Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Line in Heaven

I feel so extremely blessed to have been "born of goodly parents". I am so very grateful that I was raised by such a great set of parents and that I have such amazing and wonderful brothers and sisters. To me, I think it is totally amazing that 12 brothers and sisters can get along so well, and love each other so much.  (Not to mention all the great brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law). I must have been doing something right when I got in that line in heaven.  

My sweet, incredible mom and 7 amazing sisters
My dad surrounded but all of his daughters.  He was our biggest fan. 
We miss him so much!

My parents and all my siblings--but one brother (Kevin). 
He couldn't make it for the picture.

This picture includes almost everyone. 
It is missing one family and a few missionaries. 
My mom always says she has "joy and rejoicing in her posterity".

I must say that I have the greatest husband and kids. 
I feel truly blessed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Colts treat

Riley likes to "trash talk" back and forth with the Austin family, in our ward, about which NFL team is best.  Of course, we are big time Colts fans here at our house.  We have great memories of living in Indiana.  My kids ask quite often if we can go back and visit.  One of these years, we will definitely have to take a vacation to Indiana.  I always remind them that a lot of the friends that we had out there, no longer live there.  But, we still have lots of friends that we love out there, and would love to see again.

Yesterday, the Colts were playing the Denver Broncos.  (Which just so happens to be the beloved team of the Austin family).  It was also the day after Sydne Austin's birthday.  Riley got up early and made Sydne some brownies for her birthday and the big game day.
She is holding the pan of brownies upside down.  That's okay...the Colts still won. :)
We love you Austin Family!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Letters from Heaven

Monday, I was feeling very sad and sorry for myself. I just couldn't seem to pull out of a terrible funk that I was in.

I spoke to a sweet lady at church that compared losing a loved one with the ocean. She told me that there are days that you will feel a little sad, like a small wave. There will be other days that the waves of sadness will come crashing in like a tsunami.

I recall feeling like that after my brother Brian died, only losing my dad, I also feel a little scared. He was the great big safety net for all of his kids, and my mom. He always knew what to do, and had great advice.

Back to Monday....This particular day, the waves were crashing in and rolling over the top of me.  It just seemed like a black cloud was following me around that day. I knew that I needed to just get busy and do some things to take my mind off of it. I started looking for a box of thank you cards, and I thought that I may have some in the cedar chest in my bedroom. I opened the cedar chest and noticed a box that I had not opened for quite sometime. I knew that the box didn't contain my thank you cards, but was just curious as to what was inside. As I poured the contents of the box out on my bed, an envelope fell out with my name on it, in my dad's handwriting.

In the envelope there were three different letters written to me from my dad. They were written years and years ago (when I was a teenager), but the content still applies today. Each letter was several pages long. In them, my dad told me how much he loved me, how proud he was of me, and many wonderful things. He also bore testimony to me and gave me council.

He said, "I want to encourage you with all my heart to read the scriptures daily and develop a love of them, and pray daily for the Lord's spirit to strengthen you. The things and ideas of the world will end some day, but the eternal truths will last forever".

As I read through the letters, tears just began to flow. It was exactly what I needed, right then and there. It was as if my dad could see that I was having a hard time and wanted to make sure that I knew that I was loved by him. It was a message of comfort and reassurance, a very tender mercy shown to me from the Lord.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jumbled thoughts.....

This post is completely jumbled thoughts that have been running through my mind....

It is amazing how fast this last week went, and yet it still feels like a bad dream. I'm having a hard time with the fact that my dad is gone. I can't believe that I may be on the earth longer without my dad then I was on the earth with him.

I went to the temple by myself on Saturday and couldn't believe how choked up I got at the end of the session. I sat in the temple for a long time and just had time to think.

My mind has been so consumed lately with different thoughts. Before my dad passed away, I was constantly worried about him and also about my mom. It seemed like I was dropping the ball when it came to my schedule and tasks that I should be completing. My mind was full of worry. I was jumpy ever time the phone rang late at night. Could this be the dreaded phone call?

