Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Inspirations April 25, 2010

I was given the opportunity to speak in our main church meeting today. This talk came to me in a different manner than I've ever had happen before. The stories that needed to be included, the main subjects I was to address, all of this I was directed to. This is what I'd like to share with you today.

Many years ago Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Quorum of the Seventy related an experience shared with him by another General Authority.

"A little over a year ago, I had the privilege of interviewing a young man to go on a mission. Because he had committed a major transgression, it was necessary for him under then-existing policy to be interviewed by a General Authority. When the young man came in, I said, 'Apparently there's been a major transgression in your life, and that has necessitated this interview. Would you mind telling me what the problem was? What did you do?'

"He laughed and said, 'Well, there isn't anything I haven't done.' I said, 'Well, let's be more specific then. Have you...?' and then this General Authority began to probe with some very specific questions. The young man laughed again and said, 'I told you, I've done everything.'

"I said, 'How many times have you...' He said very sarcastically, 'Do you think I numbered them?' I said, 'I would to God you could if you can't.' He said, again quite sarcastically, 'Well, I can't.'

"I said, 'How about...' And the General Authority probed in another direction. He said, 'I told you. I've done everything.' I said, 'Drugs?' He said, 'Yes,' in a very haughty attitude. I said, 'What makes you think you're going on a mission then?' He said, 'I know I'm going. My patriarchal blessing says I'll go on a mission, and I've repented. I haven't done any of those things for this past year. I have repented, and I know I'm going on a mission.'

"I said, 'My dear friend, I'm sorry but you are not going on a mission. Do you think we could send you out with those clean, wholesome young men who have never violated the code? Do you think we could have you go out and boast and brag about your past? You haven't repented; you have just stopped doing something.

" 'Sometimes in your life you need to visit Gethsemane; and when you have been there, you'll understand what repentance is. Only after you have suffered in some small degree as the Savior suffered in Gethsemane will you know what repentance is. The Savior has suffered in a way none of us understands for every transgression committed. How dare you laugh and jest and have a haughty attitude about your repentance? I'm sorry, you are not going on a mission.'

"He started to cry, and he cried for several minutes. I didn't say a word. Finally, he said, 'I guess that's the first time I have cried since I was five years old.' I said, 'If you had cried like that the first time you were tempted to violate the moral code, you possibly would be going on a mission.'

"He left the office, and I think he felt I was really cruel. I explained to the bishop and the stake president that the boy could not go on a mission."

I'm going to leave the story here but promise we'll come back to it. For now I want us to think about sin. Most of the time sin does not happen all at once. We don't go from innocent to committing horrible sins in a flash. Instead we are enticed, drawn in, slowly but surely.

Many years ago as a youth my father came into our living room with copies of the same book in hand. He handed one around to each of us kids and we began a series of Family Home Evenings reading through Spencer W. Kimball's book, "The Miracle of Forgiveness." There is a fable President Kimball gives us that has stuck with me all my life: The Fable of the Camel.

"The camel and his owner were traveling across the desert sand dunes when a wind storm came up. The traveler quickly set up his tent and moved in, closing the flaps to protect himself from the cutting, grinding sands of the raging storm. The camel was of of course left outside, and as the violent wind hurled the sand against his body and into his eyes and nostrils he found it unbearable and finally begged for entrance into the tent.

" 'There is room only for myself,' said the traveler.

" 'But may I just get my nose in so I can breathe air not filled with sand?' asked the camel.

" 'Well, perhaps you could do that,' replied the traveler, and he opened the flap ever so little and the long nose of the camel entered. How comfortable the camel was now! But soon the camel became weary of the smarting sand on his eyes and ears, and he was tempted to ask again.

" 'The wind-driven sand is like a rasp on my head. Could I put just my head in?'

"Again, the traveler rationalized that to acquiesce would do him no damage, for the camel's head could occupy this space at the top of the tent which he himself was not using. So the camel put his head inside and the beast was satisfied again - but for a short while only.

