Magnificent Valor

There are times in your lives that you never want to forget and your heart is full.   Last night was one of those nights.   At one moment I couldn’t help but think of the movie “The man in the Iron Mask”.    There is a point in the show where D’Artagnan joins forces with Aramis, Athos and Porthos to fight against the king.   When they feel like they have nothing left in them but to fight, they run in front of the men that adored them.   When Lt. Andre and the men see them running toward them they cannot stomach to fight them and just stand there and Lt. Andre mumbles….”Magnificent Valor”.    Last night I had that experience as 3 very humble men came to join forces WITH our King to fight FOR one of his own and in that moment I could only mumble in my heart.   Magnificent Valor!

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Let me back up and how do I even start?  Coltman.   A loaded word, A loaded place or even yet a home.   A place where children grow up with a family, other than their own, and that just comes with the territory.  People that choose to help, love, serve and take genuine interest in your well being.  While it’s not all perfect, most of us want to leave this place and then after they live life for a bit they remember or yearn for that feeling again…of home.  A place that they know they can always come back to and be welcomed with open arms and loved.  Now with that being said, there are a few men in my book that have really been examples to our youth, ones that have made an impact on others and that have really extended that love.  While they are not the only ones who have been examples, they are the ones that are important to this story.

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David Alverez has always been a young man that has also been such an influence to many, he has shown courage, been a good son, father and husband and friend. He has shown strength and a love of the Lord through his actions and his countenance.  He is a young man who knows what is right and is willing to do it, no matter the cost.    He married an amazing young lady Shaleen and they are parents to 4 beautiful children.   They have been happy and have created a home that is also filled with love and contentment.   Their lives have not been easy in the last few years as they have experienced loss of a dear loved one and has several members experience serious health problems.   The biggest being Shaleen.   She has suffered from rare breast cancers (yes plural) liver and lung problems and all that comes along with that ugly C word.   This last week they were delivered the news that they are battling with a cancer that they do not know how to treat and the Drs. are scrambling to try and figure it out.   They have been discouraged and heartbroken but not once have they lost hope.   The other night, David showed up on our doorstep and sat with my husband to share with him part of his heart and asked him if he would be willing to give him and his wife a blessing.   With tears in his eyes he explained….We have had many blessings but this is ‘Home” and we want one from home.   He just asked Dave to follow the Holy Ghost and do what he felt.   We all hugged and expressed our love before he left.   His burden became our burden.   We hurt, we cried but most of all we prayed.    Prayed for a miracle, Prayed for comfort, prayed for peace, prayed for direction.   It is a moment when you realize that the love you gave years ago was noticed and felt and has made a difference.  My husband was his bishop during the time David was a young man.  They have some history together.   I saw my husband take on this request seriously with a sincere prayer in his heart that Heavenly Father would be with him and his words.    We chose to go to the temple the next morning to again ask for guidance and offer prayers for this family.   It was a beautiful and spiritual session.   I’ll be forever grateful for the peace the temple brings.  It make me want to be there more often.

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Fast forward to last night when Dave told me that Brad Colling was going to pick us up and take us to David’s home.   When we got in the car not only was Brad there but Keith Butikofer.   3 Men who many young men would say shaped their lives.   When we arrived at the Alverez home we were met by their sweet family.  Shaleen, David, David Jr. Josh, Khandi, and little Shiera.   Oh my… my heart was not prepared to experience what I did.   This little family, first of all lets just talk about how STUNNING their children are.     We visited and could feel the spirit in their home, it was filled with love, laughter, kindness, gratitude, compassion, a little discouragement but most of all hope.   As we sat there and talked you could tell that this was a moment in time that was not to be forgotten.   Lives that loved each other, coming together to share their testimonies with each other.   As I witnessed these men give each family member a blessing and express how much their Father in Heaven loves them, it is then that I thought.   MAGNIFICENT VALOR.   How do you express in words what I felt?  What we all felt!   The spirit was strong, the feeling was peaceful and comfort came.  Again we hugged and expressed our love before we left.  I know our Heavenly Father is with this family.   I know he will see them all the way through whatever comes.  I know that you do not only have 3 men in your life that have your back, you have armies. Armies here and armies above are guarding you, helping you and encouraging you… FIGHTING WITH YOU.  I know that we all have hope. Hope for a miracle, Hope for a better day, Hope that Shaleen can stay on this earth and raise her family, Hope that someday, somehow all things will be made right.   Dave and Shaleen, FAMILIES ARE FOREVER!  NO MATTER WHAT.    I can see you have already chosen Joy.  What an example you are to us.  All of us!   Home.  Coltman.  We all love you.

