Sunday, September 30, 2012

Have I done any good today?

I love service. I love the whole idea of serving others. Now, with that said I have a confession to make. I have always had a hard time accepting service from others. For twelve years I have had people going out of their way to serve our family and I went out of my way to make it more difficult for them without even realizing it. Once I acknowledged what a stinker I was being with my constant “We’re fine… no we don’t need any help…. I’ve got it covered”… my attitude quickly changed.

  At the beginning of the year one of my New Year resolutions was to become more humble and gracious in accepting help and service from others. Little did I know how God was going to bring this goal of mine to pass.  I seriously need to think more about all the possible out comes before praying for help for my weaknesses. ;-)

It is no secret that this year was been HARD. I learned early on that there was no way that I could be what I needed to be to Bubba without excepting help from those around me. It was hard. I didn’t like it at first. I can be stubborn but once I stared saying yes it quickly became easier.

 yes I would love you to pick Regan up from school,

yes I would love you to bring dinner over,


In all honesty God answers prayers best by sending someone else to help us out. It would be easy for him to take that challenge away but then the one serving and the one receiving the service would miss out on important blessings and life lessons.

I had one sweet woman, a retired kindergarten teacher, ask if she could take Regan to school for me so that I wouldn’t have to wake my sick sleeping boy each morning. What a HUGE blessing this simple task was to me. After finishing her early morning years of teaching she insisted on continuing those early morning wake up calls to take my daughter to school. Each morning she would walk up to our front door to retrieve Regan. I told her that she could just honk but each morning there she was, at our front door. I finally realized that she was using this time to check on me and Bubba and see how we were doing. It would have been so much easier to drive up and honk but she felt the need to go a step further. One morning while she was picking Regan up from school she asked me about Hub’s surgery that day. His parents were out of town so we asked his uncle to pick him up after his surgery was over. She then went onto ask me how Hubs was doing. I told her that he was good but nervous and wished that I could be there when he woke up from his surgery. Hours later she was back at my front door taking Bubba from my arms and insisting that I go to my sweet Husband. “I have it covered.” She said. When I returned home with my sickly husband I walked into find three beautiful women in my home carrying for my son, cleaning my bathroom, and kitchen. I did not ask them to do any of this… they just did. They saw a need and they came to our rescue.

“If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters?” Elder Ronald Rasband

We were blessed to have people bring meals into our home. I was constantly humbled by the kindness of others but there is one experience that sticks out in my mind. There was a knock at my door and I opened it to find a sweet, sweet woman from church holding a ton of food in her hands. When I saw her I wanted to tell her no, you keep it knowing that her family needed it much more than mine. I fought back the tears, put on a smile and graciously accepted her amazing gift of service, not wanting to hurt her feelings. I closed the door behind me and slowly slid down the door to the ground as I wept. I know this family well. I know their great financial needs and here she was feeding my family before feeding her own. I have never been more humbled in my life than by this sweet woman’s willingness to serve those around her.


After Bubba passed away a very sweet friend along with the wonderful woman from our church put together a luncheon for our family and closest friends. I was overwhelmed and told my friend that I trusted her to do whatever she wanted. She went out of her way to make it perfectly Bubba.  There were colorful balloons and mickey mouse as the centerpieces, busses holding the silverware, pictures of Bubba on the tables, and plenty of food to feed everyone that attended. One of my family members was complementing me on the luncheon and how perfect it was and I quickly stopped them to let them know that I had no part in it at all. They were amazed at how someone could give so much without anything in return. What an amazing act of service to go above and beyond to make sure that it was PERFECT.


 At the luncheon most of the sweet girls from my Sunday school class were there serving food. I was so touched by their kind actions. I went to one of them and told her how grateful I was for her service and being there for our family. She very sweetly said “Well, you are always there for me… so of course I will be here for you.”


I have seen over and over again this year the blessings of being an instrument in God’s hands as we serve others. I have seen the benefit as I have served and also as we have been served. What a loving Heavenly Father to make sure that we are never left comfortless.

John 14:18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

Last night while I watched Relief Society Conference I couldn’t help but feel every message was intended just for me.  The last message about serving others really got me thinking about this past year and all of the many people that have blessed my life, taught me, strengthened me, and been instruments in God’s hands as an answer to my heart felt prayers. Thank you!