" 'Just the front quarters,' he begged, and again the traveler relented and soon the camel's front shoulders and legs were in the tent. Finally, by the same process of pleading and yielding, the camel's torso, his hind quarters and all were in the tent. But now it was too crowded for the two, and the camel kicked the traveler out into the wind and storm."

It is in this precise manner Satan works on us. He knows if he pushes too hard, like asking to in the entire camel at once, we will deny him access. So he starts small: a nose here, an ear there. Once we say yes, we have opened the door to greater requests.

During my years in seminary there was a video shown that really quite affected me. There was a family, each one dressed in the brightest white, all happy, smiling, and enjoying being around one another. They lived in a house also entirely white - gleaming and beautiful.

Someone knocked on the door. One of the family members answered, and on the porch stood a group of people dressed entirely in black. The family hesitated to allow the group entrance, but after much begging and pleading they were finally granted access. With just one dark and dirty hand print on the door frame came the staining of the first sin. The strangers came into the house and began poking around, sat on the lovely furniture, leaving a stain with every touch. The mess was invasive, covering the furniture, the painting on the wall, the carpet, even the clothes each family member wore.

It soon became clear to the family these intruders needed to go. They didn't go quietly. It took everybody working together to finally force them all out the door. As the family looked around their home they became dismayed. The mess left behind was horrific! They tried to clean up, but the marks would not completely go away.

Then the Savior appeared. Only with His presence, through His atoning grace was the family and their home restored to it's former estate. Only through the help of the Savior.

It is here, brothers and sisters, that we come to the heart of repentance. Picture in your mind a scene set almost 2000 years ago. The Savior and many of his best friends have just partaken of the Last Supper, and have gone on to one of their favorite places, even the Garden of Gethsemane. Many times have they gathered here to pray, to sing hymns, to teach and be taught. Christ asks three of His friends to accompany Him further into the garden, to stand as sentinels as He begins this last, most vital part of His journey here on the earth.

Yet no mortal may watch the unfolding events, so Christ continues on alone. He finds a large stone next to which He kneels. Could it be in this moment He already feels the weight of guilt, of wrongdoing pressing upon Him? Here is a man who has never sinned in all his years. Not once. Up to now He has been compassionate to the sinner who truly desires to repent, sympathetic to those who suffer in sickness and sorrow, but never has He carried the weight of sin and suffering on His own shoulders until this very moment.

Is it any wonder He asks of His father as recorded in the Book of Matthew, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

Is it any wonder the sins and transgressions, sorrows and guilt of countless brothers and sisters from worlds without number would cause this remarkable soul - who held a relationship with our Heavenly Father that we can barely hope to comprehend - to pray more earnestly? What could possibly cause Him to pray with an intensity He had never seen the need for before? It was, simply, sin. For He knew in that moment the only way for Him to make it through this horrible time was to rely more on His Heavenly Father, even if He didn't completely understand why.

Brothers and Sisters, every single person in this room has sinned, has known the weight of guilt, has had cause to mourn. Every single person in this room has made a choice that has brought about harsh consequences for ourselves as well as those around us. Every single person here has had the need to repent.

But repentance is more than just turning away from sin. As we heard in the story of the young man it takes more than stopping a sin to repent. There is something deep within us that must change for true repentance to take place. We must come to our own Gethsemane.

We have a brilliant example of this in the Book of Mormon. I am thinking of Alma the Younger. Listen carefully to the words he uses to describe all that was happening to him, and think to yourself if you've ever felt this way before:

"But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.

"Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

"Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul."

Have you ever felt racked with eternal torment? Have you ever looked back on something you've done and felt a desire to make up for the wrong done, to go back and be clean again? Is there truly any hope that we might be able to lift the great weight of guilt and godly sorrow from our shoulders?

"And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

"Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death."

In other words, it's time for us to pray more earnestly. We must pray with a humble heart, with pure intent, with such sincerity we can feel it from the tops of our heads to the bottom of our feet. What will such a prayer do?

"Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

"And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"

What might that feel like, the moment hatred for oneself is suddenly replaced by such joy! To feel clean, light, and full of love. Have we as mortals who find ourselves apt to sin, become so used to the weight of guilt and sorrow we cannot see there is so much more to life? A better way to live, a lightness of spirit and body that no one can take from us?

The choice is ours, and ours alone. Just as we can choose to make the first step toward sin, we have to be the ones to choose the first step toward happiness. We are surrounded by people who love us, and want to see us free again. Just as Christ was granted an angel for support, love and guidance during the most difficult time of His life, we are given angels as well. Family, friends, and ward members who want to see us whole. We have a bishop, who is especially called of God to be one of our greatest angels here on earth, who wants more than anything to help us turn from sin and embrace the gift of the atonement, who is a support for us when certain sins need more care and attention in getting them out of our lives.

Repentance does not end there, but there it certainly does begin. It is one of the hardest steps to take, the hardest choices to make, but it will never, NEVER be a choice you will regret so long as you stay true to the gospel of Christ.

I would now like to return to our story about the young man who wished to go on a mission. If you remember he's been turned away with some rather harsh words about his attitude regarding his past choices.

"About six months later the same General Authority returned to that city to speak in a lecture series held in the evening. When he finished, many young adults lined up to shake hands with him. As he shook hands, one by one, he looked up and saw the young man that he had previously interviewed standing in the line about four back. The General Authority relates the following:

" 'My mind quickly flashed back to our interview. I recalled his laughing and haughty attitude. I remembered how sarcastic he was. Pretty soon he was right in front of me. I was on the stand bending over, and as I reached down to shake his hand, I noticed a great change had taken place. He had tears in his eyes. He had almost a holy glow about his countenance. He took my hand in his and said, 'I've been there; I've been to Gethsemane and back.' I said, 'I know. It shows in your face.'

"We can be forgiven for our transgressions, but we must understand that just to stop doing something is not repentance. If it had not been for the Savior and the miracle of forgiveness, this young man would have carried his transgressions throughout all eternity."

As I knelt by my bed last night, pondering the words of this talk, I thought back to a transgression I had committed as a child. I was maybe 10, and for years and years I struggled over whether or not I had truly repented for what I'd done as a child. Certainly the thought of committing the sin again brought about horrific feelings, I never wanted to do it again, and I'd prayed about it before. Yet still there sat in my mind a lingering doubt: had I truly repented and been forgiven?

And so I asked my Heavenly Father last night to help me know in a way that no doubt could remain. He did. I felt happy. Just plain happy. There was no more reason to fret about that past sin, for I had been cleansed long ago. Now, I could just be happy.

I wish you bear you my testimony regarding repentance: it is not a punishment for bad deeds done. Neither is it something to be taken lightly. It is a precious gift, freely given by our Lord and Savior to help us live a happier life, to find peace even in our struggles, to give us hope when the world tells us things are hopeless. I can testify that it works, when done with the correct attitude. And I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh No. Mom's Flirting Again

I was having an awesome day yesterday - just plain oodles of fun all around. It had been a lovely morning with the kids, we went to Costco for a cheap lunch and met up with my sweet friend Debbie, had a wonderful afternoon together, then decided to hit up McDonald's for dinner just so we wouldn't have to create dishes to wash.

My mood was up. And I'm talkin' WAY up. Make a bit of a fool of myself being silly, sort of up. So when the cute little male cashier was in a chipper mood as well we just started having fun bantering back and forth.

After paying too much money for food I didn't need, the family starting getting drinks and napkins and ketchup galore. We found a place to sit, daddy took the littlest to the bathroom, and M got a very serious look on her face.

"Mom, I'm gonna tell on you."

I had no idea what she could possibly be talking about. What did I do? Get her the wrong drink? Why did that constitute a bit of tattling? And precisely who was she going to tell?

"You," she said in a very serious tone, "were flirting with that guy."

