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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Come Together

Before our friends Brady and Angie had even left the hospital after losing Brady's parents and their daughter, the community of Wasatch County was pulling together.  A huge fundraiser was in the works, and we pulled it off last Saturday.

It was a huge event including a 5K race, breakfast, silent auction, raffle, yard sale and bake sale.  My friends and I were in charge of the yard sale/bake sale portion and things started to just fall together.  People were offering anything they could to help out.

When all was said and done, people opened their hearts, and pocket books, all in support of these wonderful families.  We weren't sure people would come to donate, and then all of a sudden we had an indoor football field full of stuff.  We had three long tables filled with homemade baked goods that people that didn't even know any of the families involved were willing to donate- some all the way from Wyoming.  People were generous- buying a $5 loaf of bread and giving $50.  No matter the cost, all they wanted to do was help.

This is why we are on this Earth together.  We are here to lift when the other person can't even hold their head up.  Our Savior spent his time on Earth serving others, and if we are to be like him, then we need to do as he did.  Serve.

Although Brady and Angie are dear friends of ours, I can't say we really knew Quincy all that well.  Even as an acquaintance, Quincy has changed me.  She has taught me to be a better mother- to let things go and snuggle longer.  She has taught me to think of others before myself.  She has taught me how important faith really is.  We have nothing without our faith.  I'm grateful for these lessons.

My sweet kids wanted to visit Quincy last week, so Will decided to draw her a picture, and Annie picked some flowers and we went to the cemetery.  It was so tender watching my children pay tribute to this little girl.  We are all humbled.
"Hi Quincy, We are so happy to see you."

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Grandpa Kaiserman turned 75 this past Sunday.  We celebrated just like any family would- copious amounts of food.  Isn't it interesting that all the guy wants is to be left alone in his TV room, and instead we cram 41 people in there?

I also got to take pictures of Shanna and Thomas while they were down. I"m no pro, but we caught some sweet moments.  This one was my favorite!
This is a spot that I pass at least once a week while I'm running.  It's one of my favorite places in this whole valley, and I loved that I could capture some pictures of people I love there.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's 5 AM and I have been up for the last hour preparing my Relief Society lesson.  I've had this calling for only two months, and it has felt overwhelming to me.  I feel inadequate and inexperienced.  I was telling a good friend just yesterday that I've never wanted to ask to be released from a calling, but I just feel like I can't do this one.

As I was searching for stories to use during my lesson, I come across this quote from Pres. Monson that he shared in the July 2009 Liahona:

"Remember that you are entitled to our Father’s blessings in this work. He did not call you to your privileged post to walk alone, without guidance, trusting to luck. On the contrary, He knows your skill, He realizes your devotion, and He will convert your supposed inadequacies to recognized strengths. He has promised: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).

Amazing how if we are searching, and praying, we come across just what we need to hear.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


We have a very smart boy on our hands.

Will loves to read and will surprise me by telling me about "Organic Produce" from the flyer we received from Smith's, he creates levels for his race car drawing game and has written them out from 1-119 all by himself- without missing a number, he enjoys math and science almost as much as art, and he has learned to be a good friend.

While I can take some of the credit, a lot of the credit belongs to his incredible teacher, Katie Nelson, whom he has spent time with for the last two years.  He has learned so much and is so ready for the next step of kindergarten!

That night when I put him to bed after graduation, he said in his prayers, "Bless me that I will have fun in kindergarten tomorrow."  Poor kid!  He has been waiting for kindergarten since his best friends went last year, then when he turned 5 he thought he could go, and now he has to wait a whole summer!

He didn't know that in my prayers I said, "I'm grateful that Will isn't going to kindergarten tomorrow."  I'm just not ready to let go.  Not yet.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ogden Marathon 2012

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies-
Marathons are full of factors that are beyond your control- weather, injuries, sickness, sleep, cramping.  You train for months and when you toe the start line you have to stand there knowing that you did the best you could with what you were given.  At miles 6, 13, 20, 23, you are still evaluating hoping that your body will respond in the best way possible, and it's not until you reach the finish line that you realize and can even fully comprehend what you have accomplished.
I ran the Ogden Marathon one mile at a time; checking my splits, putting in the effort, and hoping for the best.  The only screen visible on my Garmin had my current mile pace, distance, and total average pace- I didn't know my total run time until this moment, and in that moment, I let every remaining piece of energy I had left escape.
This was, hands down, one of the most freeing moments of my life.
Know what propelled me across this finish line?  People.