And now my mind is full of sadness. I lye in bed at night and my mind will not shut down. I worry about my mom, I worry about my siblings, and the funny thing is---the worrying is not changing, fixing, or helping anyone. (And it sure is making me tired). A tired mama is a grouchy mama. You know how the old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

This morning I was thinking about all the things my dad worked for all his life. He worked hard to be able to enjoy the "niceties" in life. Beautiful house, beautiful yard, nice cars, I guess just all their "stuff" that it is still here and he is gone. I have always known that you don't get to take anything with you. I get that fact. But, when you lose someone close to you, it sure does make you stop and think about things and what the point is....why we are here!

I was reading over a talk that President Monson gave a few years ago. In it he says,

....How fragile life, how certain death. We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask, “What are we doing with today?” If we live only for tomorrow, we’ll have a lot of empty yesterdays today. Have we been guilty of declaring, “I've been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step—tomorrow”? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today.

I learned even more about my dad and his character while talking to different people this past week. His honesty, his integrity, his loyalty. He was a man of great faith, he loved a challenge, he completed EVERY task with 150% gusto. I have asked myself, why can't I be more like that? In my eyes, my dad was always on the right course. He didn't need to make any "course corrections".

I guess all I can say is that I AM making some "course corrections" because I want to be just like him.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

News Paper Article

This newspaper article was printed on September 14, 2010. I think it was very well written.

Business leader dies at 69
Influential Idaho Falls businessman, community leader and philanthropist Doug Andrus Jr. died Sunday following a long battle with cancer.

Andrus, 69, is remembered by family and friends as a successful businessman who thanked the community for its support by investing his time and money in local youth and religious programs.

"He'll be remembered for his humility, as a humble man of integrity," Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen said.

Andrus is perhaps best known as a co-owner of the company that bears his name, Doug Andrus Distributing of Idaho Falls. The business -- known across the West for its signature red tractor-trailers -- was formed in 1937 by Andrus' parents, Doug Sr. and Veatrice.

Born in 1941, Andrus grew up in Idaho Falls and supported himself by driving trucks for his father's business while studying finance and management at Ricks College and Brigham Young University. In 1975, Andrus and his brother, Heber, bought the company when their father retired, Heber Andrus said.

Together, the Andrus brothers guided the company from its modest roots as a six-truck operation to its current status as the largest Idaho-based trucking company. Today, the company maintains a fleet of 270 trucks and does business across the United States and throughout western Canada. The Andrus brothers also started Dad's Travel Center truck stops and own the Andco Leasing real estate development company.

"It's kind of fun to look back and see what we were able to accomplish together," Heber Andrus said.

Andrus regularly used his fleet of vehicles to transport canned goods to local food banks and even sent truckloads of supplies to Hurricane Katrina relief centers on the Gulf Coast.

In January 2009, Doug Andrus Jr. was presented with the Grand Teton Chapter of the BYU Management Society's inaugural Granite Pillar Award -- an award recognizing ethics in the business world.

"Doug has demonstrated a commitment to live by moral and ethical standards in both his personal life as well as in his business associations," society President Art Rammell said at the time.

Although he was known by many for his accomplishments in the business world, those closest to Andrus said his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints were his proudest achievements.

"Doug had a great love and support for Scouting, which he exhibited with his time and generous support to the Scout program," said Grand Teton Council Scout Executive Clarke Farrer, adding that Andrus served on the executive council for more than 20 years.

Andrus also held various leadership roles within the LDS church, including those of stake president, sealer in the Idaho Falls Temple and mission president in the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission.

"He always wanted to be a missionary for the church," Heber Andrus said. "His service in church was probably the most important thing to him."

Melaleuca Inc. CEO Frank VanderSloot said Andrus, as an LDS home teacher, gently guided him through difficult personal times in his life -- all without passing judgment.