ZoAnn

PS.   SHALEEN!!  YOU GOT THIS!img_1860

Have a good Day!

“Have a good day,” he said.  The cashier at the convenience store smiled as I was paying for a drink to keep me awake on the way home.

 

“Have a good day?  Are you kidding me?” I wanted to shout. “Can’t you see that my eyes are bloodshot and swollen from crying? Can’t you see that my shirt has snot on it? Can’t you see that my hair is disheveled? Can’t you smell that I haven’t showered?”

 

“Look up,” I wanted to shout. “I know you can’t see that I haven’t slept for the past 24 hours? I know you can’t see that my heart is broken and that I can think of nothing else. I know you can’t see that my brother and his children are hardly functioning because they will never feel, hug, smell or talk to their boy again.  I know you can’t see that the loves of his life will have very few memories as they grow up and that their Uncle Trav will never walk in the door or throw them in the air again.   I know you can’t see that his cousins have been crying, or that his grandpa just hurts in a deep, stalwart kind of way. That his aunts and uncles feel like they have lost one of their own and ache to help those hurting.  I know that you can’t see that his friends are stunned as they cope, or how one accident victim is fighting for his life.  EVERY. SECOND. or another whose body is broken all over feels a deeper pain in her heart. Or the one who walked away carries a memory she probably wishes she could forget.

 

As I walked out the door, an impression came to mind: “Look up my child! Can’t you see that I am with you? Can’t you see that I am sending tender mercies as fast as I can send them?  Can’t you see that I gave the gift of an amazing man? Can’t you see that I fixed this? Can’t you see that I didn’t let him suffer? I know you can’t see that there are angels with you and in your brothers home—so many crowding between them. I know you can’t see that his grandparents are with him and he is happy and they are happy to be with him. I know that you can’t see that we know their pain and are crying with them. I know that you can’t see the complete picture and have to walk by faith. I know you cannot see that I need him to be an angel to his sweet little nephews and niece and those he loves. I know that you can’t see that this is needed for growth on so many levels and that everyone involved has a much needed lesson to learn, that it will bless them for eternity? I know that you cannot see that I am with the one fighting for his life. EVERY. SECOND. I. AM. WITH. HIM. And the girls—I will be on their right side and their left, and my spirit is in their hearts and mine angels round about. I know you really can’t comprehend how much I fixed this. I sent my son so that you can be with me. I sent prophets so that you can hear my word.  I sent temples so that families can be together forever. I sent the priesthood so you can heal. I sent the gospel so that you can understand. All will be well. Be patient.  Take time.  Know that I love you.   Yes, my child, it is a good day!”

 

 

Have a good Day!

“Have a good day,” he said.  The cashier at the convenience store smiled as I was paying for a drink to keep me awake on the way home.

 

“Have a good day?  Are you kidding me?” I wanted to shout. “Can’t you see that my eyes are bloodshot and swollen from crying? Can’t you see that my shirt has snot on it? Can’t you see that my hair is disheveled? Can’t you smell that I haven’t showered?”

 

“Look up,” I wanted to shout. “I know you can’t see that I haven’t slept for the past 24 hours? I know you can’t see that my heart is broken and that I can think of nothing else. I know you can’t see that my brother and his children are hardly functioning because they will never feel, hug, smell or talk to their boy again.  I know you can’t see that the loves of his life will have very few memories as they grow up and that their Uncle Trav will never walk in the door or throw them in the air again.   I know you can’t see that his cousins have been crying, or that his grandpa just hurts in a deep, stalwart kind of way. That his aunts and uncles feel like they have lost one of their own and ache to help those hurting.  I know that you can’t see that his friends are stunned as they cope, or how one accident victim is fighting for his life.  EVERY. SECOND. or another whose body is broken all over feels a deeper pain in her heart. Or the one who walked away carries a memory she probably wishes she could forget.

