lives without their mother, wife, sons, and brothers. I am amazed at the strength and serenity with which they are dealing with this incredible loss. My point in writing this is to ask for help for them. I am asking you to help use mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. There are some funds set up to help them deal with the costs of the funerals and the medical bills from Anthony's burns (which Thomas believed saved his life from the accident.) If you can spare anything to help them in any way, I would really appreciate it.
This site was set up by a personal friend of Thomas's.
The second is a trust that has been set up. Thomas has asked that in lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to "The Inndia Powell Family Memorial" through America First Credit Union.
Here are some of the news articles that have been circulating about the event, for those who haven't seen them: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=18069562#.TsBj4rTGQ40.facebook
This is Wilson. He is Emma's Kindergarten class 'pet' Each weekend he goes home with a lucky student, and that student gets to play host for him, and then write in his journal everything they did together. We took Wilson to the school carnival and to Grandma and Grandpa Wallace's house for General Conference. Heather even made him a nice hat. It was a pleasant weekend, and he was a very polite guest.
Last night I had a really sweet experience. I almost hesitate to write it down because of how personally sacred it was, but if this isn't one of those significant moments President Hinckley was referring to when challenging women to record their experiences, than I don't know what is.
Let me start at the beginning (a very nice place to start...)
One of my (4) callings in my ward is the Relief Society Musical Director. The duties for this are not vast, but I really enjoy this calling. I choose one practice song each month to sing before each lesson in the month, and I lead the other songs chosen by the teacher and RS President. Easy Peasy, but fun for me!
Back in August, I decided to take a different path after having the words to Walk Tall float through my head for an entire week. It is a Girl's Camp song that was very important to me as a Beehive. I honestly hadn't thought about the song in over a year and wasn't sure why it kept popping into my head. I had this overwhelming urge to have the Relief Society sisters sing it, but I wasn't sure if they would let me sing it since it isn't a hymn. I plead my case with the RS President and stated that the only restriction on songs were that they had to be published by the church- and Walk Tall was in the Girls Camp Manual which is a Church publication. Sister Bergfeld was wonderful and gave me the go-ahead, so I made copies and we sang that song every week in August.
Unfortunately, not all the sisters were fond of this decision. It was too high, having been written primarily for pre-pubescent adolescents. It was a Camp Song. The lyrics were too basic. It didn't fit with all the lessons. It used up paper and ink from the library... I got a few complaints, and this made me doubt the decision I had made and what I thought was the Spirit telling me to choose it.
The next two months I was sure to choose some beloved hymns.
Fast forward to last night. There has been a sweet sister in our ward investigating the church. We just adore her and her sweet daughter, and you can imagine our utter JOY when she announced last week that she was getting baptized! Many tears were shed.
When I got to the baptismal service last night, inside the program was the music to Walk Tall. I later found out that when she first started attending Relief Society, we were singing that song, and it was while listening to that song that she first felt the Spirit while not with the missionaries. At the same time, she was battling thyroid cancer and was getting some very painful treatments. The words to this song stuck with her during that time and helped her stay strong as she knew she just had to reach up, as the song instructed, and He would take her hand.
Sometimes I do things that I feel directed to do, and I have no idea why. Every day it seems like I send little messages, make phone calls, or pray for certain people without really knowing what the situation is. I prepare certain lessons for my kids or try to show them certain skills without being certain why I decided to do those things at that time. I say things and make decisions based on what I think are simple promptings.
Lately I have wondered if I really am feeling divine promptings, or if I am just acting on my own accord as I rarely see any effects from those actions. In dark and nauseous hours I have doubted what I thought was a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father and wondered if I was wasting my efforts on the wrong things.
Last night He gave me a beautiful gift by showing me what can come of my following what might feel like silly promptings. I am beyond grateful for whatever small role that song played in Luiza's conversion process.
Now, I know that whether or not I had chosen that song, she would have found the comfort and divine guidance that she needed. She was praying to know the truth, and if I had chosen something different that month, I am sure the Lord would have sent her the confirmation she needed in some other way. I am just grateful that He let me be a tiny part of her story, and I am even more grateful that He let me know the tiny part I had in her story.
It gave me the confidence that all those other little things do make a difference that I probably just don't see, and it gave me the motivation to stop doubting and to continue my quirky way of doing what I think is right.
Ross's parents were in town last week, and we had fun with them up at Gardner Village. Since it was during Fall Break, the place was more crowded than I have ever seen it. We kind of rushed through it- so much so that I didn't even set foot in the Christmas shop! It was fun though, and we enjoyed walking around with Grandma and Grandpa Goodman and all the Russell cousins. My boys! I think it is funny when she puts her hands on her hips like that. :)
Looking at the witch playing the piano.
This is not at Gardner Village- this is at Melissa's new house in Day Break...
After we left Gardner Village, we got lunch with the crew, ran a few errands, and then partied it up all night at Jim and Melissa's house for Jim's birthday. It was a lot of fun!
Ross and I were invited to a Halloween Party where we had to dress up. It has been a while since we had to wear costumes, but it was a fun night with good friends. When I told Ross I wanted to dress up as Flo from the Progressive commercials, he said he would dress up like a gecko. He was joking, but I ran with his idea and had him be the Geico Caveman instead.
His button says "Geico, so easy even I can do it!"
We had a spending limit on our costumes, so these were perfect as they didn't cost very much, but were super fun. I wish we would have taken pictures at the beginning of the night before my hair fell a bit and my lipstick faded. Oh well.