Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Devastation and Miracles

Is it possible for your heart to break, and rejoice at the same time?

A couple weeks ago we got word that there was a fire in Sierra Vista Arizona.  Doc is from Sierra Vista, and his parents still live there.

Shortly after we were married we were lucky enough to rent a beautiful little home deep in Ash Canyon from a doctor (I'll  call him Dr. H) in our church.  He had lived there while he and his family built their dream home just down the road.

I admit that moving to the seclusion of Ash Canyon was a bit of an adjustment for this Phoenix girl... but it didn't take long to fall in love with the quiet.  I used to carry my wash out to a clothes line in a little fenced in yard, and take my time as I hung our laundry out to dry.  It wasn't uncommon for deer to walk by and stare at me, as I stared back at them.

There was a large car port area stacked full of hay for Dr. H's horses, and the deer loved to come every morning and steal some breakfast. 

Occasionally we would have the surprise of havalina.  One of the havalina actually popped the tire of the '57 Chevy that Doc and his brother built (which unfortunately we no longer have). 

We woke up one morning to find our garbage strewn all over the front yard, and the sliding glass door screen completely ripped up, and balled up like a discarded piece of paper.  Upon further inspection we found a large bear paw print about face high on the glass of our door!  I was totally paranoid going out the next morning to clean up the trash... I fully expected to be attacked by a bear!

Sierra Vista holds so many memories for us.  Droid was born there and spent the first couple of years of his life in that little house. 

One winter we couldn't afford to buy any propane to heat the house, so Doc and I make a fire in the fireplace, brought in a couple of space heaters, and hung up blankets to keep the warmth in living room.  We dragged in our mattress, and camped out there for a while.  It's true that not having much money is hard, and it's a struggle... but it definitely does bring you closer.

There was one really cold week that we knew we needed to get little baby Droid to a warmer place, so we stayed a couple nights at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  When we came home we found a piece of glass broken out of our front door... and muddy footprints on the carpet!  The room had been gone through, and the Nintendo '64 (which was pretty awesome at the time) was missing, and so was a big jar of pennies... but hey... they set the VCR for us!

Beyond the house we had to live in, we had family. 

Every Sunday we would go and have dinner with Doc's parents... no one can cook a better roast!  We would stay up late at their house to hear Doc's little sister's report on a church dance she just came home from.  "It was just ... magical!"

And then there was our friends. 

Doc and his friends Ryan and Nathan grew up together in Ryan's garage working on old hot rods.  They built several Mustangs, a '57 Chevy Bell Air ( I got to put in the #3 piston in the '57's 327!)  a '67 Chevelle (that they sold to Phil Mickelson), and of course our favorite was Doc's '64 Chevy II Nova.  While I was pregnant with Droid I used to sit on a stack of tires in the garage and read with the smell of wet sanding and bondo while the boys worked. 

Cherie and Liz moved in and lived with Dr. H's family for a time.  Cherie was going through a divorce.  She was a new convert to the church and didn't really know many people.  Liz was an exchange student from Mexico, and she didn't speak much English at first, but she was a blast to be around. 

Nathan served a two year mission in South America so he could speak Spanish was became Liz's translator.  We all became the best of friends... and we got to watch as love bloomed between Liz and Nathan, and Cherie and Ryan.

Before Doc and I had to move we all met up at a favorite restaurant Ricardo's for a farewell dinner.  It was full of inside jokes and laughter.  Before we all drove away that night we all stood in a circle in a big group hug.  It was a beautiful warm summer night.  I will never forget that moment.

I will never forget the day we had to pack up to move to Mesa so Doc could continue his education at ASU.  Once the Uhaul was loaded and the house was empty I sat on the floor by the fireplace and took a final look around remembering all the great times we had there.

And I cried.

The memory of that little house, and the lesson's we learned from Dr. H got us through the hard times of medical school. 

When Doc decided that he wanted to pursue a medical degree we went over to visit Dr. H and his wife in their gorgeous home.  It was around 8000 square feet, with huge wooden front doors that Dr. H carved beautiful designs into.  Dr. H is a great wood worker and he literally built most of his house himself.  It was a work of art, but what was even more inspiring about his home was his family. 

They have three of the sweetest, hard working kids I've ever met.  His oldest daughter drove the old truck to school... which broke down in front of our little house a couple of times.  She never complained and thought that her dad should buy her a new car... she knew that if she wanted something in life she needed to work for it.  Every morning and evening one of their kids would come over and feed the horses, and then hike up the mountain to feed the parrots that they breeded.  These kids are hard working, humble and just plain good kids.

Anyway, while we were talking to the H's, they gave us a few words of wisdom that doc and I continually remind each other of.

Ten years is going to come and go one way or another... the question is... where do you want to be at the end of those ten years?

Doc and I have been married for over 11 years now, and by the time we are done with residency it will be 14 years.  There are times that we think that our struggle will never end, and then we remember the H's promise that if we can just get through the schooling it will be worth it in the end.

We've often talked about the possibility of maybe buying land and building a home in Ash Canyon when we are done with residency.

A couple of weeks ago we heard about the fire in Sierra Vista. 

And I watched and cried all through a news clip of Dr. H describing how he and his wife watched as the fire got closer and closer to their home, and they finally looked at each other and knew it was time to go.  He said he made it to the bottom of Ash Canyon road when he heard his house blow up.  I'm thinking it was the propane.  Their son said on facebook, "Well... at least the house went out with a bang."

Ash Canyon is gone now.

The little house full of memories is gone.

My heart is mourning for the change... and breaking for Dr. H's loss. 

I can't begin to comprehend what they have lost.  I'm devastated for them.

A week ago we heard that the winds grew to over 50 miles per hour and blew the fire way out of control.  And it headed toward Doc's parents home.

And by the grace of God their home was spared.

Doc's parents live on the left side of the little hill on the left side of this picture.  The fire actually did come around the hill, but stoped at a little dirt road near their property line.  Thankfully the winds died down before it traveled any further.  The little hill served as a great barrier and seamed to have hindered the fire just long enough to save their home.

Ash Canyon is burned.  Ricardo's is burned.  But the firefighters did a miraculous job saving all the homes in Miller Canyon, which the fire burned through... how they did it... I don't know. 

I'm devastated for the loss of so many... but rejoice that much was still spared.

My prayers are still with Dr. H and his family.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finding the Time

I have to admit that I'm struggling. 

Not in the physical or mental way (though I'm sure there are those who would love to make a joke or two about that)... but I'm struggling finding the time to write. 

I love writing.

I love sitting in a quiet room and reading my thoughts as they pour through my fingers.  Sometimes I feel like every time I sit behind my laptop I get to know myself a little better.  Writing somehow helps me channel my thoughts so they aren't flying in a million directions.  It helps me focus.  I guess it's my way to just focus on myself.

My problem right now is that summer vacation has started for my boys, and we are having way too much fun staying up late watching shows like, "America's Got Talent", "Wipe-out", and "Minute to Win it" so by the time they go to bed it's about 10:00... or 11:00... and I've got to get to bed so I'm awake for little baby Owen's drop off at 6:00am.

I suppose my priorities are right.  I'm focusing on spending time with my family and we are definitely enjoying our time together, but I'm missing my "me" time with my blog. 

I'm not sure if there is a perfect answer to my problem.  I seam to be burning the candle at both ends with going to be so late and waking up so early I'm barely getting enough sleep, so as much as I scratch my brain I just can't find the time in my day to commit to just me and my blog. 

So reader, If you have any suggestions on where in the day I might find time to write, please give me some ideas.  I want to keep up my blog... but just don't know how I can do it all.

Tomorrow I'm taking all 5 of my kids strawberry picking.  Wish me luck, and hopefully I'll have some pictures to share with you soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fairy Princess' and the Best of Friends

The hardest part about leaving medical school was being separated from all our friends that we became so close too.  There were 4 other couples that we can easily say became an extended family to us.  We were really lucky that the Carter’s matched into residency in Columbus, only 2 hours away from us, and the Branscomb’s just moved to Detroit to finish the last 2 years of their program… which is about 3 hours from us.
So, when the Carter’s threw their little girl Grace a Fairy Princess 3rd Birthday Party we all took it as an opportunity for a 2 year reunion… and for our little girls to get together for some Princess time.

This is Carie and Janie.  I know… they are both gorgeous.  They are also amazing friends and mothers.  Seeing them again was awesome.  It was like no time had gone by.  We just talked and laughed… and laughed some more.

The Princess party was adorable!  It started with Carie reading the kids a story about a little girl who became a fairy princess for the day.  Then all the girls received their fairy wings, and magic wands, and a bag of pixy dust. 

We all headed outside and they girls “flew” around the yard spreading their pixy dust, helping the flowers grow.  Adorable!    

Then they all came inside and made some “fairy princess houses” out of cupcakes, and tons of candy toppings.
This was about the time that the sugar rush set in for my Little Princess.  J

There were so many picture perfect moments with the sunlight glowing off the winds of little angels wings, but my favorite moment wasn’t the what I saw, it was what I heard.  3 residents laughing… really hard… for the first time in 2 years I heard Doc really laughing.  I really wish that these guys could get together more often… they need each other.
The Birthday party was definitely the best I’ve ever been too.  Everything was so much fun, for the kids… and the parents.  And I have to point out that Carie made the amazing cake all by herself!

Oz’s favorite part of the party was pigging out on the “Pixy” sticks.... and getting to see Grace... Carie and I have them both betrothed... it's decided.  J 

After the party my Little Princess ran upstairs with Grace and Sophee to play dress up.  They all came downstairs and did a few little fashion shows for us, and then we heard them upstairs laughing so hard.  Carie, Janie and I snuck up, camera in hand, and peaked into see what they were up too.  We found them all laying on the bed throwing the blankets over their heads, and laughing as they kicked the blankets off them.  This went on and on for some time, and us mom’s just stood by the door laughing with them as these little girls bonded.  It’s neat to see these little girls developing friendship that will continue to grow and develop more and more, year after year as the med school gang gets together throughout the years.

When the time came it was hard to say “good-bye” and go our separate ways again.  The only thing that could have made it any better was if the Baugh’s and Davis’ could have been there with us to make it a true med school reunion.

Thank you Gracie for giving us an amazing gift for your Birthday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tile by Tile

Oh my gosh, I'm so frustrated!  Blogger isn't letting me upload any pictures!  I've tried everything I can think of, but NOTHING is working.  grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
Okay... here is my post... minus the pictures.  Sorry...

One of the many projects that Doc and I knocked out over the past week was tiling the kitchen and the hall bathroom. 
We had some linoleum in there that looked okay, but it had some scratches and even a small burn mark on it left from a refrigerator repair man.
Doc thought tile would really make the house look much nicer… and hopefully up the value of it when it comes time to sell in a couple of years.

We got really lucky because when we ripped up the linoleum we found that the previous owner was smart and laid it on backboard, so we didn’t have to buy or screw in backboard.  There were a few spots that we screwed in a little tighter, but we really didn’t have to do much beyond that to prep for tiling.
It took a little while to find tiles that we liked, but finally we agreed on some that we liked, and that would  We were really excited to lay those first tiles!
It took some time to cut all the tiles, lay them and grout it all, but it was worth it.  The kitchen looks amazing!  I love the way the tile turned out!

Cleaning up all the dust from the grout took several cleanings.

And I’m brilliant and didn’t take a picture of the kitchen and bathroom all cleaned up!  I’ll try to remember to do that tomorrow.

Feeling that clean, smooth, cool tile on my feet in the morning is wonderful.  I love how nice it all looks, but more than that I’m so proud that we did it together.  I think that for Doc and I, a house isn’t really a home until we have added our own touch to it. 

We are building our home together … in every way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Holding onto Dandelions

It wasn't very long ago, not in my eyes at least,
you used to bring me dandelions and blow them in the breeze.

Your smile would come alive as you gave handfuls to me,
and whisper "Mom, I love you!” it was my favorite sight to see.

It’s been a while sense you’ve done that, but today you gave a surprise,
a precious yellow flower, a youthful gleam behind your eyes.

As the clock hands change positions, somehow the movement changed you too.
Now you bring me Lego creations and drawings made by you.

Someday you will be dating girls, and playing sports for fun,
Maybe you will be like me and find your feet and run.

The day will come when you will leave, your mission to discover,
And as you go I will know I’ve done my job as ‘Mother’.

Just as a dandelion peddles start out yellow firm, secure,
the time slowly changes them to white and fluffy fur.

And as the wind starts blowing, they feel the urge to go,
and explore the world around them away from the stem of home.

So you are slowly changing, and one day I'll set you free.
But for now I'm holding tightly to the dandelions you bring me.

-Rebecca Evans

Monday, May 16, 2011


Despite the throbbing headache that is threatening to blow up my brain I've decided that I can't miss another day of my blog.  I've made too many excuses and justifications lately that I'm starting to have a hard time sleeping because I feel like I'm neglecting my 4th child called "blog".

I'm not going to waste your time (or my brain) thinking up excuses... I'm going to let the past go, and do my best to post something from now on.

I really want to write about our trip to DC.  Though it was only just over a week ago, it feels like much longer due to the home renovations that we've been under going sense we've been back... but there I go slipping in an excuse...

Instead of throwing it all in one post I think I'm going to have to break it up into different sections of the trip.

On Sunday morning we visited Arlington National Cemetery. 

Seeing the rows and rows of white tombstones was very sobering. 

 While we were there we would periodically hear bells ringing, and then I found an inscription on a plaque that said, "While these bells ring safely rest, freedom lives."
While there we were also able to watch the changing of the guard in front of the the tomb of the unknown soldier.  It was very moving to see how perfectly executed the changing was, and how serious they took their duty. 

I'm so grateful for all the soldiers who are currently serving our country, and all those who came before.  Those who fought and returned, and those who gave their lives.  If it weren't for them who knows where our country would be.  I doubt I would be able to write so freely in my blog if it weren't for the freedom that they fought for.

There are so many freedoms that we take so forgranted.  I hope to never forget to be grateful for the country which I'm so blessed to live in.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What a Trip!

The last few days were amazing.

The kids and I were able to tag-a-long with Doc to Washington DC for the annual ACOG meeting.  It was the first family vacation that we were able to take in 5 years.  The last time we took a vacation Oz was 2 years old and in diapers ~ he doesn't remember it.

We saw so many fun and amazing things while in DC and I wanted to share some of them with you!

The White House was just down the road from our hotel so it was definitely our first stop on our walking tour of DC.  The kids were pretty excited to see the big white building.

But I think they were a little more excited about the extremely friendly squirrel that came up to say "Hi" to them.

The boys favorite monument was the Washington monument.  They were fascinated by how tall it was.

We had to have a little photo op in front of the monument.

The boys turned into little super heroes and held up the monument for a little while. 

The Lincoln Memorial... they were working on the reflection pool.

The kids also loved hanging out at the Air and Space Smithsonian Museum.

The Wright brothers airplane.

The capital building.

We were so exhausted by the time we got to the Natural History Museum that we just shot a couple pictures and had to head back to the hotel.

What was really funny was that night as we were flipping through the channels "Night at the Museum" part 2 about the Natural History Museum was on the TV.  What a coincidence... we would have watched it... if the kids were still awake.

I'll write more about the trip later... I'm going to have to break up the story of our visit to DC because I've been so stinking busy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dancing in the Streets!

Wow!  What a day … or night to be in Washington DC!  Doc and I were watching “West Coast Customs”
when we heard a group of people drive by honking their horns and yelling out the windows.  We couldn’t tell what they were saying, but you could hear the excitement in their voices.  I figured that their team just won a big game or something and ignored it.  Then another car drove by doing the same.  We looked out our hotel room window and saw across the street that many people in the apartment building were also peering through their windows.  As we were getting up to look out the window accidently flipped the channel to CNN and there was the news:

President Obama made his official announcement shortly after.  It is an amazing feeling to be sitting in a hotel literally 5 blocks directly behind the White House, and to be able to hear from here the occasional cheer from the ever growing crowd wafting through the air. 
As I looked out the window more and more people started hitting the streets walking toward the White House and yelling and cheering and honking horns as they went. 

0501 bin laden reax 3

I wanted to join them so bad… but I had three sleeping children happily oblivious to the joy that the death of this evil man has brought to the world.

It took me a while to finally peal my eyes off the news of the spontaneous celebrations busting out in Times Square and Ground Zero, but I knew that I had to get some sleep… whether I liked it or not the children would be up and ready to go in the morning, and I was going to have to be awake enough to watch them.

At around 2:00am I finally drifted off to sleep to the sounds of air horns, car horns, and cheering.

I’m making the boys work on their homework this morning while Doc is at his convention, and once they are done we are going to walk over to the White House and join in the experience there. 

What an amazing time to be in Washington DC.  It is not often that there are parties and cheering and celebrating in the streets here rather than protests and tension.  I’m so grateful that my children and I get to be here for this amazing moment in history.

I’ll take lots of pictures and when I get home I’ll upload them and share them here… maybe my cell phone can post some for me… hummmm…  I’ll figure it out, and post another blog entry tonight!

Have a wonderful day… I know I will!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I don't want to sit here and list the reasons why I've been neglecting my blog.  I'm pretty mad at myself for choosing to crash at night rather than sit and write.  Part of it is this transition to getting up extra early and taking care of sweet little baby Wilson.  I couldn't ask for an easier little boy to watch, but I do feel a little like a brand new Mom again getting used to his schedual, and trying to figure out the balance between holding, feeding, burping, changing, singing, and sleeping... and then switching gears to playing, teaching, and feeding my 4 other children... and then there is house work... and I'm still potty training Otis.

I'll get there.  I've just been so wiped out at the end of the day I've crashed out before giving a second thoguht to my blog.

I'm hoping to get back on track though.

Right now the kids and I tagged-a-long with Doc to the annual ACOG convention in Washington DC, we are on a little vacation of sorts here in DC.  It's our first family vacation in 5 years.

Tomorrow Doc is going to be at a meeting most the day, so while the boys are busting out their homework that they are going to be missing over the next 3 days, I'm going to actually write a post.

So please forgive me for not staying true to my word... and I'll try to forgive myself and start anew.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Best Job EVER!

His tiny little fingers wrapped around my fingers as he gazes up into my eyes. 

He eagerly drinks his bottle and makes the cutest little grunting noises. 

As the bottle runs low his eyes begin to droop, his breathing becomes more steady, and in perfect timing as he drinks the last drop, he relaxes in my arms, and is asleep. 

A tear runs down my cheek.

Monday I had a baby.

Oh... not in the way you are thinking.  I didn't HAVE a baby.  I HAD a baby in my home... he isn't technically mine.  As of Monday I started watching the sweetest little 4 month old baby boy... I think I'll call him Wilson (my own inside joke).  His Mom is a resident at the hospital with my husband.  She needed someone to watch her little boy and I eagerly jumped at the chance. 

I've been suffering with a bit of baby hunger for a while now, but with my medical history Doc thinks it will be too dangerous for us to have a 4th.  At first that was a little hard to accept, but then I think about how many girls I know that have struggled so hard to just have 1 baby, and I realize that I can't complain.  I'm so grateful for the 3 beautiful, healthy children that I have... and I'm grateful for the many children throughout the years that I've have the opportunity to watch.

Wilson is a dream baby.  He is the easiest baby in the world... just like my Little Princess was.  He only fusses when hungry or wet, and he easily settles down when comforted.  He has the cutest smile!  He loves playing "peek-a-boo" and hearing me sing "horsey, horsey on your way". 

I love holding him.

I have to admit, that I'm not quite on top of my house like I could be... heaven knows he naps enough to make it easy to put him down and go clean up a few things... but it's not that easy to put him down.

It's a good thing that I still have Little Princess and my Little Charge here or I'd be inclined to just sit on the couch all day and play with the baby.  So, when he falls asleep I do force myself to lay him down and go play with Little Princess and my cute Little Charge.

I'm so grateful for these little days.  For the days I get to just stay in my p.j.'s and play with children.  I know that this faze in life will go by quickly and I will miss this someday. 

I love what I do.  I'm so blessed to have a job where I can sing silly songs, and jump up and down and play "Simeon Says" and make creative lunches, and push giggling children on the swing set.  The only true demands I hear all day is "I need to go pee!" or "Give me fruit snacks!"  of course they have to say "please" first. 

I'm so grateful I get to do what I do.

Well... speaking of which Mr. Wilson was just dropped off, so I better post this and get to work.

Hope you all have a good day!

I will!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

Many of you probably heard about the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred 4 years ago today.  I will never forget that day.  My sweet Doc was in his second year of medical school attending VCOM which is on the Virginia Tech campus.  I wanted to share with you all an e-mail that I wrote 2 years ago to my closest friends and family.

A Day of Remembrance
For those who don't know, I live in Christiansburg Virginia, just minutes from Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is located, where my husband's medical school is located.

Two year ago my world was rocked. I was pregnant with Alyssa at the time, and it was literally one of the worst "morning sickness" days that I've EVER had. (I throw up 17 times that day).

That morning I was laying in bed feeling terrible when the phone rang around 9:30am and it was Nate, the first thing he said was, "I'm okay". A chill ran through me. He said his school was on lock down, that they heard there was a shooting at one of the dorms, and that the shooter was was on the loose, and there was rumors that there was another shooting on campus.

I went into the the T.V. room and turned on the news. The news anchor was talking about the shootings and that as far as they knew 3 people were confirmed dead. Moments later someone walked on camera and handed her a note. I've never scene that happen before. She visibly went pale and said, "We have have confirmation that 7 are dead." I was shocked. I got up to call my Mom because at this point I knew it was about to become national news and just as I stood up, the power went out.

That day was terrible on so many levels. It was bitterly cold, and the wind was gusting at around 60 mph. There was snow flurries that morning. Somehow the wind knocked down a power line near my house. I didn't know what to do, but I knew that Nate was okay, so after visiting the bathroom again I layed down and took a short nap.

Nate didn't come home until 3pm. The power was still off, so we decided to turn on the radio and see if there was any other news. The first thing we hear was that Katie Curick just landed, Brian Williams was on his way, and the President of the United States would be here in the morning! We looked at each other terrified and both said, "What on earth happened." Then the announcer said, "30 are now confirmed dead.... it's the biggest massacre to ever occur on American soil." I can't tell you how grateful I was that Nate was okay. The shootings took place across campus from him.

Our power didn't come back on until 11:00 that night. We had 20 worried messages on our machine... many called several times, and their messages more and more frantic... I'm so sorry that they had to go all day without knowing if Nate was okay.

This all happened 2 years ago yesterday, but my feelings are still very raw. We attended the Day of Remembrance ceremony and I wanted to share my memories with you. West Ambler Johnston was where the first shootings took place. Two died here. He then walked to a near by post office, dropped of a package to NBC news, and then walked to Norris hall for his final assault. When he entered he chained the doors shut from the inside, so no one could come in, or go out.

Our Stake President Scott Hendricks, who is also the father in law of one of my good friends and my visiting teacher Toni was in the building when it happened. He bore his testimony at stake conference, it is something that I will never forget.

A couple days after the shooting we took the kids to sign the memorial wall. I can't believe how much they've grown in just 2 years.
The day after the shootings Pres. Bush came and gave a great speak, but was overshadowed by the amazing "We will prevail" speech by one of VT's professors... can't remember her name of the top of my head.
The basketball stadium where the service was held was full to capacity so it all over flowed to the football stadium.
Andrew was only 6 years old at the time. He was in kindergarten, but he was deeply effected by it.

Here are some quick pictures of the memorial wall we signed. There were thousands of signatures and messages on many walls.
Sorry, I didn't mean to post 2 of the same picture.
After the shootings a spontaneous memorial was created at the foot of Burress hall. Just to the right of this picture is Norris hall.

This is Burress Hall. Our campus is stunningly gorgeous.
After our visit to VT that day Andrew drew a picture and taped it to our wall. It's easy to see through the spelling to his message.
That night I wrote this letter to my family.
Dear Family,

There is so much on my mind today. Today we went over to Virginia Tech to sign the memorial there. I’ll go into that experience in a minute. There is so much on my mind. I feel like I need to get this out of me. This is probably going to be pretty long, but I need to write down my feelings so I can start to move on, and so I will never forget. Thank you so much Mom Evan’s for keeping these e-mails for me, this is going to be my journal entry for the week.

For mutual on Wednesday we met at the Bishop's house and had a long talk with all the kids about what happened. We talked a lot about our feelings, and who knew who. We also focused a lot about forgiveness, and not casting blame. Bishop said that he heard that Cho's parents have both tried to commit suicide. How traumatic would it be to have a child die... how much harder would it be knowing that he would forever be only known as the man responsible for the worst massacre that's happened on American soil. We all wrote letters to who ever we wanted to. Some wrote to the victims that are still in the hospital, some to the parents that lost a child, and some to Cho's parents telling them that we don't blame them, and that we are sorry for their loss too. We all felt so heartbroken for the loss of life, but a sense of forgiveness was very apparent. We are all working on uplifting the families, not casting blame or fault finding. It was however so hard to see one of my girls so heartbroken over this. Traci is 16 years old and knew two girls that were killed and is best friends with someone who lives two doors down from the shooter. She was so upset at the thought of, “what if he decided to shoot up that dorm?” It’s terrible to have your sense of security taken from you… it’s so much harder when you are so young.

