Friday, December 30, 2011

The Living Christ

In July or so, we got a new Young Women's presidency. Our president was young and wanted to tackle anything.
"Guys, Young Women's in excellence isn't until December, but I want each of us to do something different this time. Instead of just standing up and saying something we did for personal progress, I want each of us to pick something that will help us grow closer to Christ."
A week later.
"Oh, and we're memorizing The Living Christ."

If any of you know my Papa Smurf, you might know his knack for memorizing. In his mind are a plethora of inspiring poems, conference quotes, and scriptures. When we travel, all he brings is his phone and a conference transcript. In his phone, he has saved a list of quotes he wants to memorize, and one by one, by that end of the plane ride, he usually has knocked out ten or so.

So as my mother and I embarked on the daunting task to memorize such a large and sacred document, I hoped that maybe my dad's "sponge memory" would shine through.

It didn't.

It was more difficult than I hoped. We were supposed to memorize a paragraph every two weeks, and each Sunday I'd go to church feeling inadequate and unprepared.

As we go halfway through, a leader saw our struggle and invited us to go to her house each Sunday after church to practice together. We went over the parts we stumbled on, and made up silly signs for the things we couldn't remember.

For a few months, each morning when I got up, I recited The Living Christ along with a man reciting it in a podcast. Those early moments in my bathroom were, and are still precious to me. Simply because of the love of the Savior that I felt in there, his sweet spirit saying, "Aubrey, I am here. I am the Living Christ. I will always be here when you need me."

Last Wednesday the youth went to Temple Square. As we squished on couches surrounding The Christus, sweet Abbie leaned over and said, "Sister Clark? Could we recite The Living Christ in front of the Christus?"

After a thumbs up from the missionaries, we all stood up there, and began.

"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice."

Tears began welling up in my eyes as I stared around the room. I looked at the moon and the stars, the world beyond measure. I stood next to my Savior, as the realization filled my soul that of all the immeasurable people in this world, He knows me. He loves me. He will never forget me.

The words that I had uttered almost robotically for months now had a divine purpose, to bear testimony that He lives. That He is our Lord and Savior and that, after this holiday season, we can never be so foolish as to forget that.

"...Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Clean Blood

Imagine this ...

You're driving home from work next Monday after a long day. You tune in your radio. You hear a blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It's not influenza, but three or four people are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they are sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don't think much about it, but coming home from church on Sunday you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb: people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. It's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere, and they have now coined it as "the mystery flu." The President has made some comment that he and his family are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?"

That's when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that's why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated into English from a French news program. There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris, dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, after contracting the disease, you have it for a week before you even know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die. Britain closes it's borders, but it's too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national-security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing."

Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are People are wondering, "What if it comes to this country?" And preachers on Tuesday are saying it's the scourge of God. It's Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and yells, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!" And while everyone in church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital, dying from the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, this disease envelops the country.

People are working around the clock, trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.

And then all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood analyzed. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.

Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood and say, "Wait here in the parking lot, and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home." You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what on earth is going on, and if this is the end of the world.

Suddenly, a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's me." Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a minute, hold on!" And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has the right blood type."

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses are crying and hugging one another - some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, "May we see you for a moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need... we need you to sign a consent form."

You begin to sign and then you see that the box for the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. "H-h-h-how many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades, and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all!" "But... but... I don't understand. He's my only son!" "We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We... we... need to hurry!"

"But can't you give him a transfusion?" "If we had clean blood we would. Please, will you please sign?"

In numb silence you do. Then they say, "Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?"

Could you walk back? Could you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Could you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be! Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying," could you leave? Could you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why... why have you abandoned me?"

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even bother to come because they have better things to do, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and say, "EXCUSE ME! MY SON DIED FOR YOU! DON'T YOU CARE? DOES IT MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?"

I wonder, is that what God wants to say? "MY SON DIED FOR YOU. DOES IT MEAN NOTHING? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The things we take for granted

"I was born deaf and 8 weeks ago I received a hearing implant. This is the video of them turning it on and me hearing myself for the first time :)"

Monday, December 19, 2011

I have thoughts. They just change frequently.

At least once a week someone walks up to me and says, "Aubrey, did you know I had a dream about you last night?"
It seems like it mostly began this school year.
Have I recently begun inhabiting people's dreams?
Or are people finally getting the courage to tell me?

"You know Aubs, I used to be really intimidated."
"You? By what?"
"No, it's not bad. It's just like, there's so much Aubrey to handle when someone meets you for the first time. They don't know what to do with it all. It's really overwhelming. So you're kinda scared of it, and so I was intimated by you.
But it's cool. Because we're friends now."

When I was three I watched "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time.

I've made a promise to myself. My children will not be allowed to watch it until they are.... 8.

Maybe 10.

I saw the tornado, and that did it. In my young adolescence, I was immediately scarred.

I'm sure if my mother would have known the numerous traumatizing experiences that movie caused, I would have had to wait until I was ten too.

Folks, I was scared of the wind. Not a boogie monster, not some creepy thing under my bed. If a slightest breeze blew, I was clinging to the nearest stable thing. Whether that be a light pole, my father's leg, or in the best occasion - my primary teacher's waist.

Olivia technically isn't my first car.

You know, the white one with the red peace sign and cute seat covers.

For two blissful weeks, I owned a red car.

I love the color red.

She was a stick shift. I had never driven a stick shift before, but my dad in all his adorable love and patience, agreed to teach me.
That first time I drove it around the neighborhood I stalled what felt like every 20 seconds. By the end of it my poor father had whiplash.

Two days later, he got up and told me, "Why don't you drive yourself to school?"

I was absolutely terrified. "Daddy, what if I stall?"
"Then you'll just start it again."

