Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Angel with the Tender Heart

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Once in a faraway place, a child was born.*

This child was unlike any other child. He was special. Of course all babies are special, but this child was different. He was really an angel in disguise.

Shortly before this angel’s birth, God gathered all the angels and held an important meeting in Heaven.

“Soon there is to be born on earth a special child. He will be different from other children in the things he will be able to do. I need the bravest of all My cherubs to bring healing. You will be born in this special earthly body. It will not work the same way most do. Although you will have loving parents, life will not be easy. Soon after your birth, they will know your time on earth will be brief.”

The cherubs started jumping up and down, waving their hands, hoping to be chosen! Each knowing it is a great privilege to do God’s work.

God looked among His angels and noticed one whose halo shone brighter than all the rest. “Little Angel with the Golden Glow,” He announced, “I choose you to be born unto this earthly home. Your light is so bright it can penetrate even the deepest sadness and change it into love.”

The angel was thrilled! How he had hoped he would be chosen! All the angels gathered around their friend to say goodbye. The would miss him.

One cherub, The Angel with the Tender Heart, was especially sad. The Angel with the Golden Glow was his best friend. What would he do without him? Sensing his despair, the Angel with the Golden Glow hugged him close.

“Don’t be sad. This is the greatest day of my life. I’m off to share my love with the world. One day you too will be chosen, and then you’ll understand.”

When the Angel with the Golden Glow was ready, he was born to his earthly home. Shortly after his birth, he saw tears in the eyes of all who loved him. They had been told he was different. He would not stay on earth for very long. His family was sad. They hurt inside. They did not understand.

The Angel remembered his gift of the golden glow. From then on, whenever there was sadness, he shone his halo so brightly that the sadness disappeared. It magically turned into love…and his family overflowed with love!

Finally the day came when the angel’s work on earth was completed. He was sad. He would miss his family, especially his mom and dad. He knew they would miss him too. Then he remembered that love never dies. They would always love one another. He also remembered there would be a time when they would be together again. This made him feel better. How he loved them so!

The Angel with the Golden Glow was gently and lovingly returned to heaven.

Once they were reunited, God said, “In you, child, I am well pleased.” All the angels joyfully welcomed him and gave him a great celebration!

The Angel with the Golden Glow was elated to see his best friend. He told him all about his adventures on earth.

When he finished his story, his friend said, “I missed you so much! Yet our time together in heaven will be short. I have the most amazing news! God has chosen me to be born into the same family. There is still much healing that needs to be done. Just think! We will be earthly brothers as well as heavenly brothers! This is surely the greatest honor of my life!”

The Angel with the Golden Glow was so happy for his friend, yet he would miss him.

As they hugged, The Angel with the Tender Heart felt his friend’s sadness. His heart overflowed with so much love that the sadness disappeared! The two cherubs giggled in delight at the love that they had shared and the special gifts they had been given.

As The Angel with the Tender Heart was leaving, he said, “I love you dear friend. I promise to take tender loving care of all those you love on earth. Don’t be sad…for there will be a day when we will be together again. And remember, as you so wisely taught me, I’ll always love you…whether we are together or apart…one from the other.”

We are so happy to announce that our second son, our own Angel with a Tender Heart, will be joining our family in December.

Our hearts are overflowing with joy.

*From
The Angel with the Golden Glow
by Elissa Al-Chockhachy

And now: A Photo

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I think I only have two pictures of myself from when I was pregnant with Megan.

I thoroughly regretted that fact during my pregnancy with Jack; wishing that I could look back and contrast and compare differences from one pregnancy to the next.

I promised myself that no matter how I felt about myself during my second pregnancy, I would take monthly pictures. Which I did.

I have looked back at those pictures during this pregnancy, but I haven’t felt the same desire to take pictures this time around. Maybe it’s because it’s more strange than interesting to look back on my Jack pregnancy pictures. I hardly recognize the girl I see in those photos and sometimes I feel like it wasn’t even me. A large part of it is because that pregnancy didn’t lead to me raising a child, and so sometimes it feels like it never happened. But also, I am very different from what I was like then, and I can read and detect my prior self through those photos. It’s not like I don’t like that person, or even love her, it’s just a me that I pretty much left behind when my life was shattered by Jack’s death. So, like I said, it’s strange to look back at those specific pictures at this specific stage of my life.

Today I decided I’d better take a picture or two of this pregnancy. I have to admit, that so far this has been my best pregnancy (physically. Emotionally? I’m a mess. So we’ll not do any comparing in that department). Yes, I was really sick during my first trimester. Yes, I have gained a little more weight than I should have. And yes, my sciatica pain has reared its ugly head now and then… HOWEVER, I was so grateful to be sick in the beginning that I smiled all through the nausea. And this time I only care about weight gain and its effect on the health of my baby: not the way I look (which by the way, I have been in much better control of my eating habits this time around and have not gained NEARLY as much as I had at this point with my past pregnancies, so that’s a plus!). And the sciatica pain? Well let’s just say that so far I have experienced about 1% of the amount of sciatica pain I experienced when I was pregnant with Jack. Each night I pray that my body will be healthy and strong for this baby. My prayers are being answered.

