Monday, May 27, 2013


This is a picture of my Brother Brian, his wife Marcella, and their four kids.  They live in Moore, Oklahoma.  Last week they survived the F5 tornado that hit their town.  Marcella managed to get her their three oldest kids checked out of school and home to the next door neighbor's underground storm shelter before the storm hit.  It was scary!  These are pictures of the inside and outside of the storm shelter:

They were trapped in the storm shelter for a hour and a half before neighbors were able to remove the walls that had fallen on top of their shelter so they could get out.  It must have been a long 90 minutes!  When they got out, they saw devastation.

Here's the house of the neighbors who owned the shelter:

Here's an aerial view of their neighborhood.  His home is located in the upper left hand corner to the right of the red canopy.  It looks untouched.  The shelter they used is located to the rear of the canopy between it and the destroyed house.  You cannot see the shelter from the air.   

Here's some pictures of their home from the ground:

They waited a long week for their appointment yesterday with their insurance agent.  The van was totaled.  Their house has some serious structural problems and will have to be stripped to the frame and foundation and rebuilt.  In addition to that, they will have to replace all beds, mattresses, bedding, curtains, linens, clothing, etc. that was affected due to shattering glass blowing in and becoming embedded in the fabrics.  None of that is salvageable.

The task is expensive and daunting.  Our thoughts and prayers have been with them as we pray that they will be blessed with peace and clear minds as they make major decisions with regard to their property and family!

My sister set up a fundraising site to help them cover deductibles, belongings, etc.  My kids are going to help me construct quilts for the four kids this summer.  If you are looking for a way to help out with the recovery or think you might be able to contribute please consider this:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Congratulations Ethan!

Last week Ethan was recognized for his great cotizenship and character.  He received the Mayor's Community Youth Recognition Award last Wednesday!  He was nominated by his English teacher and then selected by the city.  He was recognized at a City Council meeting with several other recipients and then a picture was published in the paper.

I was waiting to post on my blog about it because I was hoping to receive a copy of the nomination form with all the complimentary words his teacher submitted, but I never received it.

I remember that Ethan was recognized for being a helpful son and brother, for his respect for parental authority.  He helps in the community by helping neighbors with yardwork, shoveling walks in the winter for single mothers, and helping neighbors move.  He's a fantastic student.  ..... OK, what the city rep read was waaaay better but you get the idea.

What I love about Ethan is his compassionate, empathetic nature.  I remember a mother of one of his classmates in second grade stopping to thank me because her daughter was having a difficult time at school, feeling left out at recess.  She said that Ethan came to this girl from across the playground to invite her to play with him and his friends.  Just recently Ethan noticed a little boy drop his treat at a church activity and quickly gave the boy his own treat.  During Spring Break we went on a family hiking trip and Ethan spent much of his hiking time walking with and taking car o his little cousin, R.  You don't have to look long to find Ethan doing something for someone else!

Another great thing about Ethan is he takes his responsibilities seriously.  When he is given an assignment you can count on him to finish it and do a great job.  I love this at home, because when he deep cleans a room he gets all the edges and corners!  He loves to serve in his priesthood quorum and faithfully attends all his meetings.  

Ethan is really smart!  He's a quick learner and he likes to research and learn new things.  When we read scriptures I am impressed with his innate ability to understand symbolism and relate scriptures to everyday life.  He has a goal to serve a mission and become a mechanical engineer.  I know Ethan can do whatever he wants because of his hard working, selfless nature!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


After approximately $7000 of clinic fees, 225 hours of sessions, another 450 hours of driving, over 17,000 miles, for the last 3 years......

Nathan attended his LAST speech appointment at the University of Utah last night!!!

He was soooo pleased!  Jubilant!  Excited!  He got a diploma which he is rightfully very proud of!!

We are all thrilled but it hasn't sunk in all the way for me yet.  I keep catching myself planning around this Friday's nonexistent speech appointment.  And I have to say that while the costs have been almost too extreme for our family, the benefits are supreme.  There is no price too great for me as a mother to pay in order to experience:

  • Understanding my son--when we started three years ago Nathan was 90% unintelligible.  We could not communicate during the long drives because I could not work to understand him while driving safely.  I could barely communicate with him under perfect conditions!
  • Watching him begin to develop true friendships.  Nathan has always been blessed with other little boys who liked to play with him, but he couldn't fully engage because his speech was so he can really play!
  • Our growing faith.  This is priceless.  I have grown because there were so many times I wondered how we could continue and we were always blessed with the means and the time!  More than that, Nathan and I had a few close calls in traffic, weather, etc. when we knew we had been protected.  Several times in the winter, Nathan would be nervous about the road conditions and while I concentrated in the road, he would pray.  And I could understand his prayers!
  • This last year and a half I would leave the radio off and Nathan and I would talk.  Or I would listen to him visit with his friend who also started coming to speech.  Beautiful!
  • This past year Nathan worked really hard on narratives, being able to communicate a story or event in  an organized way that would make sense to a listener.  This was really challenging. The first time I knew he was really understanding the process and applying the clinic work in his everyday life was when we were on the way home from speech one night and Nathan told his nonmember friend who was going to speech with us all about our church.  He talked for over twenty minutes about our beliefs, his classes, his teachers, our callings, ...     It was like when his tongue finally loosed all he wanted to do was share the gospel!
  • Seeing his confidence build and his self-esteem grow!

Congratulations Nathan!  We are so lucky you are in our family and we are proud of you and your hard work!!