Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Angel Sent...

Dear Branson,

Daddy and I can't tell you how excited we are to meet the newest member of our family that will be joining us at the end of October! Since the beginning of our marriage, our greatest desire has been to have a family. As you know, that road has been a difficult one. We waited, what seemed to be, five very long years to discover that you would be joining our family.

Although our time with you was much shorter than we had hoped and planned...we have felt so blessed to have our dreams of having a family come true through your miraculous life. We feel the love of parents, I experience the worry of a mother, and we find it truly amazing to be parents of such a valiant spirit. We are continually humbled as we recognize and come to appreciate what we have gained, what we've learned, and what we've shared with you despite the heartbreaking loss we have experienced.

Even during your time with us in my belly, daddy and I would talk about what it would be like meet you and what it would be like to someday meet your younger brothers and sisters. We both come from amazing families and have close relationships with our siblings, and we desired that for you.

Since your passing, daddy and I have had empty arms and aching hearts. There have been moments that all I've wanted is another be pregnant again. There have also been times when all I want is you back...I don't want another baby, I just want you. We've worried we won't be able to love another child like we love you... we've worried that our next baby won't be nearly as cute as you are... we've just worried.

Through time, we are learning to accept your life and mission and we have become more and more excited at the thoughts of welcoming another member into our eternal family.

Every night daddy and I pray for you. We pray that you'll be close to us...we pray that you will be continually valiant and courageous as you fulfill your mission at this time...we pray that you'll feel of our love for you...and we pray that you'll never forget that we're here trying our best to get back to you.

Ever night we have also prayed that when the timing was right that we would be blessed with another baby. We've put a lot of trust in the Lord to know when that time would be. We've prayed that you might be able to play a special role in this miracle when it would come.

The day that I took the pregnancy test, I fell to my knees in gratitude and love for the miracle we were witnessing. I talked to you and to Heavenly Father about my excitement, my gratitude, and my overwhelming love for both you. I just couldn't wait to tell daddy the great news when he got home that night.

As daddy opened the lost box that had the pregnancy test wrapped inside, his eyes filled with tears, and together we shed tears of joy.

Throughout the time that I've been pregnant, I have felt you close. There have been days when I find myself reminiscing about you and how I felt at this time when you were with me. I find myself missing you so much. I also find myself filled with amazement at this gift that I'm sure you were a part of.

Daddy and I now pray that this new little spirit will be allowed to stay with us here on the Earth. However, we also pray that this spirit will be special...special enough to feel you close to them throughout their life...special enough to recognize what an incredible older brother they have...special enough to realize that although daddy and I will have bitter/sweet moments as we watch them grow and miss you at the same time, that it's because we love you both so much...special enough to know we are sad your not with us, but elated that they are.

Branson...thank you for playing a part in this miraculous gift. Thank you for watching out for us. Thank you for being such a special part of our family. Enjoy all the time you'll have with your little brother/sister before they join us...cause lots of trouble, do lots of good, and make lots of memories together.

We can't wait to meet them. We can only hope the baby is as special and beautiful as you are.

All My Love,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just What We Needed

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the mailbox, expecting the usual bills, credit card applications, and sale adds. As we shuffled through the pile however, we found a card from my dad. It was just what we needed.

The card read:
" Remember,
when the going gets tough....

(open) can always
come over and hide in the closet
with me!"

The message inside really touched us, it said:

"Dear Rob and Natalie,
Been thinking about ya today. I've had Branson on my mind-wondering what if... Wish I could take him on a wheeler ride and take his picture, wish I could hold him and teach him to say "gompa"... Another day, another time.
Sure hope you both are doing good.
Love, Dad"

Simple, but perfect. It brought tears to our eyes, for we yearn for those moments as well. It brought us happiness to know that Branson is thought of in specific, tender ways. It was just what we needed that day!

Thank you mom and dad for being so good to send cards full of love and thoughtfulness every few weeks. We look forward to them. They mean more than you'll ever know!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Back in November, during our stake conference, we had the awesome opportunity of having a visiting apostle and member of the quorum of the twelve...Elder Richard G. Scott. Rob and I were very excited for this rare visit with one of the Lord's special witnesses.

We have actually had the opportunity to meet him previous to this occasion in Navuoo while on a LDS church history tour with my parents. He spoke at a sacrament meeting that we attended. Although I don't remember the specifics of his sermon, the testimony that he bore that day had a profound impact upon my heart and mind. He bore witness that he knew without doubt and with complete assurity that Jesus lives. That He is our Savior and that He loves each and everyone of us with a complete, unconditional love. I had the distinct impression that perhaps he has been in the presence of the Savior. His witness that day was powerful, and my love and admiration for him grew with that experience.

