Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Still Catching Up--Regyn's 8th Birthday and Baptism

I think I'm officially setting a new record for myself. This is like four posts in one week or something. That's just how far behind I am in recording stuff around here. And since Regyn is the third child and usually gets the shaft, I'm determined to do a whiz bam boom job on this post about her, so just prepare yourself.

Regyn turned eight on February 4th, but her birthday party was actually held on January 21st. A little unorthodox, I'll admit, but let me explain. Her little cousin on the Conger side, Brighton, turned eight on January 5th, and her Grandma Conger wanted to hold a combined birthday party for the two of them, so she tried to split the dates in half. The party was actually originally to be held on Friday, January 11th, but thanks to a huge snow storm that day, we had to reschedule; hence, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or some time in May. You get the picture.

Here is Regyn and Brighton together. I love that they are cousins and great friends. So awesome!

The birthday party was held at the Lion House in downtown Salt Lake City. What I love about parties like this is that the only thing I have to do is show up--oh yea, and bring the children with me. So easy.

These are the darling children I brought. Aren't they cute? 
Here are a bunch of pictures from the party. If you have no idea what a party is like at the Lion House, let me just tell you. It's a Pioneer type of party. You learn a little bit about Brigham Young and what life was like back in his day. Then you play pioneer type of games, like "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?" or the thimble game. You also get to pull taffy (my kids' personal favorite). You get to eat little mini sandwiches and lemonade and of course have cake and ice cream. At the end you get to take home either a stuffed lion or a glass doll. It's very quaint. Just take a look. . .

Here was the tour of this amazing place.

These were all of the children. I thought this picture was so cute.

Boston pulling taffy. This is not an easy job, by the way.

More taffy pulling.
This picture is blurry, darn it. These two girls were so cute all day. I love the crowns my mother-in-law got for them. They were so thoughtful of each other this whole party and so cute together.

This was the cake they shared.

Here they are, just about ready to blow out the candles. I love Brighton's face. It's adorable!

They got to share this darling little sofa and take turns opening gifts. They both got special bags from their Grandma.
Here Regyn is after choosing her special glass doll.  That smile says it all.
I thought the party was fine, but Regyn thought it was much better than that. She told me it was the best day of her entire life! Okay, she might be just a little dramatic. She gets that from her father, of course. Okay, she might get that from me.:) I sure love this girl, though. And I seriously can't believe she's eight! Her Grandma Conger is totally awesome for pulling off this party for all her grandkids who turn eight. I'm so grateful she does it. Not only does it totally take the pressure off, but it really is a special thing. Grandparents sure can make a difference to our children, and I know my kids have the best ever. Between my parents and Dan's, my children are just so blessed.

Okay, so now on to part two of this child's special events. Since Regyn turned eight, she had the opportunity to be baptized (We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). This is a very big deal. Many people not of our faith wonder why in the world we would allow children to make such a huge decision at such a young age. It's a good question. I have pondered this a lot, and I think this: it's the way the Lord has always worked. He has always called on those who are humble and simple and allowed them to have great responsibility at a time when they were willing to listen and obey. I think if He waited until a child was 16 or 18 or even older, it's likely that person would be more self-centered, more prideful, more set in his/her ways and less likely to follow the Lord. Plus, after baptism comes the most wonderful gift ever--the gift of the Holy Ghost, and I'm telling you, kids need this as soon as possible! The Lord knows this. He is so wise. Of course eight-year-olds don't know and understand everything there is to know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (adults can't even claim that), but they know right from wrong, and they know enough to understand and make choices for themselves and to understand simple truths. And that is enough for now.

When I first talked with Regyn about her choice to be baptized, she never wavered. She was anxious and excited. We started having special Family Home Evening lessons about baptism and covenants months before her eighth birthday, hoping to help her undersand this important decision a little bit better, but honestly, I had to wonder how much of it was soaking in. She tends to be one of those children who spits out Sunday School answers like a recording without really even thinking about what she's saying. I think most learning comes through experience, so my constant prayer for all my children is that they will have day-to-day experiences with the Spirit that will strengthen their faith and their convictions and help them know for themselves what they truly believe.