WHAT!?!?! I burst out laughing. Then I laughed harder when I realized she was serious.

"I was not flirting," I firmly declared, but she would not believe me. Now you have to understand I'm not exactly known for my flirting skills. You can ask my husband. I'm way too open and up front, and will tell you directly how I feel. So the fact that my oldest thinks I have skills in this area doesn't exactly speak wonders for her future with boys (something I am far too happy about).

Rolling my eyes I went back to the front to wait for our food. The sheer idea of that boy (and let's be honest, he was WAY younger than me) thinking this pudgy, 30 (muffle) year old woman who has given birth to five kids and looks like it might be flirting with him almost sent me into another fit of giggles.

Whilst I waited my darling daughter did indeed tattle to her daddy, who - being the sweet, understanding, patient man he is - promptly began to tease me. And I - being the sweet, understanding, patient woman I am - began to tease our daughter.

By the end of the night I'm pretty certain M regretted saying anything about her mother flirting. In fact, if it were possible I'm also pretty certain she would have gladly dug a hole in the ground to hide until we were finished with the teasing.

When it was time to go we'd come to the conclusion it was time to start looking out for my next husband because my current one was obviously going to die soon. I was overjoyed he was willing to help me in my search. M declared she didn't want a step-father. Obviously this is something she's just going to have to deal with since I'm all ready on the look out for a replacement. It would also seem I'm on the prowl for a younger man with great cashiering skills and a bubbly personality.

So if you see me flirting with anyone, just beware. He could be my next victim. Mwooahahahaha...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Step in the Right Direction

Yesterday I took what felt like a big step in getting some help for my mental/emotional self. While the anti-depressants have worked an awful lot in the major depression problem, I'm still suffering from the serious issue of having a savior complex.

I want to fix everyone. I want to save everyone. And I can't. Which is just frustrating! Especially when they are coming to me with the hope I can "make it all better." In reality they know I can't. To some extent even I know I can't, but it doesn't stop me from trying.

Becoming the wife of an LDS bishop is not an easy role to take on. Some church members believe my husband tells me everything, and either avoid me because of what they think I think, or start talking to me as if I know precisely what's going on. Other people think I tell my husband everything they tell me, so either don't tell me anything or let on more than I wanted to know. Either way I constantly feel caught in the middle, or shoved aside.

I've had another run of everyone telling me their hardships, which I fully encourage as I know what it can mean to have just one empathetic person to talk to. But unlike my husband, who was given a very special blessing of being able to shake things off, I cannot do the same. When someone unloads their frustrations and hardships on my shoulders, they unwittingly leave a bunch of it behind. It sticks to me like molasses, and the more I try to scrape it off, the messier I get.

My husband can tell when I've been around too many negative situations. Just the other day he said, "When your friends are depressed, you get depressed." Very true. Yet, even knowing this is the effect being the shoulder to cry on has on me, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love being that person others feel safe to share their troubles. It gives me a sense of being needed, as though I'm helping in some small way.

But the truth is I need someone to help me deal with all of this. I'm not a counselor. I haven't gone to school to learn how to help others. Over the last two months so much has happened both within our own home and outside of it that I have felt more overwhelmed than ever before! I've felt way in over my head, and have been drowning far too long.

After receiving a priesthood blessing, and a few long chats with my mother, I finally made the call to LDS Social Services yesterday to see about getting in to talk with a counselor. They could have gotten me in tonight, but Tuesdays are always hectic for our family. So I've been put on a waiting list. It might take a few weeks until they're able to fit me in, but that's okay. Since I made the call I've been feeling very at peace, as though I've taken the right step in the right direction.

Funny this is, the sweetest remark given to me was from the guy at the insurance company I spoke with to see if I needed a referral first. As we were ending our conversation he said, "I really hope you'll be okay." Know what? Me too :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Inspirations April 18, 2010

Psalms 28:7
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatlly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

Ephesians 5:19
"Speaking to yourselves in songs and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

Colossians 3:16
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in songs and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

Doctrine and Covenants 25:12
"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."