Then, almost three and a half years later we were blessed to hear him speak again, this time directly to our stake. We attended the Saturday evening session where he shared some personal insights on trials, on marriage, on faith, on courage, and on what it means to endure. It was a rare opportunity to hear an apostle of the Lord speak so personally and share some of his personal thoughts and feelings about life, the gospel, and his love for the Savior. The next day, at the general session, he spoke about the importance of families...and the importance of doing the "little things" with our children. He bore testimony that these "little things" are the things that make the biggest difference in the end. I specifically remember him addressing family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. I left that session with a renewed determination to live these principles more fully.

Shortly after the general session, we had an incredibly touching, sacred experience. Rob was asked by a close friend to stand in on a priesthood blessing that Elder Scott would be performing. This young friend was fighting a battle with cancer and had the faith to ask for this special blessing.

A small group of us gathered in the Stake President's office and waited while Elder Scott shook hands and greeted hundreds of other people. We talked about how busy he is, how much he had done in the last three days, and what a special experience is was to be able to spend some time with him. A while later, Elder Scott came into the small office, and instantly a special spirit filled the room. He greeted each person individually, asked their name, and how they new our young friend. I was so touched by his genuine interest, by his radiating love, and by his warm smile.

As he came to our friend, he got down on one knee and looked straight into his eyes. I will never forget the feeling that overcame me at that moment. He asked this young man if he had faith that Christ could heal his body, and explained that it would be this faith of his, combined with the power of the priesthood that could cause this healing to occur.

As Rob gathered with this small group, in a circle around this young man, I was impressed again by the love that emanated from each of them. The blessing was special, beautiful, and very personal.

After the blessing, Elder Scott again went around the room to shake each hand, and offer his love to each of us. As I waited for my turn, I kept thinking over and over that I too wanted a blessing from this incredible man. A blessing that would tell me Branson was okay, that I was going to be okay, and that someday we would have children upon this Earth. However, ever so gently, the spirit reminded me that my husband posesses the same priesthood as this apostle of the Lord, and that he is worthy at anytime to give me a blessing such as this.

This time as he took my hand, we paused and he looked straight into my eyes. Time stood still for a few moments. I told Rob later, that it was as if he was looking through my eyes into my soul. I didn't know how, but it felt like he understood some of the burdens I was carrying at that time with the passing of our son. No words were exchanged, but it seemed as if we shared something special.

Each encounter with Elder Scott has left me filled with more love and admiration for him than I previously had.

Now fast forward to this April General Conference of the Church....

Elder Scott spoke on the blessings of the temple (I am paraphrasing here). He taught so much about why the things that happen within the walls of this sacred place are so important to us as mortals in this life and as immortals in the life to come. Near the end of his talk, he said that he desired to share why these temple covenants, that bind our families together forever...even beyond the grave, are so special to him personally.

He first talked about the love that he has for his wife that passed away some thirteen years ago. He talked of the joy that has come to his life with the knowledge that they are a family unit for the eternities to come, and that although she is gone for now, that he looks forward to the day they will be reunited. He bore testimony that he knew the Lord had taken her for a wise purpose and that he believes she carries on this work on the other side of the veil.

Next, he shared that he and his wife had always desired to have a family. They welcomed three children into their home...a daughter, a son, and then a third (I think another daughter). However, he shared that this third child had died only minutes after birth....what? I was totally caught off guard, and the tears began to fall. He shared of the sadness they felt at the passing of this little one, but he also expressed the peace they felt through the knowledge that their family would one day be whole and complete again. Then, just six months later their second child, a son, needed to have a heart surgery. The surgery, if successful, would prolong the life of this child. They went ahead with the surgery. The doctor came out and told them that the surgery had been successful...that their son would be okay.

Elder Scott shared that he and his wife had just gotten on their knees to offer thanks to the Lord, when not ten minutes later, the doctor returned to deliver the devastating news that their son in fact had passed away, that his body was too weak to endure.

There I sat....tears streaming down my face as I thought about this incredible burden that Elder Scott and his wife had carried.

There I sat....humbled that this servant of the Lord had endured...with faith and complete trust...a trial similar to mine.

There I sat...with an increasing love and respect.

There I sat...with admiration of the person he's become...even though it was very tough along the way.

There I awe of this man as he expressed the joy he felt as he knew his wife was with these two children, and that he knew someday he would join them.

Was it this knowledge I knew nothing about that spoke to my soul that day after the blessing? I don't know, and perhaps I never will. What I do know is that the Lord softened my heart, increased my understanding, spoke peace to my mind, and has put extra courage in my steps as I move forward continually. I am thankful that Elder Scott shared this personal testimony with us. It gives me hope.

To find out more about our church, or this apostle of the Lord, visit the official church website at