As I think is often the case when a special event is approaching, it seemed like a lot of things started getting in the way of what was most important. Life became very busy and very stressful. And then I left town for five days the week before the big event and came home to a very heavy week--a funeral and Valentine's Day, not to mention just basic catching up. We were all exhausted, to say the least, and didn't feel very spiritual or excited for Regyn's big event. Truthfully, we were all just wanting to get it over with. Not exactly the feelings I hoped to have for such a special event. I think it all came to a head just a few days before her baptism. Let me explain.

We had stayed up really late the night before since it had been my grandfather's viewing and my family had been in town staying in hotels. I had taken the kids to swim with their cousins and we had enjoyed our time together a bit too much, staying up way too late. We had then woken up early the next day to attend the funeral and drive over two hours away for the burial. Due to the craziness of life over the previous week and especially the days before, my children were out of balance, to say the least. And so was I. I just kept whispering the word patience to myself over and over as my kids threw fits and hollered at each other all day. Ironically, Regyn seemed to be the worst of all. When she threw a ginormous fit about getting in the car, kicking and screaming (literally), I slowly started to lose my edge. Dan kept putting her in the car. She kept getting back out.

Finally, deciding she needed to cool off (since she was kicking, clawing, screaming and scratching Hallee in the back seat), I calmly unbuckled my seatbelt, hopped out of the front seat, opened the back door, grabbed my screaming child and threw her in the nearby snowbank (yes, I'm serious--not my best mothering moment, but to be perfectly honest, the only thing I could think of at the moment was how relieved I was that I no longer had the intrinsic pressure I constantly put on myself of being the "Young Mother of the Year" because I was no longer the "Young Mother of the Year" as of five days earlier! So ridiculous, I know, but my goodness, that thought honestly ran right through my mind). As I turned to get back in the car I noticed a number of people had just come out of nowhere to see the whole event. Figures! It's always at your worst moment that people show up and you realize there are a slew of witnesses. Oh well. I was way past caring about appearances at this point. I got back in my seat, buckled up and told Dan to drive next door to pick up Nate. The look he gave me was priceless! It was then I glanced out the window and noticed Regyn was out of the snow bank and screaming how much she hated me at the top of her lungs. I did the only thing that seemed reasonable under the circumstances.

I got out of the car again and pushed her back in the snow bank! (It's a darn good thing I wasn't still the "Young Mother of the Year," isn't it?)

I know how terrible that sounds. But I can't help but laugh when I think of it. And I just have to say that  the second snow bank trip did the trick! She humbled herself right up and hopped in the car. I quietly buckled her in, we picked up Nate and were on our way! Like I said, I think the adversary works very hard on families and wonderful little children right before they make very important righteous decisions. And thus it was with us.

Saturday came and we traveled back to Cokeville for this special event because Regyn has another special cousin that she adores (this one on my side of the family) that has a birthday close to hers, and so we planned their baptisms together. We got up really early Saturday morning and picked up six-foot sandwiches at Wal-Mart in Evanston on the way there (I'm so bummed I didn't get a picture of these sandwiches, but let me tell you, they were pretty awesome), and we drove to Cokeville just for Regyn and Kaybree's baptism. And it was all worth it.

Here they both are in their baptism dresses. We had taken them dress shopping and they both picked the same dress.
Our family. Don't we look happy? Regyn especially glows. 
Grandma Conger came all the way from Logan.

Uncle Tracy came from Logan, too. This girl is loved.
The Primary gave her this beautiful, embroidered towel.  So sweet.

These pictures always bring tears to my eyes. All in white. I'm so grateful my husband can perform this special ordinance.

I kind of mess this picture up, not being in white, but I couldn't help wanting one of  the three of us together. She smiled that big beautiful smile all day.
This might be my favorite picture. These two darling girls all ready to be baptized. I love it.
The room was full of lots of Nates (my side of the family), including many small children, so I wouldn't necessarily call it the most reverent meeting I've been in, but it was full of love and support and the spirit, so how could it get better than that? My favorite part might have been the closing song, which was pretty much a disaster. All of the Nate cousins sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me," a beautiful Primary song about thinking and acting as if Jesus Christ were standing right next to you. The only problem was that we had never rehearsed it and our dear, sweet pianists hadn't either, so it was choppy and imperfect to say the least. It makes me smile just thinking about it. But that's what is so great about life in general--all the imperfections that just make it memorable. The day was truly wonderful.

