Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blast from the Past!

I feel like such a little kid right now! And I'm just a tiny bit obsessed, but in a minute you can see why.

When I was little, in the 4 to 5 range, I had a favorite cartoon that came on Nickelodeon every day. It was called "The Mysterious Cities of Gold." It's about the adventures of three children--Esteban, Zia and Tow--along with Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho who are searching the New World for the Cities of Gold. Esteban and Zia have these mysterious medallions that seem to be clues to the city. They also end up having some pretty cool tools like Tow's ship, the Solaris or the Golden Condor. Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho are all about the gold, but the children are interested in learning about each new place they visit.

Anyway, I've been wanting whoever owns the rights to release it on DVD for ages, but alas, I haven't ever seen it. Until last week.

I had to search for another old 60s sea adventure series for a script I was writing for work, so I decided to search for the Cities of Gold just to check and see. Guess what I discovered?! Yup, it was released on DVD in May 2009!!! Of course I decided that I NEEDED it immediately, even though, let's be honest, I really didn't. was a little too expensive, so I checked Alas, it didn't have the series at all so I looked on eBay. Success!

I still felt like I didn't have the means to get the series but just for fun I bid on it. And I won!! Yeah, I'm pretty much Price-is-Right-excited about it, in case you can't tell. :) I'm almost afraid to tell people about this because I know it's a cheesy 80s cartoon, but I really am excited about it. It's the type of thing where something is special and exciting to you, and you want everyone else to be excited about it too but are afraid they won't. It's not that big a deal if none of my readers like it because I sure do.

On Saturday I was thinking about the theme song and just wanted to hear it so I was planning to check on YouTube to see if I could find it. Instead, I ended up visiting hulu and discovered it has the entire series on it!! Too bad I didn't know that before, but it's okay. I'm pretty excited to own this series anyway. If you find yourself the least bit curious about what I'm so excited about, you should check it out for yourself. Here's the link to the series on hulu.

I forgot to mention that not only is the series great fun, but it's also educational. At the end of every episode, they have a five-minute section that talks about the historical context of what the episode dealt with or some of the culture during the time period. It's great!

A Little Sacrament Meeting Gaffe

Once upon a time there was a girl named Tammy. One Sunday it happened to be fasting testimony meeting. Tammy had just borne her testimony at her parents' home ward a few weeks before and didn't feel like she wanted to do it today, so she was content to just sit and listen to other people's testimonies.

Well, the Spirit had other ideas.

It wasn't too long before Tammy had the heart pounding feeling that she knew meant, "You need to bear your testimony." She naively (and let's be honest--unrealistically) thought if she ignored her pounding heart it would simply go away. For a few minutes it seemed that it had, but then it returned full force, and Tammy knew she had to make her way up to the podium (luckily it wasn't too far away) so she could just do it already.

She sat and waited as the person before her finished speaking, still battling with the idea that she didn't want to bear her testimony but felt she needed to. Of course, she was trying to map out in her head a little bit what she wanted to say, but it still wasn't firmed up by the time she started speaking.

A sign on the podium asks the speaker to state his/her name. Tammy, still in the mindset of "I don't want to" meant to say "For those of you who don't know me. . ." and instead said, "For those of you who don't want me."

Yeah, that just about brought the room down. But it turned out to be a good opening for a solid testimony so it's all good. People always appreciate humor during testimony meeting anyway, right?! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tender Mercies

This entry is probably going to be brief but it is rather late, and I took a little something to help me sleep tonight so I'm almost falling asleep as I type. However, I found out some neat things this week that have touched my heart so I wanted to share them.

I just want to tell you that I know our Father in Heaven watches out for us. He knows what we're going through and never gives us more than we can handle. He does give us things that test us to our very core, but he also opens a way for us to make it through whatever we are called to pass through.

My family has been a wonderful support to me through everything I've been through in the last six months. It's comforting to know that we are all dealing with the same trial even though we deal with it in different ways. But, my family can't be there for me every day, so I have a network of wonderful friends who have also reached out to me and offered support, even when I'm sure it's difficult.

