It's been 3 years

It has been 3 years since Brenna left us. I have looked at this several ways...

I am 3 years closer to seeing her.

She has been on her mission for 3 years and I don't know when she'll be home. She does not write often.

It has been 3 years since Brenna has finished her time in mortality and has returned home to "a state of happiness...a state of peace" where she has been resting from all her "troubles, and from all care, and sorrow". What a great feeling for her and her parents to know that she passed the tests of mortality. As her father, I don't worry about where she is or what she is doing or how she is feeling.

She is 3 years closer to her Resurrection.

Still...It really hasn't gotten any easier without Brenna. I miss her terribly. But I am so grateful for the "Plan of Happiness" and my knowledge and testimony of this plan. I am grateful for eternal families and that Brenna continues to be a part of our family and will be forever. I am grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement and Resurrection that makes eternal families possible.

Brenna, I love you and can't wait to hold you in my arms again.

Eternal truths can comfort us when loved ones die

It is 2 Years and 331 Days since Brenna passed away and I miss her more then ever. It still hurts! I'm greatful for eternal truths that still give me comfort.

Here are some great truths from the teachings of Heber J. Grant...

"How bitter must be the suffering and grief of those who see nothing beyond the grave except the beginning of eternal night and oblivion. For them that thus believe, death hath its sting and the grave its victory. To them, even the glory of this earth is but the last flickering of a candle in unending blackness. But, to the man of faith, death is but the taking up again of the life he broke off when he came to this earth."

"It is a very great blessing that in the providences of the Lord and in the revelations that have been given by our Father in heaven, we have the assurance that the spirit and the body, in due time, will be reunited, notwithstanding the unbelief that there is in the world today—and there certainly is great skepticism and unbelief in relation to this matter. But notwithstanding this, we have assurance through the revelations that have been given by the Lord our God, that that is the purpose of God, that the body and the spirit shall be eternally united and that there will come a time, through the blessing and mercy of God, when we will no more have sorrow but when we shall have conquered all of these things that are of a trying and distressing character, and shall stand up in the presence of the living God, filled with joy and peace and satisfaction."


Happy Birthday Brenna

We can’t believe Brenna would have been 16 today! And in high school! She would have been a beautiful redhead (color of choice) & the sweetest friend to all 5,000 students there! I’m sure they would have voted her Homecoming Queen! Her Oma, who spoiled her rotten, would have been part in her dream car…a burnt orange Pontiac Sunfire. But, like her Aunt Alicia said, “Imagine what she is driving now!” She doesn’t need a car when not tied to mortal strings. She is jumping & dancing & singing! 

We are, too, because today is the day we were blessed with you! (It was a terrible snowstorm 16 years ago too!) We are blessed to be her parents. Jordan, Aaron, Kaleb & Hannah are blessed to be her siblings. All of us are blessed to have part in her mortal existence. She brought us so much joy with her laugh & her smile & her soooo sweet personality. 
Every year, we are going to celebrate her birthday by trying to be closest to her…at the temple. We are doing a 6:00 PM session on Wednesday the 7th @ the Jordan River temple for anyone who would like to join us.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET ANGEL! Can’t wait to see you again!
Your mom & dad

Angels We Have Heard on High

I have not really shared this before. I remember the Christmas before Brenna was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was 8 years old and was participating in the ward christmas party. She and some of the girls in her primary class were dressed in white as angels and sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" to celebrate the birth of the Savior. Brenna was really never known for her singing, but durring this performace she truly sounded angelic. As I listened, I had a strong feeling that Brenna truly sang at the actual birth of the Savior and that the same angels that sang with her, were helping her at this Christmas performance. And perhaps they strengthened her and prepared her for what she would endure the next 4 years. I really miss my Brenna, but I know she is always with us and watching over us. I know we will be with her again.

