Sunday, August 31, 2014

Darling Cora Belle

Facial Expressions

We know that autumn will soon be upon us so we're taking every opportunity we can to visit the parks. The weather has been in the perfect 70's with a little breeze in the air. But combine that perfect weather to a very cold splash pad and you get this freezing cold reaction. He wouldn't move.
 Kimball is such a Pettingill, in every aspect. Especially when making faces.
Even Cora had to pull a face.

Love My Cubs

Sleepy Head

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Charity Never Faileth

"Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others."
- Thomas S. Monson

This Girl Keeps Stealing My Heart

Partial Faces, Loads Of Charm

Cora at 7 months
 Kimball at about 10 months

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grateful Heart

"I am about to lay my head on my pillow after a very full day.  Sad day, humbling ending and grateful heart for lessons learned in between.  Today I spent time with a sister on my Visiting Teaching route.  Beginning by packing and storing the substance of her life in a 5 X 10 foot storage unit as she could no longer stay in her apartment.  Assisting her with errands and other tasks that minute by minute ate up my plans for the day.  Two loads of laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, grocery shopping, pedicure, Ward Picnic now substituted with 2 trips to the storage unit, 3 stops to stores searching for a phone card, packing and repacking her small bag of belongings trying to determine which items were most important, because after the Ward Picnic she would be laying her head on a new pillow in a new bed in a room shared by 5 women who were strangers.  I imagined I would be glad to have her go through the gate at the Women's Shelter, leaving me in my car in silence, not needing to make reassuring responses to her somewhat frantic nervous chatter.  But it was not at all that way... as we pulled up to the back gate I was startled by the 10 foot chain link fence and electric lock.  As we rang the buzzer to wait for admittance, I noted perhaps 20 women milling about on a concrete patio. Locked in for their "safety" they looked nothing like the victims they surely were and every thing like the prisoners of poor choices they had become.  As the facility staff came to the gate for the sister I brought, I noted with overwhelming sadness tears streaming down her face.  She said, " Please don't make me stay here, I am afraid."  With every ounce of composure I could muster, we sat on the bumper of my car while I did all I could do, pray for her well being and comfort. I could not spare her from the consequence of negative actions.  Like the overprotective parent leaving the Kindergartner on the first day of school I got in my car and watched as they ushered her inside.  Then I cried, not just for her but for all of these women behind the bars, who did not have the blessing and knowledge of a Savior who loves them more than His life.  As we sleep in our beds tonight may we offer a prayer of gratitude for what we have and for opportunities to share it with Sisters in Zion who are not as fortunate.  I am so grateful for all of your good hearts and vast service and for the good things I have in my life because you are in it."
- Vicki Townsend, Shiloh Hills RS President

Buckets Full

"Drop by drop we fill our buckets until they overflow. How we fill them is a choice. Each drop of hope, of kindness, of tolerance, of respect, of laughter, of joy, of friendship, of light can fill our buckets just as easily as despair, negativity, hate, distrust, bigotry, malice or darkness. How are you going to fill your bucket today?"
- Amelia Lewis

My Two Lovies

 Who wore it better? Both at 9 months of age.

Nothing Sweeter Than Clean Baby Cuddles

The Right Perspective

Kimball is obsessed with taking photos on our phones. This angle wasn't too bad.

Mall Fun

Kimball loves to push Cora in the stroller. LOVES IT! If I even so much as to help him steer where he's going or dare touch the handles, he gets really mad. I think it's super cute and let him steer her into walls and hall displays. I only help steer when he starts running people down.

Swinging For Giggles

The other night we walked to the park as a family, the weather was great. I put Cora in the swings for the first time and she loved it! She just giggled and giggled the whole time, so darn cute!!


  • We checked out a grab bag of books from the library that are all about the fall season. Ever since, Kimball has been obsessed with pumpkins and scarecrows. I guess this will be the first year that we carve pumpkins together.
  • He's been learning all of his colors really well and has all of them down
  • He loves singing primary songs and always requests "God" song (I'm A Child of God) at bed time
  • I need to potty train him and got the courage to do it last week but I've been helping out a friend who's moving and knew I wouldn't be consistent with the potty training while watching four additional children. I think I'll start next week, he's definitely ready.
  • Loves to make people laugh and pull faces
  • I love the way he says certain words: pertica (harmonica), cay cake (cupcake), ha hog (hot dog), pie pad (Ipad), crathee (crazy), prezzee (pretzel)
  • He adores Cora
  • Does really well sitting up and I haven't been putting a pillow behind her to soften her fall, she seldom falls backward. But she still needs help every now and then not falling to the sides.
  • Has started to reach one hand forward towards a toy when she's on her hands and knees
  • Started clapping!! I haven't even been working with her on this one at all, she got it all by herself :)
  •  Is slowly getting better at rolling over. Lance said he saw her roll completely over without lying on her arm! Of course I wasn't home to see it.  :( 
  • She loves her oat cereal and this week I introduced the probiotic to her diet. I'm really hoping this works and helps her digestive system so that introducing more solid foods will be easier for her. I'm ready to move onward with her diet!
Lance & Becky
  • Has been working a lot more than usual. He's missed a lot of bed times and I've missed his help. 
  • His quartet sang at the North Idaho fair this past weekend and he brought me home some kettle corn. He's nice like that.
  • We're both enjoying our callings as VT coordinator and second counselor in the bishopric
  • We've been going on walks together as a family in the evenings. It's been so nice, I love doing it! The weather has been perfect and we have great conversations.
  • Lately we've been addicted to homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Reading With Dad

Goofing Around

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ray Of Sunshine

Grateful In Any Circumstances

"True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Too Excited To Sleep

When Lance and I went to Silverwood we swapped babysitting with our friends. They went to Silverwood last night and we had their kids all day and night. When we put their two older kids to bed Kimball was beyond excited to sleep on the floor with his friends. Needless to say none of them slept before their parents got back at 10pm to pick them up.