I'm not going to give specifics, but I found out this week that two of my dear friends have been blessed with experiences that helped them gain an appreciation for what I'm going through and helped them know I am being taken care of. It was funny to me that I heard about them within only a couple days of each other, but it has helped me know for sure that I'm not alone. I already knew this of course, but this confirmed it. I also recognized it for what is is: a tender mercy from the Lord. He knew this latest trial was going to be one of the most difficult for me to date, but He is also providing me the support I need to make it through this, including a high level of understanding and assurance from friends helping me through it.

I know this entry is cheesy, but bear with me and just know that it comes from the heart. I don't think I'm doing a good enough job of conveying what I want to say, but just know that my heart has been touched once again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still the cool aunt :)

Okay, so I think it's more than time for me to finally post in my blog again. Plus, every time I read that last entry (or the one two entries before that) it makes me sad, so I wanted to write something more positive. And since I'm me, that positive comes complete with pictures.

I'm happy to report that while I still have many sad days or see things that remind me of our beautiful angel which also make me sad, that I am dealing as best I can. I was delighted to realize this weekend that despite everything going on, I can still be the cool aunt. This may not seem like such an important accomplishment or something to be celebrated, but it's significant for me.

This past weekend I went to my sister's house because my parents were going to be in town. Of course it turned into a big party with all of us there. Okay, really it didn't, but we did have a fabulous time. On Friday night my mom and sister were very busy cooking and discovered a few key supplies missing. I was also beyond grossed out watching my nephew eat his breadsticks with ketchup because there was no pizza sauce, so I decided I had to help him out.

With so many "critters (as my sister calls her children)" running around (we were watching a few of my sister's best friend's children as well), it seemed senseless to go by myself. So I rounded up some girls to go with me. I felt so special that not only were they really excited to go with me but we jammed all the way to and from the store, which was pretty darn cool. :)

In any case, here are a few photographs to also document my cool auntness. :)

Cool aunts are never afraid to take cute pictures like this

or this

Cool aunts are willing to play with the children, which may include jumping on the trampoline.

They also might get to play beauty parlor at the girls' request and come up with darling hairstyles like this.

Goodness knows this cool aunt is athletically challenged but she'll still do her best to play a game of volleyball (with a huge ball no less) with the children.

I was thinking I put one more picture but I guess not. Oh well! I hope you've enjoyed this episode of Tammy's journeys, through pictures of course.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Harder than I would have thought

Do you remember the feeling when you receive some type of wound, whether it be a scraped knee or elbow to a gash on your forehead, and how much it hurts at first? Depending on how severe it is, you may feel the pain for a few hours to a few days. It all depends on how much time it takes said wound to scab over so it doesn't hurt so much and can start healing.

Right now that is exactly the way I feel. I did okay over the weekend, save for some pretty serious exhaustion, but after I got home last night I really started feeling the loss of our beautiful angel. I started thinking about everything that I loved about her, particularly the sparkle in her eyes and her happy smile (both of which were missing from the body we buried yesterday), and I began to really miss it. The thought that I won't ever see it again in this life makes me feel like all the air has been squeezed from my chest, and I can't breathe properly. Inevitably this is followed by a fresh bout of tears, no matter how recently it's been since I cried.

In many ways, I feel like my heart is broken and may never mend again. I KNOW this is not the case, that it's just grief for the loss that I feel, but it's hard, so much harder than I could have imagined it would be. And the hard part is that it doesn't stop. Throughout the day, little things will remind me of Ashley, and I find myself struggling not to cry. Today it was the origin of a company that just about set me off: it was founded the same year she was born, and that made me sad all over again. I know it's silly, but I can't help it.

I just had the opportunity to say good-bye to her this weekend and to attend a wonderful service in her honor, but in many ways I feel worse now than I did before. I don't know if it was because I had steeled myself for all of that or if I was given strength to make it through, but somehow I did. Now I'm left to struggle through the emotions left behind.

I know that my grief won't last forever, which is why I'm holding out hope for when things start to get a little easier, when I don't feel so sad all the time. I know the loss is fresh and vibrant right now, but it won't always be that way.

