Monday, February 25, 2013

A week without Mom

After the Funeral last week, Bruce and the kids dropped me off in Sandy for a Touch for Health Class that lasted 8 days.  It was hard to say good-bye to them after all the events that day, but I had had a very strong confirmation months earlier that I was supposed to be at this class, so that softened the hard part. 

This Touch for Health class was amazing, from a wonderful teacher.  It tied together a lot of loose ends for me in both skills and knowledge.  I'm so grateful that I was able to be there!  Keeping in touch with everyone was challenging because my there was limited coverage for talking from the house where I was staying at, but thankfully I had texting and my computer with me.  I got to go to the Jordan River Temple with my dear friend Shauna, and also out to Salt City Burger with my other dear friends Karen, Amy and Suzanne. It was so fun to be with them, and learn of their happy moments and struggles and challenges, which we all have.  I also got to attend Kirk Duncan's Body Language class, one for missionaries, and then one just for general public.  I learned a ton and was happy I got to attend!  I had a memorable ride home on the shuttle, which included a 90 minute wait in a conveniance store in Pocatello at 2:00 in the morning.  It is a good thing I can sleep anywhere, anytime, including a cold, hard floor with a duffle bag for a pillow.  :)

Jesse picked me up at the airport, and she had been at the Temple and was fasting to know which college she should go to.  It had been ten days since she found out she was accepted into the School of Music at BYU, and she was going back and forth between BYU and BYU-Idaho.  She told me several times during the week, "I think I'm going to BYU-Idaho, even though I don't want to."  This was said in a morose voice with no energy to it.  Hmmm.  Not what a Mom wants to hear.  She had said earlier, "I have a peaceful feeling when I think of BYU-Idaho, but when I think of telling BYU that I'm not coming, I feel horrible."  This is how I felt too.  I had been praying all week for her, had her work with my friend Leah on some things, and had asked Bruce to give her a blessing.  He hadn't done it because he had been sick.  So this is the place we were at, driving home from the airport.  I told her I would write everything she was thinking while she was driving.  I told her I was not in mother mode, and I just wanted to help reflect what she was thinking.  So I just started writing as fast as I could while she talked.  When we got to the Cheese Factory, I had a very strong feeling come over me, and I said, "Jesse, listen to what I'm going to say right no because it's really important.  I'm back in 'mother mode' and I need you to listen.  Heavenly Father wants you to know that this is a win-win situation.  There is no wrong decision here, as far as He is concerned.  He asks you to live within the boundaries that He has set, and you do.  You do!  But within those boundaries, there is a lot of room for making your own decisions according to your own choice and what YOU would like to do.  So both colleges are a win - and He wants YOU to decide where you want to go and what you would like to do.  And He wants you to know how much He adores you, and how much He appreciates your willingness to be obedient and do whatever is required."  Well, we both had tears streaming down our cheeks at this point.  I KNEW that what I was saying was true, and was exactly what Heavenly Father wanted her to hear.  I then said, "You can go home and pray about what I have said, because you should get your own answer," but then she said, "I don't need to, Mom.  I already know.  I want to go to BYU."  We talked and cried some more, but the answer was clear.  We looked up the application on her iPhone before we even got home and found that YES button and pressed send.  What a great feeling!

And then, as if we hadn't already had enough tender mercies (see my last post about the timing of her acceptance to the School of Music letter), we had another tender mercy in the timing of this answer to prayer, because later that afternoon, she received her academic acceptance into BYU.  It was a great blessing to already know she wanted to go there, because if she was still trying to make that decision, that would have made it even harder.  Interestingly enough, they told us at the School of Music that if she made it into the School of Music and NOT into BYU, that they could pull some strings most of the time to get the student in.  Thankfully in this case, they didn't have to do that.  :)  One caveat though:  she was accepted into the Summer Term!  So she goes off to college in June, with the 21st being her orientation day!  Bruce has been telling her for the last two years that she couldn't go to summer, but he didn't know that she put summer on her application as to when she wanted to go, so there you have it.  It's a done deal now, and Dad will have to deal with it!  :)  It's hard to see your little girl grow up and leave the house, but that's what's happening in four short months.  So, many details now to take care of, but at least the major decisions are over (for now!!).

Mary went to her ballroom dance class last Saturday night and had a class on Salsa.  She's the youngest one in this class - most of the others are twenty something, but you'd never know it with how she carries herself and her confidence.  It is so fun to watch her do the salsa!  She has got the moves.