Drugs R Not The Answer

If you are reading this for the first time, please start at the bottom to read the beginning of Brenna's journey.
Entry from my journal in 2002:
Saturday, May 4th, in the morning when the docs made their rounds, they were scratching their heads about it all when dad (totally inspired) requested that you be taken off all the meds they had you on. Dr. Maloney didn’t want to at first. But then he said, “If you are willing to help with her care while she comes down off all the meds, we’ll do it.” He meant if we were there to help hold you down while you thrashed. Of course we would! We have been there every hour since you were admitted. They couldn’t take you off the degadron (steroids) because they might be doing surgery for the tumor and it has to be taken down in lowered doses. And they couldn’t take you off Fentenyl because it is an addictive drug. They had to give you increasing doses of Methadone to reach the level of Fentenyl and then bring them both down together. I couldn’t believe it! They had turned my daughter into a drug addict! That Saturday afternoon, mom and dad had to coach soccer games for your brothers. Aunt Alicia who was in town from Lake Powell, and G’ma Joyce sat with you. Well, just after the games, we got a call from G’ma Joyce telling us you just had a seizure. They had tried to give you Ketamine, a pain killer, because you still had the ventilator tube in. You didn’t like that very much either and you had a mild seizure. It was just the tensing up kind. But that’s how we found out you were allergic to that drug.   The drug allergy list kept growing.
But you still had a ways to go to come down off the drugs. You still got agitated and threw some fits. Cory, your most awesome nurse, reminded me when mom was staying with you and you were very agitated and not having a good night. We both tried to calm you down by rubbing your head and your feet and playing music and reading to you and hugging you. Cory happened to pop in a Pokemon movie. Your eyes wandered over to the movie and they became glued to it. It calmed you down immensely. Mom took a snooze and Cory kept popping in the Pokemon movies. When the movie stopped, you started throwing a fit. So Cory had one movie rewinding so he could pop it in quick when the one you were watching ended. We had found a non-drug sedative!


Angels for Brenna

Gordon and I were praying and fasting for answers. Along with our family, friends, ward family, and even people we didn’t know who were invited by friends to pray for Brenna in their own faiths. It was a very ‘close to the Spirit’ time for us. Gordon said his own prayers and I am grateful he listens for direction.
We were very frustrated with the docs as they had no answers for us and didn’t seem to know what to do next.
On about 8th day in PICU, we were meeting with the head doc, and Gordon stated, with a surety, “We want you to take Brenna off all the medications she is receiving.” Well, of course, the head doc was taken aback and fought us on this decision. He said he would only take her off if we would be there 24/7 to help with the reactions she might have coming off the serious drugs they put into her. She was on a medication, I think it was Fentanyl, that they couldn’t take her off of unless they administered increasing doses of Methadone up to a certain level and then brought them both down simultaneously. It was amazing the amount of drugs they so readily introduce to such a little body.
All the while, Brenna was on a ventilator. We wanted that out so bad. The docs kept telling us that was not possible unless Brenna regained her gag reflex. They would always stick their tongue depressors down her throat with no reaction. We were frustrated. And apparently, Brenna was fed up with it too.
On day 10 in the PICU, it was a Sunday. Gordon and I were at Brenna’s side with a visit from our family friend, Paul. Brenna started chewing on the ventilator tube and the docs told us if she bit through it, the end would go into her lungs and they would have to do emergency surgery to get it out. So they tried bite guards in the back of her teeth. But she kept biting and grinding so hard, she would bite her cheeks and blood started dripping out the sides of her mouth. We were so frantic. We insisted the docs take out the ventilator. Again, he stated, “only if there is a gag.” So he stuck his stick down her throat and she gagged! So out the tube came. After all the hullabaloo, and the docs left, Brenna opened her eyes, looked up at me and smiled the biggest smile. We cried. It was a miracle. Our nurse snapped a Polaroid of the moment.
Later that week, we were told by Gordon’s sister, who lived across the street from us, truly why we were blessed with that miracle.
Our wonderful bishop, Bishop Holloman, asked our ward to fast for Brenna that very Sunday. Sacrament meeting was first and I heard it was a beautiful meeting. At the end of the meeting, Bishop Holloman got up to speak. But he was crying so hard, he had to sit down and write down his thoughts. His counselor read it for him. It went something like this: “There is such a special spirit in this chapel today. I see angels all about the room.” Sacrament meeting ended at noon and those angels flew right up to Primary Children’s Hospital and told Brenna to wake up. She began the ventilator issue about 12:15. 
We were so blessed to witness another modern day miracle in our Brenna’s journey.

