Sunday, September 23, 2012

Balloons for McKenna

I remember when Hunter was just a toddler, and we had just come out of either The Home Depot or some restaurant that gives you balloons to children as they leave, and he was given a balloon.  Probably blue.  I remember making it all the way home with child and balloon safely in the car until the door opened.  And then the balloon escaped, floating serenely in the sky taking its sweet time ascending up to the heavens.  As beautiful as that blue balloon looked making its way towards the sky, my sweet little Hunter wasn't as thrilled.  But then it came to me, or John, not quite sure exactly who said it, that THAT balloon was making its way to McKenna, his big sister who died just a few short years earlier.  So that is what we told him; that we were going to share the balloon with McKenna, that she would catch it and know we were thinking of her.

Three children arrived after Hunter, and that has been the tradition, especially from Reagan and Hailey, that every balloon they get from The Home Depot or Red Robin, and from many birthdays, is given to their big sister, McKenna.  At firstwhen the children were younger and the balloon accidentally escaped their tiny little hands, it was a matter of tears at the loss of something they just received and hadn't spent much time enjoying yet.  It reminds me of the tears I shed after I received McKenna from heaven, only having her for such a short time and then releasing her back to Heaven.  But once each child understood that, although they wanted to have the enjoyment of that pink, yellow, or blue balloon, they wanted MORE for McKenna to enjoy it too; to enjoy something they had, that they could share with her.  

As I think about the years that have gone by since that first balloon took its flight to be with McKenna, I think of the many others that have joined that single balloon, to make a vibrant and beautiful bouquet.  A bouquet of balloons that really only represent our minds being turned towards her, of wondering what she must be doing while temporarily away from the rest of her family.  Of her hopefully being privy, at times, to our thoughts of how much we miss her, how much we love her.

I am so grateful to have sweet, compassionate children who think of their big sister; someone they've never met, but know only from pictures and mom and dad speaking of her short but profoundly meaningful time on earth.  And I look forward to the day when we all will see her again, and I won't be surprised if she greets us with a bouquet of balloons in tow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Power of Music

In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are given assignments, or callings, to fulfill to help run the various organizations within the church.  The callings change from time to time, and at the moment I am the Primary Music Chorister, for the children ages 18 months to 11 years old.  There was a time when I prayed I would never be asked to fulfill this role.  But when I was asked to do it December of 2010, I was excited. I was ready.

There is plenty of music in the airwaves that can influence us for good or bad.  But what I appreciate most about the music found within our church are the messages of faith, hope, love of and from our Heavenly Father.  The music I am able to learn, study and then teach to these children each week can give them strength to choose the right, help them feel their Savior's love for them, appreciate the beautiful world God has created for us, teach us the importance and value of family.  

Music can touch the soul at times when words alone cannot. That is what I love most about the music I am able to sing and teach each week to these beautiful souls of Heavenly Father.  I will admit though, there are times I don't feel as motivated to do this every week.  It takes lots of planning, and sometimes I feel like the children might be bored, or simply don't want to sing.  But I came across this beautiful video the other day from a blog that I follow to help me with my calling.  This video was originally dedicated to the singer/songwriter's mother who passed away, but it can certainly apply to anyone that is teaching songs to children.  It was something I needed to hear.  It has rejuvinated me in my assignment, and helped me to feel that, yes, I am making a difference, whether I know it or not.  But most importantly has helped me to understand that teaching these beautiful principles of the Savior are needed, and sometimes, the best way to do that, is through song.