Tag Archives: God

My 2014 Twenty & 14 Grateful List

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I decided to take a step back and make a list of the top Twenty and 14 things that I am grateful for. I have decided to leave them in random order because putting a numerical or symbolic meaning next to each of them is ridiculous.

  1. Beckett is on a medication that helps him pee the extra fluid in his abdomen out and he doesn’t need to have to carry his yellow accessory (drain) with him.
  2. Beckett’s poop has dark colors. Light/white poop is a sign of liver failure. The color of poop has never meant so much to me.
  3. That  “Number 1” and “Number 2” on my Twenty & 14 Grateful List both have double meanings. Do you get it? Number 1 and number 2. Seriously can’t stop laughing right now.
  4. We will be spending Thanksgiving at home and not at the hospital. Kim and I were worried for a while that this years feast would be taking place in the Primary Children’s cafeteria. May God bless those families who will be there in our place.
  5. Adalyn June. Addie is our oldest child. She is the symbol of love in our family. There is nothing that she wouldn’t do for her brother or sister. The sacrifices she has made during Beckett’s battle have been just as hard as any sacrifice that Kimmie and I have made and it doesn’t go unnoticed. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t thank God for this princess being my first born. Love you June!
  6. Dr. Weston Spencer at Alpine Pediatrics in American Fork. The man gave us a chance by recognizing Beckett’s rare disease immediately and running the right blood tests. I will be forever grateful for him!
  7. The best neighbors. Seriously the best. We thought we were loved and cared for before but we had no idea what a neighborhood could do. Now it’s our turn to pay it forward.
  8. Subway sandwiches. You can’t beat the Spicy Italian. Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, olives, mayo, mustard, and black pepper over pepperoni, salami, and some sort of processed white cheese.
  9. Our “primary” nurses. You know who you are. These nurses aren’t just employees of a hospital. They are family. We are so grateful for their willingness to accept our request. They take care of our son and watch over Kim and I. The weight they carry is just as heavy as ours as they counsel with our doctors. With tears in my eyes, we love you and are so grateful to have you angels apart of our battle.
  10. B E C K E T T. When Kim informed me that she was pregnant with Beckett, it took me several months to get on board with the idea of having another child. I wasn’t ready and was perfectly happy with my two sweeties. Becks, one day you will read this and I want you to know that you mean more to me than life itself. I would give everything I have up for you to live the life that you deserve son and to carry your BA torch. I am proud of you and will fight every day with you in battle.
  11. High by Young Rising Sons. I came across this song when Kim was in the last weeks of her pregnancy with Beckett and it became the theme song of her pregnancy. It has now turned into the theme song of Beckett’s life. Touches my core every time I give it a listen.
  12. Technology. How blessed are we to live at a time when medicine practices have never been better? Not to mention that when my family needs the prayers of others I can Tweet, Facebook, and Instagram a request to hundreds of people. There is nothing I can’t do from a smartphone/tablet. Working has never been easier in this time of needing to balance life and work.
  13. Family. What a beautiful thing family is. There is no better way to understand how our Heavenly Father feels than being a parent. I am grateful for my parents, in-laws, and the many other individuals who have acted as parents in my life. I am grateful for my siblings and the strength that we draw from each other.
  14. Domo, Inc. This company takes care of their own and I am proud to be a Domosapien. By the way, we’re hiring.
  15. Raemee Kay. This peach leaves me speechless on a daily basis. From the beginning she has been my stress ball. She is the most physically dirty kid I have ever known. She is the instigator of mischief and she is more gifted than most. There is not a thing my Mimi girl can’t do. I am willing to bet that she can make anyone smile. Rae, don’t change because you are perfect sweetheart. Saying I love you is an understatement.
  16. Snow capped mountains. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute and admit that it’s breathtaking and a scenic view doesn’t get much better than snow capped mountains. If you want to argue with me than take a look at this picture by my friend Br1dger and sit back down.
  17. Our home. It’s cozy. It’s warm. It’s located in a city that I swore I would never live and now love. It’s perfectly located for our little world where we live our life.
  18. My Father in Heaven. We have had some words lately. Despite my frustrations and pains he has always listened to me. However many times I fall he sends me help. He loves me and shows me so I don’t forget it.
  19. Freshly shaved legs. You’d think I’d be meaning Kimmie’s legs. Don’t get me wrong, those are hot, but I am talking about my own. Oh, daddy. There is nothing like getting in bed or putting on a pair of pants over freshly shaved legs. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me.
  20. Kimmie. She is my world and my strength. She is my best friend and my eternal love. She is compassionate and forgiving. Kim has a way with our kids that amazes me. Since day 1 she has been my living example of the Savior and has continued to be my example since then. I would be lost without her and am so grateful she is my companion in this life and the lives to come.