Peter presented his Science Fair Project successfully!  He had to have Grandma take him to school one morning (Bruce was sick) and check in his "air cannon" aka potato gun, so that the school wouldn't go into lock-down when he brought it in.  Grandma also came over multiple times while I was gone and brought food over and helped around here.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!

Aunt Michelle sent beautiful pdf files of all the events surrounding Bruce's mothers' funeral(s).  She also stayed with Grandpa for an extra week, which was very kind and thoughtful.

We had our neighbors over for "a potluck", as the kids affectionately call it.  It is so fun to be with them.

I'm getting back into my routine this week.  It feels good!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Letting Go

Here are pictures from the last two weeks:

Sunday, 3 February
Last Sunday activities as a family

 Monday, 4 February

Joseph playing his guitar and helping Peter with his Science Fair Project

Tuesday, 5 February
Peter doing tests for his Science Fair Project

At 1:53 pm on Feb 5th, Just a few hours before this picture was taken, we found out that Bruce's mother had passed away peacefully at the hospital in Colorado.  She had been in and out of the hospital for more than a year, and she finally got a MRSA infection that caused her body to shut down.  She was in a great deal of pain.  I was going to write "a great deal of pain this last year of her life", but really, she has been in a great deal of pain since I've known her.  She was limping with bad hips and knees the first time I met her in Dec of 1987, and I guess I've never known her not to be in some kind of pain.  Not that this pain caused her to alter her plans or slowed her down at all.  It probably should have, but she paid no mind to it and just went on doing what she wanted to do in spite of it!  To have this news come with only 8 days remaining before Joseph went on his mission was tough!  A lot of loss all at once, although with a proper perspective and understanding of both events, we couldn't help but rejoice at both occasions.  It did make for a stressful week of getting ready, however, as we knew we would have to leave 2 days earlier than planned, and that we were taking the whole family down with us.  It was pretty crazy getting that all done, but we managed to pull it off.

 Thursday, 7 February
Jesse and Joseph up on the roof watching the sunrise
Jesse, Isaac, Joseph, Bruce, Peter
My new favorite picture of Bruce, taking Flat Stanley on a horseback ride
 Friday, 8 February

Erica and Mary

Erica and Mary trying to defy gravity

Mary, Erica, Tori, Shailor - working on Jesse's hair

Saturday, 9 February

Playing with the Walkers

Sunday, 10 February
Sunday morning at 9:15 we went to the Stake Center for Joseph to be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Pres Evans gave him a wonderful blessing - it was so powerful!  Joseph wrote down all that we could remember that he said.
Last Sunday breakfast at home, right before Joseph's farewell

Joseph's farewell was amazing.  Logan, another boy from our ward whose family moved here recently, spoke first, and then Joseph gave a great talk.  He talked about four things that he felt had given him a foundation on Christ:
  • Have an appreciation for small things
  • Have a reverence for sacred things
  • Have a thirst for good things
  • Have a love of ALL things
 It was a powerful, powerful talk, and truly centered on Christ.  I am so grateful for his beautiful gift of speaking and communicating with the Spirit.

After Joseph's farewell, Lorna and Dan and Grandma and Grandpa helped us get on our way to Colorado.  We would have been hours later had they not been there.  We had some very memorable hours in "Muy Bueno", the name of our 2002 Town & Country Van that has 256,000 miles on it and a broken heater in the front, driving across Wyoming through the night in sub-zero temperatures.  There was a solid sheet of ice on all but the front windshield, and it reached -18 degrees F at one point.  It was memorable!  I have to say, though, that through that long night, I truly felt that we were surrounded by angels that were protecting us and helping us through.  I felt comfort and peace through it all.  We arrived at Grandpa's house in Colorado at about 8 am after a 16 hour drive.  We talked for about 1/2 an hour and then slept soundly for the next four hours.  At 12:30 we gathered at the chapel for the Viewing and Funeral.  I don't have any pics from there because my battery died, but hopefully I'll be able to add some later because Aunt Janel took a lot.  Bruce gave a great talk, as did all the siblings.  My favorite line was Michelle's description of Mom.  She said she was "feisty, determined, a perfectionist and kind-hearted," and I think she was exactly right!