So anyway, I do plan on taking pictures as I get larger…for the sake of documentation…and now, here’s the first real pregnancy picture I have taken. A gift from me – to you – my adoring fans.

Just kidding about the adoring fans part. And that this is a gift. What kind of gift giver would I be if this is the kind of gift I gave? A photo of myself?

ANYWAY…here I am at 19 weeks.

Thanks for letting me share,
Elizabeth

Calendar Girl

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How badly I wish I could see/understand the inner workings of Megan’s mind.

For the past little while, she has been obsessed with calendars. She loves everything about days, months, years, even time. Each morning she bounds into our room and declares the day and time. Daily she reminds us of upcoming moon phases, holidays, birthdays, or days passed and what we did on those days.

Like everything Megan focuses her attention on, it didn’t take long before her interest in calendars turned into something even more remarkable. I noticed that Megan could hear a date, any date, and tell me what day of the week it was on. For example, if an activity was announced in Sacrament meeting, Megan would tell me “August 21st? That’s a Saturday!” Or when asking a friend their birthday: “October 3rd? That’s a Sunday!”

At first I was skeptical. So I pressed her. Here’s what I got:

I honestly don’t know if she has the entire calendar memorized (which would not surprise me) or if she has many days memorized and just figures out the other dates from those days, OR if she can just calculate it all in her mind (which would surprise me a little, but not that much).

I love, love, LOVE the unique things Megan can do! I definitely have my hands full with this little gal.

Speaking of which, she is currently all comfy cozy in my bed using daddy’s laptop to search things on Wikipedia. I better go monitor that situation…

Shamefully Honest. And Growth.

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Well, here I am about to start month five of pregnancy, and I haven’t really blogged much about it. Mostly that’s because I don’t really know what to say. The range of emotions I have experienced since we discovered we were expecting has been overwhelming to say the least.

Not many people will understand what it is like to be pregnant after a baby dies; especially when the baby was expected to be healthy and perfect. Not many people understand that finding out the baby’s gender takes a back burner to finding out if there are any obvious or notable problems. Further, not many people understand that even if we are told that the baby looks great, healthy, and perfect, that we will not accept that as fact until we hear our baby cry for the first time and until that baby is placed into our hungry and aching arms.

I have been feeling light movement for a couple of weeks now, but last night I felt the strongest and longest movement yet. It brought tears to my eyes as placed my hand on my baby and celebrated the fact that I have a child growing and developing inside me. In the past, I have counted down every month, week, and day of pregnancy; anxiously awaiting the baby’s arrival and even privately hoping that the baby would arrive early. Now, I am just going to enjoy the closeness that only I have with this child. I will never forget what it was like to feel Jack’s kicks, flips, and hiccups. Had I known then that he would never move after birth, I might have enjoyed it a little more, and would have rushed his arrival a little less.

When I was thirty-three weeks pregnant with Jack, I wrote the following entry in my journal:

“I hate being pregnant. I NEVER WANT TO BE PREGNANT AGAIN. EVER. I hate it. There are upsides. The baby, of course. Feeling him move around is magical. Knowing that he is the end result is wonderful. How could I say that all this pain is not worth it when I will soon be holding my beautiful little child? How can I hate pregnancy so much when the end result is so great? I don’t know. I just know that I don’t ever want to be pregnant again.”

It is embarrassing to share how selfish and blindsighted I was. My goodness I was so immature and naïve!! It is obvious that I was far from earning any title of “great mom”, because we know that the greatest moms are self-sacrificing and selfless.

I DO NOT feel the same way. I don’t care about any amount of physical pains or discomfort. I don’t care about morning sickness or back pains. I don’t care about bedrest or weight gain. The amount of pain I would be willing to suffer: if only Jack would have been healthy and: if only I could have raised him in this life, far exceeds what I actually went through when I was pregnant with him. I am not even sure I could put a limit on the pain I would willingly endure for him. And, I can honestly say, that even if the end result would be the same: I would do it all over again for him.

I recall vividly the way I felt while undergoing my c-section for Jack. They had me spread my arms out wide and then they strapped my arms down. I remember likening it unto be hung on a cross, and then thinking in my mind: “I am being sacrificed for my child”. The tears flowed, but I was glad to do it. I didn’t know it then, but I was being taught a huge lesson about sacrifice and its role in motherhood.

Not a day has passed when I haven’t thought about the “unknown” and the possibility that this child may be born imperfect. While there certainly was no evidence that Jack’s condition was genetic, there also was no truly validating confirmation otherwise. I will worry about whether or not this baby is fine until I hear that first cry. The cry I so desperately wanted Jack to give.

All that being said, however, each day I remind myself to have faith. I can’t wait to be enormously pregnant. I can’t wait for swift kicks and little hiccups. I can’t wait for labor. I can’t wait to nurse. I can’t wait for 4am feedings, hourly diaper changes, tiny gurgles, and the scent of baby powder. Onesies, booties, rattles, burp clothes, receiving blankets…screaming, giggling, kicking, sighing…everything. There is not one thing about having a newborn that I am not looking forward to.

I look back at the woman who I was when I was pregnant with Jack, and I feel so ashamed. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned and how far I have come as a mother, daughter, wife, and child of my Heavenly Father. I know that I have a long way to go. I continue to put my trust in the Lord and know that He will give me experiences that will shape me into the woman who I need to become in order to return to His presence and be with my little boy again.

I never thought I would say this but…
even with as emotional as this ride has been…
and even knowing how emotional and trying it will continue to become…
and although the future of our family and our newest little one is unknown…
and even though we haven’t even scratched the surface of the back pain or weight gain or many other physical discomforts…

even with all that I can still say:

I LOVE being pregnant.

Rainy Afternoon

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On Friday of last week, I was upstairs working on some Primary stuff, and Megan was downstairs playing in her room. I had been a little bit neglectful of Megan throughout the morning because I had a lot of work to get done for an upcoming meeting. All of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, thunder began to crash and rain began to pour. I love the rain, so I opened a nearby window and peaked outside. I then decided I wanted to share the storm with Megan, so I called her upstairs. She was so excited about the rain, and asked if she could sit by the front door and watch the rain fall. I told her we could do one better and she could go outside in the rain. She seemed a bit uncertain about whether or not I was telling the truth, but she slowly walked out into the storm. We spent the next couple of hours outside, first enjoying the brief Summer storm and then afterwards just enjoying the cooler Summer weather.

We’ve got some great raspberry bushes in our yard, and I taught Megan how to find the perfect ones for pickin’…

The fruit of our labor…well, half of it…mmmmm….

We found this little guy climbing up the sunflowers. As a gross side story, a few nights ago I was taking out the trash…barefoot…and crunch…I stepped on this guy’s brother…YUCK.

Megan liked to push on his shell until he would fully retreat inside and then watch him slither back out. I thought it was gross, but she got a real kick out of it.

The magic of our afternoon wasn’t even marred by the fact that this happened just moments after we came back inside:

I had to stay up a little late that night finishing up the work for my meeting.

But after the great afternoon I had with my Megan…

I didn’t mind at all.

Fourth of July Weekend in Viva Las Vegas

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We headed to Vegas for Independence Day weekend. My newest neice, little Cora Jean, was given a name and a blessing on Sunday, July 4th. We had a really wonderful weekend. Here are some highlights.

Johansons meet baby Cora:

On our way there Adam and I talked about how baby Cora is the same age Jack was when he passed away. I wondered if that would affect me emotionally at all. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Jack’s body was not the body of a 6 week old when he died as he was very swollen and much larger than normal, so holding Cora was not at all like holding little Jack. Which made it easy for me to hold her lots and lots…which I did!

The weekend was filled with swimming…lots and lots of swimming…

Adam and the boys (I mean “men”) hit the lake Saturday morning:


Cora’s was given a beautiful blessing by her father. The entire family (besides Sam) was able to be in attendance.

All of Megan’s Marshall cousins were present. The only Marshall grandchild not pictured is Baby Jack.

ONE Down…

FOUR to go…

Baby Cora was the first of the 2010 Marshall grandbabies. Four more are on the way (Ann in August, Kari and Tracy in October, and my little one in December.) My baby will be the twenty-first Marshall grandbaby, and will also break the 10-10 boy/girl tie!

The last of the holiday celebrations was the fireworks. The kids had a great time with the sparklers!

It is weird to think that we moved to Las Vegas almost one year ago, and it has been almost five months since we left. 2010 is sure flying by! We had such a great weekend in Vegas. Can’t wait for the next big family get together!!

Once a Year

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Last May, I was able to get together with my dear friend Heather for the first time in over three years. Heather and I were college roommates at good old BYU, and of the sixteen total roomates I had throughout college (most of whom I still keep in touch with via blogs and facebook) Heather is the one I have remained closest with.

Heather and Me, 2003

Well, last week, Heather and I were able to get together again. A family reunion brought Heather to Utah, and we were able to spend the better part of a day together. Our children had never met before, so Megan got to meet her future husband, Andrew, as well as his adorable and sweet brother, Baby Evan. Heather also spoiled me by treating me to a yummy lunch at Kneaders: where I have never been, but will definitely be visiting again (maybe tonight…).

Megan and Andrew

Heather never lets me forget how important my friendship is to her. She calls and emails often and is quick to uplift my spirits when I am down. I am so glad that she has worked so hard to maintain our relationship over the years. Friends like her are extremely hard to find.

Heather and Me, 2010

If I am lucky, maybe our physical paths will continue to cross at least once each year!