And

  1. Sound of water. Now I am not talking about from your sink. I mean from a river, stream, or waterfall. The sound of constant crashing and flexible adjustments that water makes as it gets tossed, turned, and dropped by running it’s course. I find the sound soothing and peaceful. I think there is a deeper definition of “going with the flow” that we often glaze over.
  2. Organ donors. These individuals are true life savers. These selfless individuals understand what life is about and want everyone to live life to the fullest. If you’re not a donor, you should be. A wise woman that I greatly respect once said, “if your child needed an organ to save his/her life, would you take it? If yes, then it’s reasonably expected that you’d be willing to donate.” Click here to register today.
  3. My sister. This woman keeps going. She inspires me. I hope to be more selfless like her.
  4. Nacho cheese. So freaking good! Right?!?
  5. Cycling. It’s freedom on two wheels. It’s my pain playground. It’s the time where I channel my heart, mind, and muscle to move as one. On the bike I learn the power that my body has and how all of the moving pieces inside God’s beautiful creation come together to take me to my desired destination.
  6. Our Liver Family. These liver families have brought Kim and I so much peace and have helped fortify Kim and I. It’s a family that focuses on love and support rather than judgement. The circumstances of our association are not ideal but we are better people now that we are rubbing shoulders with them.
  7. Sunshine. Ahhh! Let’s face it, there are no words to describe it’s beauty.
  8. Car sunroofs. What a brilliant idea! It’s a perfect place to let the fresh air flow into the car while letting the sunshine in from above. It doesn’t matter where you are when your sunroof is open you feel like you are vacation. You feel cool and on top of the world. Everyone deserves to feel that way. If your car doesn’t have a sunroof. Sell it. Get a car that does and soak up the rays.
  9. Life Trees. You’re probably like “Whhhat?!?!” A life tree is a tree that has equal or more years of life than you do. They are tall, strong and have deep stubborn roots. However, no matter how big they are, no matter how strong, nor how deep their roots run, they find new ways and areas to grow.
  10. Dreyers Mint and Peppermint ice cream. #numnum
  11. Mexican food. Doesn’t matter what it is. Taco Bell, Del Taco, Taco Time, El Azteca, Maria Bonita, Mama Chu’s, La Costa or Red Iguana. I’ll eat it. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, taquitos, tamales, enchiladas, or tostadas. I’ll eat ’em.
  12. Our liver team. Dr. Book, Barbie, Holly, Brook just to name a few know exactly what they are doing. It’s not their first rodeo and we feel so blessed to be with one of the greatest doctors and teams in the country.
  13. Jesus Christ, my Savior. When it comes to the sacrifice of The Redeemer of mankind, I have always focused on the repentance aspect and being cleansed from my sins. I am learning now what people mean when they say “by His grace we are saved.” His grace saves me when I am feeling discouraged, tired, and scared. I am saved by the strength that he provides me. I am saved because he gives me hope.
  14. You. If you are reading this it means you care. I am grateful for your support. I know you want to help our family. One day, I will ask you to. Today isn’t that day and it’s not the right time. Until then, please stay curious. Please stay involved. Please keep praying that Beckett gets stronger and don’t ever hesitate to ask Kim and I for anything.

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Dru

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It’s been a few days since Dru left. It just doesn’t seem real. I replay the night and the moment so vividly. Kim was laying on our bed looking at Instagram and I was trying to get Beckett asleep. I could hear the shock, fear, and pain as the words came out of Kimmie’s mouth.

“Shawn, Dru died!”

Tears. Shock. Lots and lots of tears. Followed by fear and pain.