It's been a rough week. Well, perhaps not so much for me, but when those I love (and there are a WHOLE lot of you out there I love) are suffering, I cannot help but empathize. I find myself taking on their troubles as if they were my own. I've been like this my whole life, so telling me not to do it is a rather fruitless request.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday found me especially affected. I wasn't grouchy or mean or anything, just...down. My normally upbeat attitude had gone into hibernation. For me one of the worst things about watching others suffer is my inability to do anything about it! Being helpless to those who need help is NOT a good feeling.

My son had made a request for our Primary Singing Time today. He wanted to sing, "If You're Happy and You Know It." I began to think about the last three months in Primary, how hard the kids have been working on learning new songs, and I decided it was time to sing for the sheer sake of having fun with music! No games to help us learn the songs better, but a chance to make ourselves laugh and have a good time while singing music that still uplifts the soul.

Know what? It really did! I made up a poster board with the name of the song on front, then a bunch of cards to flip over with different actions to put to our song. Each child who came up had to tell us something that makes them happy, then they could choose a card. The actions ranged from whispering, "awesome," to flapping our arms, to winking at our neighbor and blowing kisses. It was so funny and action packed and FUN!!! By the time we were done I felt rejuvenated, and the kids were happy.

I have no doubt in my mind music is a method of healing given to us from our Heavenly Father. When we delve into music that is good for our hearts and souls, it uplifts, encourages, and gives hope. I feel happier today than I have all week long. Every time I think back to those precious 15 minutes a smile covers my face and happiness reenters my heart!

So today I want to thank my Heavenly Father and Brother for giving me a calling where I am able to enjoy music, to share my love of music with children, and to have these sweet souls learn to love it as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Raffle for Photography Sitting!!!

To all those in the Salt Lake area (or who might find themselves visiting the Salt Lake area), I have for you a chance to win a free photography sitting with Amy Bennion Photography! As part of our Girl's Camp fundraiser she generously donated her time and talent.

Not only will you get the free sitting, but an 11x14 portrait as well! This is a $95 value for a five dollar donation to our fundraiser!!! I've provided you with a link to her site above where you can see what extraordinary talent she possesses. (I've even won a free 8x10 for my own family in a recent contest she held.)

If you enter the raffle, don't win, but decide to book a sitting with her, mention this fundraiser and she'll offer you a free 8x10.

So please, PLEASE enter to win. Not only could you win a fantastic deal, but you'll be helping out our girls as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Inspirations April 11, 2010

We held a big fundraiser to help the teenage girls in our church make enough money to hold a great girl's camp coming later this summer. I'm still not exactly certain how it all happened, but I ended up being left in charge. Something I'm not a fan of charge. When one is left "in charge" it means the success or failure of the project seems to lay entirely on said person's shoulders. Ugh.

I don't exactly handle stress well, and as we neared the day I kinda sorta started to get overwhelmed. Was my idea of a boutique, yard sale, and bake sale a bad idea? Could we expect to make much of anything let alone the full amount needed to make girl's camp a success? Had I talked everyone out of a better idea simply because the original idea felt like too much??? In other words, had I doomed us to making a whopping five dollars?

I should have known better. Actually, I should have had more faith. We were blessed beyond belief in the items given to us by generous friends and church members. Some of the last minute donations brought in some of our biggest numbers.

I took a few pictures of the adventure if you'd like to take a look. Here's a few ladies (and a thirsty gentleman) manning the bake sale table. We sure had some awesome treats that day. At least, from what I hear, lol. No treats for me :)
Here's our "media" section. We had so many movies and books and even a computer and small television donated. In the background there was even a big bunch of clothes for people to go through.
There were loads of baby items almost all of which went quickly. In the background was our boutique section. We had scrap booking items and jewelry and little girl dress up items. It was too cute :)

One of the last minute donations were a bunch of items donated by a local funeral home. All of these chairs sold! They were in great condition. I wish someone had been able to snag the benches in the far left - they were gorgeous and incredibly comfortable. But the couple who "maybe" wanted them didn't make it back in time :(

Here's our cute president over the girls, her hubby, and one of the young women. They were manning the raffle table. I'll be talking more about our raffle tomorrow, as we still want to give others the chance to win a fabulous portrait sitting.