The kicker is that I have felt the Comforter so strongly in the last week, more so than I think I've ever felt it before. (Hmmm, I'm sure that has nothing to do with all the people who are praying for my family and me during this time.) I know that I am not alone and in many ways I am at peace. But even that warm feeling can't take away the sadness that I feel. I'm just trying to work through it so it won't overwhelm me. Eventually it will get easier. Eventually those memories that cause me sadness and tears right now will be something that will bring me comfort, just like the DVD my wonderful brother and sister-in-law made.

Until then I'll be waiting for the gaping wound I feel right now to scab over so it's less painful.

My Heart is Touched

It never ceases to amaze me how people can really step up to the plate when it really matters. Not only can they do what needs to be done, but they can also offer compassion, service and love, which are all necessary and important.

This weekend was probably one of the toughest of my life, but it's also been miraculous in many ways. I was floored when I arrived at my parents' house on Friday night and saw an entire fridge full of food ward members and friends had brought over in support of my family. And it kept coming for the rest of the weekend. With each doorbell ring, I found myself touched more by the loving kindness that people show when it really matters.

My heart was filled with gratitude as I saw the number of people, including many extended family members, who came to support my sister and brother-in-law and our family. I was grateful too for my friends who drove a long distance to be there for me when I needed it. It's making me cry just thinking how touched I am by that. How can you thank someone for coming through for you when you needed it most, when you were truly at one of the lowest and hardest points in your life? I don't really know, but I'm trying to figure it out. I do know that if the situation were reversed, I would be there in a heartbeat, so I hope that, for now, that's a start.

I just want to say thanks to all the folks in the Paul 2nd and Nampa something wards (I can't remember which ward number Nampa is so sorry about that) who have helped and supported our family. I owe an even bigger thanks to my dear friend the Bibliophile who flew 2,000 miles to be there not only for me but for my entire family. She bravely oversaw details, purchased groceries, cared for children and offered support. I don't know how to adequately express my thanks for that either.

I just know that my heart is full and has truly been touched.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our beautiful angel

I am both sad and happy to report that after weeks and months, and sometimes even hours and days, of great suffering our beautiful angel returned to her Father in Heaven this morning. My sister told me her passing from this life into the next was peaceful--a wonderful blessing after the months of suffering she's endured

She has been so brave, enduring what would be difficult even for adults with grace and dignity. Her courageous battle, along with her that of her mom and dad, has touched so many lives. Perhaps we can't see it now, in light of the grief, but perhaps doing so has been part of her mission in this life. Perhaps it has encouraged people to re-examine their priorities to remember what is really important and to hold onto their families all the more. If so, it has truly been a life well lived. If not, it's still been a wonderful life.

My own heart feels broken right now, but I know that it's no worse than what my sister and her family are experiencing. I am eternally grateful that our merciful Father in Heaven has finally ended her suffering and called her home again. It gives me peace to know that. But my heart aches at the thought of never seeing her again, of never watching the expression come over her face when she said something sassy to me, of never meeting her at her favorite restaurant, Chuck-a-Rama, again when she came to Salt Lake for her doctor's appointment.

I'll miss all the little compliments that she would always send my way from telling me how beautiful I am to how much she loves me or that "my money doesn't work here" when we met for lunch. (I'm pretty sure that legacy comes from her wonderful father.) I'll miss the hugs she always gave and the fact that she loves everyone, even people who are difficult to love. I'll miss her cute little stories about silly things her brothers have done, told from the perspective of a benevolent older sister. I'll miss watching her crank up the music and jam with the best of them. I'll miss all the dramatic little things 12-year-olds do just because they're 12.

But most of all I'll miss the special connection that I've always felt with her. We are aunt and niece, but I loved her (as I do all my nieces and nephews) like she was my daughter. I was so very excited to be an aunt, and she was the first grandchild who came along. Her life has never been easy, but she endured it well. I haven't had the experience of being her mom of worrying and watching over her every day of her life, of caring for her as her body began to shut down. But I think for the 12 years she was on this earth that there was seldom, if ever, a day when she wasn't included in my prayers, when I didn't think about her or when I didn't feel such a strong love for her.

Farewell beautiful angel. Your family still here on earth loves you very much and can't wait to see you again someday. Please watch over us and know you'll never be far from our hearts.