Tuesday, 12 February
On Tuesday, we drove with Grandpa to pick up the coffin and Grandma's body to drive it to Utah in a UHaul.  As we were sitting in the parking lot at the mortuary waiting, Jesse all of a sudden yelled out, "I just got an email from Scott Holden at BYU that I got into the program."  Oh my word!!!!  We all started yelling and had to get out of the car and do a happy dance, despite being at the mortuary!  Jesse made it into BYU in piano performance!  She made it!  She was one of 10 that made it, out of 70 that auditioned.  It's incredible!  She was so happy.  The fact that she got the email on that day was a tender mercy of the Lord.  Any day in the week before that, or any day in the 10 days after that would have been terrible, but on that day, all we were doing was driving back to Utah, so we had all day to celebrate with Jesse.  It was truly a miracle, and I'm so grateful the Lord gave us that tender mercy.  Notice in these pictures below how happy and relaxed she looks, and how she's laughing.  She was indeed, so happy that night.   We stayed the night at Josh & Rachel's new house in Utah, and played Catch Phrase with cousins.
Mary, Kaleb and Jesse - cousins playing Catch Phrase

Joseph, Libby, Peter
Marinna, Jeremy, Kaylee and Bruce

Lorena, Joshua Wayne

Marinna and Jeremy

Wednesday, 13 February
Joseph all set to go to the MTC!  (With Libby's contribution to the outfit!)
Cute, cute picture of Peter and Mary in the van driving to the MTC.  We listened to Called to Serve, Praise to the Man, How Firm a Foundation, Brother James' Air, and we sang the family song, from my side of the family, and High on the Mountain Top.
Breakfast at IHOP
Jesse hugging Joseph - dropping him off at the MTC
Joseph and Mary

Joseph and Peter
Joseph and Libby

Wednesday, 13 February, continued (yes - this happened on the same day)

Libby and Katie - playing at theViewing of Grandma LuJeanne
Mary, Kaylee, Gewenaelle, Nicole and others at the Cedar Fort Cemetery
A lot of grandsons to be Pallbearers
Grandma's Coffin and Burial Site
Aunt Leah (Grandma's sister), Grandpa, Michelle, Stephen, Gary, Shawn, Bruce
Uncle Bruce's grave
Cedar Fort Cemetery, which was full of Hacking relatives.  It was a lovely, lovely spot, and I could see why Grandma wanted to be buried there!
This is the headstone for Bruce's great-grandparents
All through this day, I had these words going through my mind, "Joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of God."  This is what I truly felt this day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

College Audition Tour

Before her audition at BYU and BYU-Idaho, Jesse had a Pre-Audition performance at our High School.  The choir teacher was kind enough to let her use the auditorium, in exchange for charging a small entrance fee and donating it to the High School Choir program.  She raised $91, thanks to very generous friends and family!

Here is the piece that Jesse liked playing the most - Paganini Etude No. 6 by Franz Liszt.  It is 5:36 min long.  (The video is poor quality - sorry - but the sound is good.)

Here is a video of her playing the Bach Prelude and Fugue.  It's about 7 min long, so you might have to listen to it as background music!

A week ago Friday, we took off down to Provo.  At the last minute, Grandma let us borrow her car to drive instead of our own vehicle.  This turned out to be a true blessing the whole trip, as we ran across a lot of fog, snowpacked roads and general winter road conditions, and her car was great.  We went to Young Living to pick up some orders, and then went to Panda Express with our cousins on Bruce's side of the family.  It was so fun to be with them and visit with them!
Anthony, Alena, and Heather
Lauren, Camille, Joseph, Mary, Jesse - COUSINS!
Then we were off to campus to see old friends.  We visited with Matt, who was a missionary in our ward last year. So fun to see the switch from missionary to RM and BYU Student!  Then we went to the Smith Fieldhouse, where we met up with Jacob, Joseph's buddy from BYU-I, who is now going to BYU.  So fun to see Jacob!  I got to meet Jacob's mom, Dona, too, whom I had corresponded with via email.  She went to college and a mission the same exact years that I did.
Jacob and Joseph
 We slept at Stetson and Whitney's, and the next morning, Jesse and I were up bright and early at the HFAC on BYU campus! How exciting!  I couldn't believe we were actually there doing it.

 Here is Jesse filling out the paperwork.  We were the first ones to sign in.
 She went in at 9:42 to audition, and came out at 9:53.  Nine minutes.  Here is a picture of the judges, right after she walked out.
 She played beautifully!  She had prepared three pieces:
Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 by Beethoven
Prelude and Fugue No. 9 in E Major by Bach
Paganini Etude No. 6 by Franz Listz

In all, it was about 35 minutes of music, memorized and perfected.  They listened to nine minutes of it!  She went straight from her audition into the aural exam, and scored a 41 out 63.  She took it later again that afternoon and improved her score to a 43.