The fundraiser turned out better than we'd hoped. Though we didn't get all we would have liked, the generosity of those around us blessed us more than we'd hoped. As I mentioned earlier, we should not have worried for one simple reason: the Lord knew our purposes behind holding this fundraiser, and He would help to provide us with what we needed. How wonderful is He!
There comes a point in many difficult things (even if they're difficult for good reasons) where we have to stand back and say, "Lord, I've done all I could, now I leave it in your hands." And then we trust. Putting this fundraiser wasn't easy, and at times I wanted to rebel. But I did everything I could, then stood back and trusted the Lord would help pick up where I left off. He did. Not only did He bless us with everything we needed to sell, but He gave us the people who were willing to buy. For this I am very grateful.
Still, I'm so glad it's over, and maybe now I can chill :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Inspirations April 4, 2010

I hardly know how to begin today's post. Some of you have heard the basics of yesterday's adventure, one I'm still attempting to wrap my head around. Before I go into detail, take a moment to think about the people in your life you love, yet have a habit of taking for granted. Their constant presence in your life, no matter how precious you remember them to be, can end up becoming commonplace. They are always there, so there's no need to think about them not being there. Only when something threatens the commonplace do we remember what makes them so special.

Yesterday morning started out almost as usual. I say almost because it was General Conference Saturday, meaning my hubby was working and I was preparing to listen to the words of religious leaders which were being televised. My oldest had called her grandparents to see if she could spend the day with them, and had planned on riding her brother's scooter over to the house. About halfway there road construction had blocked off the pedestrian access and M found herself needing to return home. I was certainly surprised to see her walk through the front door, and when she told me why I promised to drive her over as soon as I finished something.

My back had been turned when I heard her say, "Mom, I feel weird." I turned to see what was going on. At first it looked as though she had tripped over a little stool, legs folding up beneath her. Only when my eyes flicked up to M's face did I realize something was really wrong. Her face went blank, her head fell back against a box I had in the corner, and she began twitching.

I screamed her name. Over and over again I screamed her name. I took her wrists in mine to minimize her movement so she wouldn't fall off the box and onto the floor. Her eyes stared at me, but didn't see me. The pupils were so small almost all I could see was their beautiful blue, and into my mind came the frantic thought, "Will this be the last time I see these blue eyes?"

I had no reason to believe she wasn't having a seizure. It lasted somewhere between 10-15 seconds - an eternity. I couldn't stop sobbing, repeating her name over and over. Her three siblings had come in behind me, though I was not aware of their presence. Nothing existed for me but those beautiful blue eyes. Just as quickly as it had began, she came out of it. Her eyes returned to normal, her body relaxed, and as consciousness returned she asked, "What happened?"

Only then did I see the blood in her mouth. Something else was in there, though I couldn't tell just what as it was covered in blood. I thought it might be foam, then when she started talking funny I thought she might have bitten through her tongue. It took several seconds before we both realized it was one of her teeth. Somehow she had ripped one of her permanent teeth right out of the gums, which were bleeding profusely.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to "wake up" to the sight of her panicked mother, not knowing what was going on, and having an intense pain in her mouth. We got her situated on the couch (a no-no, I realize now) and through my muddled and frantic mind came the distinct thought, "Call 911." I did. It didn't take long for the paramedics to appear. Our little living room was suddenly crowded with all sorts of portable machines and official looking men. J and A stayed around, asking lots of questions to some very patient men.