"In my opinion, Doug is one of the best examples of just being a good, gracious man that I ever have seen in my life," VanderSloot said. "I've told many people that if I could be like someone, I'd like to be more like Doug Andrus."

Andrus is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Deanna. The Andrus family had 13 children and 56 grandchildren. Memorial services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Eagle Rock Stake Center, 2020 S. Charlotte.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Viewing and Funeral

Sunday afternoon we spent a long time making phone calls to my dad's closest friends informing them of his passing. It was extremely hard calling friends that he loved and loved him so dearly. They were all so sad to hear the news.

It seemed like Sunday was just a blur after we got home from the hospital. We immediately went to work preparing the Life Sketch, Obituary, funeral program, and collecting pictures for a slide show. There was just so much to do. Luckily there are enough children in the family that we were able to divide and conquer. I had the task of scanning pictures and collecting pictures to give to the funeral home so that they could put together a slide show. I was not alone on this task, I had help from several brothers and sisters. We also had to come up with 4 songs to be put to the slide show.

It was amazing to see people showing up with food, flowers, kind words, and more food and still more food. The kindness just washed in. My Aunt Janet showed up Monday morning in a pickup with her daughter Tammy and daughter-in-law Melanie. They backed the pickup in the driveway and it was ENTIRELY full of food. Aunt Janet, her children, Uncle Heber & Carolyn and children, purchased enough food to feed an army. I just sat and cried when I saw their kindness. My mom had been in the hospital so much the last couple of months that there just wasn't much food in the house. It was just simply amazing. I still tear up when I think about it.

One sweet lady in my parents ward spent the entire day baking cinnamon bread. She wanted each child to have a loaf and then some. I believe she made 15+ loaves for us. The counter tops were full of cakes, cookies, lasagna, rolls, fruit, vegetables, the list goes on and on.

Monday morning several of my siblings and mom went to the funeral home to pick out a casket and go through all the details. The funeral home is the same funeral home that helped with my brothers funeral 28 years ago. They are wonderful people and also close friends. One of the funeral directors is a close personal friend to my brother Curtis. His name is Brian, and they went to school together. Brian spent a lot of time at my parents house over the years. My mom would frequently give him haircuts and feed him. As Brian, my mom, and siblings were going over the itemized bill they noticed that at the bottom it read---"Pancake and Haircut discount" with a large dollar amount next to it. My mom jumped up from the table and ran around and hugged Brian. I thought that was so sweet.

We spent Monday evening at the church setting up several display tables for the viewing. We decided not to have the viewing at the funeral home due to the number of people that would be attending. I am certainly glad that we did it that way. Woods Funeral home also set up 2 different locations, in the church, for a slide show. We knew that people would be waiting in line for a long time and we wanted to make it as comfortable as possible for them. It was a lot of hard work, but I know that people really enjoyed looking at everything.

Tuesday morning we went to the funeral home to see dad dressed in his temple clothes. I wasn't expecting dad to look as good as he did. I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever quite seen someone look so good after passing away. His coloring was so good, I would have thought that he was sleeping---only he wasn't snoring like he normally would be. It was a very peaceful time at the funeral home.

We were asked to be at the church 1 hour early for the viewing. We got there and people were already lining up for the viewing. The viewing was supposed to go from 6-9. I think we set the record for the longest viewing in Woods Funeral history. The viewing started at 5:00 p.m. and went until just after 11:00 p.m.. We stood in line for just over 6 hours. Most people waited in line for 2 1/2hours to get in. What a tribute to my dear sweet dad. When we apologized to people for the long wait in line, they simply said, "I would have waited longer. I wouldn't have missed it". I remember one lady in line saying, "...when your dad got to heaven, I'm sure that they rolled out the red carpet for him." I loved that comment. I got home around 11:45 the house was quiet, and of course, I couldn't fall asleep.