We had a family dinner (remember that huge sandwich we had picked up?) in the cultural hall afterwards and then played with the cousins for a few hours before trekking back home with wonderful memories of a special day filling our hearts and minds. In truth, I was grateful it was all over because I was exhausted by all the travel and all the work these kind of events entail, but as we drove home, I couldn't help but think of how much I love this sweet little blonde girl. Regyn is feisty and demanding and a bit dramatic at times. But she's also sweet to the very core and obedient and has the best hug of anyone I know. She's the first one to family scripture reading every morning, the first one ready for church every Sunday, the first one to volunteer to help. She is smart and kind and efficient. This girl knows what she wants and she is going to get it. I'm so grateful she is mine. She is teaching me so much.

And so I will close this very long post simply by saying how grateful I am for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that binds families together forever because I just never want to be without mine (even if we want to throw each other in snow banks on occasion:). Such a simple statement but it holds the most important promise of all time. My life is truly blessed and events like this are great reminders of just how much.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Write? Personal Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I write this blog. In the beginning I did it to improve my writing skills. I was told to find something I was passionate about and start blogging about it regularly so I could get lots of writing practice, so I did. It's funny to me now that it was so hard to find something to say at first. I would sit at the computer and rack my brain about what I could possibly write about. Now I sit down and have to go through a mental list of all I want to record, knowing I don't have time to put down everything I want to write. How did I get to this point? And what is the point anyway?

The truth is, I don't even know who reads this darn thing. In fact, I often wonder if anyone does, except that the stats tell me people do. There is hardly ever a comment, which I understand because many people simply subscribe to blogs on a reader and it takes more work to comment. I guess what I'm getting at is that, although I have this hope deep inside that my words and my experiences as a mother, whether good or bad (because there's both), will somehow inspire someone out there or help them through a difficult stage or discouraging day, I really just write what is in my heart and I record our lives because I want my children to know some day that being their mother was the most important thing to me.

I promised myself when I started writing that I wasn't going to write a bunch of fluff (although sometimes I probably fail at this), that I was going to be real about things. I think that is so important. For one thing, motherhood is downright hard. And I can't see it benefitting my girls someday to read only the good stuff and think that I breezed right through it all and wonder what is wrong with them when they are struggling with the newborn stage or potty training, or whatever it might be. For another thing, I'm hoping to see growth in myself through this journey, and if I don't shoot straight through it all, it's going to be pretty hard to see the change, and that is so important to me.

Sometimes I have born my soul a bit (kind of like today), wondering if I should share such personal feelings through an avenue such as this, but then I realized that if my desire was to be "real," I had to trust my readers, whoever they may be, enough to share some of my deepest fears and inadequacies and failures as a woman and a mother, knowing they are all part of the process of becoming. I've had plenty of moments and days when I've felt like I was doing it all wrong, when I've felt uninspired and under-qualified and absolutely overwhelmed. I've thrown plenty of fits, slammed plenty of doors and gone on plenty of drives to calm my nerves when I haven't known what else to do. I've thrown my hands up in the air, cussed and even stomped my feet a few times in complete and utter frustration. Yes, I have felt the angst, the discouragement, and the helplessness that motherhood entails at times.

But that is not what I want to focus on either. I don't want to sit down at my computer and vent about everything that is going wrong because, let's face it, who wants to read that? I certainly don't. And the truth is, although there aren't any perfect days happening around here, life is pretty darn good, and I do prefer to focus on the good. My kids do fight and tattle and nitpick at each other, but they also laugh together and compliment each other and help each other out. And we go to bed happy each night. To me, that's a pretty good life, and so I want to record it.

Hallee tried helping Nate with his tie one Sunday and this is how it turned out. We laughed and laughed.

So simple but a regular picture in our home. Berkley has brought so much love.

I want to record how much I love them. I have  such deep feelings about my children and I want to write them down because I just don't know if I will remember the specifics of them one day, especially at certain moments. I want to record some of our daily living, not because it's anything monumental but because I think it will mean a lot to them some day. And I want to record some of the mothering methods I try--not because I think I am so amazing that I feel the world needs to benefit from my brilliant ideas--but because I have learned so much from other women who have shared ideas with me, and so I hope someone might glean something from an idea or something I share.

Good day at our house. Got in the shower and found this note on the wall.

Not so good day. Went to the grocery store looking like this and the poor girl fell asleep in the cart.  I did not look like a great mother this day.