But If Not

I haven't been able to sleep lately....for the past three weeks or so. And when I can't I usually read conference talks. A friend of mine told me about two talks that she thought were really great and I added this third one by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. To be honest, I usually skip over his talks because he's like Isaiah, I can't understand him. But this one was really good. I wanted to copy them to this journal so I can always go back and reread them.

Dennis E. Simmons:
As a young man, I returned home from an eighth-grade basketball tournament dejected, disappointed, and confused. I blurted out to my mother, “I don’t know why we lost—I had faith we’d win!”
I now realize that I did not then know what faith is.
Faith is not bravado, not just a wish, not just a hope. True faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—confidence and trust in Jesus Christ that leads a person to follow Him. 1
Centuries ago, Daniel and his young associates were suddenly thrust from security into the world—a world foreign and intimidating. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship a golden image set up by the king, a furious Nebuchadnezzar told them that if they would not worship as commanded, they would immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” 2
The three young men quickly and confidently responded, “If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” That sounds like my eighth-grade kind of faith. But then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is. They continued, “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” 3 That is a statement of true faith.
They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped. 4 They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him.
Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew they could always rely on Him because they knew His plan, and they knew that He does not change. 5 They knew, as we know, that mortality is not an accident of nature. It is a brief segment of the great plan 6 of our loving Father in Heaven to make it possible for us, His sons and daughters, to achieve the same blessings He enjoys, if we are willing.
They knew, as we know, that in our premortal life, we were instructed by Him as to the purpose of mortality: “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” 7
So there we have it—it’s a test. The world is a testing place for mortal men and women. When we understand that it’s all a test, administered by our Heavenly Father, who wants us to trust in Him and to allow Him to help us, we can then see everything more clearly.
His work and His glory, He told us, is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 8 He has already achieved godhood. Now His only objective is to help us—to enable us to return to Him and be like Him and live His kind of life eternally.
Knowing all this, it was not difficult for those three young Hebrews to make their decision. They would follow God; they would exercise faith in Him. He would deliver them, but if not—and we know the rest of the story.
The Lord has given us agency, the right and the responsibility to decide. 9 He tests us by allowing us to be challenged. He assures us that He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand. 10 But we must understand that great challenges make great men. We don’t seek tribulation, but if we respond in faith, the Lord strengthens us. The but if nots can become remarkable blessings.
The Apostle Paul learned this significant lesson and declared, after decades of dedicated missionary work, “We glory in tribulations … knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed.” 11
He was assured by the Savior, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 12
Paul responded: “Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. … I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 13 When Paul met his challenges the Lord’s way, his faith increased.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac.” 14 Abraham, because of his great faith, was promised posterity greater in number than the stars in the heavens, and that that posterity would come through Isaac. But Abraham immediately complied with the Lord’s command. God would keep His promise, but if not in the manner Abraham expected, he still trusted Him completely.
Men accomplish marvelous things by trusting in the Lord and keeping His commandments—by exercising faith even when they don’t know how the Lord is shaping them.
By faith Moses … refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. …
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king. …
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land. …
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.” 15
Others “through faith subdued kingdoms, … obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
“Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight.” 16
But in the midst of all those glorious outcomes hoped for and expected by the participants, there were always the but if nots:
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, … bonds and imprisonment:
“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about … being destitute, afflicted, tormented; … 17
“God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.” 18
Our scriptures and our history are replete with accounts of God’s great men and women who believed that He would deliver them, but if not, they demonstrated that they would trust and be true.
He has the power, but it’s our test.
What does the Lord expect of us with respect to our challenges? He expects us to do all we can do. He does the rest. Nephi said, “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” 19
We must have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.
Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. … He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. … We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, … we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has. 20 I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Lance B. Wickman :
Some of my richest memories are associated with weekend assignments to stake conferences as I have accompanied a stake president in visits to members of his stake wrestling with life’s challenges in courage and faith, especially those who have lost a child or who are struggling valiantly in nursing a sick or crippled or handicapped child. I know from poignant personal experience that there is no night quite so dark as the loss of a child. Neither is there any day quite so long and exhausting as the relentlessness of caring for a child crippled in form or faculty. All such parents can empathize exquisitely with the father of the child afflicted with a “dumb spirit,” who, when admonished by the Savior to believe, responded in anguish of soul, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (see Mark 9:17, 23–24).
And so today I wish to speak to all who are struggling in this laboratory of applied faith that is called mortality—and in particular to those bereaved, burdened, and grieving parents who beseechingly ask, “Why?”
First, please know that grief is the natural by-product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning. Hence, what a grieving parent can expect to receive from the Lord in response to earnest supplication may not necessarily be an elimination of grief so much as a sweet reassurance that, whatever his or her circumstances, one’s child is in the tender care of a loving Heavenly Father.
Next, do not ever doubt the goodness of God, even if you do not know “why.” The overarching question asked by the bereaved and the burdened is simply this: Why? Why did our daughter die, when we prayed so hard that she would live and when she received priesthood blessings? Why are we struggling with this misfortune, when others relate miraculous healing experiences for their loved ones? These are natural questions, understandable questions. But they are also questions that usually go begging in mortality. The Lord has said simply, “My ways [are] higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9). As the Son’s will was “swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7), so must ours be.
Still, we mortals quite naturally want to know the why. Yet, in pressing too earnestly for the answer, we may forget that mortality was designed, in a manner of speaking, as the season of unanswered questions. Mortality has a different, more narrowly defined purpose: It is a proving ground, a probationary state, a time to walk by faith, a time to prepare to meet God (see, for example, Abr. 3:24–25; 2 Ne. 31:15–16, 20; Alma 12:24; Alma 42:4–13). It is in nurturing humility (see Alma 32:6–21) and submissiveness (see Mosiah 3:19) that we may comprehend a fulness of the intended mortal experience and put ourselves in a frame of mind and heart to receive the promptings of the Spirit. Reduced to their essence, humility and submissiveness are an expression of complete willingness to let the “why” questions go unanswered for now, or perhaps even to ask, “Why not?” It is in enduring well to the end (see 2 Ne. 31:15–16; Alma 32:15; D&C 121:8) that we achieve this life’s purposes. I believe that mortality’s supreme test is to face the “why” and then let it go, trusting humbly in the Lord’s promise that “all things must come to pass in their time” (D&C 64:32).
