Sunday, October 7, 2012

Little Mia McDonald

I haven't posted anything in two years primarily because Facebook has dominated my time spent cataloging my day to day life. Even having my first beautiful little baby just 12 weeks ago didn't get me back on here yet. Of course, that's because she has kept me exactly as busy as a brand new mom should be.

Lately though, I've been following a friend from high school's story of her little boy's CHD (congenital heart defect). Through following the efforts she makes to raise awareness about CHD's in precious little children, I learned about one family whose story has just completely broken my own heart. So, I had to write about it here so that I can always return to this as a reminder of what a blessing every fraction of each moment of this fragile life is. To remember to hold the ones I love close and cherish them dearly. And to make absolutely certain that my family also knows that if there is any part of my body that could be used in the event of my death to provide life to another, TAKE IT!

Please view the video linked below before reading on.

How a boy named Jacob gave his heart to a girl named Mia.

This is merely a tiny part of Mia's story as shared by friends of her family. 

From Ali (Oct. 3 at 8:31pm):

Things change so quickly in the heart world.

Mia, one of our heart friends and her mommy and family left yesterday for her Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World. Mia has suddenly become very ill and has been admitted to the children's hospital in Orlando.

Sweet Mia is 4 years old and had her heart transplant when she was 4 months old. The doctors have told her mommy that Mia is in rejection (meaning her new heart is very sick). She is so sick and it came on so suddenly. Please keep little Mia in your prayers. She is such a precious girl.

From Ali (Oct 3 at 9:24pm):
Here is an update from Mia's daddy:
This is John. Please everyone pray for our perfect little girl. We need a miracle and I know God loves us and hears our pleadings. Things went wrong during the procedure and Mia is hanging on with the help of the heart lung machine (ECMO). Our hearts are broken. Please pray.

From Ali (Oct 4 at 9:15pm):
Updates from Mia's parents:
Keep praying for our sweet Mia. She is in a critical time where we need to see brain activity. Mimi's mom is here andher sister and my parents, brother, and several of my sisters on the way. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love. She is strong and we feel your prayers. Please pray that she will open those precious eyes of hers. We love her so much!

I know John updated but I want to ad that Mia can pull through this. She is strong and she is supposed to meet her donors mom in a month. I really need for that to happen. Jessica has waited so long to meet Mia and has Mia talks about giving hugs to Jacob's mommy all the time. We need a miracle. We need her brain injuries to be minimal and her rejection to reverse. It can be done. Please don't give up on her. I truly believe the Lord will see us through. Also please pray for my other kiddos who are with my dear friend Rebecca. They need their sis to come home.

From Ali (Oct 6 at 1:27pm):
Update from a relative of Mia:
I spoke to my Dad a few minutes ago. He is in Florida now at the hospital with Mia and John & Mimi. He would like me to post an update to those praying for Mia...a neurologist/specialist will be diagnosing her in an hour or so, and meeting with John and Mimi shortly after. As John & Mimi said before...they really need Mia to open her eyes and respond to light. Based on this diagnosis, they will make a plan to stabilize her heart enough to get her off the ECMO. Their other kids have been ale to stay this week at the Disney World housing (110 miles away) that was already arranged for the family by Make-a-Wish -- friend Rebecca has been with the kids. My mom will join her soon. Make-a-Wish has also arranged for a hotel room near the hospital for family members. My Dad said that John & Mimi have felt a huge wave of support from their friends and family from has been a blessing to them to feel that. Please continue to pray for Mia's miracle.

From Ali (Oct 6 at 8:39pm):
This is an update from one of Mia's relatives:

Dear Friends and Family..........John and Mimi asked me to let everyone know the latest news on Little Mia. Today she was examined by a cardiologist to check her heart and a neurologist to check her brain activity, since she was deprivedof oxygen when her heart stopped beating a couple of days ago. It was determined that her heart had gotten a little stronger, but I'm so sad to say that there is no brain function. The doctors say there is no hope. We are absolutely devastated to lose our precious Mia. Her donor's mother is on her way to see Mia for the first time. Please please continue to pray for John and Mimi and their family to help them cope with this terrible tragedy.

