Baby Elizabeth, my tiny baby niece with her new toy from auntie!
I've been pretty absent here over the last week. So far, this week has been the toughest one I've endured so far this year. Though I strive to keep my life very simple, thus the reason for this blog, there are times when life will just be very full regardless of our efforts to keep our days slow and this week has been one of those crazy times.
We had a very full weekend with hosting teenage missionaries, attending Gold Rush Days at a local historical site, and I volunteered with our local Bountiful Baskets co-op and did a cleaning job as well as having nursery duty at church. Then we found out that Josiah's step-grandpa, who had married his widowed grandma 13 years ago, had passed away, which saddened us. We are unable to attend the funeral in Minnesota because of the cost and distance.
Being that I used to teach 5 Day Clubs as a teenager, I LOVE and wholeheartedly support the 5 Day Club ministry and I coordinate it for my church. We ended up hosting teen missionaries for several nights as well as providing the teens with transportation to two of the clubs each day. My kids adore club and don't mind going twice a day even if it means they hear the stories again.
It just so happened that my brother's family's first back to Wyoming in over a year coincided with 5 Day Club week. So, the teens moved out mid-week and stayed in my friend's camper and I did laundry and cleaned like crazy to prepare my house for my brother's family. I have been waiting for almost a year to meet my precious new niece, so I was overjoyed to finally get to hold her! She is our first niece; we have 4 nephews! Ali and Katri are so excited to finally have a girl cousin!
A friend of mine who is pregnant with her 5th baby is 2 weeks overdue and I was supposed to be her childcare for her 4 children, including 2 year-old twins. I had expected her to have the baby a few weeks ago but, because it didn't happen and she's super-overdue, I ended up watching her kids all day on Friday this week and then labor stopped and she ended up going home....still pregnant.
But above all these busy, busy things that are all great things that have made this week challenging, there was a tragedy in our town involving our friends from church. While making dinner on their BBQ grill, our friend's house caught fire and an exposed propane line exploded. Though they raced to get their 5 little children 5 and under out of the blaze, two of the little boys hid in fear and the fire quickly became an inferno with 3 gas explosions. In spite of their parents attempts to save them, they couldn't be found and sadly, the little boys passed away in the fire. The dad and the twin infant boy were airlifted to a burn center in another state. It looks like they will make a full recovery, though it will be a month before the baby is released. The mom had minor burns and was released from the local hospital about 5 hours after being brought in. The twin infant daughter and the 5 year-old boy are fine. The family lost their home, 100% of their possessions, 3 dogs, and their vehicles as well as the 2 precious boys ages 3 and 4. Our community has responded in an amazing way by giving donations, money, housing options, food, emotional support, etc. This has been the worst tragedy I've ever seen and it especially hurts because these folks are our friends. Our church family is reeling in pain. We all feel completely drained and empty from all the crying and grieving this week. It is devastating to have to explain to your kids that one of their friends has died.
In the aftermath of this event, it has been wonderful to see the Body come together and lean on one another. Every day, my friends and I are gathering to talk about ways we can help and mourning together. Every day, I am sharing tear-filled moments on the phone with friends from church. It's tough to get through your daily tasks and housework when your heart is hurting. The whole community is stunned. We're going to bed with tears in our eyes and waking up with tears in our eyes. We're tossing and turning and losing sleep trying to process this horror.
So....needless to say, that this week has been crushing. It may take me 3 full weeks before I feel like I've recovered from the exhaustion of this week. Simple and slow is the goal, but when it comes to helping missionaries, loving on family, being a true friend, reaching kids with the Gospel, and bearing one another's burden's, sometimes life won't be simple or slow and it's in those tough times that we have to decide if we will still choose to be thankful and lean on the Lord or wallow in self-pity. No matter how difficult this week has been for me, it has been 1,000,000x worse for my friends who lost some of their children. So remembering that puts it in perspective.
Please pray for our friends.