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Muhammad Ali
I will finish this post today with the words from on of my favorite songs....

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

 There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
So, I will ask you the same question that I ask myself every day.....
Have I done any good today??

Friday, September 28, 2012

He said Thank you

It is rare to see me out and about doing something fun without my big ol' camera in front of my face. I love living moments through my lens. I LOVE knowing that those special moments will be captured FOREVER. Let's face it... I have driven my sweet Hubs CRAZY with my camera. I don't know how many times I have heard.. "We already have 1oo pictures just like this!"... "Put that thing down and enjoy this with us." .... "Will you ever have enough pictures of {insert activity here}??" I would always reply... "Yes, I have a ton but I don't have one from today... and some day you will thank me for it."

It wasn't just my sweet little family that I have tortured. My extended family and friends are not free from photog harassment. If we go as a group to the Aquarium then we get a group picture... Disney... where ever. Yes, I know that it was annoying but luckily they all love me and put up with me.

Over the years I have managed to shoot thousands of pictures of my sweet family. Yes, ok so maybe I have a little bit of an issue but let’s face it most people photographers can easily shoot 300-400 pictures on one simple family outing... now let’s include all of our fun daily things around the house {shoot, those are some of my FAVES... our spontaneous dance parties, Bubba smiling as he watches his trains go by his face, cuddles, finger painting and what the paint looked like on his sweet little hands....}, with friends, and phone pictures and it adds up quickly. ;-)

I would much rather be behind the camera any day of the week. Let's face it... I'm a girl!... I have my issues ... "I look so tired... so fat.... “Oh you know the usual female self-loathing hang ups. I remember going through the pictures of one of our family outings and realizing that not a single picture of me had been taken with the kids or hubs, I only had myself to blame for this. So, I decided that from then on out I would make sure that I was in the pictures. I would take a deep breath and hand over my big ol' camera and have someone take a shot of us as a family. Shoot, I even taught Regan how to hold and handle my camera and frankly I would trust her with it more that some kid at Disney. I still might not like my hair, feel like I look fat, or whatever but regardless of the harsh judgment of myself I have AMAZING photographs to hold onto forever.

I have made sure that we have taken a family picture EVERY year. {This year will be tough.}

So, my advice to you my friends.... take pictures... LOTS of them!!! Don't worry about your hair... your outfit.....weight... because one day it won’t matter. One day your children will grow old {hopefully and if they don't trust me you will love them even more} and go off to college and you will cherish those memories captured.

While we were preparing for Bubba's service and going through all of the pictures Hubs whispered those words that every woman wants to hear...."You were right...." I asked him what he was talking about and he then reminded me of all of the times that he hated me taking pictures and that someday he would thank me. Then he whispered, "Thank you."

Our last trip to Disney was no different. Just weeks before Bubba's passing we went to Disney with Nana and had a blast! I am so grateful for the memories captured that day. I might have some like them from other days BUT this last trip will alway be an extra special one in my heart.


 Finally... what I think is my favortie from the day......

 a simple shot of how Bubba would hold my hand with both of his on this ride. ;-)
{I might cry every time I look at these pictures but I do it with a smile. I am grateful to have these memories captured forever.}
With all of this talk about Photography I thought I would let y'all in on a little secret....SHHHHH.... {Wink!} pics by presley Photography will be back in business soon. Yup it's time to get back on the proverbial horse and start doing photo shoots again. In all honesty I have to, I need to. It has become a  necessity with my sudden lack of income, funeral expenses, and well life.  So, stay tuned for more information about upcoming AWESOME photo shoots. wink!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 We serisously need to find a cure {or treatment} for children with Trichothiodystrophy and or Mitochondrial disease.....

because no sister should have to go to a grave to talk to her brother.

{Today was hard.}

Monday, September 24, 2012

{soccer mom}

This whole learning to "be" again thing pretty much stinks. Not to toot my own horn {toot toot} but I thought I was a pretty good "medical Mama" and now all of sudden I'm not one. I thought I was a pretty good "regular Mama" but boy was I wrong, I have so much to learn, to experience.