From a friend of the family (Oct 6) description on YouTube video:
My college friends John and Mimi McDonald's sweet little girl Mia was born with a heart defect and received a heart transplant when she was an infant. She is now 4 years old and thanks to the miraculous gift of life and her donor, has lived a vibrant, beautiful childhood. For her Make-a-Wish, she decided that she wanted to meet Minnie Mouse. So three days ago, their family (Mia, her mom and dad and her 3 siblings) flew to Florida to visit Disney World. But as soon as their plane landed, Mia was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital. Her little miraculous heart was in dreaded and shocking rejection. The doctors did a biopsy and while doing the procedure, something went wrong and Mia was put on heart and lung bypass machiines to keep her alive, fighting for her life. Late last night, John and Mimi found out the terrible news that their precious daughter's brain function was gone and there is no hope or chance for her survival. Tomorrow they are taking her off of the bypass machines. Their sweet little family is now far away from home, loved ones, and their regular and familiar doctors. And their other kids, instead of going to Disney World have been in a hotel room and in a hospital, praying for and trying to understand what is going on with their sister, just wanting her to wake up. Those of us who know the family are in complete shock. A donation was set up to help with Mia's medical expenses. Now that we know sweet Mia will not make it and instead, will be joining her donor and returning to the arms of her Heavenly Father, the McDonald family is still going to need help with this great financial burden. Perhaps now even more than ever. Now they will have to not only pay for this hospital stay, but also cover the cost of a funeral and burial for their dear little Mia (in what is already a stressful and heartbreaking time). Please, even if you are not in a position to contribute financially, consider sharing their story with others. Every little donation and prayer will help.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grace and Humility

When my ducks were attacked by a Jack Russell last month, I put up fliers and spread the word throughout the neighborhood (which is mostly made up of our ward members) that we were looking for the owners of the dog. We ended up with a very substantial vet bill we thought they needed to be aware of since it was actually their responsibility. The dog was caught in the act, but I was more concerned about getting her the hell out of the enclosure that I didn't think twice about opening up the door and letting it out. It had no collar but once it was out I made sure to photograph exactly what it looked like in my mind as it trotted happily away, quite proud of the mess it had made of my pets.

I was left very sweet notes of condolence on the fence of the enclosure, approached with inquiries at church and called several times by various people with leads when they found dogs they thought might fit the bill. I even had two other owners of Jack Russells stop by the house to see if their dog was the culprit. Neither of which were. After five weeks we had all but given up and figured we'd just have to eat the vet bill from the two who actually survived and also live on knowing that this bird killer was still out there with the potential to strike again - even though we've taken extensive and painstaking measures to further secure the enclosure.

Then the elusive bandit was finally found! By some of our dearest friends, no less. They used their super-stealthy spy skills to follow the people home when they spotted them out on a walk with the dog in question and immediately called us with the information we were so desperate to collect. Being positively petrified of all the nasty things I knew I might say if I confronted them directly, we called up Animal Control to let them know we finally tracked down the dog and had an actual address. We'd initially filed a report, but the dog was long gone by the time the officer arrived. Quite unremarkably, it was found later that same day trying to break into another neighbor's chicken coop. After talking to Animal Control we figured that if nothing else, these people would at least know what kind of animal they have on their hands, get a collar and a license on her and take the necessary measures to keep her from getting loose again. All the while I'd been keeping a copy of Utah Code 18-1-3 close at hand, which gives me the right to put the damn thing out of my misery should it ever come near my animals again.

The following day though, we got a knock on our door. When Dave came and told me it was one of the dog's owners I was filled with so many emotions that I near about shut down completely right then and there. It was all I could do to make my feet move me to that door for the long-awaited confrontation that had happened a dozen different ways (all bad) in my head up to that point. I have to tell you that even all of the amazing and dedicated support and help we received from a multitude of people we live in close proximity to throughout this ordeal, did nothing to emotionally prepare me for what awaited me on that doorstep. If you've ever seen an outpouring of true remorse from one of your fellowmen, you've seen one of the miracles possible within human nature. Even more heart-rending when directed at you personally. I'd spent over a month of unrest from the feelings of anger towards these complete strangers that I simply couldn't will away and in an instant found myself filled with sorrow for this woman joining in mine. I had wanted her to feel bad about what had happened, but once I saw that she did, all I wanted to do was take away her pain.

