The Magic of Potential

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My brother and I grew up on movie musicals (he'll own it too!).  We watched other shows too of course, but we loved Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Annie, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man.  (I always thought we watched them because my mom really liked them, but, a few years ago when I told my mom how nice it was that we got our love of the classic musicals from her, she said she actually wasn't much of a fan but she discovered that they kept us entertained so she kept renting them.  Whatever it takes to keep your kids happy, even if you have to listen to "It's a Hard Knock Life" over and over again :).

I think this love of musicals even helped me have an 'in' with Bryce's family.  Once when we were dating or engaged, The Music Man came up around the table and I recited most of the words to the "Trouble" song  - "with a capital 'T' that rhymes with 'P' that stands for 'Pool'.  Either their smiles showed that it was pleasant surprise to hear me sing/say one of their favorite musical songs or they thought I was a crazy person...or a little of both.

If you're not familiar with the movie, a bored, unhappy small town puts their faith in a likeable swindler-turned-fake band leader who promises he can teach their boys to play with the added benefit of keeping them out of mischief.  His conman ways are exposed and he's arrested.  In a last ditch effort to save his skin, he conducts the boys in a song and they actually play it - not well at all but they play it.  The town forgives him for being a fake, and the band - which has magically multiplied and been decked out with amazing uniforms and primo instruments - triumphantly leads the whole town, now united and happy, in a fantastic parade.  "Seventy-six trombones led the big parade with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand..."

Until just a few months ago, I'm embarrassed to say that I'd taken that part literally.  All of the sudden the band is transformed into a huge marching band that can play amazing music.  What's implausible about that?  I guess I hadn't really thought about it.

But recently Bryce was telling me about something (maybe a church lesson or a work story?  can't remember) and he compared it to the ending of the movie, saying that it's like the MM where you see someone's potential rather than what they are right now and that's what you focus on.  What they're doing in the moment is magical to you because you love them, you're thrilled for them and you see what they're becoming.

Uh, yeah, Bryce - that's exactly what I got out of that movie too : ).

Immediately, my mind went to Caroline.  Most people see her and I imagine they see what their mind lets them see.  Some ignore her.  Some are afraid of her because they don't understand her medical issues or because she's not like everyone else.  Some just feel pity for her and think she probably should've been 'taken care of' before birth because her body's not perfect (it's a harsh thing to even mention but it's the view of many in our society).

Finally there's family, friends, teachers and nurses who know she's a sweet, wonderful girl who has an indescribably strong spirit.  We're catching a glimpse of her eternal potential - whether or not folks are religious, when they see her personality and her soul, they see her for who she can be - because we are all eternal beings having a mortal experience.

I can't express how hard it is sometimes to have a child who has this body and mind.  It's not easy.  When I remember how brief things are here and how we all have hard things to deal with and all will be made right because of Jesus Christ though, I feel peace. 

Just like that brass band, Caroline's my sweet little girl who every once in awhile is transformed before my eyes into a beautiful, strong healthy person - someone who will hug me back one day and tell me all about her thoughts and feelings.  She's amazing and I know I don't even understand how whole and perfect she'll be.  I can't wait to see it.

Happy Thursday

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hope you've had a throw-your-head-back-laughing kind of day!*

Ivy loves swinging fast and high. Laughing so much. #tbt

*I haven't been sleeping very well lately and was a zombie today.  Most of the late afternoon I felt like I was walking through a fog of sleepiness.  But I did get Ivy to do lots of belly laughs today and did the laundry, so overall it was a big smiles, big yawns, small whines to Bryce around dinner time (; /), and throwing-my-head-back-laughing-that-I-get-to-go-to bed-soon kind of day. 

My jazz hands are better than my singing

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Have you ever sung in a choir?  Despite my hesitancy to own this, I've always seemed to find myself in some kind of choral group.   Mainly through school and church.  What can I say?  I've just gotta sing ;).

Middle School Singers: Something tells me the boys next to me didn't want to be there... also, I remember thinking these shirts were really cool

Sunday, I practiced with a church choir that's going to be performing at stake conference (a semi-annual meeting where several different congregations meet at once and hear uplifting words and music).  I could tell the altos by me really knew their business.  They understood music, sang on pitch, got timing, and allowed the choir director to lead and correct them.  Their skill made it fun to sing

There's something about singing as a group that's powerful - especially when you sing about something you care about.  The sound itself is great, but singing like this teaches me other lessons too.

For instance, a song we're singing is pretty familiar to everyone in the choir, but the changes in the arrangement makes it slightly new.  Some notes go up when you expect them to go down and vice versa.  At first I'd pay attention and sing the right note, but if I let my mind wander or get distracted, I went back to the way I'm used to singing the song.  You could tell other people were doing the same thing, and it would make the sound clash.  So the choir director had to point out the differences to us a few times.  Some latecomers who didn't get the changes pointed out to them would sing the wrong notes, probably believing they were right, even though they can read music and realized their mistake after singing.  They just sang out of habit.

Other times, we hit the right notes, but the diction would be off.  Apparently, if you say your 'A's or 'O's a certain way, your choir sounds a bit too Duck Dynasty.

You get the idea.  When we're off even slightly, no matter if we think we're right or we aren't paying attention or whatever, change needs to be made by us as individuals so the group can be at its best.

I'm continually trying to be of one mind and heart with Bryce and with the rest of my family and friends.  When I've been whole as a person, unified with Bryce, and on the same page with my friends and family, that's when the best things happen.