The First of Many Miracles

We flew up to PCMC as fast as you can in a Chevy Suburban.  We didn’t beat LifeFlight, however.  When we arrived at Brenna’s bedside in the PICU, she had about 12 tubes and lines hooking into her including a ventilator to help her breathe.  We had never seen a picture quite like this before and especially on our child.  We were astounded.  We were led to a consultation room (which we grew to hate) where the docs all come in and ask questions and tell us things we never thought we’d hear.
They did an MRI and told us she was like a drowning victim who suffered an ‘hypoxic injury’ (went without oxygen for a bit.)  She had some brain damage-but it was correctable.  They determined that the tumor had nothing to do with this incident and would worry about that at a much later date.  OK.  When you hear ‘cancer,’ don’t you picture immediate action?  It was kind of strange to put cancer on the back burner for 4 months.
I guess the Lord knows what he is doing because, what we went through the next 6 weeks, my soul could not take on dealing with both situations.  But, Gordon’s strength in his priesthood and faith in God helped me be strong and have pure hope for Brenna’s future.  We just dove in and did what needed to be done.  I remember a mom of another PICU child whom I talked and laughed with for a bit.  A little later she brought Brenna a balloon and shared with me that I helped her deal with her situation because I could laugh.
She spent 10 days in PICU on roughly 9 meds at one time, on a ventilator, and a feeding tube.  Gordon’s twin brother, Karl, who lived in NY at the time, caught the next flight to SLC and was there with Gordon and Brenna constantly.  He was a welcome strong shoulder for Gordon.  Those who know my husband know he is a very quiet private person.  He is a problem solver (computer programmer) and he was very vexed that he couldn’t solve this one.  Having Karl there for him was so heart touching.  He brought Brenna a stuffed Tigger and laid it in bed next to her.  She loved that Tigger.
The frustrating thing was that the meds were supposed to sedate and calm her.  But, her eyes would suddenly open and she would thrash in her bed like a recovering drug addict.  It was not good for all the tubes and needles poking into her, so they tied her wrists and ankles to the bed so she wouldn’t move around so much.  It was heart breaking.  I remember one time, we had this FABULOUS nurse named Kory.  He was a tall, dark, and hand…oops, big guy.  Ute was sitting with Brenna while I ran an errand.  And, upon my return, I came upon one of Brenna’s thrashing episodes and both she and Kory were trying to hold Brenna down.  When it ended, they were both sweating.  Brenna is a very strong girl!
Gordon and I went to the temple about 4 days into this whole thing.  We got to be the token couple and participate in the prayer circle.  Never had the words, “give a blessing to those in this company who are searching,” meant so much to us.  We sat and cried and prayed in the celestial room.  When we returned to Brenna’s bed, our nurse, Elsebet, said she had been inspired to lower the dose of Versed Brenna was receiving.  Miraculously, Brenna calmed down and her episodes were few and far between.  Amazingly, the head doc got upset @ Elsebet for doing it.  But that was the first of many miracles for us.
 Oh, the power of the temple and of prayer and inspiration.  We were grateful our nurse was in tune to be the Lord’s tool for our Sweet Angel.


In the beginning...

    Our family went to Brenna’s graveside on Memorial Day and it was a wonderful purple sight to see.  Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and remembrances of our sweet angel.  It humbles us to know that Brenna had an influence in so many lives and she is loved by so many.  There was even a secret friend who left a single purple flower with a bow on it on our doorstep and rang and ran.  Soooo sweet!  We loved it!