I began looking around for B, and caught sight of him on the top bunk in his room. Though I ached to see if he was okay, I was needed in the living room to answer lots of questions about what had happened. The men took M's blood pressure and pulse rate, both a little high but expected considering what she'd just went through. They had her finish pulling out the tooth so she wouldn't swallow it, then had me wrap it in a damp paper towel. She wasn't thrilled when they took her blood sugar, and I can't blame her for hating the experience when I saw the mighty bruise left behind.

At last they finished, confident she was okay for the time being. One guy kept asking me what I wanted to do, and I couldn't help thinking, "I'm the one having the crazy experience here and you want me to think clearly?!?!?!?!" I asked for their opinion, and together we decided she wasn't bad enough to go to the hospital, that instead I'd call her doctor and see what he said. The men collected their belongings, said goodbye to the children, and left.

My first thought was to call our dentist. The sweet man doesn't work on Saturday but was happy to meet us at the office to see if there was any chance we could save the tooth. It would take him about 45 minutes to get there, so in the meantime I called the doctor.

As the medical assistant asked questions we came to realize M hadn't had a seizure at all. Sometimes when a child faints he/she will twitch, and will even keep the eyes open. This is precisely what happened. Had it been a seizure she would have been unconscious or "out of it" for a good half hour at least. Instead she was instantly alert, as might happen with a fainting spell. Our best guess was she'd been dehydrated, and then had overexerted herself with the hurried ride home on the scooter. It didn't help that she'd recently had a bit of a cold.

Only when we'd figured all this out did I finally call my husband to tell him what had happened. I hated doing so, as I knew he'd be torn between staying at work and coming home, but I knew he needed to stay at work as it was an important and very busy time. After assuring him we were getting things taken care of, and that my crying was not an indication of me going into hysterics, we said goodbye.

My incredible sister-in-law came over to watch the other kids while I took M off to the dentist, who had told me to put the tooth in lukewarm water with a tiny pinch of salt. It was a little weird sitting with my daughter, looking at her permanent tooth (which has a wickedly long root to it!), wondering if it would go back in. My daughter has such a beautiful smile. I couldn't imagine it being marred by such a bizarre experience.

Not until the shots were being administered to numb up her mouth did I realize it had been so many years since she'd had a cavity M didn't remember what the experience was like. I think it sort of alarmed her just as much as the thought of having the tooth put back in. Dr. B was great. He managed to glue the tooth back into place by 'cementing' it between the two surrounding teeth. We'll find out tomorrow if our wayward tooth decided to bond back into place, or if we'll have to go another route.

Needless to say this experience shook us all up. On the way home we stopped by 7-11 to get M a big ol' Gatorade to help with the dehydration, and she began opening up about what happened right before she'd fainted. It happened so fast, with such little warning. She began to feel lightheaded, and felt a funny tingling appeared around her chest. Then everything went blank. The next thing she knew I was crying out her name.

We managed to survive the rest of the day. She bounced back fairly quickly while taking it easy, calling a few of her friends to tell them about her adventure. I tried to lose myself in listening to the second session of Conference while trying to get a few things done around the house like dishes and more laundry, all the while periodically bursting into tears. Every chance I got my daughter was taken into my arms and told how much she was loved. The moment her dad came home she was in his arms as well.

As I put the other three to bed that night, each sibling had to tell M goodnight, and that they loved her. That's when I found out why B was on top of the bunk bed during all the commotion. He was so scared something might happen to her he went immediately into his room to pray for his big sister. Words cannot express what this action not only meant to me, but to M as well.

That night she was scared to go to sleep, afraid she might not wake up. Because daddy had to go to work early again I took her into bed with me, where we read until she felt tired enough to just drop off.

Of course, she woke up just fine this morning :)

Over the last two days I couldn't stop thinking about my daughter, who has lived in our home for more than a decade. Her presence is a blessing in our lives, though sometimes we as her parents sometimes become more focused on the wrong things. It took the tiny possibility of losing her yesterday to recognize just how empty this house would be without her here. Even her siblings couldn't stop talking about all the good stuff she does for them and with them. Though I try to tell my children several times a day just how much I love them, it truly took an experience like this to remind me of why.