Jesse listened to the recording that I had taken on my iPhone of the audition, and she kept saying, "Oh snap, that sounded good!", and "I hit that part!  I didn't think I did!".  It was so fun to see her delight right at the moment - she was so relieved and happy.  Later on in the day, she started to second-guess herself, but right at that moment, she was happy.  :)

After she finished, we walked around campus a little and Mary had fun showing us all the places she hung out at BYU Ballroom Dance Camp this past summer.  She had such great memories of that!  

When we passed the IPF (Indoor Practice Field) the night before, Joseph was also remembering his tryout for the BYU Soccer team just a year ago with his friend Dane.  Good memories for him also!

That night, we got together with my nieces and nephews in Provo on my side of the family.  Fun times at Slab Pizza!
Stetson, Jesse, Lorena, Lindsey, Mary, Whitney, Joseph, Whitney
Sunday morning we left early and went to the Tabernacle Choir's Music and the Spoken Word.

 It was fabulous!!  It is the first time in my life that I've been to that production live, and I was mesmerized.  The sound in the Tabernacle is the ultimate in surround sound.  The music practically vibrates in you.  (That's silly - of course it vibrates, it's sound! But seriously, you could just feel it all through you.) 
 I want to return to that over and over again.  They started with Beethoven's Hallelujah Chorus, and ended with High on a Mountain Top, which has special significance for our family because my great-great-great-grandfather wrote the lyrics.  We loved it!!

Then we got to go to Church with Josh and Rachel!  We were really impressed with their ward - what a great place to be.  They just bought a house and we went over for a few minutes and had chips and salsa at their kitchen table.  It started snowing like crazy while we were there, and we decided to brave the roads and get on up to Rexburg.

If I had known beforehand what the roads were going to be like, I might not have gone!  But I'm glad we did - we made it fine.  I put on plenty of Valor, Stress Away and Deep Relief, essential oils blends that helped with stress!  We were very relieved to arrive at Angie and Rodney's without incident.  The Lord truly blessed us with protection.  Angie had a wonderful dinner of Taco Salad sitting on the table - oh that tasted yummy!  We stayed there for an hour or so, and then headed to Rexburg to be with Craig, Jenette and Hannah.

That night, according to locals, there was the biggest snowstorm in Rexburg in the last ten years, if not more.  Thankfully, although there was a lot of snow, it was relatively warm - 32 degrees, so at least we had that.  In the morning, Jesse and I scraped piles of snow off of Grandma's car, and then drove up the hill to the campus, with about 10% visibility because it was still snowing and the windshield wipers got ice on them.  It makes me laugh now, but it was pretty much a whiteout in the windshield more than once.

Jesse's audition at BYU-I was awesome.  We were welcomed into Dr. Thomas' office, and Jesse played beautifully.  He listened to about 12 minutes of her repertoire, which was the same as her BYU audition (very convenient).  We talked to him for about 45 min total, and felt totally welcomed and cared for.  He said that she definitely was qualified for the program, and would very likely receive a scholarship.  I saw a smile creep across Jesse's face for the first time that morning.  :)

We won't know full results from BYU or BYU-I until the end of the month, but at least we know that she's in the program at BYU-I!

Jesse and Joseph had a great time visiting with old friends on the BYU-I campus while Mary and I spent some time visiting with Jenette and Hannah.  Jenette said, "Craig, what are we going to do when Mary leaves?"  She was playing with and reading to Hannah, and Hannah loved it.  We got to eat a yummy taco soup with Craig when he came home for lunch.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning the night before talking to Craig and Jenette!  And we could have talked the whole night through if we didn't have responsibilities the next day...  I love my brothers and sisters and their spouses.  They are the best!

Mary and Joseph drove all the way home, and did a great job, even through snowy weather near Boise.  Thank goodness for good kids!

We have been spending as much time with Joseph this week as possible!  Last night after Church, we had a roast for dinner with carrots and potatoes, and then went up to the ER for games and ping-pong.  We played Ticket to Ride and Joseph whomped on all of us.  That's good, because the kids kept calling him "Monarch" because I was letting him choose the game, etc. because he was the "man of the hour".  ha ha  We then watched some old family videos, and we got to laughing so hard about the kids, and how some of their characteristics are still very much the same, especially Jesse and Mary.  We need to do that more often - it was really fun.

I have to say, I'm always glad to see January go!  On to longer days and warmer temperatures!