Sunday, September 18, 2011

A tribute to my Sister...Happy Birthday Annellie

This post is deeply personal and I have debated heavily whether or not I should share these things in such a public way. I feel that sharing our experiences can help each of us to grow in our own understanding and come to appreciate our blessings so much more. This is not a story of tragedy, pain & sorrow, although those are the means by which I have learned my greatest lessons, but a story of love, friendship & a sisterly bond that I consider to be one of the great treasures of my life. This past June 28th marked 19 years since that night she went on a date and never came home. I can remember every detail of the whole tragic event from the phone call in the middle of the night to the funeral and burial but what I remember best is the nineteen years of growing up together...two little girls way out on McLaws road in the middle of no where. You know the saying "I loved you too much to just be your friend so God made me your sister"...that was us. For nineteen years I got to share everything with my best friend. Until we were seven and eight we shared a twin bed...sleeping head to feet. I used to get her to turn out the light every night by encouraging her to jump back in the bed before the light was gone...she fell for it every time and I would always say, "You almost made it this time!" I know...manipulative big sister. When we were in high school the same scenario would play out from time to time & we'd laugh at how she would fall for my trickery and she'd try again...just for old times sake and I would say "you almost made it!" and we'd laugh ourselves to sleep. By then we had graduated to bunk beds and she had the top bunk. I used to beg her to tell me stories at night when I couldn't fall asleep. Our favorite was the "Three Bears". Can you imagine teenage girls telling each other the story of the three bears? We were funny like that. So many nights we would lay there talking about so many things, boys, friends, drama at school, our parents, what we thought our futures held for us, all our youthful hopes and dreams. We never could have perceived that we would be separated. That dreadful day came and she was taken home to our Heavenly Father from where she came and the great journey in my life began.

My spirit has been strengthened in numerous ways and I continue to learn so many lessons from this experience. The Lord asks us to sacrifice in this life and sometimes the sacrifice isn't our choice, but what is our choice is our attitude toward our trials. If this is what the Lord wants me to go through so that He can teach me what he needs to teach me, then I accept that. This blog isn't long enough for the many lessons I've learned and I don't even think I could write it all down. What I will share are some blessings that I am so grateful for even though the word "grateful" isn't nearly a big enough word to describe my feelings. I'm grateful for the knowledge that we lived with our Heavenly Father before we came here and that we knew that if we proved ourselves we could return to Him. I'm grateful that she chose to spend her nineteen years with me, telling me bedtime stories, sharing secrets & clothes, doing my hair when I didn't want to, singing and dancing together on stage or in the kitchen doing dishes and always being my biggest cheerleader. To her I say, "Thank you for always loving me & never judging me. Thank you for always being my safe place to fall. Thank you for keeping my secrets and for being so loyal to me. Thank you for making me laugh with all your silliness (Eddie Murphy impersonations). I always loved when you would hug me & tell me I was "cuddly"...I'm really looking forward to feeling that hug again. I Love you so much, I hope your still proud of me. I'm trying so hard to live a good life. I know I'll be with you great will be that day".
These two photos were taken many years apart but in the same place in our yard... you can see how much the trees grew from the 1st photo. I'm the one in the's one of the very few pictures where I was taller than her:)
We were always dressed like twins. It was just practical for my parents I two of everything. That's our youngest brother Ezra crawling on the lawn.
I love this picture of her...when I look at it I can hear her laugh:)
This was a typical Sunday afternoon. You can see she is holding a dish towel. We were doing the Sunday dinner dishes. She always dried & I always washed & we would sing "When the Saints Go Marching In" in every key & arrangement we could come up with. Don't ask me why we chose that song I don't even remember, but you could hear us singing all through the house.

She was a beautiful girl inside and out.

Happy Birthday Annellie..."you know I love you more than my luggage".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Around the House

Per my niece Lindy's request here are a few pics from around the house & some of the finished rock patio. Just some random pics that were already on the computer. Amazingly enough it has been too rainy to take any recent photos. I know...too rainy in Joseph City? In Joseph City it's either no rain or a complete down pour. You take what you can get...we'll take it. My brother in law Gale took it...he & his crew (Julianne & Jim) irrigated sopping wet fields through a crazy hail storm yesterday.

Yes...that's a hot tub. Very enjoyable:)

Next summer I plan to have it covered with flower pots & other fun things. I'm really looking forward to that. Right now I'm enjoying my relaxing evenings in the hot tub watching the sunset.