I think as women we have so much we can learn from each other. I am constantly amazed by the strengths of women all around me and those I meet! Seriously. But I think it can be overwhelming if we don't know who we are and remember our own individual strengths. It's easy to get caught up in the "compare snare" and compare ourselves with others, which of course never works because we see others at their best and compare ourselves at our worst. The truth is we are all amazing in our own way. We are all beautiful. We all have strengths the world needs, especially our own families. Your children need YOU and they want YOU--not the neighbor lady, no matter how skinny she is or how clean her house is or how beautiful her nails are.  Kids don't even care about stuff like that.

I actually stopped reading blogs for the most part a couple of years ago--mostly because I felt it was taking too much of my time, but also because sometimes I found myself thinking less of myself after reading about some amazing thing another woman did. So silly, right? I had to get a hold of myself right then and there. I now only read a couple of blogs I find worth my time to read (and they are written by some down-to-earth, yet amazing, ordinary women) and just allow myself to enjoy them and learn from them, rather than get discouraged by them.

I hope that's what my blog can do for whoever reads it. I hope it makes you laugh at times. I hope it makes you cry. I hope it makes you realize you are not alone in your motherhood journey, whatever stage you are in. I hope it makes you want to read more. And I hope through reading, you come to know that I am just an ordinary woman who aspires to become an extraordinary mother some day. Not because I hope to be famous or anything, but because I have been blessed with five children that I love from the deepest corners of my heart and I just feel that one of my main purposes here in this life is to lead them and guide them and help them become the best that is within them, and it's going to take extraordinary effort to do so. But they are worth it.

Biggest banana split ever! Happy memory.

And so I write this blog. And it has actually come to mean so much to me, which I guess is why I keep writing. Sometimes I take a minute and read a post from way back and I just smile, remembering the moment, and I realize how precious it is that I recorded it in just that way. In my journal I share intimate thoughts and other details of life, but here I share what makes motherhood memorable. . . and it seems to be about everything. Plus, I love that I can share pictures and use slang language, like "for goodness sake" and "I tell you," and start a lot of sentences with the word "and." So ironically, my writing is only getting worse instead of better.

But I think I at least know what I write this blog.

It's for my children.

Of course! They are are the reason for so many things (including the grey hair I'm starting to get, but I won't go into that).

Good thing I love them so darn much.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catching Up---Nate's Birthday 2013

However lame this is, I have to combine a few things just so they get recorded, so here goes.

Nate turned 11 on January 8 (yes, I realize that was like, seven weeks ago or something). What I cannot believe is that he is so quickly approaching the teenage years and will be receiving the priesthood his next birthday. Wow! We have some preparing to do, that's for sure. But, I just have to say, this is one great kid. He's far from perfect, and some days I have a hard time not using the word "jerk" when describing his attitude and behavior (was that too honest? sorry, but I think boys this age just have a tendency to act. . . well, like jerks sometimes, or at least this one does), but man alive, he is full of so much goodness, and I just keep telling myself that my job as his mother is to help foster that goodness so that he learns to become that person I know he can become.

Here he is with his cousin, Kamille. They are so darn cute. They have been close since they were little.

 For instance, Nate is the kid who will clean the entire house while he babysits just to surprise me. Or he will bring me breakfast in bed. This is a picture of him making Sunday dinner a few weeks ago. So sweet. It's moments like this that make a lump form in my throat because I have hope he will become like the man standing right there next to him--his Dad. And nothing would make me happier.

sorry--a bit blurry, but you get the picture

love that smile!

This year wasn't a bit party year (I only give my kids parties when they turn 5, 8, 12, and 16), so we just did something simple. I am all about simple, I tell you. Nate said he wanted cheesecake for his birthday cake, and I'm pretty sure his hope was that I would make one, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. I can't even remember the reason now (although I'm sure it was a good one--LOL), but I ended up buying him one that looked super fancy and delicious--and tasted pretty awful!

 Nate tried to be nice about it. But darn it, that cheesecake just didn't have much flavor at all, and it had to be disappointing. I still owe that kid a cheesecake and had better make it up to him before his next birthday.

I love how he acts like it has the best aroma ever!

You have to admit--it looks delicious.

Not sure what this picture is about, but it makes me laugh. I especially love Halle's face in the background.