Since that moment I have mostly been numb. There is just too much to really feel and comprehend all of my emotions.

I have wanted so badly in her memory to post the perfect picture with the most perfect caption. Many times I have opened up Facebook to write Dru’s parents a note to bring them comfort and to tell them how much we love them. How much we admire them. How knowing them has eternally impacted our lives. Or even to simply say, we are praying for you and hope that you find some sort of peace through this hellish and nightmare of a situation. But every time I have tried coming up with the right thing to say I have actually ended up closing my app/browser with no words on the screen.

What do you say? What could I say that would make any difference? How could I possibly help at all? I think everyone has probably felt the same way at some point with some sort of experience.

imageDru was the first BA baby that we met. I remember, like it was yesterday the morning that we met Andy, Dru’s mom at the hospitality cart down the hall from our rooms at Primary Children’s Hospital. She gave Kim a hug and was so kind to us both. Dru and Andy have been the light and strength to our family. Bill, Dru’s father became my role model. He is my example of how to be a supportive husband, and how to manage your hospital child with your children at home, while managing work all at the same time. 

I only got to see Dru a few times during our hospital stays. However, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes till I fell in love with her fierce and sassy personality. She was referred to by everyone who knew her as Miss Magic. I’ve never had a chance to ask who came up with her nickname but it defines Dru in every sense. The lil lady was magical. She put a smile on everyone’s face. She changed communities of people. She impacted my family and changed me personally. Have I mentioned that she was only a year old?

Dru was one of two liver kids that we were aware of who needed a liver transplant and was a permanent resident at Primary’s while waiting for her gift of life. One received her liver on Sunday. Dru passed away on Monday and today will be laid to rest. I will never forget Dru. When I tie my running shoes I will think of #movingformissmagic. She certainly moved me. I can keep moving for her. When Kim wears her necklace that says “I can do hard things” I will think of Dru and her family and how they have gone through the hardest trial. When I pray at night, I will remember Dru and ask God to send her to watch over Beckett as he fights his liver battle. I can’t think of a more valiant warrior than Dru to protect my son.

Love you Dru. Thank you for being a light in my life during the darkest days I have lived. You made me a believer. I believe in magic.

Click here to read more about Dru and her amazing family. Please pray for them and honor her by becoming an organ donor.

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Understanding the Universe

“In a very short period of time, our understanding of the universe changed forever… The immensity of the universe didn’t suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth changed dramatically. And with that greater light, mankind was introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I have thought often the past few weeks on these words. I can relate to them. They tell my story. I see the value and meaning of life differently than I had ever seen or pictured it before. The veil over my face has been lifted to see a greater universe than I knew previously. I strangely feel the dark and sunny places of other individuals emotions and can relate to them. As much as my own experiences will allow me to of course.

Before Beckett’s diagnosis of Biliary Atresia, we had what I considered a great life. Kim and I found the chaotic rhythm for our family of 3 beautiful well mannered kids. Our marriage was thriving as we established weekly dates and activities together. I was starting to find the groove of my career after being promoted to a new position of visibility. Talk of insurance and financial planning was for “other” people. Adalyn and Raemee, our two oldest girls, have never had ear infections. No medical threats would ever happen to us. Life was as close to perfect as it could get.

IMG_3184The text message I received from Kim on that sunny Tuesday was the start of my eye opening experience that is now the life I live. Since that Tuesday, 35 days have past. In those thirty-five days, 17 of them to this day have been spent in the hospital. Puddles of tears have been shed, hard conversations have taken place, and ultimately God has provided me with a humbling blow to my core that has made me grow up in areas I have never wanted to. Nor did I know existed within me or my capacity. I think we have all experienced this to different degrees.

In the end I am grateful for the deeper capacity of gratitude, empathy, perspective, and emotion that I feel for others. It has enabled me to love. To see the universe for what it’s supposed to be. I have a changed soul and I can’t describe it. You can’t put words next to something like what I feel inside now that is so powerful. I can say that it runs deep, it’s consuming, and it requires me to take action.

I’m not grateful for what is happening to Beckett. I would never wish this on my son. Though he be a warrior, it’s not a fight I want him in so that I can learn a soul transforming lesson. However, I am grateful for the level of communication it has provided me. As I looked into Beckett’s eyes last night, I saw him. I saw the fear that exists inside him. That same fear I see on the faces of parents of sick kids in the hospital. The same look I see when I look in the mirror. I felt how tired he was from a week of being poked (5 different IVs and multiple blood draws), sedated (twice), and drained (the excessive fluid from his abdomen). I understood for a brief moment the exhaustion of being administered 6 different medications one after the other, or the toll that deep vomiting multiple times a day can take on a 3 month old body. When he wrapped his little fingers around my thumb, he was asking me to not leave him alone and I heard through his expression him say “I am trying dad!” For a second, time stopped and I was learning from my man cub. He has a mission to complete. A battle to fight. My son has a purpose and he knows it. We all do. Just like I love my son, our Father in Heaven loves us all. I understand now why “in the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land” (Matthew 27:45) and in the ninth hour “the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” (Matthew 27:51) It wasn’t easy for the Son, and clearly it wasn’t easy for the Father, but they saw and were aware of the glorious vistas of the universe.

Beckett is a warrior. Even though he has already been through so much, his battlefield is going to get harder, scarier, and so much worse. In all of this there is a lot that will be asked of him. He will pay a steep price to gain the life he has waiting for him post liver transplant. I am so proud of him and through him I am finally seeing and understanding what life is really about. #loveyaBeckett

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Little Warrior

IMG_6708When we first started figuring out what was going on with Beckett, I posted a picture to Instagram about what we had experienced. I mentioned that Beckett was going about everything with such a happy demeanor and I called him my little warrior. I don’t know why that word popped in my head specifically instead of a more common word like fighter. But it came so clearly. He was a warrior. I’ve pondered a lot lately trying to figure out why that word was so important. As I was thinking about it last Wednesday, a story in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ about the 2,000 stripling warriors came to mind. I decided to make that the object of my scripture study the next day.

It just so happened that Thursday, Shawn took Addie to preschool and Beckett took a long nap. We had a very quiet morning and I was able to spend some good time with my scriptures reading the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors and thinking about it. This story is about a group of people who after repenting of their wickedness, made a covenant with God that they would never take up arms again. Well war came upon them. Their brethren were fighting for them and they felt bad because they weren’t helping. They were about to take up arms and fight when their sons (who had NOT made the covenant) said that they would go to war for their fathers. As they fought, they were injured but NOT ONE of the 2,000 sons was killed in battle. What I learned from reading this story was amazing. It has changed the way I view our situation.

I started in Alma Chapter 53 and got to verses 20-21.

20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted…

21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.

Then I moved to Alma Chapter 56:46

46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth…

Here Helaman (their commander) is describing these young men. I felt so strongly in my core that this is Beckett. I believe that my little man is so courageous and is doing much better with this situation than either Shawn or I. It doesn’t matter that he is a two month old baby. I remember when he first smiled at us after his surgery. There was a look in his eyes. He had this. He was ok. It was like he was telling us that he was fine. His courage strengthens mine. And then I read that last line again, “Behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth.” How true this is. Our God is behind us. He will watch over us and protect us. Those 2,000 warriors knew that and they went forward in faith. Beckett is the same. He is so happy and trusting, even with the scary things that have happened to him.

I then moved on to Alma 56:47-48.

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death… yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Now I have read this story many times in my life. I have always thought of how amazing those mothers were. But reading it this time with Beckett in mind, it struck me so differently. I am now the mom of a warrior. This is me. This is my responsibility. And in order for me to teach my son, I need to believe this. And live it. Faith. It all comes down to faith. Their mothers instilled such faith in them that they were willing to go into battle. I want my son to be strong. I want him to be able to handle things with courage and with happiness no matter how bad things get. And in order for that to happen, I need to be the example. By this point I was in tears. I felt such a greater love for those mothers. I knew that I wanted to be just like them.

At this point in the story, these young men went to war. Alma 56:56 reads:

56 But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power…

And then moved to Alma Chapter 57:21, 26-27.

21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.