But the Lord has not left us comfortless or without any answers. As to the healing of the sick, He has clearly said: “And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed” (D&C 42:48; emphasis added). All too often we overlook the qualifying phrase “and is not appointed unto death” (“or,” we might add, “unto sickness or handicap”). Please do not despair when fervent prayers have been offered and priesthood blessings performed and your loved one makes no improvement or even passes from mortality. Take comfort in the knowledge that you did everything you could. Such faith, fasting, and blessing could not be in vain! That your child did not recover in spite of all that was done in his behalf can and should be the basis for peace and reassurance to all who love him! The Lord—who inspires the blessings and who hears every earnest prayer—called him home nonetheless. All the experiences of prayer, fasting, and faith may well have been more for our benefit than for his.
How, then, should we approach the throne of grace as we plead earnestly for a loved one and place hands upon her head to give a blessing by priesthood authority? How do we properly exercise our faith? The Prophet Joseph Smith defined that first principle of the gospel as “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (A of F 1:4; emphasis added). It is that defining phrase—“in the Lord Jesus Christ”—that we sometimes forget. Too often we offer our prayer or perform our administration and then wait nervously to see whether our request will be granted, as though approval would provide needed evidence of His existence. That is not faith! Faith is, quite simply, a confidence in the Lord. In Mormon’s words, it is “a firm mind in every form of godliness” (Moro. 7:30; emphasis added). The three Hebrew magistrates expressed trust that the Lord would deliver them from the fiery furnace, “but if not,” they said to the king, “we [still] will not serve thy gods” (Dan. 3:18; emphasis added). Significantly, not three but four men were seen in the midst of the flames, and “the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God” (Dan. 3:25).
So with us. It is common in our secular world to say that “seeing is believing.” Whatever value this little maxim may have in the mundane affairs of life, it is an alien presence when we turn to the Lord in the dark hour of our extremity. The way of the Lord is best defined by a different maxim: “Believing is seeing.” Faith in the Lord is the premise, not the conclusion. We know He lives; therefore, we trust Him to bless us according to His divine will and wisdom. This childlike confidence in the Lord is known in scripture simply as the “sacrifice” of “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (D&C 59:8).
I offer this as profound conviction born in the fiery crucible of life’s experience. Our second son, Adam, entered our lives when I was far away in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. I still have the joyful telegram announcing his birth. Adam was a blue-eyed, blond-haired little fellow with an impish personality. As he turned five years old, Adam eagerly looked forward to starting school. Then a common childhood illness blanketed our southern California community, and Adam contracted the disease. Aside from concern for his comfort, we were not worried. He even seemed to have a light case. Suddenly one morning he did not arise from his bed; he was in a deep coma. We rushed him to the hospital, where he was placed in intensive care. A constant cadre of devoted doctors and nurses attended him. His mother and I maintained a ceaseless vigil in the waiting room nearby.
I telephoned our dear stake president, a childhood friend and now a beloved colleague in the Seventy, Elder Douglas L. Callister, and asked if he would come to the hospital and join me in giving Adam a priesthood blessing. Within minutes he was there. As we entered the small, cramped space where Adam’s lifeless little body lay, his bed surrounded by a bewildering maze of monitoring devices and other medical paraphernalia, the kind doctors and nurses reverently stepped back and folded their arms. As the familiar and comforting words of a priesthood blessing were spoken in faith and earnest pleading, I was overcome by a profound sense that Someone else was present. I was overwhelmed by the thought that if I should open my eyes I would see the Savior standing there! I was not the only one in that room who felt that Spirit. We learned quite by chance some months later that one of the nurses who was present that day was so touched that she sought out the missionaries and was baptized.
But notwithstanding, Adam made no improvement. He lingered between this life and the next for several more days as we pleaded with the Lord to return him to us. Finally, one morning after a fitful night, I walked alone down a deserted hospital corridor. I spoke to the Lord and told Him that we wanted our little boy to return so very much, but nevertheless what we wanted most was for His will to be done and that we—Pat and I—would accept that. Adam crossed the threshold into the eternities a short time later.
Frankly, we still grieve for our little boy, although the tender ministering of the Spirit and the passage of the years have softened our sadness. His small picture graces the mantel of our living room beside a more current family portrait of children and grandchildren. But Pat and I know that his path through mortality was intended by a kind Heavenly Father to be shorter and easier than ours and that he has now hurried on ahead to be a welcoming presence when we likewise eventually cross that same fateful threshold.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, …
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design …
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. …
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, …
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Neal A. Maxwell:
I do not apologize for trying to speak about one of what Paul called “the deep things of God,” (1 Cor. 2:10), only for my inability to go deeply enough.
While we see this quality in the quiet but spiritually luxuriant lives of the genuine, spiritual heroes and heroines about us, the lack of it keeps so many of us straggling in the foothills and off the peaks in the adventure of full discipleship. I refer to our hesitancy and our holding back in submitting fully to the Lord and His purposes for us.
This holding back is like leaving Egypt without journeying all the way to the Holy Land, or waiting in Nauvoo for the railroad to come through, or staying permanently at Winter Quarters.
Though possessed of other fine attributes, we may still lack this one quality. Such was the case with the righteous young man who knelt sincerely at Jesus’ feet. Lacking one thing, he went away sorrowing and unsubmissive when a particularized challenge was given. (See Mark 10:21–22; Luke 18:22–23.) Whether it is walking away without looking back from “great possessions” (Mark 10:22), or from a statusful place in the secular synagogue (see John 12:42–43), or from proud but erroneous attitudes accrued over the years, or merely “straightway” from fishing nets (Mark 1:18), the test is always the same.
With honest, individualized introspection, each of us could name what we yet lack—and in my case more than one thing.
Spiritual submissiveness is so much more than bended knee or bowed head. Alas, insofar as we “mind the things of the flesh” (Rom. 8:5), we simply cannot have the “mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16.)
Jesus laid down this sobering requirement: “Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3.)
One of Jesus’ prophets delineated—with submissiveness thrice stipulated—how a disciple can become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19.)
Three other clusters of scriptures stress these towering qualities. (See Alma 7:23; Alma 13:28; D&C 121:41–42.) Stunningly parallel, they form an almost seamless litany of attributes to be developed, with submissiveness at their catalytic center. This repeated clustering is too striking to be random.
Moreover, the descriptive simplicity of this quality is matched by its developmental difficulty. It is so easy to be halfhearted, but this only produces half the growth, half the blessings, and just half a life, really, with more bud than blossom.
A superficial view of this life, therefore, will not do, lest we mistakenly speak of this mortal experience only as coming here to get a body, as if we were merely picking up a suit at the cleaners. Or, lest we casually recite how we have come here to be proved, as if a few brisk push-ups and deep knee bends would do.
Just how much submissiveness to circumstance there should be is not treated in these brief remarks. Suffice it to say, God “allotteth unto men” certain things with which we are to be content. (See Alma 29:4, Philip. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:8.) A missing parent or limb is to be lived without. Yet temper and lust are to be tamed. One’s race is fixed, but one’s genetic endowment offers opportunity to be a careful steward. The submissive soul will be led aright, enduring some things well while being anxiously engaged in setting other things right—all the time discerning the difference.
Required, in particular, is meekness of mind which recognizes God’s perfect love of us and His omniscience. By acknowledging these reassuring realities and accepting that God desires our full development and true happiness, we are readied even as the learning experiences come. Such meekness requires genuine intellectual honesty, owning up to the learning experiences of the past and listening to the Holy Ghost as he preaches to us from the pulpit of memory.