  Just for my purposes, because I’m getting old and have been steadily losing my memory brain cells, I want to record all my memories of Brenna’s short journey on earth.  If you’d like to read along, I love to share.

    Brenna was a cute, somewhat chubby, 9 year old blonde German girl who absolutely loved to have friends.  She was a defensive player on Bob Peterson’s all girl soccer team.  Speed was not her forte, but power was behind her foot.  There was no chance of that ball making it past her when she was on the job.  She would bomb it out of the field every time.  She loved it.

    Brenna loved to sing, act, dance, ride her bike, play school with her brothers and sister, and act out Britney Spears shows on our front porch for the neighbor kids (when Britney was actually a good role model, of course.)  She was a very active little girl.

    The ENT said he needed to remove her tonsils & adenoids to help her with her snoring and restlessness at nights.  It was the first time ever we’d taken one of our kids to the hospital-except the minor incident of Brenna cutting her chin open falling onto the corner of the kitchen counter when she was 3.  The ER nurses said she was the bravest and best behaved child they’d seen.

     So the surgery was without incident.  However, in the recovery room, I was holding her on my lap when her face turned a strange hue of navy blue.  I screamed for the nurse and they whisked her away.  They administered Narcan, which reversed the effect of the Demoral they had given her for pain.  Poor girl had no pain medication for 4 hours.  But she was so brave.

    So, the doc determined that she was allergic to Demoral and sent us home with Lortab.  I’ve learned since that they are in the same narcotic family.  Hmmm.  It's not rocket science.

    I am not an avid administer-er of medications, so I only gave Brenna one dose when she complained that it ‘really hurt.’  2 nights after, she woke up in the night with chills and pain.  She was NEVER cold.  I wrapped her up in a warm blanket, gave her ½ a dose of the Lortab and put her back to sleep.

    When Gordon and I checked on her early the next morning, she was catatonic, staring at the ceiling, biting her tongue, which was completely white, and foam was all over her chest.  Gordon tried to pry her mouth open and get her tongue where it belonged and she bit him-hard!  We were told later that she was having a seizure but they didn’t find seizure activity on her EEG. 

    My motherly instincts kicked in and I told Gordon to put her in the car.  I drove her to the nearest hospital, JordanValley, and expected Gordon to get the other 4 kids off to school.  We both called our parents.  G’ma Joyce went to stay with the kids so Gordon could be at the hospital with me and Brenna.  She’s so thoughtful that way.  Someday I'll grow up to be just like my mom.

    When I reached the ER door, Brenna’s eyes were peacefully closed and it looked like she was just sleeping.  I tried to wake her up, but to no avail.  I ran in the door and asked for help.  The nurses asked if I needed a wheelchair or a gurney.  I said, “She’s asleep, so probably a gurney.”  They met me at the car with a wheelchair. 

    They ran a CT scan on Brenna and had me a Gordon look at the films.  They noted a medium sized dark blob on her brain scan and said, “She has a brainstem tumor.  We will life flight her up to Primary’s.”  Gordon and I just stared at each other for a moment and I said, “I don’t think I’m going to handle this very well.”

   Not 2 months before that morning did I say this exact thing to Gordon, "We are so blessed!  Everything is great in our lives!  We have a great house, our kids are all  110% students, and you have a great job!  God is saving up for something." 

   Shut my mouth.


The Best Mother's Day Ever

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my Brenna.  It's getting a little more emotional for me as I follow our other kids along their paths of this mortal life.  I wonder what Brenna would be doing and how she would look so beautiful, a 15 year old young lady, and how she would be walking, maybe with a little limp, and going into high school next year with her huge circle of friends.  I miss being her mom.  But I know she is blissfully happy and will be seeing us soon.

Speaking of being a mom, I wanted to share my wonderful Mother's Day with you.  My kids were so excited to fix me breakfast for the first time ever.  Hannah learned how to make crepes the week before and she and Jordan (for safety assurance) made beautiful crepes.  Aaron sliced the strawberries and Kaleb set my placemat and got me a glass of milk.  It was fabulous!

