Heaven is all around us.

When Bart was in the middle of his chemo, one of the only things that sounded good to him was Pomegranate shakes. Gretchen would stop by Arby's every day on her way to the hospital and pick one up to take to him. I understand how important that was to her. I remember how good it felt to be able to make chocolate shakes for Mom Link during her last days when so little tasted good to her. There's so very little you can do to bring comfort--when you find that One Thing that helps, even a little, your heart just melts with gratitude. For Bart and Gretchen, that One Thing was Pomegranate ice cream shakes.

Wednesday was Bart's birthday. I knew it would be a melancholy day for her and so we spent a long phone call sharing memories of our guy. We talked about what she might do to make it a celebration. She thought she might bake his favorite pie and take a slice to her friends. Gretchen has a wonderful heart.

The following day she sent me this email:
Yesterday I made Peanut Butter cookies because they were Bart's favorite and it made me feel good, but check this out! I found this ice cream at WalMart and it was most delicious!
It is called Sheer Bliss and certainly was. I got the Pomegranate.

Gavin's and my One Thing was notes. He'd leave them around for me to find. They were usually decorated with some of his artwork; fanciful little doodles that I always loved and generally tucked away somewhere. I just ran across one the other day while cleaning out my nightstand. It was Heaven. Literally.

Two weekends ago, as Greg and I drove back from clearing out Dad's house down in Scottsdale, we stopped in Sedona to hike. As we started out, I silently whispered to Gavin that I'd love it if he'd let me know that he was near. I always miss him when I hike. I have so many favorite memories of our hikes together. Anyway, I whispered my little longing to Gav, then forgot about it and just enjoyed my hike with Greg. It was a perfect day. Perfect temperature. Good conversation. Blue sky. Red rocks towering above us.

When we finally turned around to go back, we decided to slow down a little. Greg was hiking in flip-flops (the way Gav used to) and his hip was starting to get a little sore, so we ended up slowing down to a very easy stroll and I began to meditate by focusing on the details of the trail. It was then that I found it. Right in the middle of the trail we had already hiked over that morning. A large, flat-faced, red rock etched with the words, "I miss you." Etched around the letters were fanciful doodles of falling tear drops. Exactly like Gavin would have done. Exactly like him.

Heaven is all around us. It's in peanut butter cookies and pomegranate ice cream left for us in a freezer case in WalMart. It's etched in rocks along a desert trail or in notes tucked away in the night stand. All we have to do it ask for it. All we have to do is look.


Hey, I want a family chant, too!

Well said, Brother Heber!

"I am perfectly satisfied that my Father [in Heaven] . . . my
God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured Being. Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured when I have His spirit!"
-Heber C Kimball
Journal of Discourses
February 8, 1857


I've been told that the human mind cannot accurately remember pain.
I discovered tonight that this is a lie.

Tonight, I tried to watch the video Natalie posted about
pertussis--whooping cough,
the violent virus
that snatched our precious baby Gavin
from our family.

I could not bring myself to listen.
I had to play the video with the sound turned off.
But even that wasn't enough.
The pain, the helplessness, the anguish,
the shock, the despair,
the devastation . . .
all washed over me with a renewed vengeance.
The pain, as searing--as soul piercing--as it had been when
I stood helpless, trying to
comfort my suffering baby grandson
and his brave momma.

Please don't force another family to endure this.
Please vaccinate yourself against this disease.
It is making a return.
Protect our fragile little ones
from it's ravages.
Vaccinate yourself.