I was surprised by multiple friends and family members across the course:
  •  Darcy and her baby Andi at mile 8.
  • Dallas, Will, Annie, Seth and Sierra at the half.
  • Old High School friends and neighbors that were having their own race experience- Grant Keaton, Linda Callor, and Katie Storbo.
  • My girls- Whitney and Erin at mile 17.
  • My sweet friend Ashley- who started running at the same time as I did- at mile 23.
  • Nothing pushes you across the finish like family waiting:  Cami, Ty, Lauren, Alex, Leslee, Clayton, and Kenny.
These people all mean something to me, and their support and encouragement kept me going.

I had several friends that were running this race, and thinking of them kept me working hard, too.  I wanted them to hit their goals!  With every step I ran, I knew that they would be passing those same points, hitting some of the same lows, and enjoying the grandeur of the valleys and the canyons that I was.  Ashley, Pam, Holly, Kristen, and my best friend Kalie (read her recap!  It's incredible)- you kept me pushing.  Thank you.

And YOU.  All of you "invisible friends"- your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement were felt on Saturday.

As I was running the course I thought so much of the bigger picture.  I had the thought that what if we could see those family and friends that are on the other side; what if we had a glimpse of them and could see how many loved ones are cheering us on without our knowledge- imagine the boost that would give us!  We could get through anything!  Although we can't see them, we can lean on our faith that we know they are there, and they are rooting for us.

I thought often of my friend Dustin whom we lost to overdose 5 years before- I dedicated this race to him.  I thought of his family and of the pain they have had to endure because of his absence.  I thought so much of my friend Angie.  My heart is still broken for her and the loss of her daughter Quincy.  How could I not endure the momentary pain of a marathon when there was so much other real suffering going on so close to me?

The last three miles of a marathon are so difficult- the fatigue really set in for me and I quit looking at my watch and I just focused on keeping my legs running.  I call these miles the prayer miles because I'm in a constant state of prayer by this point- it's 25 minutes of gratitude for the many blessings and opportunities that I'm given on a daily basis.  Running can be an intensely spiritual experience, and the Ogden Marathon was definitely that for me.  I am so very, very blessed.

The last half mile of the marathon I ran to the sides and just started giving high fives to everyone I could.  I needed their energy and enthusiasm!  I don't know if it was just a final kick, or a tail wind, or angels, but I felt my body speeding up even though I truly felt like I had nothing left to give.  It was a feeling I don't think I will ever forget.
At this race, and this moment in my life, all of those marathon variables lined up and I was able to achieve my goal- 3:29:00.  I still can't believe it.  When I got to the expo and realized that I was going to have to pace myself to a sub 3:30 on my own, I kind of panicked!  I didn't know if I could do it.  I don't have a lot of marathon experience, but thanks to some very smart splits on a pace band, smart running and fueling, prayer, and a belief in myself, I was able to achieve something that I would have thought impossible a year ago.  I beat every one of my splits but 4.  My fastest mile of the race, a 7:22 mile, was mile 23, and I beat my projected goal time by 58 seconds.

With hard work, people, and faith, you can do anything.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Celestial Child

I feel overcome with grief this week.  Our friends Brady and Angie Draper have been dealing with a terrible tragedy- the loss of Brady's parents and of their own 21-month-old daughter Quincy.  It's a pain that I can't even comprehend, and my heart has been aching for our friends ever since I heard the news.

How do you go on after something like this?

Quincy wasn't even my baby, and she is constantly filling my thoughts.  Her sweet little voice and radiant smile will be missed by so many.

Brady's parents, Val and Kathy Draper, were the best kind of people.  They worked hard, served the Lord, the community, and their family up until the day they died.  We have some special memories with the Draper family and we are so grateful for Val and Kathy's example.

The funeral services were today.  Seeing those three caskets at the front of the Stake Center took your breath away.  The building was completely packed- these people were loved.

Our Bishop spoke.  His words were so inspired.  He looked right at Brady and Angie and said the words that every parent yearns for-

"Brady and Angie, you are parents of a Celestial Child."

We raise our kids giving them all of the tools that we can to ensure that they are a success, but they make their own choices.  It's up to them to choose Eternal Life.  I can only hope and pray that one day I can hear the words that I am a parent "of a Celestial Child."