Yesterday I had a Heritage Makers celebration with my new consultant Kelly. One of the girls that came is an ER nurse at Montgomery Regional Hospital where many still are recovering. It was amazing, and heart breaking, and inspiring to hear some of the stories. I was surprised at how much she was telling us, but then I realized that she has been working long hours and hasn't been able yet to see a counselor... I think that she really needed to get a lot off of her chest. She said that every patient that she saw was shot multiple times. One boy was shot through the bicep and it exited threw his right right tricep, and was also shot threw the left hand, he had one wound from each gun used. The boy said that he was shot once, and then the shooter left the room, and came back later and shot him again. She told us quite a bit that I don’t need to write, but that gives you an idea of how details can hurt to hear.

Every where you go you see people going about there business, but with something missing about them. A friend, a family member, hope, a sense of security. So many I've talked to are having nightmares. I have had nightmares every night sense this happened. Not just about the shooting, but I think it all comes from a sense of insecurity. I can't begin to convey how this shaken our community.

I went to Radford yesterday for my doctor’s appointment, and cried to see the marquees at restaurants saying, "God bless VT" "Our prayers are with VT". At Radford University there are huge banners hanging off of dorm room balconies saying, "We are all Hokies!" I think it's true. It doesn't matter how close you were to this, or how far you live from here. If this has affected you, touched you, hurt you, or made you cry, you too are a Hokie. We are a "Hokie Nation". It's becoming a symbol of unity. Like after 9/11 how everyone flew an American flag to show support, unity, and pride for our nation, the colors orange and maroon are going to be a symbol of unity... but I wonder, for how long? Like 9/11 slowly politics became too involved. Slowly we forgot the pain of that day, and the lesson that we learned. Slowly we all became un-unified. So many have to find someone to take out our pain on., they have to find someone to blame. How tragic does a day have to be for us to stay unified? How destroyed, damaged, terrorized or enslaved to we have to become before we truly become one and stay? Before we come unto Christ to stay? Already the psycho’s are coming out threatening other areas like California some guy threatened that he was, "going to make what happened at Virginia Tech look mild." I'm so devastated by the evil in this world. How cold do you have to be to do such a thing? If you are going to kill yourself, do it! And leave the rest of us alone! What makes someone so evil?

I know that this is long and rambling, but I really need to express what I'm feeling inside. I don't know what is coming in our future. How many times I am going to have to hold a devastated 16 year old in my arms because she just lost a friend, and doesn't know why.

My faith is strong, and I know that these are the last days and that there is just as much good as evil in the world, but I don't want to see the evil. Last night after watching a movie about Anne Frank, an 80-90 year old Meap .... (I don't remember her last name... she was the girl that primarily took care of the Frank's while they were in hiding.) said, "I am not a hero. I did what I did, because it was the right thing to do." I realize that all the amazing people in the world were not born to be hero's, they just did what was right when they had too. My ancestors crossed the plains, faced hardships, and buried children along the way, not because they wanted to be heroes, but because it was the right thing to do, and they became hero's because they endured it well. I'm just afraid that in these last days many of us will have to face things like this. Many of us may have to rise to different occasions and become “hero’s” ourselves. I will rise to any occasion… but I would rather live a quite peaceful life and never have to know a “hero’s” trail.
I'm scared for the last days to be here. I'm scared for my children. I feel the levity of needing to raise them well right now, while they are young and teachable. I hope that they never have to face a “hero’s” fate. I know that I can overcome anything in this world… but I don’t want too.
Today I dressed up the boys in Virginia Tech shirts and baseball caps. Nate and I put on our VCOM shirts and we went over to Tech to sign the message boards at the memorials at Tech. How do I begin to describe stepping foot on the drill field and seeing so many wearing our proud colors, on their knees crying. There is a wall in front of Burress Hall which is the main administration building (the castle looking building), which is just to the left of Norris Hall, which is surrounded in police tape. There is a half circle of 32 mini-memorials with VT symbols and the names of all the victims there, with flowers and baskets placed on top of Hokie stones. Those stones are what built our school. They are strong and they do not crumble. The symbolism cannot be lost there. It’s a beautiful place. It’s a terribly sad place. While we were there a boy that I had seen on TV came walking up with either his sister, or some kind of a girl friend. He was wearing a blue sling, because he was shot in the arm that day. He walked up to the memorial and looked around. Trying not to stare at him, you could see so much emotion in him, so much on his mind at that moment. A few moments later, he broke down and started to cry. He walked away with his friend, totally devastated. I will never forget the look on his face. I wanted so much to give him a hug. I can only imagine what he must be going through.