We talked and sorted through some things and learned more about each others' circumstances, ultimately reaching that would-be awkward point of how to make it right. I told her about the bill and without hesitation she gave me her address and told me that they would take care of it. In the end, I think we were both grateful for each others' reactions. As difficult as it was for me, I can't even imagine how hard knocking on our door must have been. I have a newfound understanding of the saying that showing up is half the battle. For me I know it would have been almost all of it! Dave can attest to that as he has had to drag me kicking and screaming to do some things over the years that I knew I needed to but absolutely didn't want to do. Yes, literal kicking and screaming. Toss a few folded arms and foot stomps in there too for good measure.

That woman (yes, I now know her name, but will just keep it completely anonymous) taught me a great deal about myself as well as the potential we all have. And as for my dear friends and neighbors, I am not nearly eloquent enough to express my love and gratitude for them. Instead, I'll do my best to live by and up to all these wonderful examples I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A year? Really?

I just looked at the last post I made and in just a few weeks it'll have been a year since I've posted anything. Given, I've had a lot going on, but that's probably all the more reason to keep this thing updated, eh? I also blame Facebook. I think I joined it the same week of my last post :) I've never journaled well (consistently, that is), but there are a lot of things that bring great joy and fulfillment to my life and sometimes just a good ol' barrel laugh that ought to be shared too. I'll keep this note short just to get myself back on track, but will do more writing soon and will definitely have to do some catching up on reading my favorite blogs too! Talk to you all again very soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

And That's The Way It Was...

CBS News honored legendary anchorman, Walter Cronkite, this evening with a primetime special. Several things occurred to me while watching the dedication he had to his country and the journalistic integrity that is sometimes lacking in news outlets across the board today. I'll first get out of the way how unfortunate it is that this will likely be the most attention his passing receives from any media outlet considering that the network he devoted 20 years to only managed to scrape together an hour long cliff note mish-mash of his contributions and influence. While incredibly moving, it was far too abridged. Whereas there are STILL regular trash and glory sessions dedicated to the king of pop.

I know there are only a few dissenters of my own opinions who stop by here. But I extend encouragement to those who have, rather sadly, expressed their shame, distaste and sometimes downright dislike for their native America to watch "That's The Way It Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite". We all choose to see the things we want to see in any news offered from any source. Our youthful nation has seen its fair share of mistakes with many more currently under way and many more still to come. Cronkite, however, had a way of bringing everyone together like not even the Presidents of the time could and certainly no one presently can. He earned our trust and respect.

The tribute collected his most memorable moments from devastating assassinations, to the equally highly emotional moon landing, to the live on-air phone call he took while the audience waited for him to relay that Lyndon Johnson had died. Various anchors spoke of their admiration of him and celebrity friends also shared beautiful memories of their personal time spent with him. Some who aren't necessarily my favorite on a personal level, but are brilliant actors, George Clooney and Robin Williams, spoke clearly from their hearts. It was touching to hear one of the members of The Grateful Dead still maintain surprise after all these years that Cronkite really enjoyed their music.

The only sour taste left in my mouth aside from the brevity of the salutation was President Obama's very prepared statement. Yeah yeah, you all already know I don't care for the man, but he makes it so easy to cringe every time his face appears or his mouth opens. Of course, to be a little bit fair, President Bush had the same effect of tv cringeworthiness, minus me wanting to roll my eyes, throw up, then smack him upside the head like Obama stirs up in me. Even President Clinton, who I happen to be somewhat partial to, did exactly as all others interviewed did: he spoke genuinely and from his heart. The king of the teleprompter once again delivered an uninspired, anesthetized statement which left me completely flat. Let's just say that the words themselves were not at fault.

