Monday, September 3, 2018

Last Day with Brenda, Ashlee and Lindsey

On our last day together, Brittney came over and we headed to Yoder's Market where we found plenty to buy. We even found salt made in Redmond, Utah, where Abby's fiance is from.  We headed to the lake where Ashlee almost used up her 13 lives...seriously! She had a major wipe-out on the tube, rolling several times on water and I got it all on video. That girl is one tough cookie.  We ended the  night playing Rummikub around the table, with me losing every game...and the sad thing is, I think everyone delights when I lose! Even with losing, I wished the night would go on and on and never stop with my girls next to me.  I love you dear ones and feel so very thankful for your support during this wedding weekend. See you in a couple weeks for Abby's wedding.    

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Perry, Darshan and Girls Visit

As Randy and Hillary flew to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon, we were blessed with family time. Brenda and her girls drove to Johnson City for a visit with Nana and Steve and we enjoyed our day with Scott's brother, Perry, Darshan, Chantal, Michelyn and their boyfriends. First up was removing the antlers from one of our bull elks. The rut season is upon us and our bull elks, Samson and Gideon, are fighting.  To prevent injury, we chose to remove Gideon's antlers. Everything went smoothly. Scott shot Gideon with a tranquilizer dart, putting him to sleep and Perry had the honor of cutting the antlers off. Gideon woke up a short time later, groggy and antler-less! Needless to say, Samson is king of the hill again. After dinner, the kids headed to the lake for some cool down time. By 9:00 pm Darshan had them loaded in the car for their 13 hour drive home. I'm beyond thankful they stopped to spend the day with us. It was so nice meeting you Tucker and Josh! Come back again soon.  

L to R: Perry, Darshan, Chantal, Tucker, Josh, Michelyn, Scott, Ethan and Charles

L to R: Scott, Ethan, Tucker, Chantal, Michelyn, Josh and Perry. PS I love my babe's farmer legs :)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Meet Leo and Elena

Do you ever have moments that make an imprint in your heart forever?  I'd like to share one of those moments...  About three years ago Randy had a special procedure done at Vanderbilt Hospital (blog post on Dec 14, 2015). At the time, we were unable to give details due to privacy reasons, but that actual special procedure was Randy donating his bone marrow (BM) to a little child. About a year previously, Randy donated his blood. While he was giving his blood they asked if he'd like to possibly donate his bone marrow.  "Sure" he said, and they swabbed his mouth. And just like that, he was put on the bone marrow registry. Over a year later he received a call saying he was a possible match for a little child and Randy was all in! During the next several weeks, they tested his blood even more and he was indeed an excellent match for this child.  Next was his physical which he passed with flying colors. With everything a green light we drove to Vanderbilt Hospital on Dec 14 for the special procedure. We arrived early in the morning and sat in the waiting room with many others having surgery that day.  Soon Randy's name was called and we went to the registration area to be told the hospital didn't have all the necessary paperwork on file and they may not be able to do the procedure that day.  I prayed for the proper paperwork to be found for this little child waiting on the other end. The paperwork was finally located...thank you dear Lord for answering that prayer quickly! The next time Randy's name was called, it was the Dr. personally coming to escort us back to same day surgery.  Randy and I both looked at each other....Wow! The Dr. was personally escorting us back and people were looking at us. We felt very VIP.  The hospital staff treated us like royalty and everyone was so nice. The procedure went smoothly and when Randy was in the recovery room we asked about the child who would receive his BM. All the information they gave us, was that Randy's BM was being flown by jet at that very moment to the child. No other information was given to us. The hospital staff put us up at a nearby hotel that night where Randy rested. I remember Randy and I going for a (slow) walk that night through the hotel  and we ended at the top floor overlooking the city lights. We prayed for the child that would receive his BM. I'm beyond thankful for the example Randy sets in living a life representing the love Christ has for us.  The next morning we headed back to the hospital to have Randy's dressing removed and one last evaluation. The staff mentioned we were unable to have contact with the recipient for one year.  After the year waiting period, the recipient's family could apply to contact us if they desired. "Do you think they'll contact us," I asked?  The woman at the hospital smiled and said "Yes, the families are usually very anxious to meet their donor." Randy signed several papers and received a cool certificate for his donation, which I saved.  