As the Lord communicates with the meek and submissive, fewer decibels are required, and more nuances are received. Even the most meek, like Moses (see Num. 12:3), learn overwhelming things they “never had supposed.” (Moses 1:10.) But it is only the meek mind which can be so shown and so stretched—not those, as Isaiah wrote, who “are wise in their own eyes.” (Isa. 5:21; see also 2 Ne. 9:29 and 2 Ne. 15:21.)
God’s counsel aligns us and conjoins us with the great realities of the universe; whereas sin empties, isolates, and separates us, confining us to the solitary cell of selfishness. Hence the lonely crowd in hell.
Spiritual submissiveness means, instead, community and communion as the mind and the heart become settled. We then spend much less time deciding, and much more time serving; otherwise, the more hesitation, the less inspiration.
Yielding one’s heart to God signals the last stage in our spiritual development. Only then are we beginning to be fully useful to God! How can we sincerely pray to be an instrument in His hands if the instrument seeks to do the instructing?
As we really begin to keep the first commandment—loving God with “all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength” (D&C 59:5; see also Matt. 22:37)—giving time, talent, and treasure is then accompanied by fully giving of ourselves.
Sometimes, our holding back occurs because we lack faith or we are too entangled with the cares of the world. Other times, there is in us an understandable tremulousness which slows our yielding, because we sense what further yielding might bring.
Yet we need to break free of our old selves—the provincial, constraining, and complaining selves—and become susceptible to the shaping of the Lord. But the old self goes neither gladly nor quickly. Even so, this subjection to God is really emancipation.
How can we truly acknowledge the Fatherhood of God and refuse His tutorials? Especially in view of the fact, the Lord even chastens those whom He loves. (See Heb. 12:6, D&C 136:31, Mosiah 23:21, Rev. 3:19.)
Saul, when chosen, was “A choice young man, … and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he.” (1 Sam. 9:2.) Later, he became encrusted with ego and puffed by power. Samuel then recalled a time when Saul “wast little in [his] own sight.” (1 Sam. 15:17.) In contrast, true submissiveness greatly enlarges the soul, but without hypocrisy and guile. (See D&C 121:42.)
Submissiveness also checks our tendency to demand advance explanations of the Lord as a perplexed yet trusting Nephi understood: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Ne. 11:17.)
So did a wondering but submissive Mary: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38.)
Just as the capacity to defer gratification is a sign of real maturity, likewise the willingness to wait for deferred explanation is a sign of real faith and of trust spread over time.
If faithful, we end up acknowledging that we are in the Lord’s hands and should surrender to the Lord on His terms—not ours. It is total surrender, no negotiating; it is yielding with no preconditions.
Suppose Enoch had demurred when called by the Lord? He would have gone on being a good person, serving the Lord part-time, living in a city which was a slum compared to the glorious City of Enoch; nor would Enoch be a part of that scene of glorious greeting yet to come. (See Moses 7:63.)
Suppose Peter had not left his nets “straightway”? (See Mark 1:18.) He might have become the respected president of the local Galilean fishermen’s association. But he would not have been on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, Moses, and Elias and heard the voice of God. (See Matt. 17:4.)
We have been given three special words—but if not—by three submissive young men who entered their fiery furnace, knowing “our God … is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, … But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.” (Dan. 3:17–18; italics added.)
Moreover, our prayers should allow for three more special words: “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.” (3 Ne. 18:20; italics added.)
It is only by yielding to God that we can begin to realize His will for us. And if we truly trust God, why not yield to His loving omniscience? After all, He knows us and our possibilities much better than do we.
“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ … even to the … yielding their hearts unto God.” (Hel. 3:35.)
Otherwise, one can be too busy promoting his own agendum: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:3.)
Distinguished therefrom is Jesus’ clear call: “Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness.” (JST, Matt. 6:33.)
While events often induce submissiveness, one’s development need not be dramatic or tied to a single moment; it can occur steadily in seemingly ordinary, daily settings. If we are meek, a rich and needed insight can be contained in reproof. A new calling can beckon us away from comfortable routine and from competencies already acquired. One may be stripped of accustomed luxury in order that the malignant mole of materialism be removed. One may feel humiliated in order that pride be chipped away.
The shaping goes on, and it is anything but merely cosmetic.
The tilt of our souls in first moments is so vital. Will what follows be viewed with disdain or as having some design? Which will we do most, murmur or ponder?
While most of our suffering is self-inflicted, some is caused by or permitted by God. This sobering reality calls for deep submissiveness, especially when God does not remove the cup from us. In such circumstances, when reminded about the premortal shouting for joy as this life’s plan was unfolded (see Job 38:7), we can perhaps be pardoned if, in some moments, we wonder what all the shouting was about.
For the faithful, what finally emerges is an understanding of “things as they really are” (Jacob 4:13), such as the reassuring realization that we are in the Lord’s hands! But, brothers and sisters, we were never really anywhere else! Demonstrating this great attitude is our beloved and submissive brother, Bruce R. McConkie.
“Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?” (Morm. 5:23.) Likewise, “all flesh” (D&C 101:16, Moses 6:32) and “the heavens and the earth” (D&C 67:2)! Perhaps the realization of being in God’s hands comes fully only as we ponder the significance of the prints in the hands of our submissive Savior. (See 3 Ne. 11:14–15.) Some will have to ask what those wounds are, having been estranged. (See D&C 45:51–52.) These are they who “regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.” (2 Ne. 15:12.)
The more we study, pray, and ponder the awesome Atonement, the more we are willing to acknowledge that we are in His and the Father’s hands. Let us ponder, therefore, these final things.
When the unimaginable burden began to weigh upon Christ, it confirmed His long-held and intellectually clear understanding as to what He must now do. His working through began, and Jesus declared: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.” Then, whether in spiritual soliloquy or by way of instruction to those about Him, He observed, “But for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27.)
Later, in Gethsemane, the suffering Jesus began to be “sore amazed” (Mark 14:33), or, in the Greek, “awestruck” and “astonished.”
Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, “astonished”! Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined! No wonder an angel appeared to strengthen him! (See Luke 22:43.)
The cumulative weight of all mortal sins—past, present, and future—pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement. (See Alma 7:11–12; Isa. 53:3–5; Matt. 8:17.) The anguished Jesus not only pled with the Father that the hour and cup might pass from Him, but with this relevant citation. “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me.” (Mark 14:35–36.)
Had not Jesus, as Jehovah, said to Abraham, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14.) Had not His angel told a perplexed Mary, “For with God nothing shall be impossible”? (Luke 1:37; see also Matt. 19:28; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27.)
Jesus’ request was not theater!
In this extremity, did He, perchance, hope for a rescuing ram in the thicket? I do not know. His suffering—as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity—evoked His later soul-cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness. (See Matt. 27:46.)
Even so, Jesus maintained this sublime submissiveness, as He had in Gethsemane: “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39.)
While bearing our sins, our infirmities, our sicknesses, and bringing to pass the Atonement (see Alma 7:11–12), Jesus became the perfect Shepherd, making these lines of Paul’s especially relevant and reassuring: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom. 8:35.)
Indeed, we are in His hands, and what hallowed hands!
The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history. It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters turned. But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness!
May we now, in our time and turn, be “willing to submit” (Mosiah 3:19), I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