All in all, I welled up with pride and gratitude and ultimately many tears for Walter Cronkite's unique authenticity in keeping the people of this great nation supplied with news they could trust.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Get ready for a shocker (or three)!

I partook of the sacrament today for the first time in a dozen years and I have to tell you, my day has been an absolute whirlwind of delights and surprises. The last time I went to church with any amount of regularity was when I was 17 years old. At that time I think that any sacrament meetings held at the beginning of church services were a rarity. It has apparently become much more commonplace and I was rather unsure of how I would react to this change, having (in practically a previous life) become so accustomed to a certain schedule and way of doing things. I always liked the idea that families came back together at the end of the day's service to worship as a collective family and congregation. I downright disliked the idea that our ward was among those that had made the switch. Today I was given the opportunity to finally take those steps to experience this and confront many of my predispositions about the course of these last 12 years firsthand.

This opportunity came about through a domino of cues that have fallen over the last week since my 29th birthday. With about 90% jocularity and insincerity, I have been teasing/threatening Dave that if I am not pregnant by August 24th there would be hell to pay. August 24th being the conception date that would keep me in my twenties to bear our first child. I'm not baby crazy by any stretch of the imagination, but am in those beginning stages of finding that life for the two of us has really thus far been just a preamble to much greater things and I believe parenthood to be part of that. Almost simultaneously in this last week, three significant incidents occurred to set our future progress in motion: 

1. Dave was given clearance to begin a new job that not only has career potential, but that will certainly open doors to many more opportunities. He should also be able to maintain his school schedule through to graduation next year.

2. Our dear friends and neighbors who also happen to be our bishop and his wife took us to lunch and made a request of us to return to regular church service to help them fulfill a need in the ward. Teaching Primary. What's more. . .I happily accepted. 

3. Oh, it keeps getting better. Exactly one week after this seemingly highly significant birthday marking the final year of the dreadful twenties (so overrated), I attended my first full church block in these dozen years, took the sacrament and went one step further and joined the ward choir. 

Okay, to those of you who may have stopped breathing through reading all of that, please exhale, inhale and repeat! My hopes of one day returning to church as a wallflower (which I always kept on that back burner of my mind), were dashed away in one fell swoop by not only dropping right back into the swing of things, but with a calling to help keep me there. Yes, I always kept the idea in my mind of going back and have been veeeerrry slowly approaching this turning point for the last few years. I could never see the way to actually make this change in my life though. I can liken the thought process to when I was a smoker. Once I made that change and had become a smoker I never thought there could be any way to change back. I could not see a way. The same has been true of my pew time. The path, for me, did not appear to be simple or clear. 

It's not just as simple as merely showing up. That wallflower concept? Not exactly feasible in the LDS church. Active participation is what makes any church, well, church. There have to be people giving to those showing up to receive whatever they came seeking. Having left the church as a youth, such responsibilities were never something I ever contemplated as being part of my religious life even back then thinking of my future. I am kind of self-absorbed though, which explains a lot. 

Getting back to the course of this past week having potentially weighty consequences, I do not believe it was any coincidence that Primary was the slot allotted for me. With our means to expand our family growing ever closer to plausibility, I have to accept the downright fact that I am positively akward around children. I speak to 4-year-olds like they're 40. Most things designed and manufactured for the entertainment and attraction of children make me want to keep a gallon of gasoline and a good sturdy match closeby. May Miley Cirus take a long walk off a very short pier (except that it would likely just be her replacement pushing her off). However, I absolutely adored my own childhood and would like to think that I could rediscover those endless joys that the imagination a young mind brings to this life. Not to mention the other downright fact that I practically need missionary discussions at this point to remember the details behind what my heart has always told me to be true and will be able to learn right along with the children having their first experience with this knowledge. So, could this calling be a little bit of a crash course preparation for the future? Don't anybody hold your breath again (remember: inhale, exhale, repeat), but you never can tell exactly how things will unfold.