We had to be to the church at 8:30. Once again people showed up early for the viewing. We stood in line for the viewing until 20 minutes to 11:00. At that time, the funeral director had us go down the halls of the church and shake all the people's hands that were still in line. There were so many kind words spoken.

Elder L. Tom Perry, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was one of the speakers at the funeral. When he came in the Relief Society Room and shook our hands, and hugged my mom, tears just started to flow. What a sweet man to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to come and speak, and offer kind words of support. My parents got to know Elder Perry when he stayed in their home during Stake Conference and when he set them apart as Mission Presidents. They had a mutual love and respect for each other.

As we had the family prayer and said our goodbyes to my dad, I just had a huge break down. I completely could not control my emotions. I had a good, hard, LOUD, cry--frankly it was a little embarrassing. But, I just couldn't help myself.

The funeral went as follows:

Vocal Chorus-------------Sons and Sons-in-Law -
"Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"

Life Sketch--------------Janet Orchard (Sister), Lori Murdoch (Daughter)

Speaker------------------Heber Andrus

Vocal Chorus-------------Andrus Daughters -
"Beautiful Savior"

Speaker------------------President Howard Stewart

Vocal Chorus-------------Las Vegas West Missionaries

Speaker------------------Elder L. Tom Perry

Vocal Chorus-------------Andrus Family -
"In a Coming Day"

When the funeral ended and the family was standing to leave, my aunt started playing "Called to Serve" on the organ.  The missionaries on the stand started singing along, very softly and reverently.  Soon, the congregation spontaneously joining in.  They sang all three verses of the song and finished with "God be with you till we meet again."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

He fought the good fight

Sunday afternoon, my dad lost a 6 1/2 year battle with cancer. He passed away surrounded by 11 of his 12 living children. That day will forever change my life. He was absolutely the most amazing man that I have ever known. His devotion to his family and the church could never be matched. I have learned so many things from him, just from his example.

The Thursday before he passed away, he wanted to get his home teaching done, but was too sick to get off the couch. He called the lady that he teaches and asked her if she would possibly come to his house. She came, and he taught her the home teaching lesson while lying flat on the couch. We told him that we should have taken a picture of him while home teaching. We thought that it would make a good picture for people to check out at the church library, or be in the gospel art kit. The picture would have to explain that the home teacher was the one on the couch and not the other way around. He thought that was pretty funny. His devotion to the church and his callings was amazing. It was his hobby and love.

My dad had been in and out of the hospital 5 different times in the past couple of months. Recently he was in the hospital for 9 days, was out for 2 days, and then returned to the hospital for his final time on the earth. When he went into the hospital the last time, the doctor told him that his white blood cell count was at zero and there was nothing left that could be done. At that point they called it "comfort care". They just planned on keeping him free from pain as best as they could. The doctor told my mom that he would probably only live another 12 hours. We were devastated to know that our time with him was over.

We spent the next few days by his side every waking moment. I told him, completely teasing, that when he got to heaven I wanted him to find my brother Brian and just punch him in the arm once for me. Brian was my older brother that passed away at age 12, I being 11. As you can imagine, he did a fair amount of teasing. I love and miss my brother. That made my dad smile.

The first day in the hospital, he was able to visit with all of his kids and grand kids, but was very tired. He could rarely finish a thought before falling to sleep. We spent quality time with him, telling him how much we loved him. We sang songs to him. Every time we would finish a song, he would tell us how beautiful it was. At one point my sister said, "Dad, we love you" and he replied, "I hope you know..." and he didn't have the strength to finish the thought. But, we knew--and we cried.

On Saturday night after having been there for 11 hours, I went home tired and numb. I had only been asleep for 1 hour when my sister called and told me to hurry up to the hospital. I ran all the way down the halls to get to his room. He was in bad shape that night, and it was extremely hard to watch. We could only make out a few words that night, "I hurt". They gave him stronger medicine to get him through the night. At 3:00 a.m. he slept and never woke up again.