 

As I walked out the door, an impression came to mind: “Look up my child! Can’t you see that I am with you? Can’t you see that I am sending tender mercies as fast as I can send them?  Can’t you see that I gave the gift of an amazing man? Can’t you see that I fixed this? Can’t you see that I didn’t let him suffer? I know you can’t see that there are angels with you and in your brothers home—so many crowding between them. I know you can’t see that his grandparents are with him and he is happy and they are happy to be with him. I know that you can’t see that we know their pain and are crying with them. I know that you can’t see the complete picture and have to walk by faith. I know you cannot see that I need him to be an angel to his sweet little nephews and niece and those he loves. I know that you can’t see that this is needed for growth on so many levels and that everyone involved has a much needed lesson to learn, that it will bless them for eternity? I know that you cannot see that I am with the one fighting for his life. EVERY. SECOND. I. AM. WITH. HIM. And the girls—I will be on their right side and their left, and my spirit is in their hearts and mine angels round about. I know you really can’t comprehend how much I fixed this. I sent my son so that you can be with me. I sent prophets so that you can hear my word.  I sent temples so that families can be together forever. I sent the priesthood so you can heal. I sent the gospel so that you can understand. All will be well. Be patient.  Take time.  Know that I love you.   Yes, my child, it is a good day!”

 

 

And so it goes.

So this last week I have been touched by a few stories.   First off I called my sister and the first thing she says to me is… “I can’t talk now, I have a bobcat in my yard”  I’m thinking…so cool.  I go to say “take pics” when she pipes up “not that kind of bobcat one that is fixing my lawn.”  You see my sister is a single mom that has had this back yard for 11 years that she has wanted to fix.   But with not knowing how go about or even having the muscle to do it, it has sat….and sat.   Well my little brother James was working on his lawn and has decided as he does his he will help my sister do hers.  I love that boy.  He literally is the best kept secret ever.  (haha that’s another story)   But as I sat and thought about this and then later talking to my sister about her yard and then how the weekly phone calls to another sister that has some struggles have been going, it touched my heart how service just keeps going and going.  My life is blessed by those who I have had the blessing to serve.   Then to top it all off, I found this great TED talk about stress and how service heals the negative affects of stress.

I am so blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who in his wisdom knows the best thing for our lives.    I am thankful for a wonderful family that so many times serves…   quietly, unconditionally and doing it for the glory of God.

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Tender Mercies

Though I am over the top with getting enough sleep, I miss my class!    For the last 9 months I have been working 100+ hours a week.  I have worked nights being a CNA, I have helped my dad and I have been a para (aid for the special needs)  at Kennedy Elementary in Rexburg..  Some have asked me how I have done it.  The answer is I have LOVED my jobs..  Today I want to tell you about my little class.    The first day that I walked in I knew that I was going to find a lasting friend with the teacher.  She has single handily recharged my hope in education.  She is a shining example of how a person can be when under crisis stress.  She is an amazing teacher who loves her students.  She is kind and disciplines her students and they don’t even know it..  She has fun in her class and I can promise you those littles left her class laughing a lot, knowing they were loved, being educated and having fond memories of their 3nd grade year.  Stephanie!!!  You are a tender mercy to me and all those who you influenced this year.

I also had the tender mercy of being an aid to the cutest little girl ever.   Again, the first day of class I knew i had this.  Anyone who knows me or my family most likely knows that a few years back we were able to adopt and take care of a little special needs boy who changed our family.    When I met this little girl, I was struck at how much she looked like our Crystophyr.   But not only did she look like him, she acted like him, her disease manifested like his and she had the same sweet spirit that he had.  Through the school year, she healed me in ways that I didn’t know I needed.   I truly felt like working with her was like being with my son.

The other tender mercy?   The little third grade class of Kennedy Elementary.   What happy, fun, bright and entertaining children.   I fell in love with each and every one of them.   They made me laugh, smile and feel joy.   It was fun to see them grow.   I will miss that class, but look forward to seeing them in the future.

I am thankful for tender mercies, they are around us everyday, in the smile of a child, the green of the grass, the laughter of your children and a hug of your husband.  I hope I never take for granted the tender mercies of this beautiful life.