What I Wish Every New Member Knew - And Every Longtime Member Remembered

"But the tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience. In the end we will realize that God is merciful as well as just and that all the rules are fair. We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way."
- Jeffrey R. Holland

One Cute Duo

Thumbs Up! (toe style)

These guys crack me up.

Date Night

Guess who went on an ALL DAY date? These two! We had some friends watch the kids for the majority of the day while Lance and I went to the Silverwood theme park. We had so much fun! As soon as we dropped the kids off at the babysitter's Lance said, "You know if we were smart we'd go back home and enjoy the quiet house, take a nap, and eat a decent meal." True that but we forged on as planned, it was some much needed spouse time. And Lance is a pansy, he wouldn't go on any of the rollercoasters with me. Of course I wouldn't go on the twirly rides with him but that's because since I've had kids, I get motion sick. Blah. 

But we had a great time enjoying each others company!

My Cubs

This little one went through the last six doctor appointments like a champ. She's so loving and gentle and strong and resilient and sweet.
 I love the look she's giving Kimball here. Hee hee!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

8 Months

She's starting to look like her own, but you can definitely tell they're siblings! Cora is lean and long, and Kimball was chubby and short. Both of my babies at 8 months.

Let Your Faith Show

I came home from our trip feeling a little discouraged; our last physical therapy session before we left, Ginette said that Cora will probably be sitting up by the time we got back. Well, when we got back she wasn't even rolling over, no less sitting up. And then one of last week's appointments was with the neurologist and he said two things that were very disheartening: #1 that if Cora isn't sitting up by the time she's two years old then she'll most likely never walk, and #2 that Cora will never catch up. When I heard these things my heart sank. Never catch up?! Up until that appointment I was feeling very optimistic and even proud of Cora because she had an appointment with her allergist who is a new doctor and as I was going through her long medical history, Dr. Drain said, "Well, look at her go! She just keeps improving at every corner, that's wonderful!" It seems strange but until Dr. Drain said that, I didn't realize how much she had improved.

I have a hope in my heart that by the time Cora goes into Kindergarten, that I might have to hold her back a year or two but that she would be caught up by then. I tried not to let the neurologist's comments get the best of me but I couldn't shake it out of my mind. It was quite disheartening to hear and I began the usual rhetorical questions in my mind. What does this mean for Cora long term? Is this just a physical set back or an intellectual set back as well? What does this mean for me as her mother and care taker? What is our life going to be like in a year when she can't walk? Will she be confined to a wheel chair the rest of her life? Will she ever go to a main stream school? My mind went on and on and on and I had to plead the Lord for peace and comfort that night as so many doubts and fears plagued my mind.

On Sunday our lesson in RS was Let Your Faith Show and we had a great discussion and out of the blue the teacher called on me and asked me how I let my faith show. Of course I was caught off guard and my dumb answer was this: "Well, I'm sure you guys are tired of me talking about Cora all the time but it's my trial right now. (Then I started tearing up and couldn't gain composure for a few minutes). My mom would always tell me that 'I really feel like Cora's going to be ok.' and I would get frustrated with my mom because I felt like she wasn't taking the situation seriously, she wasn't validating my feelings and acknowledging how serious the situation is. It isn't like Cora will wake up in a month or two and all of a sudden have no medical issues going on. And so, it wasn't that I was doubting my mom's faith but it was frustrating to me that it seemed she wasn't taking it seriously. But since then I've come terms with it and she does still say that she feels Cora is going to be ok, but I've learned that she's demonstrating her faith to me. It isn't that I don't have faith because I do. But I can't quite think on the same level because I have to face reality and the facts that are staring me in the face; that Cora does have these problems. And so I don't have an answer for you. I guess letting my faith show is a work in progress. Of course I have faith but letting it show like my mom can is a work in progress and I'm sure that's not the answer you wanted to hear but that's where I am; a work in progress"

I'm still kicking myself for giving that answer, as raw and true as it is. I DO have faith and I DO have a testimony, I've actually grown quite close to my Savior the last several months and haven't relied on Him so much in all my life. At the end of the day, sometimes all I can think of is the Psalm, "Be still and know that I am God." And that's the extent of my faith for that day. Because when a doctor tells you your baby is never going to catch up, it's really hard to exercise faith when all of the physical evidence suggests otherwise.

I'm sure I've written about this before but our first Sunday in Spokane there was a high councilman named Brother Porter speaking about his daughter's lifelong health problems and despite organ transplants, as a young woman she still was lying on her death bed. (I was only pregnant with Cora at the time). He thought to himself about Joseph Smith healing the early saints when he'd ask the question, "Do you have faith to be healed." (Paraphrasing) And Brother Porter asked himself, "Do I have the faith for my daughter to not be healed?" He went on and explained his emotional and spiritual process with that question until finally he was ok with her not being healed and could let her go. She passed away a short time later. Now, taking this into context I ask myself the same question, do I have the faith for Cora not to be healed? (Meaning have Cora pass away). The answer is a resounding no! Absolutely not. And so I think my faith is weak and I doubt myself for feeling this way because I can't answer yes to that question. I can't live without my baby girl and I wouldn't survive or ever overcome that grief. But yet when I feel my faith is weak I still think to myself, be still and know that I am God.

A scripture that I memorized in junior high was D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." I really try hard to do that, I do look to the Lord with all of my thoughts and dilemmas especially with Cora's progression. I decided to take what the neurologist said with a grain of salt and wait until her physical therapist saw her this week. Ginette came today and was shocked at how much Cora had grown, she was huge to her! I told her what the neurologist said and asked what she thought. She said her job is to prove doctors wrong and she would do everything she could to do just that. She pointed out all of the progress Cora made in the last month; it's stupid to say this, but I didn't even notice the physical progress! I see her every day and I have a cute distraction named Kimball so it's easy for me not to see the progress. Turns out, Cora is officially sitting up! (How did I not realize this?!) When put on her tummy she doesn't sprawl out, she stays on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth. WHAT?! Her leg muscles aren't as tight, she has better movement altogether with her arms, and the best part??? She uses her arms/hands to cross over in front of her to grab objects! Why is this a big deal? Because one of her brain abnormalities is Hypoplasia of the Corpus Callosum (HCC) which is a thinning of the cc. The cc is what connects both sides of the brain together and lets them communicate to each other. The fact that she's crossing over the center line of her body is an AWESOME indicator that both sides of the brain are in fact communicating with each other. This gives me a slight glimmer of hope that she'll be one of the very few patients with HCC that it doesn't affect. Fingers crossed!!!

Jan and Ginette are both extremely optimistic with Cora and I'm going to follow suit. Instead of getting hung up on the neurologist's comments, I'm choosing to go along with Jan and Ginette, Mom, and the Lord. I'm going to let whatever faith I have show, if it's the last thing I do. Because by golly, the Lord is in control! He knows the beginning from the end and the purpose behind everything. This week I caught myself wanting to know the why's to everything but I can't think that way, I can't let doubts and fears plague my thoughts. The Lord has let his tender mercies bless me with a darling baby girl who's so special and warms my heart and lights up my life. I count my blessings every day and am so grateful I was chosen to be her Mama. Every time Kimball hears Cora crying in her room he gets so excited because he knows that means Cora is awake. My two children are my life and I don't know why I am so blessed that they're mine but I'm so grateful that they are. And that they are mine for eternity! So I say to myself, "Be still; and know that I am God."

How Far Will You Go?

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."
- George Washington Carver

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kimball Update

Kimball is quite a character! He's got so much personality in that little body, he must get it from his dad. He's funny, smart, talks my ear off, has a contagious laugh and smile, loves anything outdoors, loves anything with an engine, loves to sing and dance, and absolutely adores his sister.

I love that he wants to be involved with Cora at all times. He really wants to play with her and have more interaction from her, but one day she'll be able to do that. He plays peek a boo with her, tries to scare her, shares his cars with her, makes funny faces at her, and most times he'll just sit there and laugh with her. One time I even caught him brushing her hair, it was the cutest thing! And I love the way he says Cora's name - Corla (said with a Mexican accent).

I haven't started potting training him yet because well, because I haven't been home to be consistent and because he doesn't really have a desire. Until the other day. I had him try on his new underwear and he immediately jumped onto the coffee table and started dancing. It was hilarious! I'll probably start potty training him in the next week or so although I'm terrified of the process.

I can't believe he's soon going to be 3 and that means he'll be a Sunbeam next year. Crazy! I love that boy but he does know how to push my buttons. After we got home from TF he became a yelling and hitting machine and it's only toward me. I've been really trying to exercise patience during his spontaneous tantrums so hopefully together we can sort it out. I'm hoping he's still just adjusting to being back home.

I'm so thankful he's part of our family, he definitely keeps me on my toes and is a good protector of his sister. He cracks me up on a daily basis with the faces he makes and the songs he sings, it's just too cute and melts my heart.

Cora Update

My only fear about visiting home, was that Cora would have some medical emergency and I wouldn't be near any of her doctors. I really feared that. I signed up for MyChart so that I'd always have access to her medical record and I set out on our vacation.

Would you know it, the first night away Cora pulled on her Mic-Key button! She pulled on it during the night so I had no idea what was going on until she woke up the next morning and I was getting her changed and dressed. Her pajamas were soaked with blood and drainage and my heart sank. Shoot! What do I do?! I took a few pictures of the button site and sent it to her surgeon, waiting for his phone call. I didn't know if I needed to take her in or not. In the mean time I taped several layers of gauze all around the button to stop the bleeding and drainage and continued on with the family reunion we were attending in Boise.

Dr. Chan called me and said it looked fine, the stitches were just irritating the skin and that's what was causing the bleeding. Had the stitches been taken out then she would've pulled the button completely out and I would've had to go to the ER. Cora was only pulling on the button because she's teething so she can feel it with her hands, tries to grab it and pulls it up to her mouth. Lance went to the drug store to get a pacifier clip, ace bandage wrap, and more gauze.

I slept by Cora that night so I could watch her. The next morning I woke up to the same scene - blood and drainage saturated her pajamas. I was shocked and did the gauze thing again that day. Later in the evening I had Lance help me change her dressings and clean it and then I found a fresh drop of drainage on her skin right next to the button. What?! Good news is, the tube extension was leaking, she didn't pull the button a second time, it was still the damage from her pulling it the first night. Lance helped me replace the tube extension and we also checked the balloon pressure that holds the button in place. It was low so I'm glad we checked it.

We now wrap an ace bandage around her every night so she can't pull on the button and we keep a pacifier clip on her shirt at all times. That way she can pull on the pacifier clip and not the button. I had 3-4 other incidents at Mom's house with the medicine port coming open at night, that was frustrating and made for lots of laundry.

Since being home we've had 4 doctor appointments last week and 2 more this week. I've learned the following:
  • 75-95% for length and weight (it's amazing how much she grew in one month's time, all thanks to her surgery)
  • Her heart is the same, no better and no worse
  • We can continue with solids, only introducing one new food every week. Yay!! Her allergist is an awesome doctor and all the skin tests were negative. She can have absolutely no rice or milk in any form.
  • Neuro follow up was pretty routine but he did tell us two things that were disheartening to hear. I'll expound on those later.
  • She's 8.5 months, still not rolling over or sitting up
  • VERY social and VERY smiley
  • Loves her brother

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Few Photos Since Being Home

My all American cutie pies!
 This girl smiles all. the. time. and completely lights up my life. I just have to take her picture, she's so photogenic!

 These next three photos were during Cora's doctor appointments this week. She had four appointments and next week she has two more. See what I mean? Always smiling, even when being tortured at the doctor's office.

  I'm getting ready to potty train Kimball and had him try on his new underwear. He immediately stood on the coffee table and started dancing. I only wish Lance would've been home to see it. This kid cracks me up!
 SO CLOSE to rolling over! She always gets stuck on her arm.
 I warned Kimball not to put his head in there. He didn't listen.

For My Journal

*An email I sent to my immediate family on June 2, 21014*
To my Pettingill family (including the in laws, and I may not have their email address):
I wanted to share a few words with you and although this is through email, these are my personal, intimate feelings and I wanted to share them with my family. I'm not boasting or having a pity party, I just wanted to share some things that I've learned the past few months.That's merely it, sharing some things that I've learned.
We have been in Spokane for 9 months. Initially we came up here to take advantage of Lance's job offer and to further his career. What I now know, is that we came here to save Cora's life.  It's only through revelation that her life was spared. I was barely pregnant, about 8 weeks along and quite sick, when Lance was offered the Spokane job. He immediately turned it down because I was in no position to travel let alone move a family. As we prayed and discussed it, we knew Spokane was where we needed to be. There was no possible way at 8 weeks along that we or doctors could've known Cora was going to have physical problems. I know we are in Spokane because of and for her. We've been blessed with amazing doctors who are determined and committed to her care. She's in the best developmental school available, it takes months to get a child in there but because we were referred to them by so many doctors, we didn't have to wait, Cora was immediately admitted and began her therapies.
It seems the last 9 months I've been at the hospital more often than I am at home. Sometimes Cora will have 8 appointments in one week, those are physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. It's hard to discover your baby has problems and will continue to have problems for the rest of her life. Because of the speculations doctors had early on, I was preparing for her death. I had her funeral all planned out in my mind, from the songs to the flowers to her dressed in a white gown laying beautifully in a white and pink casket. But then things changed to she will live but that she'll have problems. I imagined her being the one bullied at school and made fun of because she was different. And then things changed again to, we just don't know what she will be like. So I've tried to change my mindset altogether. I realized as her mother, I was giving her limits before she even presented any. I decided she was going to be loved, treated, and raised as any other child would be, limits or not.
Long story short, the past 9 months that we've been in Spokane have been hard. Some days are better than others but it has been downright hard. H.A.R.D.
And so I want to express my appreciation to you and share my testimony. I bear testimony to you, that life is hard. It is. No one person's life is any easier than the next. We all have challenges that come to us in different forms. We all suffer. We all experience pain. And I know that it is meant to be that way. The scriptures teach us that without the bitter we wouldn't know the sweet, and that it is needful that there be opposition in all things. Because we know this, we know that life is meant to be hard. It is part of the plan of salvation or the plan of happiness. How can it be the plan of happiness when we experience loss, pain, betrayal, loneliness, etc? Because the Savior atoned and suffered for each of us, so that we wouldn't have to endure these things alone. It is because of our trials that life is good. Therefore, God's plan is perfect.
We don't have to know the "why" to our trials. The why is not important to our salvation, so we don't need to question it or pursue it.