Hey, we all do!!!

I am not beating myself up at all..... Seriously y'all... I'm not!

{One of my new mantras is... be patient with yourself Julie... be patient with yourself...}

The reality is that I don't truly know understand the whole "regular Mama" thing yet. I have to change my entire way of thinking. All of a sudden I have been thrown into an entirely new world that consists of after school play dates, lots of you and me time, soccer practices and games, and the availability to do a lot more activities with Regan. Now when our friends ask us over for dinner and fun nights we are available to do these things. It's an entirely different way of thinking. Don't get me wrong... because seriously I don't want y'all thinking that I have been neglecting Regan.... I managed to do some fun things with Regan but our schedule was always so full with dr. apts., strict medication times, and a weak immune system that most of these things just weren't even a possibility.

So, with all of this sudden availability Hubs and I felt it very important to get Regan involved in something. We asked her at least a million times what she wanted to do..." you want to do ballet again, soccer, gymnastics, baseball....." She never would give us an answer and to be honest she is SCARED of doing something new. Hubs and I decided that she needed to be pushed out of her comfort zone and that we would just sign her up for soccer.

Luckily, a girl dropped out at the last minute and there was room on one team. I was so worried about what type of a team it would be. Regan is a competitive girl but I did not want her on "that" team. You know the team where the coach is WAY too serious and the parents are all going crazy. No, I wanted her to be on more of the "butterfly chaser" type of team. Oh, you know what I'm talking about, the team where the coaches are kind and the girls tend to watch the butterflies that go by. Well, I was relieved when I realized that Regan's team was a good combination of booth. There are some girls that are very good and there are those that pick flowers while they are the goalie or even do cart wheels while they are waiting on defense. {Oh, no I am not joking} Her coaches are very sweet and I love the fit.

Regan's first game was last Saturday and she was nervous!!!! It didn't help matters that it was 104 degrees and the game was at 11:30. I know.... seriously, of all days to have her very first game!! She did great but tired quickly. Half way through the game she looked at us and threw her hands up in the air and gave us a look as if to say "what the heck to you sign me up for!!!!!!” When it was her turn for a break she came and sat by me and was on the verge of tears. She told me that she didn't like it and that she was so hot and tired. I reassured her that if she made it through this game that the rest of her games from here on out would be a piece of cake. She rolled her eyes at me but when back in the game when it was her turn.

She stuck it out.

I was so worried after the game that she would come up to us and tell us that she was DONE. I can't even begin tell you in words how grateful I was to look and see her laughing and smiling, really smiling, with her team mates. Those real, genuine smiles are hard to come by and she had one plastered to her face. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched it all play out through my lens. I am so proud to have not one but two amazing children that teach me constantly the important lessons in life, like being patient with yourself and not giving up.

She had a game this Saturday at 2:40. She was dressed and ready for the game by 11. :-)

And yes... I am officially a "soccer mom". ;-)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{Confessions of a grief stricken Mama}

Simply put, I have grief brain. Yes, I have become an emotional crazy woman but then I have a good excuse.. Right?? I have had lots of “grief brain” moments and I had to take a pause and laugh. Yup, it’s like the saying that I love so much from Sis. Hinckley “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a head ache.” Ok, so yes I am still doing a ton of crying and this story I am about to share will attest to that but at the end of the day I am not too proud to laugh at myself. ;-)

I have been avoiding all of our usual spots, wanting to avoid having to explain what has happened. Well, last week I had an awful morning {who knew that I would still be dealing with the state even after Bubba’s passing} and I felt the need for some comfort food. So, I decided that I would go to one of my favorite restaurants, cafĂ© rio.  This is the kind of restaurant that you actually have to get out of the car and go inside to place your order. So, everyone knew Bubba since we were always together and it seemed like we were there at least once a week {don’t judge me!!}. Well, it had been over a month since I had eaten there, over a month since Bubba’s passing, and I was hoping that no one would recognize me without my boy… just get in and get out.