Anyway, I sure love this kid. He's all kinds of fun. He can always make me laugh and he's taken a huge step in the way of responsibility this year, which just makes me so happy. Now if he could just train himself to sit still during Sacrament meeting. . . Okay, Okay. Can't have it all. We have all year to work on that one. And believe me, we are working on it. Right now, we are trying five minutes at a time. That's right. Five minutes. And no, he can't do it yet. Actually, I hate to use the word "can't." He's just way out of practice. It's a great goal for this year, though.

I think most people look at Nate and the first think they think of is that he's great at sports, which he is. (Truthfully, he's so good sometimes it scares me because I think it could become a curse, and I never want it to go to his head. As much fun as it is to see him excel in athletics, in my heart, I want other things so much more for him--like moral integrity and honesty and cleanliness. Although I love sports, they are definitely not what matter most to me, and I hope we can maintain a good balance as he grows older. It's crazy how many coaches have already approached us about him at the ripe old age of barely 11. I hope we can keep our heads about us).

Anyway, Nate is so much more than just a sporty guy. So I just want to end by mentioning a few things I appreciate about him most. And I'm not even going to mention his athletic ability. He's a hard worker. When he decides to do something, there's no stopping him. He's self-motivated. He will ask Dan and me to get him up at 6:00 in the morning to work out to get better at something. I think that's pretty incredible. He thinks of others. He will shovel our walks and then, without being asked, shovel the neighbor's across the street. He has the best sense of humor and can laugh at himself. I love that! He takes care of school work--I never have to worry about it. He decided he was going to get perfect grades and he has done it. Period. Nate is a leader. I sat in awe at his last SEP conference when I realized for the first time the leadership role he has played in his fifth grade class this year. Listening to his teacher get choked up as she expressed sincere admiration for my son left me speechless as I swallowed a lump in my own throat. He also has a soft heart. I hope that never changes. Have I mentioned how much I love this kid?

I am so grateful for what I continuously learn from my children. I am blessed to be their mother. We are learning together. It is a precious life.

It's Official

It's Official. I am no longer Utah's Young Mother of the Year.


That's about all I can say. I didn't realize until it was officially over what a weight I felt bearing this title. I don't know if it's that I felt scrutiny from others so much as that I constantly felt it from myself. It was jus so easy to think, "Now is that really something the 'Mother of the Year' would do?" And though I'll admit it was good in the fact it made me even more deliberate in my mothering, it feels great to give myself a little more room to breathe.

Truthfully, the experience has been a tremendous blessing to me. I have had the privilege and opportunity of rubbing shoulders with extraordinary women and mothers from all over the country, and especially from the state of Utah, and they have inspired me! I have grown through speaking engagements and assignments, and I have come to know even more deeply that motherhood is what it's all about. It is what matters most at this time in my life, and it is what I need to be wearing out my days and time doing. I'm so grateful for the privilege of being a mother!

And so now, let me introduce you to Utah's new Young Mother of the Year for 2013. Her name is Michelle Lenhardt, and she is from Salt Lake City, Utah. Truthfully, I do not know this incredible woman--yet. But I am looking forward to learning more about her because I understand she is worth knowing. Due to the fact I was in Hawaii on a little girls' get-away with my in-laws, I missed the Selection Luncheon and don't even have pictures to share (so lame, I know), but I do have her blog link, so take a minute to check this out: Congratulations, Michelle! Great things lie ahead!

And I just want to say one more thing as I close this very simple post. No matter who you are or whether you are a mother of many children or one, I hope you know that you are just as qualified to be the "Mother of the Year" as I am, or any of us who have ever been selected. I think I was chosen because motherhood means so much to me and because I was willing to be a representative of the American Mothers organization. That could be anyone. I guess what I'm saying is this: be your own "Mother of the Year" in your own special way. You don't need to be selected by an organization to be a great mother. To your children, you are everything--you are the Mother of the Year. I promise you that. Don't doubt it. You may have disastrous moments and rough days (believe me, I've had more than I can count), but you are still the mother they would choose above every other mother out there. And that makes you not just the "Mother of the Year" but the "Mother of a Lifetime."

Who could ask to be more than that?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What Love Is

It pains me that it has been over a month since I have been at my computer to write. So much has happened, including two children's birthdays. I can't even count the posts I've written in my head over the past month, wishing myself to the keyboard to record precious thoughts and feelings over moments I don't want to forget. And yet those moments have passed, and I cannot recall them now. But today, no matter how far behind I am due to the fact that I have been out of town for a week due to a Hawaii vacation (which I will hopefully share more about later), I am pushing it all aside to write something too important to forget. And it's so fitting for today anyway. After all, it's Valentine's Day, and this is a love story.