After church, another opportunity to realize my regard for our bishop, Gordon asked me how to make egg salad sandwiches.  The kids all helped peel the eggs and we grabbed some bread to go.  Gordon loaded us all in the car as I was asking, "Don't we need drinks...or plates...or chips...or a spreading knife?"  He grabbed the spreading knife and started the car.  He drove us to the cemetery and spread out some blankets around Brenna's headstone.  He unloaded the FULL picnic he had shopped for the day before (which is BIG because Gordon doesn't shop!)  There were drinks, chips, and even a veggie plate.  He placed Brenna's pictures near me and played the CD he'd made special for the occasion.  He even had a few gifts.  We spent hours eating, talking and visiting.

It was the second best Mother's Day ever!  Gordon looked shocked and asked, "What is your BEST?"

Well, I remember when Brenna first went into the hospital 2 weeks before Mother's Day in 2002.  She was pretty much a little vegetable and couldn't do or say much of anything.  My sweet sis, Karrene, sat with Brenna so I could go to church.  When I returned to the hospital, Brenna gave me a kiss and said, "I love you, Mom."  I will NEVER forget that special moment.

Life is Everlasting

"Through tears and trials, through fears and sorrows, through the heartache and loneliness of losing loved ones, there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so."

(Thomas S. Monson, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives!" Ensign, May 2007, 25)

Talk on Resurrection

On March 23, 2008 (Easter Sunday) I was asked to speak on the Resurrection in Sacrament meeting. Click on the link below to download the talk.

Talk on Resurrection

Gordon B. Hinckley's Funeral

Today I was able to watch Gordon B. Hinckley's funeral. I enjoyed all of the talks and especially enjoyed the hymn, "What Is This Thing Called Death" penned by Gordon B. Hinckley. I searched the LDS website for the words of the hymn and found the following a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley which contained the words to the song. The talk is titled "The Empty Tomb Bore Testimony". I'm reminded that we are eternal and that there really is no death (an end), just a change. And that we are still connected to those that have gone through this change. It is a change that we must all experience to achieve Eternal Life. I miss Brenna very much and think of her every day and every moment. However, my tears are turned to joy when I think about the next time I will be with her. Just as we can visualize what we will be doing tomorrow or the next day, I visualize the day when I will be reunited with Brenna. This day will come like any other day. I love my wife and kids and look forward to our eternal family.

Brenna's 15th Birthday

Today was a special day. Today we celebrated Brenna's 15th birthday. And I can't think of a better gift than to do her temple work and that is exactly what we did. Racquel and I spent half the day in temple doing her work. We had friends from our ward (including our wonderful Bishop) and family present. We definitely felt Brenna's present and have no doubt that she was there.

"President Hinckley has told us that 'just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in their behalf by those on earth'
(Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2: 2000-2004 [2005], 265). 

"This is such meaningful service we give because our departed brothers and sisters literally become more connected to us."
(Richard H. Winkel, "The Temple Is About Families," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 11)

One Year Ago

Today we remember the passing of Brenna into the next phase of her eternal existence. What a year. It was extremely hard to experience every new day without Brenna. There is not a day that goes by where we as a family don't miss her. She is constantly in our hearts and mind. We know she is with us in spirit and we can't wait to be reunited with her. What a reunion that will be!

Family and extended family visited Brenna's grave site at 5:00 pm today. We were there for about an hour. The weather was beautiful. My brother Karl gave the family prayer and then we released purple balloons.


Brenna's Favorite Primary Song

A Child's Prayer

1. Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every child's prayer? Some say that heaven is far away, But I feel it close around me as I pray. Heavenly Father, I remember now Something that Jesus told disciples long ago: "Suffer the children to come to me." Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.

2. Pray, he is there; Speak, he is listening. You are his child; His love now surrounds you. He hears your prayer; He loves the children. Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.

It's about time


Hello, Friends and Family,

I know.  I know.  Miracles do happen.  We are finally updating you on our small little world.  There actually has been quite a bit happening.  So much so, we have hardly had time to update.