27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

I started to think of Beckett’s future. Oh how I wish this for him. He has already proved to be so strong but I pray that he can fight with the strength of God as he undergoes many challenges in his life. I know that he can have a wonderful life despite the health issues. I love that last verse because I can see my son in it. He is young. His mind is firm. And I can see him putting his trust in God for the rest of his life. I know God is there for him. Christ knows exactly what Beckett has been through and what he will endure. He knows it perfectly and is the perfect person to rely on through all this.

That’s not to say that we aren’t going to have hard days. We will. Probably a lot of them. We are going to struggle at times. But if we will trust, if we have faith in our Savior, we will conquer whatever comes our way.

I love my son. I love him so deeply that I will be strong for him. I will teach him what I know. I will teach him faith. We will make it through this together.

Written by: Kimber

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The Messenger

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We have been home from the hospital now for almost 24 hours. It’s an amazing feeling to be in the comfort of your own home. However, even though I am comforted by the familiarity, now that we are home, I feel heavy. My head hurts, it’s hard to breath, my stomach still feels sick, and my eyes just want to close. I’m pretty sure these are the side effects of being overwhelmed, scared, and completely weighed down from the pressures of life. As the hours pass by I gradually accept that these feelings are going to be my new way of life.

Kno, knoc, knock! Kimmie and I look at each other with a puzzled look. “Who could be at the door?” I thought. I open the door and recognize the mans face but I don’t know his name. He introduced himself and mentioned that he is a member of our ward (a ward is an group of members of our church defined in a specific area). He was holding a plate of cookies and I felt like I should invite him into our home. He came in and informed us that he was prompted to stop by yet had no idea what he was doing or why he was now sitting in our home. The next 15 minutes were filled with this man bearing testimony of the divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the power of prayer, and even though we are scared of the unknown, God knows exactly what he is doing. He looked me in his eyes, called me his brother, and promised me that everything was going to be ok. The Spirit of God surrounded me like a warm hug and I knew what this man was telling me was true. I knew that God had sent this man as a servant to deliver a specific message for Kim and I.

The weight was immediately lifted and I could feel of Gods love for our family. I was suddenly ok and accepting of this new way of life. What an indescribable and marvelous feeling it is to have confidence that God is in your corner. I am not oblivious to the facts that the road ahead is going to be hard and will stretch me in ways that will hurt, but I am sure that we won’t be on this journey alone. Our Father in Heaven knows what his children need and with this knowledge I find peace knowing Beckett is in better hands than my own.

Written by: Shawn

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Buckle up, God’s driving

IMG_6607Multiple times a day I get a text message from family or friends asking, “how is Beckett doing?” or “how are you doing?” and “Is there anything I can do for you?” The kindness and love of these people humble me to my core. However, with every text message response I have to ask myself;

How am I REALLY doing?
What fear is Kimmie hiding that she is covering up with motherly positivity?
Is Beckett’s blasted Kasai going to work?
How long will it work for before he will need a transplant?

A simple answer applies to all of these questions. I don’t know.

I remember driving home to Orem, Utah with my father on I-15 from Salt Lake City one afternoon. There was a constant rain drizzle falling from the bland gray sky. With no announcement quarter sized raindrops attacked with great ambition. The freeway quickly filled with inches of water creating the worst possible driving conditions. With every knock of rain on the windshield it was clear to my father and I both that there was nothing clear at all about the situation we found ourselves in. We couldn’t see past the windshield. Everything was a blur except the fact that steady streams of water on the highway were the immediate cause of newly congested traffic that could result in significant peril.

This scenario was scary as a young boy. Scarring enough to deposit this life event into my memory bank. With my surroundings increasing in danger and blurring vision ahead I had to rely on my father to get me home safely.

I find myself in a similar situation now. How could my son have Biliary Atresia? Where did this all come from? I can’t see past today but all I think about is tomorrow. I just got sucker punched by Life. It hurts. It makes me angry. I am grateful for the life lesson but would like to be done learning now. I crumble without prayer and the companionship of my wife. It’s scary to look at your son and see the potential negative scenarios that could take him from this life to the next and you know, you know that you will have to face each one of them.

So here I am Lord. I’m in the passenger seat with my seatbelt securely fastened scared as hell. Please, get us home safely.

Written by: Shawn

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