Now, as for choir practice today. . .that's a whole other post all together. It was. Um. Interesting. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

That ol' disposable income question

While the idea of "disposable income" is scarcely a reality for the general populous of any nation, I don't mind occasionally indulging in deciding what decadence I would surround myself with were that concept one of my own realities. I actually reigned it in to a top 5 and even kept that list to well under a million bucks for the whole lot. I like to keep my fantasies somewhere within the realm of possibility, afterall. I couldn't begin, however, to put these items in any order of priority, so they are pretty much random in that sense. Here we go.

I absolutely adore my walnut George Steck upright piano. I'd gladly bid it a fond farewell, however, for a late 19th or early 20th century Steinway concert or parlor grand in pyramid mahogany, rosewood or burr walnut, preferably with boxwood inlaid bandings.

Trading this...
(this is actually a Winter piano, but it looks almost exactly like mine)

For this...
(1920 Pyramid Mahogany Steinway with boxwood inlay)

or this...
(1877 Serpentine Rosewood Steinway - this one's just a measly $160K)

(Rosewood detail on another Steinway. *drool*)
or this...
(Burr Walnut Steinway at just 39,000 pounds, what's the conversion rate at these days?)
Okay, I don't know if you're prepared for this. I certainly wasn't. It's been dubbed:
"The Ferrari of Pianos"
The one, the only, Pyramid Mahogany Fazioli concert grand:
(anyone got a quarter Mil lying around?)
The sounding board (the most crucial piece of any instrument) in each of these two-years-to-build-one masterpieces is made from red spruce from the Italian Alps. It's the same wood from the forest that was used to make Stradivarius violins. *mega drool*

Steinway would probably still win out with me though.


A digital back for my Hasselblad. So, taking this fantabulous medium-format film setup that I already miraculously possess:

And adding this teensy little thirty thousand dollar accessory to the back to make it a medium-format digital camera producing 39 megapixel pics of perfection:


Adding pretty much a whole other house in front of the one I've already got so we can have a garage and a little more breathing room. Something along these lines:


One of my favorite things to do is drive. One of my other favorite things to do is absorb the wondrous beauty and fascinating history of this great country. Thus:

It would have to be big enough for comfort, but small enough to park and drive easily. 20 feet seems just about right. Plus, with the whole disposable income idea I wouldn't feel so terrible buying new and instantly losing value hand over fist just by driving it off the lot.


A month...or two...or six in Japan with Dave eating every crazy thing in sight! Starting with these:

Wait, those are bluefin tuna. Not allowed to eat those. Here we go, yellowfin tuna. I'd eat lots and lots and lots of these guys all sashimi style:

Mmmm, sashimi...
Munch a Hello Kitty bento box...
Wash it down with Salad flavored water...
Um, sure, why not...

Then track these down and buy up a whole mess of 'em (wtf? Does anyone know if Flight of the Conchords ever did any questionable endorsements for Doritos?):

Okay, to be fair, the crack sandwiches aren't actually Japanese. Sorry.

I'd probably be far too embarassed to actually be seen in public slurping down one of these ice cream cones (yes, ME, actually embarassed by someting naughty - thus posting a link rather than the picture itself right on my blog), but I would definitely have a great time witnessing all the crazy "adult novelty" culture Japan has to offer. I'll spare you THOSE pictures I found online. Yikes!

So, there you have it. My top 5 high dollar indulgences that I think are actually all pretty achievable in my life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fare thee well, Olowahu. May you rest in pieces.

My Olowahu Tevas - the most comfortable shoes on the planet - have finally been laid to rest.

The straps had begun to come loose, but I just tied them back onto the straps that still held. That hole finally wore through the woefully thin soles on a trip to Disneyland where these valiant shoes were put through their paces by hauling my butt over miles and miles of that concrete, theme park jungle. You can even make out the exact shape of every inch of my feet these sandals lovingly cradled.


We had some great times together and I was very sad to see their passing.
Fortunately, this wonderful creation of Teva's can still be found through the wonderful world wide web. Another Hallelujah moment to rival my discovery of caffeine free Diet Coke:

The Teva Olowahu Sandal in
Little Bay Gold

These are some VERY happy feet.