We spent Sunday afternoon, listening to Music and the Spoken Word. It was amazing how well his stats were during the program. Early afternoon we noticed that his breathing was slowing down. When we realized that things were looking bad, we called my sister Lori and she rushed up. We kept telling my dad that Lori was on her way. We were watching the monitors in a panic hoping that Lori would make it in time. Finally we shouted, "Dad she's here" and as she rounded the corner, he took his last breath and was gone. It was as if you could see his spirit leaving his body. I have the hugest hole in my heart, and I know that it will take a long time to heal.

II Timothy 2:6-8

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

News broadcast about my dad

News broadcast about my dad...


Thursday, September 9, 2010

From the past....

I came across these two pictures today of Haley and just had to share them. You can just count each and every little fat roll on that body! She also looks like she may be in the market for a training bra. Good grief she was a little Buddha.

See the resemblance?

How can you NOT smile looking at this? Not sure how she could see past those cheeks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Disappointment Peak - Sept 2010

No "Disappointment" here! John and Riley spent this past Saturday in the Tetons and apparently had a blast. They had been planning a hike for a couple weeks and the weather turned out to be wonderful. They took the seats out of the van and slept at the base of the Grand Teton Friday night with our good friend Dave W. and his 3 kids, Kaleb, Avery, and Ethan in the next car over.
They woke up at 5:30 and were on the trail by 6:00. They were on the trail 11 hours, hiked 12 miles, and climbed 4886 feet (1489 meters or 13.5 football fields or ~488 stories). They are both hobbling around today and it's funny to watch/listen to them. They had a blast though! Riley said it was a great experience and John said he was extemely proud of her. John says she kept right up with Dave and the kids and always had high spirits. He gets a little teary-eyed when he talks about how proud he is of her. He's a little softy! She took her camera and here are a couple of pictures. The last one shows how proud Dad is of Daughter!

Photo to Right: Disappointment Peak is the sharp one right above Riley's head. The Grand is to the right of John's head, and Teewinot is the peak in the right corner of the photo. John has done all 3 now! We're proud of him too! Mostly for getting the kids out into the mountains!

Trailhead: Lupine Meadows Elevation - 6732 ft / 2052 m
Disappointment Peak: Elevation - 11618 ft / 3541 m

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

Well, we are back to the grind stone. The 2010-2011 school year is officially in session!

We woke up the first day of school and Jace had a fever. I couldn't believe it. Nothing like starting the year off with a bang. So, I kept him home for the day. The second day of school, Riley left without taking her binder that she needs for every class. So, of course I had to run it to the school. Now here we are the 4th day of school and once again Jace is home with a fever. What the crap!! Great first week! Hope that tomorrow goes well! Also hope that this is not a sign of the school year to come. Seesh!

My kids all have such great teachers this year. I'm so excited to have them and know that they will do great things with my kids.

Haley is in love with Kindergarten already. She was not nervous for a second to march through the school doors. She was so ready and excited to go that I didn't even get teary eyed. John says that I am getting callused in my old age. I was just happy that she was happy.

Running to the car to head to school!!

Haley with her new teacher, Mrs. T.

The fun large teeth faze. Good thing he is so cute! I think that this will be a great year for Jace. We love his teacher! Jace has such a positive, happy attitude that she will love him too!

Brynn is the "6th grade big-woman-on-campus" this year. I can't believe that she is 6th grade and will be going into Young Womens in a couple of months! Whoa!!! SLOW DOWN!

It was so much easier to drop Riley off at the Junior High this year. Last year she walked in by herself and she had that "deer in the headlights" look on her face. I got teary eyed when I drove away. This year, I picked up one of her friends. When I dropped them off at the school, the car in front of me was my brother-in-law Clay dropping off Stockton (Riley's cousin). Riley just loves Stockton. The three of them hopped out of the cars and started talking and laughing. They didn't give us lame parents a second thought. I just had to smile and giggle a little as I drove away.