Brady and Angie will feel the sting of Quincy's death for a long time- probably for their entire lives- but these words are something that can keep them moving forward.

At a time like this we can do nothing but pray and include the Savior.  Although we don't understand why tragic things like this have to happen, through Him we can be lifted, strengthened, and filled with love.  He understands our pain.  He has been there.  I know that in the midst of our darkest grief, there is light in Him.

Just this last month we celebrated Easter.  To have this tragic accident follow so closely after this holiday has been a tender mercy.  What Jesus Christ did for us- suffering for our sins and bearing our burdens and afflictions, His crucifixion, and ultimately His resurrection- is fresh on our minds.  When we are in the midst of all this fear and turmoil, we need to remember our Faith.  This life is only a short time.  Quincy may have only been on this Earth for 21 short months, but her life is much bigger than that.  I believe her parents will be able to hold her again.  I believe that they will be able to raise their daughter and experience all of the joys that this Earth life has to offer, plus many, many others.

We struggle to know how best we can help our friends at this time.  We just pray every day that we can be aware of their needs and hope that when they feel like they need something, that we will have already had the prompting and be ready at their doorstep.

In a talk in the October 2008 General Conference President Monson said, "This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now." 

Thinking of the Drapers has helped us to slow down.  To treasure what is most important.  We love our family.  We love our friends.  We are so grateful for the Savior and for a loving Heavenly Father, and we pray that they will lift our friends in a time of such heavy grief and pain.
 We love you, Quincy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Things They Say

Annie was snuggling her Daddy awhile back and was playing with his chest hair that was sticking out of the top of his shirt.  "Daddy," she says, ever so sweetly, "I like your grass."

William has enjoyed his soccer season (and even scored a few more times and played happily for the majority of the games!), but his team lacked, well, talent.  They lost.  Every game.  At one point they were playing a team that had some bigger kids on it (4-6 year olds is the league) and Will says, "Well, maybe if they didn't have us playing 9 year olds!"  The next time we talked about it, they had aged to fourteen.

We went to Logan for Spring Break and did some driving around town with Jenn and her kids.  Jenn's oldest son James (7) asked about the Logan Police saying, "Mom, are the police everywhere watching out for us?"  Jenn of course responded with the affirmative.  Fast forward through a soccer game, and we were in the car again.  Annie is very worried when she states, "Mom, the police are everywhere."

Me:  You're right, they're everywhere watching out for us.
Annie:  What are we going to do?
Me:  What are we going to do about what?
Annie:  (Increasingly more anxious)  Mom!  What are we going to do?!
Me:  What are we going to do about what, Annie?
Annie:  The Police!  How are we gonna kill 'em?!

I think she may have had the whole good guy/bad guy thing a little confused.  We're working on it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I'm certain that when you think about going on a great family vacation, the first place you think of is Vernal, UT.

What?  You mean it isn't?

Well, fine then.  Maybe you should think about it because as it would turn out, Vernal is a pretty cool place.  Especially if you like these:

The day we got there we went to the Utah Field House Museum and enjoyed uncovering some fossils, putting fossil puzzles together, and exploring the dinosaur gardens.  Will won the award for best dinosaur face- he looked so much like a T-Rex that I nearly wet myself.

The next day we visited the Vernal temple grounds, and headed to Dinosaur National Monument to see the Quarry.

Below is the fossil of a Cammarrasauras.  The wall was incredible- there were over 1,500 bones from around 150 different creatures, and that is just on the one exposed wall!  It is hard to imagine what might lie within the hills surrounding the quarry as well.

After the Quarry we had a picnic at the park and then headed home.  It was the perfect quick trip and such a fun way to celebrate the end of another semester for Dallas!  Only 3 more semesters left and we'll have a Civil Engineer in the house!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grammy Comes to Town!

My Mom has the coolest job.They pay her to drive a big yellow bus all the way to Midway so that she can hang out with her grandkids for the day.  Sweet, right?  All you need is a CDL and some serious patience with kids.

Grammy bought happy meals, picnicked at Wasatch State Park, and even let the kids in the hood explore her bus for a bit.  We loved having her visit and always enjoy every second when we are together.  How could we not?!  She spoils us rotten.

Grammy, Grace, Will, Joseph and Annie