I'm grateful that the church does a General Conference every 6 months. I don't always hear a lot of it despite preparing conference bags for the kids but it's still good to catch bits and pieces and then of course read over the talks the next 6 months. I'm also grateful that our stake offers an institute class for adults. It meets on a Thursday morning and the moms take responsibility for a nursery. I haven't been a lot this semester because of everything going on but I went back on Thursday and we had a really good lesson about miracles and prayer.
Prayer honestly is one of my weak spots. It always has been. That's probably ironic given my ability to talk but I've always found it more difficult to have that one-sided conversation that in the immediate moment a prayer tends to be. On Thursday, our teacher asked the question "have you ever had someone pray for you and had it make a big difference in your life?" Of course my answer is yes. I'm pretty sure that the number of prayers offered up in our behalf these past few months has numbered in thousands. And we have been incredibly blessed by them. But I am horrible at praying for others!! I tend to be very me focused in my prayers and I need to be better. So I decided for the month of April I'm going to focus on improving my prayers. I don't know how yet. One thought that I've had actually came from the book The Help. I can't remember the name of the character but one of the maids writes her prayers down. I still think prayers need to be spoken but perhaps if I wrote myself some notes first and really thought about it before actually praying would help. But I realized in institute that prayer can be kind've a way to pay it forward -- we've been so blessed by the prayers of others and that is something that I can do in gratitude for what has been done for us.
One of the things that stuck out to me at General Conference were the stories told of people with trials and tragedies in their lives and their faith in overcoming those. It had an effect on me in 2 ways -- first in reminding me that my trials aren't the only ones out there (you know, again that me focus) but also that in my trials and despite my imperfections that I am loved and blessed individually by the Lord and he doesn't look at me when I'm wallowing in grief and think "well so and so has it worse so you just need to pull it together!" although I probably say that enough to myself to make up for it. I don't think that I want to talk about the specific things that have happened to help me feel that way these past few days because they're too personal I think but on Saturday these pictures arrived from the photographer who came to the hospital. And it was a very needed reminder of how blessed we were during that whole time and what a gift Aaron was and is to us. Another reminder has been commentary from President Joseph F. Smith on the loss of small children. A friend told me that there was something in one of the old manuals and I found it. He gives a lot of comfort about having and raising our children again and I know there's a scripture somewhere (haven't found it yet) on our losses being made up to us. And I needed that.
I've only posted the color pictures although she also sent us the same picture in black and white and there are many more. These are just a few of my favorites:
Love Abby's face here. She is a sweet sweet girl.
To me his leg looks so purple. And they were purple although I don't remember them being quite that bad. the IVs and tape and things put some extra pressure on his little limbs.
Aaron has been our smallest baby and I think it shows here with his tiny hands and feet compared to Chopper and I. This top one is Chopper holding his hand and I just love it.
Most of the pictures he slept through. In addition to being a newborn and sleeping a lot I think he was just tired from his heart working so hard and also since he hated every procedure done he spent that time screaming and then was just tuckered out. After the photographer left, he decided to wake up and be calm!! So rare for him and she just happened to come back to bring some paperwork and so she ran to get her camera again and got a few more with his eyes open!!!