Throughout the year, we'd mention this little child, wondering if the BM had helped and wondering if we'd hear from the recipient's family. This family was lifted up in prayer! And the hospital was correct...after the waiting period was over, the recipient's family made contact with Randy!! Gosh, we were excited. A little boy named Leo received his BM however, he was still in the hospital battling a serious illness. I remember thinking this little guy was quite the fighter and our God was a great big God!!  Praise to our Lord for answered prayer and prayers yet to be answered. Randy corresponded with Leo's mom during the next year and a half as Leo was battling his illness. Randy would often give us updates. Several times I mentioned about driving up and meeting them, knowing a mother's heart, however, Randy didn't feel the timing was right.  Then several months ago, Randy mentioned he'd sent Leo's family an invitation to the wedding. They replied that they were unable to make it. Again, I prayed inside, hoping Leo was well and knowing God would provide the perfect time for us to meet. Fast forward to wedding day.

Guess who showed up! To be honest, the business of wedding plans took over for the next month. Wedding day arrived and I was so focused on getting through the ceremony without becoming an emotional wreck that I was absolutely stunned and shocked when I saw them. The ceremony was just over and we were all gathered at the back of the church laughing and talking, when in walked this family.  I don't ever remember seeing pictures of Leo's mom, just Leo...but when I saw her, I knew. Something in me knew who she was. And like slow motion, I remember looking down at Leo by her side and then back at her and the next moment Leo's mom and I were hugging and crying. From one mom to another, I embraced her with a passion of love and the depth of that hug surprised even me. The two years of praying for her and Leo came flooding to the surface through that embrace and that moment will be forever stamped in my heart and mind.  The presence of the Holy Spirit was so overwhelming, humbling and alive. It was a perfect meeting, orchestrated by God himself! Leo's mom is named Elena and my life is forever changed with this deep connection to her that I'm anxious to explore. Yes, before the evening was over, we exchanged phone numbers. Hugs and tears went all around as we introduced ourselves. I was especially thrilled to finally meet our little miracle, Leo and see this guy smiling, laughing and yes, doing lots of talking. We also got to meet brother Max. I know Elena and her husband were thrilled to the moon and back to finally thank Randy in person for the gift of his BM. Oh, the journey this family has been through and this sweet time of answered prayer.  On top of all this, like icing on a cake, the Holy Spirit provided another special gift of time, allowing Randy and Hillary to run into Leo's family the next morning, eating breakfast together. Talk about blessings over-flowing!    

Randy and Hillary's Wedding Day

Wedding day has arrived! We had reserved rooms at a nearby hotel for everyone the night before the wedding so we wouldn't have to travel so far.  Randy and Hillary were getting married at the White Stone Inn, a beautiful retreat in the mountains of TN.  I added the link if you'd like to see the resort.  I did my makeup extra careful, hair curled and even took a self focused selfie for my mom in Utah.  Now if my hair would just stay curled as the wedding wasn't for five more hours. We all drove to the retreat and chapel and got dressed there. Pretty soon it was picture time for the groom's side. The photographer took control and Brenda took several pictures from the side. I'll blog the professional pictures once they're released. My men looked especially handsome. Randy and Hillary chose not to see each other until she walked down the isle, but I got a sneak peak and she was absolutely beautiful! Yes, I cried when I saw her. It was a blue sky day though the heavens opened up with rain right before the wedding, delaying the 4:00 ceremony just a little. The chapel was filled and we walked in like we'd practiced, with Charles and Ethan escorting me and Scott walking behind. Randy was standing under the arbor soaking it all in. The groomsmen entered and everyone began to laugh as they tried to kiss Randy on the cheek as they greeted him. Randy's tall too, so some of them had to jump a little! Precious. I did cry as I watched Hillary enter and then when Randy and Hillary took communion for the first time as husband and wife. How could I not when we were all singing and praising our Lord, worshiping Him! Thank you Lord for your indescribable  gift. Time for the first it was their first kiss! Randy waited to kiss Hillary until she was his bride. What a long awaited kiss. I do believe they're making up for it now though :)  Everyone was cheering the bride and groom as they announced Mr. and Mrs. Little. As the groomsmen and bridesmaids exited, they danced down the isle. My babe surprised me and gave me a little twirl as he escorted me out. I think I heard cheering. Love my man. It was a beautiful Christ centered ceremony and we praise our Lord for first loving us, so we may experience love! Pinch me now...I'm blessed with  my first daughter!

Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves in the most unexpected ways that change our lives forever. This happened right after the wedding.  After the ceremony we were all gathered at the back of the church, talking excitedly, when in walks another surprise that brought my spirit to the point of tears and complete humbleness. My next blog will be a very special one indeed.