One of my favorite talks is by Elder Wirthlin called "Sunday Will Come" and he talks about the last few days of the Savior's life, pointing out various things of the atonement and crucifixion. Then he explained that it was on Sunday that Christ was resurrected and redeemed the world. And of all things that Christ did endure and fulfilled his mission, it was on Sunday that he was delivered. And so I echo Elder Wirthlin's testimony, I also testify that we will all have our own "sundays" when we will be delivered from our hardships. We will have our own Sundays, we just have to endure life and endure it well. Enduring well is the hard part but that's when we can rely on our faith and repentance. That's when we need to turn to Him and ask for help. On my own journey with Cora, I don't know what to expect or what will come next and I'm constantly given peace when I remember the Psalm, "Be still and know that I am God." I just need to remember Christ and leave it in his hands which is what I've tried and strive to do.
I'm thankful for a good husband who holds the priesthood. As I've utilized the priesthood and called upon God for myself, I've been a witness to several miracles in the last few months. It strengthens my testimony of living prophets and of the restoration.
I bear testimony that this is God's plan, that his plan is perfectly perfect. I know that life is meant to be hard but that our own sunday will come just as it did for the Savior. I'm thankful for the covenants that I've made that make my two children mine forever. Whatever happens, I know they are mine as I stay true. I know God loves us and will never forget us. He is omniscient and ever forgiving!
I thank you all, my dear family; I thank you so much for your prayers, thoughts, words, faith, fasting, and love. I've made it through the last several months because of you and thank you so much. Please know the immense gratitude in my heart for each of you! I love you so much and ever thank you!
So, life is hard. BUT! Fresh courage take, we are all in this together. Love you all!

A Mistake, A Friendship, and Divine Guidance

I made a dumb mistake and ran out of formula while I was in TF. I called the medical supply company I have to order from and they were closed - idiot me, I didn't realize it was the fourth of July which also made for an extended weekend of closed business days with the postal service. So, I'm out of Cora's specific formula. I called around to different pharmacies and drugstores to see if they carried it. Nope. I finally found some at a local medical supply company in TF and they charge $70 PER CAN!! I didn't have a choice, I needed two cans. I went and stood in line for an eternity and finally as I was checking out, the lady in line next to me said, "Oh I have some of those cans, do you want them?" Psh! Do I?! I told her yes and she lived just down the road about a half mile so I followed her there. She gave me three cans of formula, saved me $210, and a new and life changing friendship began.

Long story short, Denise has a 10 month old baby who also has the exact same digestion issues that Cora had. She explained to me how she has to take him to Boise and SLC all the time for all of his specialist doctor visits, and isn't getting any help! She can't get a doctor to listen to her at all and with all the thousands of dollars she's spent without getting anywhere, the miles she's driven, and the poor baby who is suffering - I'm utterly speechless and thoroughly disgusted!

We exchanged contact information and I've since talked with her about the tests she needs to have done so that she can have the same stomach surgery as Cora, to finally help her baby. She also gave me some great tips which are so helpful. It really broke my heart as she spilled at how frustrated she was and about ready to give up. She was done, sick of fighting, sick of not getting any help and no doctors that listen. I felt so bad and I've never been so thankful to live in Spokane!!!

And because of this, I'm so eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven who guided us to where we are now. When Lance got the job offer in Spokane, I was only 8-9 weeks pregnant with Cora and very sick. There was no way that we nor the doctors would've known that there was anything wrong with Cora at all. It took us a little while to make our decision final and after speaking with our bishop, we decided that we needed to be in Spokane. Little did we know, we needed to be in Spokane for Cora. We've been blessed with such great medical care, have had a lot of rough bumps in the road but overall we are so blessed!

I'm only hope that by some small measure, I can help my new, dear friend by sharing my experience with her. I hope she finds someone to listen. I told her if she doesn't, then she can come stay with us in Spokane and use all of Cora's doctors until she's able to get the help that her baby needs. Perhaps it was a good thing that I idiotically ran out of formula.

Show Love To Your Children

"To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them."
-Thomas S. Monson

July In Photos

June 26 through July 22 I spent in Idaho with family! Lance drove us all to  Boise where we had the Watson reunion for the weekend and then he flew back to Spokane. He can't get four weeks off of work, after all. When he left I took the kids and drove down to Twin Falls to see the rest of the Cox's and Pettingill's. I wasn't on the phone or computer much which was nice to be unplugged, at times the kids and I would FaceTime Lance so he could see them. We had a nice time despite the heat.

 Looks like Charity took a selfie with Cora

 Mom was so generous to get the fabric and help Christine and I make these quilts. It only took us two days, it was one of my favorite times!

 My cubbies!

 I was glad to be able to attend Trish's mom's funeral. It was nicely done and I'm so thankful for the gospel in my life. Charity even played the piano and I told her if she did I'd give her $10. So instead of handing over the money I decided to take her and Devin out for the day. We did some shopping for their school clothes, had lunch at Chic Fil A, and shared a milkshake. It was really a lot of fun!

 And this is my love note when I got home, Lance was very anxious to see us! I drove by myself with the kids the entire way home. It was long and hard at times but we made it home. There's certainly no place like home!