Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Clairisa,

One year ago today, you came into our world and left footprints on our hearts and our lives have never been the same. Those words borrowed from some unknown author seem to define your very purpose on this earth. I wonder...Did you know all that your little life would change? Did you know that your existence on this earth would reach so many lives? Did you know that our family would strive harder to become all that God intended us to be because of you? Oh, the difference your tiny little life has made...

Today we celebrate your short yet perfect life. Perfect through Christ and because of this knowledge along with the promise of eternal families we can find joy in this day, rather than sorrow. If you were here I would whisper my love for you, whisper of my gratitude to your mother and father for making the choice to bring you to this earth. I would tell you of their love for you and all the sacrifices they made to bring you here. I would tell you of the many times your sisters speak of their desire for your return. I suspect these things you already know, but I would speak them just the same.

Today on your birthday, my birthday wish for you is that you will always know how much we love and miss you and that the promise, so beautifully spoken by Elder Richard G. Scott that "Sunday will come" is ever present in our minds when we think of you. However, until that day comes, for this Sunday, may it be enough that we had you for a moment.
All my love,
Grandma by the beach

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Promise of a Ladybug

Like the promise of the rainbow, the ladybug is symbolic to our family, one that reminds us of the eternal promises awaiting us. Anyone who is familiar with the loss of our granddaughter, Clairisa may know this already but for my sake, for posterity sake, I am writing this now. The ladybug has become our constant reminder of our angel Clairisa and the promises which await us after this life.

Cory in his inspired wisdom decided that he would surprise Melissa by preparing the nursery, while Melissa was in the hospital awaiting the birth of their daughter. He chose a ladybug theme and then went to great lengths to prepare the room late night after night but only after visiting Melissa in the hospital, so that she wouldn't guess. He called everyone in the family and invited those who wanted, to go online and participate in a long distance shower, so to speak, by purchasing any items that fit the theme. Melissa's sister Andrea and her mother threw a baby shower way down in Texas, all within the theme of the Ladybug. When Melissa came home without baby Clairisa her father gave she and Cory some sage advice, he told them to not turn the room into a shrine but to use it, play in it, make it a room that the family will enjoy and that is just what they did. They moved Katelund and Cloey over into 'the Ladybug room' and told them they were going to share this room with their sister. Melissa found some wall adhesives of ladybugs, they consisted of a Daddy, Mommy and three little ladybugs! I find great joy in this memory as I was grateful for the opportunity to be with her when she put them up. To this day if you ask the girls whose room it is they will tell you it is Katelund's, Cloey and Clairisa's, even pointing out the names of all the ladybugs on their wall...this is daddy, he is looking back to check on us, this is mommy, this is me and this is Cloey and our baby sister Clairisa, she is with Jesus. Thus began our ladybug miracle. You see each time we see a ladybug we are reminded of the eternal promise that we will one day be with our perfect little Clairisa. Hold her, laugh with her, grow into eternity with her, forever, if we but live worthy of those blessings.

A few months ago while John and I were out visiting Cory and Melissa we had plans to visit the graveside of Clairisa, we first stopped by the park to play and while Melissa and I were sitting on a bench, what flew and settled down between she and I, but one lone ladybug! While at the beach with Amber, Stefani and two of my beautiful granddaughters, Brooklynn and Callie Clairisa... who decides to make her presence known? That is right, one lone little ladybug somehow finds her way to the beach right where Brooklynn had been building a sandcastle. Coincidence, I think not. This past Sunday a sweet little girl climbed upon my lap and what was on her dress? That's right, ladybugs. I was so thankful for the opportunity I had to reflect upon Clairisa as the sacrament was passed. I whispered a grateful prayer for the promise of eternal life and the power of the resurrection.

A close friend of mine had a blanket made for Melissa and Cory with the thought of Clairisa's upcoming first birthday (this Sunday, July 26, 2009). It is covered in ladybugs, with Clairisa's name embroidered in the middle. Now Melissa wraps herself up in the warmth of the thoughtfulness and goodness of someone she has never met! This is an act filled with the miracle of the Love of God in all of us. I could go on but I will close with one more (but certain not to be the last) miracle. This Sunday on Clairisa's birthday, Stefani will speak in Sacrament meeting. Can you guess what topic the Bishop has asked her to speak on? Though unaware of the significance of the date, he asked her to speak on preparing for the temple and the blessings of eternal families. As Stefani is preparing to go to the temple this may seem the very reason for the topic (which I am sure is part of it) but given the date...coincidence? I know it is not.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Fishy Experience or Sushi Reversal?

Any way you look at it, it was Crazy!
With plans to visit the Patterson's over the fourth (long time family friends, soon to be in-laws:) Linda called me to ask how I felt about the three of us, Stefani, Linda and myself getting a "Dr. Fish's" pedicure while we were there. 
Though I must say I had my reservations, I found it to be an experience of a lifetime. Let me explain, and before you jump to the phone to make your reservations, plan for a trip to the DC area, as that is the only place in the United States you can get one.

Should you feel inclined to try it, I will walk you through the steps.
1. Sit down on a couch atop your personal fish tank.
2. Put your feet up on the top of the tank, while a warm cloth is laid over your legs/feet, then gently have them wiped down.
3. Timer is set for 20 minutes
4. Put your feet in the tank and hang on with all the self discipline you can muster while the fish swarm to your feet and begin what I would like to call a feeding frenzy!

As you can guess it was the most unusual pedicure ever known to this Mann:)
We giggled, we laughed. It tickled, it caused grimace at the mere thought of what they were doing, let alone the feeling! I grabbed onto Linda's arm when they seem to be extra hungry and going at it. We pursed our lips as if to help us gain greater self mastery over the desire to shake the fish away from their breakfast. I must confess I gave in a few times but not too worry, they found their way back as soon as my feet settled. To distract my thoughts I found myself gazing at the large pictures on the walls of infamous people who had given into curiosity themselves. There was Diane Sawyer, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Lee Gifford, Hota Kotb, I suppose one could say I was rubbing feet with the big fish.
A fisherman's dream indeed; a place where one can be assured the fish are always biting. 
Bon appetite!