While we were there a student came over and told us that they were making ribbons to give to everyone, and he invited us to sign a guest book, and he thanked us for coming and showing our support. Everyone in our community has really pulled together to help and show support to the victims, the families, and the school. Today the VT marching band went over to the hospital and was playing a bunch of up beat songs including our famous “Hokie Poky” One of the girls that was shot that day came to her window and waved to every one and stayed for a while and listened and smiled at everyone. One boy who was shot said of that moment that, “I saw God and the Devil at the same moment.” That’s how I feel. I’ve seen what the devil can do, and what he tries to do, and I’ve seen how God helps us heal and find peace. There is so much more good than bad in this world, sometimes it takes a terrible thing to truly see all the good in the world.

I came home today with so many emotions in my heart. I think that today is the first day that everything is really hitting me. I’ve just been crying all day it seems. Nate went out to mow the lawn and I just sat on the couch so upset. Rachell Massey and I have been playing phone tag all week and I just kept thinking that I needed to call her, so I picked up the phone, and there she was. We’ve been going back and forth for 4 days now, and when I really needed her, she was there. It felt so good to be able to just vent so much off of my chest, and just to cry to someone who knows what’s happening, but just isn’t quite as close as others. I’m so grateful for my many good friends. I miss you all so much. I can’t tell you how much I miss you all.

I keep thinking that there is a message, or a lesson or many lessons to be taken from all of this. I keep thinking that if I can just put all of this in words then it will somehow make sense to me. I keep thinking that if I could pinpoint exactly what emotion that I feel inside then I could begin to heal myself, and help others more. My feelings are so complicated. I feel so completely devastated, on my knees with the wind knocked out of me, in shock, in horror, so scared, and unsure about the terrible events that happened so close to me. I feel so proud. So proud to live in such a strong community, where everyone pulls together to love and support each other through this time. So proud to be a Hokie right now and be able to witness the amazing strength and spirit of this Hokie Nation. I cheer, “LET’S GO HOKIES” while tears of pride and devastation stream down my face. Wishing that we didn’t need this cheer, and proud that I have strength enough to cheer. I’m devastated for my school, yet I’ve never been prouder to be a Hokie. So complicated, yet so simple. I know one thing. When you think of Virginia Tech, you will not think of “The Massacre” you will think of strength, pride and community. We will overcome this… but we will always remember this.
Please take care of yourselves. We love you all,

P.s. I really don’t like what the national networks are saying about us. If you would like to see a little more of the good that has come from this, how we are supporting each other and that sort of thing, please go to www.wsls.com that is one of our local stations that I’m happy with the way they are covering all this. You can go to some of their video there and see some great local stories about what is really happening here. Someone wrote a song for Virginia Tech that they put together with a photo montage. I think it’s amazing. If I find a link to it I will forward it on to you. Thank you so much for wearing our colors today. Please continue to keep us all in your prayers.
P.P.S. I’m attaching some pictures of Tech. I’ll probably have to send them in several e-mails.
Today I feel like I've scene so much more of God in all of this than the evil. I have realized first hand that we truly do have a prophet on the earth today that knows our needs. 6 months prior to this Pres. Bednar, a member of the 12 apostles was assigned to come to Blacksburg for our Stake Conference, which was to take place the Sunday after this terrible event. Could the timing have been any more remarkable? As you can tell from my letter home that first week was terrible, but after Pres. Bednar came here, and walked the grounds of VT with our stake president, the general feeling around campus shifted from pain, and determination to overcome, to unity, forgiveness and healing. Instead of feeling scared, in general the community has a feeling of hope, and peace. Our campus has never been the same, but it's not the eerie feeling like some thought it would be, it a feeling of love, friendship, and unity that is rare to find.
Here are some pictures of the 2nd Anniversary Day of Remembrance.
The spontaneous memorial is now a beautifully landscaped memorial with the the original hokie stones still there.
Can you see the huge semi-circle of bushes around the cadets standing there? There is a bush planted behind each hokie stone. 32 is a big number.

There were police on top of Burress hall with binoculars scanning the crowd for security.

Me and my little Lissa Girl.
As dusk came, so did the crowd. Can you see all the maroon and orange?
This was the best picture I could get in the darkness of the candle light visual.

This video was made about the tragity and I think the song is awesome... I can't figure out how to link it so please take a minute and copy this link and watch it.

Thank you so much for reading my long blog entry, and remembering this day with me.