Archive for October, 2011

Let The Memories Begin!

The Happiest Place on Earth!

   It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so this post will be pictures talking mostly, but I just wanted to let you know we had the time of our life in Orlando, Florida.  Thank you, thank you to the Make A Wish Foundation and the Give the Kids the World Village for making our family’s dreams come true.  Tyler ran us all ragged in the theme parks and DID NOT GET SICK ONCE.  If that is not an answer to prayers, I don’t know what is.  Thank you for all those who prayed for his well-being on the trip.  Your prayers were heard and answered. 

   If I had a million dollars, I would make sure those two charities got a fair share.  All you could see in the ‘Wish Village’ were smiling children…it was awesome.  A place to go and forget your troubles for a time.  Thanks to the many volunteers who work tirelessly to help families make memories that will last a lifetime.  We are forever in your debt. 

Disney Theme Parks - Here We Come!

How'd they do that?

Are we great actors or what?

Epcot!

Someone actually asked us if our last name was 'Livestrong'...

The plan was for thumbs up from all...I couldn't manage to let go...

And my favorite picture of all…

Such a metaphor for our lives!

   All of us hanging on for dear life, eyes closed, scared to death…and Tyler, happy and loving life – isn’t that how our life is going right now?

Bloom Where You’re Planted

   I haven’t posted any pictures or anything about our amazing trip to Disneyworld because I am waiting for a disc to come from Disneyworld that has a bunch of photos taken of the whole family.  I will post that as soon as the disc comes.  In the meantime, we had an experience this weekend that I wanted to share… 

   Darren’s best friend from high school is a bishop in a Kaysville ward.  He called while we were in Florida and asked if Tyler would be willing to speak to the youth in his ward on Sunday.  Now, if you’re the parent of a 14-yr-old boy, you know what the typical reaction would be, and let me assure you, Tyler is a typical 14-yr-old.  I watched him for days wrestle with his fear and dislike of speaking, and the reality of doing what he knew the Lord wanted him to do.  I felt so bad for putting him in this position, yet knew this is part of the growing and refining process of life.  So finally Sunday came and I could feel his anxiety from the minute he woke up.  We headed to Kaysville and got to the church.  He was not feeling well, and I could tell his emotions were pretty close to the surface.  Stacey, our dear friend, and the bishop had us go into his office to say and prayer to calm all of us.  It was then that he asked if Darren wanted to go first or last on the program.  “What?”  Darren had carefully omitted that part of the program to me.  I had no idea he was speaking too.  Darren doesn’t talk about this much to anyone, let alone to a whole congregation of people.  My emotions boiled over now and so had Tyler’s. 

    When the program started, we weren’t sure if Tyler was still going to be able to go through with it, so Darren spoke first and gave a beautiful talk about having hope in Christ.  It was extremely emotional for me to hear him talk about our ordeal and his faith in Jesus Christ.  Then, before we knew it, Tyler went up the stairs and began his talk.  He was emotional through it, but was able to get through it and did an amazing job.  I knew it was probably one of the hardest things he has done through this journey…not only reliving what he has gone through, but speaking to a chapel full of teenage kids.   

    I am so proud that he has chosen to put some of his fears aside and do what the Lord has put in his path to accomplish.  If he could have touched one teenager yesterday and helped them to put their faith in the Savior, it was all worth it.  He is truly learning to ‘bloom where he is planted’ – to make the best of a situation that doesn’t feel ideal to any of us. 

    To preface this poem, I have to tell you that I have an amazing family – and a large one at that!  I have been blessed with ‘goodly parents’ and amazing brothers and sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews, and everyone else in between!  I have these nieces and nephews who, although they are 20-30 years younger than me, have these valiant, wise spirits that are so far above me, it’s incredible.  My sweet niece Kiera shared this beautiful poem she wrote and I knew it completely described Tyler and the way he has been able to ‘bloom where he has been planted’.   

The Sunflower

Said the seed to the gardener, “Must you plant me right here?
The soil is rough and the grass is too near.
Over yonder the lily has got a nice spot,
Where the water is fresh and the sun not too hot.
Or plant me – oh please! – in the willow’s nice shade
Where the daffodils are in such beauty displayed;
Not here where the ground is so barren and wild.
Put me in someplace more tranquil and mild!”