Back at the beginning of June, Gordon had a total ACL reconstruction and is still recovering.  It kills him every time the family gets out the cones and a soccer ball and the only thing he gets out is a camping chair.  It was quite a sad sight when we took a trip to Lake Powell with his family only one week after his surgery.  I had to do the wake boarding for him.  It was the least I could do.  He does his therapy regularly and is doing really well.  He thinks he will be back playing indoor by December. 

All four kids are on competition soccer this year-AGAIN!  Mom gets sick of it sometimes, but we sure love that our kids love it and are doing so well!  Aaron's team won the Striker's Cup in Utah County today!  He scored 2 goals during the tournament.  Hooray!  We have tournaments 3 out of the 4 weeks in August.  Thus, no camping trips will be planned.  I volunteered to coach Hannah's team which will begin after Labor Day.  The PTA wasn't keeping me busy enough.

School starts Aug 20.  We have a brand new school one block away from our house.  It is really nice and I really like our principal.  There are 2 portables already as the west side is bursting at the seams with as many kids as the Pied Piper took out of Hamlin.  2 out of my 3 kids at the school are in the 2 portables.  What are the odds?

Gordon and I were asked to be the chaperones for our ward for stake Youth Conference.  We were so excited!  It turned out great!  Kudos to the stake leaders and youth committee!  They did a fireside on temple work for the spirits that are waiting on the other side.  It was fabulous.  They surprised Gordon and I with an invitation to bear our testimonies about it.  Gordon is always so eloquent with his comments.  He commented on how Brenna always wanted to serve a mission.  Now, she is doing that and probably converting so many souls that we need to keep going to the temple to keep up with her!  A lot of the kids there we did not know, but they knew Brenna from school.  There were a lot of teary cheeks and loving hugs.  Camp reminded me when she went to youth conference last year with our new ward.  She had a fabulous time.  She braved up and did the zip line.  She loved having her brother, Jordan, there.
We miss her at every turn.  Every family function, every vacation, every time we leave the house, we think of how it is different without her with us.  Gordon got a picture of our 4 kids in their soccer uniforms for Father's Day. It was sad that only 4 out of our 5 were in the picture, but, we will always remember her when we look at it because we will be missing her. And we never want that feeling to leave. But when I let myself get too emotional, I just have to remember that she is soooo happy and free and she will see us in ‘just a minute.’ It seems so long to us mortals, but we will realize that ‘our time is not the Lord’s time’ when our time comes. It won’t come soon enough when we see our sweet angel again.
Our dear friends, Bryan and Jolayna Arndt, got some shocking news a little bit ago.  Bryan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Fortunately, (is there any fortune in cancer?) this is a very curable form of cancer and he started the chemo right away.  I told Jolayna that God knew what a very strong spirit she was to go through donating part of her liver to her dying baby 10 years ago and then getting another trial so soon after.  Please pray for Bryan and his family as they go through this trying journey.
Now, I have to get back to my church calling as Personal Progress leader.  I usually do my best work at midnight!
Happy hot summer to you all!  Much love, Gordon and Racquel and Family


The Resurrection Is at the Core of Our Beliefs

We know what the Resurrection is--"the reuniting of the spirit and body in its perfect form" (see Alma 11:43).

President Joseph F. Smith said "that those from whom we have to part here, we will meet again and see as they are. We will meet the same identical being that we associated with here in the flesh" (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 91).

President Spencer W. Kimball amplified this when he said, "I am sure that if we can imagine ourselves at our very best, physically, mentally, spiritually, that is the way we will come back" (The Teachings of Spencer W.
Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 45).

When we are resurrected, "this mortal body is raised to an immortal body. . . .[We] can die no more" (Alma 11:45).

Can you imagine that? Life at our prime? Never sick, never in pain, never burdened by the ills that so often beset us in mortality?

The Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs as Christians. Without it, our faith is meaningless.

(Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 29)

A Little Update...

Hi Friends & Fam!