I got through the order line, paid for my lunch, and was feeling good… I might just get out of here without anyone asking about Bubba. I went to get my diet coke and the owner/ manager {not sure which} was at a table close by working on his laptop. He was always SOOO nice to Bubba and me every time we came in. So, then it happened… he asked “Oh, you are on your own today. Are both the kids in school??”  A simple question, right? Well, instead of saying yes or playing it cool I did the only rational thing…. I started to ball. Yup, poor guy never saw it coming. So, then if things couldn’t get any more awkward I suddenly needed to explain the reason for my tears.  I told him about Bubba and the poor guy just looked at me stunned and telling me how sorry he was. Ok, so just when you think I couldn’t get any crazier ;-) Rather than thank him or play it cool I grabbed my food and ran… yes, RAN out of the restaurant almost knocking someone over.

 Crazy party for one… right here. :-)

Every time I have shared this story with my girlfriends we have all ended up in tears from laughing so hard. The poor guy had no idea that he was in store for a big helping of “grief brain stricken” crazy Mama when he woke up that morning and you know what I was worried about… Oh, no!! Where am I going to get my pork tostadas from now on?

Ok, so if you’re wondering yes I did go back. I have wonderful girlfriends that made sure that my second attempt would not be so utterly traumatic for any poor employee of the restaurant. I even saw the guy and apologized and he simply said “it’s ok.”  My friend said “boy he handled that well.” I told her that I agreed and that if I were him and I saw me coming I would have run and hid in the back. ;-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

TEAM BUBBA pillow case drive

Hey Team Bubba!!!!!

We are having our first Team Bubba service project and we are excited about it!
We are having a pillow case drive for the Child Life at Millers Children's Hospital.Child Life gives fun pillow cases to the children while they are in the hospital.This simple little thing makes a huge difference in a scary hospital room.
So here is what we need from you!!! 
Get out your sewing machines and get busy making
FUN, BRITE, and kid friendly pillow cases.
{standard size.}

Not sure how to make a pillow case....
well, it is super easy go here
This tutorial has great pictures and directions for an easy to make pillow case with no raw edges. 
{fabric or pillow cases MUST be new and have absolutely no lingering scent of laundry soap, no aggressive images like fighting or use of weapons.

Ok, your still not sure if you can do it...
If you are local we will be holding some TEAM BUBBA
sewing marathons and would love to have you come!!!
Even if you don't know how to sew you can cut the fabric.
{more info on these fun days to come!!!}

Look if Bubba could FIGHT....... 
and FIGHT........................

{with a smile}

and FIGHT...................

and FIGHT...........

and FIGHT..........

and FIGHT!!!
{Ok, you get the picture!!}

We can sew some pillow cases to touch the
 lives of sick children still fighting the fight!

Let's show the world that
by doing small acts of kindness
 we can do GREAT things!!!

Let's show the world that Bubba will never be forgotten
and his fighting spirit inspired us to do something good.

Let's see how many pillow cases
 we can get donated!!!!

Feel free to share this on your blog,
face book, in your church, or sewing group.
“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, 

After you have made or purchased pillow cases you can send them to the following address by the first week in December.
TEAM BUBBA pillow case project
2286 E. Carson St.
PBM 438
Long Beach, CA 90807-3044

Saturday, September 15, 2012

San Fran {take 2}

I figured it was time to wrap up our San Fransico fun on this blog. ;)
We took a boat ride out to alcatraz but didn't go on the island.

 It was SOOO cold... I had on a sweater, a jacket, and a sweat shirt and I was still freezing!!!! Nothing like a San Fran summer. :-)
 Regan insisted that we had to go to the front of the boat....
 so then it just got even colder!!!!
Regan wanted to be the first one under the Golden gate bridge.

 After our super cold, super fun boat ride we headed over to China town.

 Then we headed to check out the Gold Gate bridge from a different vantage point.
You better believe that our sweet Bubba was with us the entire time.
The next day we hit up some musuems and had some fun!!!
{It's hard to see Bubba in this one.}

And then just like that our trip was over and we were headed home.
I am so grateful to have such a sweet little girl and wonderful husband that give me a great reason to wake up every day.  I am grateful for the wonderful memories we were able to make together even in our hardest time. I am grateful for a sweet and loving family that made sure that we took this time to go away as a family.  I am grateful to know that our sweet boy was with us each step of the way.