This week, three people that have meant the world to my family have passed away. One due to old age. Hers was a life well lived. Only knowing her in her later years provided some sweet memories and opportunities for service that we may not have known otherwise. From her I learned to have gratitude and endure to the end. If she could do it, then I didn’t have an excuse. How very much my children loved to serve her. The small acts of kindness they performed for her are some of their treasured memories. My sweet, sweet Sister Noble.
The others, a tragic car accident. It has caused me to reflect on what they have taught me and my family over the years. Not only were we friends with all of their children, but their grandkids were my kids’ best friends. Countless hours were spent with this family having fun, serving in callings in our church, and being good neighbors. We have known them for over 20 years.
Here are a few of the things they have taught my family. And me.
Service to others, and loving those you served. Be a good example to others That by doing so, you show others your love for your Savior. Love unconditionally. Especially your family.
But, I wanted to also share a things I have learned from my own experience: Angels are real. They are your parents, and other loved ones who have gone on. They will be by your side more than you know. And they will continue ot watch over you.
They aren’t really gone. You just can’t see them. Those sealing powers that binds you to them are very tangible right now. Never forget that feeling. Sometimes, you will just KNOW the veil is so thin, that all you need to do is be able to move it to see them.
God knows each of you and desires to bless you. Look for those blessings everyday in your life. How amazing it is to know that we will see them again. And it is sooner than we think.
What an amazing legacy your parents left for you, and for those of us who loved them, too. Thank you for sharing them with us. There is peace on the other side of brave. So be brave.
Since our 2 year mark for losing Laney is here, I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned since we lost her. I miss her so much. I will admit that things have gotten a little softer. A little easier, even. But it is still there every day. Every minute. The emotions just under the surface. Waiting to break through and roll down my face. And I get emotional for a bit, and then put on my stoic face and keep on moving forward.
1. God knows us. Intimatley. He knows what we need. He allows our loved ones to watch over us and intervene on our behalf. One of the things He desires is to bless us. I have seen so many blessings come to our family. Usually through other people. But not always.
2. God has a plan for my life. I KNOW it. He also has a plan for Laney’s life. He can see the big picture and knows what we need. He also knows that if we saw the entire plan at once, it would be overwhelming. So He shows it to us little by little. Line upon line, precept by precept. There are many times I have wished to see how this all comes together. But I know that I must have faith and that when I am ready, my Heavenly Father will reveal just a little more to me.
3. Perspective. Wow, has my perspective changed. I sometimes see immediately what other people need and because of my own experiences, can act upon that with compassion. I see life in an eternal perspective now. I can see what matters, and what doesn’t. I have immediate empathy for those who are having struggles. I have been put in this position for a reason. Helping others going through similar trials is one of those things.
4. Carry on. Sometimes it is not an easy thing to do. But it is something we must do. We have to continue on in moving forward with our lives. All the while knowing that we will be helped by others around us and by others on the other side of the veil who are cheering us on and helping to bless our lives. We are definitely not alone in our struggles.
5. Look for the blessings everyday. One of the biggest things that has helped me over the last two years is looking for the blessings every day in my life. Sometimes they are small. And sometimes they are so big that you cannot deny that they come from Heavenly Father.
How grateful I am to a loving father in Heaven who knows ME. Who loves ME. Who knows what I need before I know what to ask for.
Photo by Josh Munns
4 years. That is how long it has been since we have taken a family picture. For our family…taking family pictures is a big deal. It is a huge process in getting everyone to agree on colors, themes, and places. It takes us months to get everything together and be ready.
In fact, we were trying to get everything together when we lost Laney. She wanted us to dress as Avengers. No wear Avengers. Dress like them. I vetoed that pretty quickly. No way was I putting on an Avengers costume. Laney assured me that I could be Rogue. I was NOT wearing a skin tight outfit. No way.
So after a lot of thought and time, we decided we were ready to do family pictures. I will not lie. We struggled with how to take family pictures when some in the family were not present. One is obvious why, the other not so much. The only thing we knew was that they couldn’t be there. Someone mentioned to me that family pictures are a snapshot of this time period in your life. That made so much sense to me.
Brynna and I came up with the idea of doing Avengers shirts, partly because it was cool, but also because it was incorporating something Laney wanted before. So everyone picked their favorite Avenger and we got a shirts. Wade came up with a Captain America action figure and a street shark to represent those who weren’t there. And he stood in Laney’s place as they were waiting for the photographer to be ready. And then he took off running, leaving an open spot and four girls laughing. He made is so much easier for us to take pictures with part of the family missing.
But the amazing thing is who took the pictures and the story behind it. His name is Josh Munns. I barely know him, but I know his parents very well. We know a handful of people that could have taken the pictures, and all do an amazing job. But for some reason, we knew that Josh should be the one to take them.
The only problem was that Josh was busy working 16 hour days. But we asked anyway. He told us he was too busy, and that he could refer us to someone. But not ten minutes later, he said he would do it. I can’t explain why I felt so much like Josh needed to do them. But I am grateful that he did. Grateful that he put up with our antics. That he laughed at our action figures. That he gave us something amazing when we were so emotional about doing our first family pictures without Laney. He is one of my heroes.
He captured it perfectly. Especially the fact that we are doing okay. That things have gotten softer. Easier in a way. What do you think?