Honestly, there has been no time to update because we are right in the middle of another heated soccer season.  We have soccer usually 6 out of 7 days a week!  We certainly line the gasoline industry's pockets with cash running kids to and from parks for trainer practice, goalie practice, team practice and games from our back yard clear to North Ogden (DURING RUSH HOUR!-WITH CONSTRUCTION!)   Yuck.  But we love that our kids love it and they are so fun to watch.  Gordon is coaching 2 of our teams and assistant coaching one.  Hannah is on the U-8 Academy and whines until we get there but then loves it when she scores 5 goals on the girls a year older!

We got season tickets to the Real Salt Lake.  We love it!  Except last week when it snowed on us.  It was so cold.  But we are true fans and stuck it out.  The first game, Kaleb got hit with a soccer ball that the other team couldn't get in the goal during practice.  Knocked him flat!  But he jumped right up and ran to his seat.  After the realization of pain set in, he started the tears.  The first aid guys checked him out and gave us a pain pill that I had to sign my life away for.  But, Kaleb got to sit in VIP seating the rest of the game and meet the whole FC Dallas team who signed the practice ball and presented it to him.  He was loving it!  The next game, the same thing happened to another 9 yr old kid right next to us.  I'm not too sure about our seats now.  When the new stadium is built, I'll think twice about 'right behind the goal' seats.

We are getting Brenna's room started...I am finally starting to paint it purple and order the hard wood flooring.  We are making it into an office/library/reflection room with a bookshelf full of Brenna's things and pictures.  Can't wait to get it finished!

Much love and sunflowers (80 degrees today!  Hooray!)

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints

Shortly after arriving at the age of 9, Brenna was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor. During the next 4 years of her life she would slowly lose all the things she enjoyed in life such as school, piano, swimming, soccer, running, walking, friends and eating just to mention a few. These would be replaced by hospital stays, wheel chairs, nurses and feeding tubes. She was on extra oxygen during the day and slept with a bi-pap machine at night. She fought chronic stomach pains for months. And yet through it all, she maintained a positive attitude. The last thing she created before she passed away was a picture of a thumb with the saying "have a thumbs up attitude". This coming from someone who suffered a third of her life at such a young age. She loved to shop and spend Oma's money. But she would not shop for herself, she was always thinking of what to get for her family. She was always excited to go to church and Young Womens and knew all the answers to all the questions. She made sure that we said our prayers, read our scriptures and had family home evening. She was able to go back to school and work her way out of all the resource classes. She was in 8th grade and going to school with kids her own age. A couple of weeks after she passed away, we got her report card in the mail. She got all A's, a 4.0! I was extremely happy for her. To make such a great comeback and get all A's. Wow!. I wanted to enjoy the report card with her. And I did. Then I thought about the grade she got in mortality. She chose to take one of the hardest tests in mortality and got an A+. I bet her joy in the Spirit World is beyond our ability to comprehend. In the Old Testament we read, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (PS. 116:15.)"  I know that Heavenly Father is extremely happy for what Brenna has accomplished. Brigham Young taught: "it is a great cause of joy and rejoicing and comfort to his friends to know that a person has passed away in peace from this life, and has secured to himself a glorious resurrection. The earth and the fullness of the earth and all that pertains to this earth in an earthly capacity is no comparison with the glory, joy and peace and happiness of the soul that departs in peace (DBY, 370)." Brenna has secured for herself a glorious resurrection. For this, I am certain. I am honored that Heavenly Father allowed Racquel and me to be her parents and that we are sealed to her for eternity. Brenna will continue to be an example to me and my family. She has inspired us to live more righteously and she will continue to be with us from day to day. I love Brenna with all my heart and look forward to our reunion.

Sunday will come

I love this quote by Joseph B. Wirthlin.

"Each of us will have our own Fridays--those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
 "But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death--Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.  "No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."
(Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 30)

Our Friday came when Brenna passed away, but I know that soon our Sunday will come. I look forward to that day when we will see Brenna again and hold her in our arms. That day is a real day for us.

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