Yesterday I saw firsthand what love is. I attended the funeral of a man who would have been 91 years old if only he had lived three more days. It was not a large funeral by the world's standards, yet it was one of the most beautiful ones I've ever attended because every word spoken was so truly representative of this man and the full life he lived. He loved horses and trading cars; he loved garage sales; he worked in all sorts of various jobs and tinkered around building different projects; he was meticulous in his work; he was faithful in his beliefs; he was prayerful and honest. To me, though, the most remarkable thing about his life was that there was someone right by his side through every thing he did--right until the very end--his wife of nearly 72 years, my grandmother.

Stanley Nate--I wish this picture was better and that I had one of my grandmother. Beautiful people.

 I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to even imagine living 72 years, let alone being married that long. Most couples don't live to celebrate that anniversary, but my grandparents had a very special kind of love. I honestly can't count the number of times we wondered if we would lose one of them due to one health concern or another, but love prevailed and brought the other back each time. When my grandmother had a massive heart attack, followed by a stroke many years ago, the family thought for sure this might change things forever. Grandpa had to learn to do things for himself he had never done before, like comb his own hair and get his own breakfast (Grandma loved to wait on people), and we thought it might be the end of them both, but instead, it just made them both stronger.

Theirs is not the typical love story. At least not in the beginning. My grandma's mother was not a lover of Mormons and so my grandparents decided to do the only thing they could at the time--elope. With my grandpa's mother and my grandma's brother as witnesses, they drove to the nearest courthouse 40 miles away and were married by the judge there. As unromantic as it may sound, they then went home to their respective homes, my grandpa with his mother and my grandma with her brother. They didn't even live in the same town, so they only saw each other on weekends. They lived this way for the first five or six months of their marriage, keeping it a secret from my grandma's parents as long as they could. When they finally did decide to live as  a married couple, they were then sealed together in the Logan temple. However crazy this beginning to a marriage sounds, it must have worked! They stayed faithfully together for ove seven decades afterwards!

I had the privilege of living with my grandparents for a few months while attending Beauty School in Logan before I was married. I have wonderful memories of Grandma's gourmet breakfasts and her sack lunches. All my friends at school gathered around me every day at lunch to see what she had packed for me. She loves to bake and always had wonderful food for me. Grandpa's favorite movie at the time was "Pure Country." He used to watch it over and over and cry at the climax every time. I think it's because he he was a true cowboy at heart and appreciated a good love story when he saw it. I'm so grateful for those memories.

Two weeks ago I was just getting into bed when I got an unexpected phone call from my dad. He told me my grandpa would probably not live through the next day. I had just taken some pretty hefty medication that would normally prevent me from driving, but I knew I could not risk missing the chance to say goodbye to this great man. I showered, offered a prayer for my safety and drove to the hospital in Logan, arriving just before midnight. It is a decision I will always be grateful I made. I walked into a scene I have witnessed many times before--my grandmother sitting by my grandpa's bedside. And beside her, my Aunt Colleen, who has tirelessly taken care of everyone her whole life. What amazing women!

My father soon arrived and I had the privilege of hearing my grandfather whisper his love to us. He then took my grandmother's hand in his and lovingly winked at her. It was the most precious scene I think I have ever witnessed. I will never forget that moment. I told my grandpa how much I loved him and he cried. He didn't actually leave us that night but passed away one week later. I just know that in a hospital bed on a cold winter's night in February, I witnessed what love is.

a little closer --this is so beautiful to me

And yesterday at a funeral I saw it all over again as my grandmother, completely worn out, sat at her usual place--right by my grandpa's side. I looked at her and couldn't help but wonder what she would possibly do with her time now that her sweetheart is no longer physically with her. It seemed like a light had gone out inside her and my heart just ached for her. For the first time ever, this strong amazing woman seemed frail and oh, so lonely. I mean, what does one do who has just lost a spouse of 72 years, really?

And so today, on Valentine's Day, I am so grateful to know love in my life--to have people of my own to love and to have people who love me. And I'm especially grateful today for two people who, through 72 years of undying commitment to each other, taught me what love is.