But the gardener was wise, for he knew the whole plan.
Said the seed, “I can’t grow here!” He said, “Yes, you can.
Each flower in my garden I watch, and I know
That here in this spot is your best place to grow.
The ground might be harder, the sun more severe,
But you, if you choose, can bloom beautifully here.
Be patient and trusting and soon you will see
How lovely this corner of garden will be.”

The days passed by slowly, filled with hard work and toil,
Pushing up to the sky and down into the soil.
Through the heat from the sun and the floods from the rain,
Seed and gardener both strove for more fertile terrain.
‘Til one day the gardener approached with a smile;
“Look up,” he said, “and around you awhile.”

The seed turned with ease, surprised at his power,
And saw that he’d grown to a glorious sunflower!
His place in the corner was a sight to behold -
Towers of green with their crowns of bright gold.
Now he could see the whole garden complete,
From the willow o’erhead to the grass at his feet,
And he learned from the soil he’d taken for granted
To trust in the Gardener, and bloom where you’re planted.

~Kiera Bennion, July 2010

  Amazing, talented family I have, huh?  I love you, Kiera – thanks for lifting my spirits with this poem.  I hope it brings joy to all who read it and choose to do the same with their lives.  Thanks to all who continue to pray for a miracle for Tyler.  We see miracles everyday…

Sunday in Florida!

Heavenly Father, Are You Really There?

 

   Today is Tyler’s 15th birthday.  It has also been five months today that he was diagnosed with cancer.  Wow…on one hand it feels like yesterday that I was standing in McKay-Dee Hospital being told his abdomen was full of cancer – on the other hand, it feels like we’ve been on this journey forever.  I feel stuck in a time warp.  I wonder if there will ever be a normal ‘normal’ again. 

  I have thought a lot about prayer lately and its power in our family’s life right now.  I have never known our prayers, both collectively as a family and individually to be more fervent or heart-felt.  I always thought I was okay at saying my prayers, but I have learned that my prayers were very guilty of the ‘vain repetitions’ spoken of in the scriptures.  It’s so true that when life is going along well, we tend to (at least I do) lose that connection with our Father in Heaven that is so needed.  I hope I never get in that rut again.  I have never prayed with such sincerity and purpose in my whole life.

   I learned as a child myself, and I have taught my children that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.  When I was small, this probably meant finding a lost dollar, a ring, or a tangible thing like that.  I prayed for help on schoolwork, and to do well in competitions that I was in.  I always felt my prayers were answered and I found what I was looking for, or did well on a test.  I never remember pleading with Heavenly Father for something I so desperately wanted or needed until now.  I also have had to examine what the meaning of ‘answering our prayers’ is all over again.  This isn’t one of those prayers where I’ll suddenly remember to look in the bottom drawer and my ring will be there… I am learning to ask ‘not my will, but thine’ and it’s not a comfortable place for me to be at yet.  The Bible dictionary defines prayer as “…the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.  The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessing that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.”

    Ouch…’not my will, but thine’..that phrase again.  It is so much harder than I thought to say that and really mean it.  Elder Richard L. Evans wrote, “It is not the usual purpose of prayer to serve us like Aladdin’s lamp, to bring us ease without effort.  Prayer is not a matter of asking only.  It should not be always as the beggar’s upturned hand.  Often the purpose of prayer is to give us strength to do what needs to be done, wisdom to see the way to solve our problems, and ability to do our best in our tasks.”

   So I will continue to pray for strength to be able to do what He knows is best for me – not really what I wanted, but what I know He knows I need.  And I will continue to ask “Not my will, but Thine” and know that the more I pray and feel that, the more my will and His will be brought into alignment.  I am grateful that I have prayer to bring me comfort and peace at all.  Abraham Lincoln wrote, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”  I know the feeling…

   I hope you can hear this song I tried to download. Click here 03 He’s My Son  I’m not too computer savvy, so hopefully it will work for you.  It is a Father’s prayer for his son and it is absolutely beautiful.  I couldn’t listen to it for a month without completely breaking down – now it brings me so much peace.  I hope it does the same for you, whatever it is you are going through.