At the time, it seemed so simple. But that was still so reassuring. If I failed to do something right, I could start over, I could try again.

I was coming home from work that fateful evening. I somehow stalled on the extremely steep 25 degree incline of my driveway. I slowly inched forward and somehow was veering off to the right. After stalling three times, frustrated, and tired from mopping and making sandwiches, I gunned it.

Straight into the side of my garage.

I pulled on the brake and swung open the door - car still running - to a large mass of smoke.

Before someone could say "Cue tears" I was running inside hysterical.
"Are you okay? Are you okay?"
My mom and Jason came running up to me.
I nodded and merely pointed outside to where the damage waited.

I sat on the stairs, my head in my hands as I stared at the tan carpet slowly grow dark from the tears running down my cheeks.
I heard the door open several times as Jason and my mom ran outside and in grabbing garbage cans, brooms and rags to clean up the glass and oil sprayed in my garage.

I couldn't think clearly. All I can remember is my tears. Perhaps it was the combination of hormones and teenage boys. I was absolutely hysterical, and I couldn't seem to fathom why.

My mom walked inside, put her arm around me and said, "Maybe you should go to bed."

I went upstairs, and immediately sat on my floor and informed my friends of my recent car crash.

The two minutes in-between their responses was too long and I simply laid my head down on the ground. I laid there for a half hour or so, as my chest bobbed up and down and my heart beat way too fast. I couldn't sleep.

My mom suggested I get a blessing.

I felt silly, and I walked down the stairs.

You get blessings for illnesses, for sickness.

I realized, as I sat in my parents dark bedroom, on the edge of their bed that that didn't matter.

All I needed was peace. All I needed was that sweet reassurance that "this too shall pass" and it would all be okay.

And my dad was able to give me just that, simply by being worthy and prepared when I woke him up late at night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm only a child

If you do not know how to fix it, please, stop breaking it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The best days....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The one, the only, The Miss Kim.

"Hey Mom.... What voice is that?"
"My icky romantic one."

"Go get the synonym dictionary."
"Mom, you mean the thesaurus?"
"Yeah, whatever they call it these days."

"Don't worry Mom, you'll like him."
"Good. I hope I like all my son's in law."
"Yeah, he'll even laugh at your jokes."
"Well I hope he makes me laugh."
"He better!"
"Yeah, sense of humor was #3 on my list."
"Under worthy priesthood holder and desirous to go to the temple?"
"No, good kisser."

Hey, at least she's honest.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Child-like Eating Habitat's

This morning I walked into my kitchen in the search of something delicious for breakfast, that would require little preperation. This criteria, naturally, let me to the cereal cupboard. I scanned the boxes, past the Cherrios and Rasin Bran, when two boxes caught my eye. Captain Crunch, or Cocoa Puff's? It was rather maddening, standing there, hungry and yet feeling particularly indecisive having recently woken up.
I chose the natural alternative: both.

When I was little, combining cereals was rather normal for me. It started one day when I picked up a box and poured it in only to see that there was only half a bowl full of cereal. This is the second worst thing that can happen to a cereal connisoure. The first being when you desperately hope that there is more cereal for you, but instead you are greeted with cereal dust.
I hate cereal dust.
Combining cereals was a game for me so when Daddy walked into the kitchen, and inquire after my breakfast I would chirpily respond, "Lucky Trix!"

Cereal, however, was not the extent of my ridiculous eating. I also enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pickles on them. And I regularly (even in my mature adulthood) eat cereal with yogurt.

I suppose what I'm saying is, I'm rather glad that since the age of three, I was expected to get my breakfast and make my lunch myself. It made life a whole lot more interesting.

What quirky things did YOU eat when you were a lil' nugget?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Della Park Loosli

Our dear mother, Della Park Loosli, peacefully passed into the next life on November 19, 2011 at her home in Provo, Utah with her children by her bedside. She was born January 28, 1925 in Hibbard, Idaho to Amelia Gade Hooper and William Henry Park, the eighth of eleven children. She was raised by her widowed mother after her father died due to an accident when she was only ten years old. After high school, Del moved to Salt Lake City, where she attended LDS Business College and worked in a munitions factory while living in the Beehive House. She met our father, Laurence Jenkinson Loosli, who swept her off her feet at many a dance at Saltair, and later married him in the Salt Lake Temple on December 2, 1948.
While living in Salt Lake City, Del and Larry began their family. After serving in World War II, Larry reenlisted in the Air Force as a printer and Del accompanied him to Germany, then New York City, where she fell in love with the performances at Radio City Music Hall. The family moved next to Arizona, California and then back overseas to Japan for four years, where she taught English and learned the art of floral arranging and cake decorating. Their final assignment was Biloxi, Mississippi where she finished raising her four children and worked for a time as a florist.
After Larry retired from the Air Force, she worked long and hard to make their print shop, Loma Enterprises, a success. Following a second retirement in1993, they made their final home in Provo, Utah to be close to family where she became "Gigi" (G G for great grandma) to her grandchildren.
Her zest for life was contagious and she was game for any adventure, always enjoying dance. She had a great sense of humor and often made us laugh with her snappy comments. She had a soft spot for the youth and an ability to reach the shy and lonely. Most of all, she loved her family. She enjoyed her grandchildren and was their best cheerleader as she attended their many activities and performances.
Throughout her life she remained a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaching her children and grandchildren to love the Lord and His Gospel. We are eternally indebted to her for our testimones. We love her and miss her.
Del leaves behind her children, Greg Loosli (Joy), Bruce Loosli (Rose), Kim Snelson (Brian), and Curt Loosli (Sherry), 25 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and one brother, Leonard Park.