I get to that place by changing for the better, in other words repenting. The Bible Dictionary starts its definition of repentance like this:

The Greek word of which (repentance) is the translation denotes a change of mind and a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world

I love that definition of repentance or reconciliation - change in one's mind (and heart) to have fresh view.  Such a hopeful thing to be able to start anew.  The two quotes below ring true and especially help in the context of being unified with a spouse or close family member:

"When we choose reconciliation and it's sincere, there is nothing that brings the Spirit (of God) faster in a relationship.  When someone is honest and sincere about apologizing and/or extending forgiveness, and the Spirit comes in so quickly and helps that reconciliation be possible." Jean Stevens
"Anything that's fake pushes us apart.  Mark E Peterson said, 'Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God and without it there can be no salvation.'  (We need to say) 'I'm going to be up front and honest about this because I want to change.'  It's not all at once but you begin by choosing to turn your heart to God." Matthew Richardson

Unity is not a matter of agreeing with the other person to keep the peace.  It means you're both seeking to be your best self (the exact note with the exact diction) so you can make the most beautiful sound together.  

Reconciling a relationship, even making a good relationship better, can be hard.  For me, it's especially hard when I have to repent and seek to change the same things over and over.  I get discouraged and give up sometimes.   But when I do turn my heart to God (and for me I especially feel this when I pray and serve others) I've felt that "fresh view"in all areas of my life.  I feel like my voice helps add beautiful sound with all the people I sing with.

Let your voice grow to make the sounds around you beautiful.

"He'd be the champion"

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tonight during Men's Moguls, NBC highlighted Alex Bilodeau - Vancouver's gold medalist in the event - and his brother, Frederic who has Cerebral Palsy.  If you didn't' see this feature, WATCH - it will lift your heart and help you understand families like mine:

I just loved this.  Some favorite things:

- These brothers have equal value.  Alex is a two-time gold medalist, advancing his sport, bringing his country glory, etc, and yet Frederic, who can't do any of that, contributes and inspires as much if not more than his brother.

- They share, love and serve each other.

- Frederic said to their mom once: "Would I be at the Olympics if I wasn't handicapped?" (2:30) and Alex says with strong emotion that if Frederic wasn't handicapped, he'd be a three time Olympic champion. 

A person's spirit is not what her body looks like or what it allows her to do.  Disability is a hard limitation, but souls are unlimited.  Someday I'm confident we will see that those who've endured life with weak bodies are actually some of the most amazing spirits - we will be in awe.

Caroline's handicap is different from Frederic's so it's not an exact comparison*, but we can say like their family - we are SO lucky.  Caroline lifts us; her happy and smiling face makes our life.  She teaches me every day (again and again because I keep forgetting the lesson) that people are all different and to love them (and myself) even when we are not as we wish we were. 

Ivy may or may not be an Olympic skier one day (who knows?) but I pray that she will have the relationship Alex and Frederic do.  

Looks like she's off to a good start with Caroline already...

*Honestly, I wish she could express herself as much as he can.  Someday, I'll learn why she has to be in the body she's in...

Ivy's 1st

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's been a few months since this wonderful event, but I haven't yet had a chance to share pictures from Ivy's first birthday festivities.   
Soak in the cuteness!

The birthday girl in a dress worn by both her mother and grandmother - vintage!

We got a bunch of balloons for the party but she wasn't a fan... fact, they horrified her!

Recovered and beautiful

"Yikes, they came back - save me!"

Caroline loves the balloons of course

THE cake
She's a bit unsure about this thing...
"I don't know what that white blob is and I'm not sticking around to find out!"

Mommy coaching her littlest on wonders of cake.

"Huh, not bad"

"Ok, I'll check out this 1 thing"

"This frosting is good!!!"

"I love cake, Mom!"

I had her all prepped to get messy but she didn't do much on that front - simply a happy one year old.

One day at a time

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Can I help you?"
Haven't I used the title for this post before?  Probably.  It's just one of those things I say to myself a lot.  Caroline is a mystery.  We have no idea how long she'll be with us (we feel like for awhile), what her health will be like, how big she's going to get -- you get the idea.

When she was first born, we asked questions, researched and prayed to get a clear picture for what life would bring us.  As she's gotten older, we just sort of let each day happen and glide along - we take the advice that others with medically-fragile/special needs kids have given us - "One day at a time."

But, there are moments where we get a little thrown and wonder how we'll ever be able to manage Caroline's needs when she's older...

Bryce's boss hosted a wonderful super bowl party yesterday, and mid-game, we could tell that Caroline had a diaper issue (fill in the details on your own).

What do we do?  Caro's in her wheelchair and we can't exactly change her in the middle of the floor - we don't want to smell up a bedroom or make a big thing of it but she obviously needs to be changed.  We ended up taking her out to our van, and because it's handicapped-modified, there's a big space in the middle, so we just changed her there.  No big deal and surprisingly not really that stressful.

In the midst of changing her however, I realized that the space is great for her now, but what happens when we need to change her on the fly and she's a couple feet taller and 50 lbs bigger?  

"What will we do when she's 17?" and Bryce said, "Well we just won't bring her to parties I guess." We both had the air taken out of our sails for a bit.  Hard...

I don't know what we'll actually do 10 years from now.  I can say that the thought of having a special needs 7 year old overwhelmed us when she was a baby, but now it's fine and no big deal. She's our darling big girl and enriches us in unmatchable ways.  So hopefully 10 years of taking it one day at a time and looking to God for strength will add up to having 17 year old Caroline that's no big deal. 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Quote

Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger