Saturday, July 28, 2012

a life well proven, my daddy Russell

i did not want to open my eyes this morning not ready to face the day if it was all true
i feel just as my brother Jesse kept saying yesterday, 'it just all seems so surreal'

an army of family and friends gathered in the room of my father
and in the room down the hall
moments of joy for the rest he was finally to receive
intermixed with outbreaks of sobbing and confessions of our desires to not live this life without him here
tributes of honor whispered into his ear of loyal friendship, quiet acts of service, and never ending love, and of course of the example of tireless work in the Lord's kingdom, letting each person know of their worth and their divine capabilities to live the gospel, and live it with exactness.
expressions of eternal love by my courageous and regal mother.
deliverance of Christlike love by her for in her own suffering she came to the comfort of others with words of reassurance of Daddy's love for us and of known truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

we stayed by his side for the duration of the day and into the late hours of the night as he was taking his final breaths
his body having succumbed completely to the cancer
having fought like only my Daddy could have fought for over two years
his strength being akin to nothing else in this world

i looked upon his face and knew his Earth life was complete
and not just complete but proven
oh proven in every way we all hope to achieve
my father proved in every word and deed of the truths he knew
and mostly in quiet ways did he speak and act
this great man worked in meekness

all the while sweet angelic music played
and familiar words of doctrinal hymns ran phrases of gospel truths through our minds

these deeds shall thy memorial be; fear not, thou didst them unto me **

be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.  be still, my soul: when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last. **

faithful and true he will enter his kingdom, crown'd in the midst of the prophets of old
mingling with Gods he can plan for his brethren, death cannot conquer the hero again**

the works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound; improvement and progression have one eternal round.  there is not end to union; there is no end to youth; there is no end to priesthood; there is no end to truth.  there is no end to glory; there is no end to love; there is no end to being; there is no death above.**

lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on.  the night is dark and i am far from home. lead thou me on. lead thou my feet, i do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me.**

oh how i always want to see that distant scene, one step never seems enough for me
but the words of this particular hymn have been in my mind this past week
and i must now act out in faith, that since i know who is leading me, that one step is indeed enough

as i fought and sobbed not wanting to step out of that ICU door,
not wanting to leave my Daddy there
not knowing what to do, how to live by taking one step out of that door
how do i greet people
how do i go to the store
how do i tell my children

Mike took me by the hands and told me to look at his face
oh his sweet and tender face with power in strength and faith behind those gentle blue eyes
and he said, 'one step'

he spoke words of strength and faith and truth 
of those things i know to be true and can testify to you more than ever
truths taught to me from the time i was a little girl by my father
that death is not the end
that my Daddy lives and his spirit was not there in that room anymore
i felt the difference
that my Daddy is having a joyous reunion with those who have already passed on
and he is being put to work for he is a worker, a loyal servant 
that he will always be with me and i will feel him closer than i ever could before 
for he can be with me in ways that he couldn't while here on this earth
and ever so important that we will be there for my children to guide them and warn them as they continue on in their earthly mission

all of this has culminated to a greater knowledge that Jesus Christ lives
what a testimony i have received of that from the life and death of my own father
this is what i will need in days ahead
when i just need my Daddy, when i just wish i could hear his voice, hear his laugh, and feel his enveloping embrace

thank you friends for the service you have provided for myself and my family through your thoughts, prayers, and the continual acts of kindness.  i will need them more than ever in the days ahead.  they have literally sustained me and will continue to do so.  pray for my sweet mother, pray for her to feel the comfort that she needs so that she will never feel alone.  act on those promptings and thoughts you will have on ways you can take action to help her in this.

she has made a request which she asked me to share.  she would like everyone to please email me stories of my Daddy.  she knows that he has touched so many lives, and would like to make a book out of everyone's experiences with my father.  please email any thoughts, and particularly stories, as well as any photos you may have to  thank you all for sharing in our lives.

***UPDATED SERVICE INFORMATION as of July 31st 9:30 am***

Services for my Father Russell F Dix will be:

A Visitation - opportunity to pay your respects to Daddy and meet with our family
Tuesday, July 31st from 6-8 pm at
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
29725 Bradley Road
Sun City, CA 92586

Wednesday, August 1 from 9-9:30 am at
the Bradley building at above address

Wednesday, August 1 at 10:00am at

the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
29725 Bradley Road
Sun City, CA 92586

Graveside Service following the funeral at 
the Wildomar Cemetery
21400 Palomar Street,
Wildomar, CA 92595

**Luncheon to follow the Graveside Service
There will be a video presentation as well as tributes made by those invited to share at

the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
29725 Bradley Road
Sun City, CA 92586

Those wishing to make a donation in honor of my father may contribute to one of these three charities:

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Perpetual Education Fund
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Humanitarian Aid
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Please also remember to email me your stories and photos of my Daddy to

the outpouring of your love has been tremendous!  thank you so very much.

{if you wish to read any further information regarding My Daddy's journey and our privileged journey with him please click here or on the 'My Daddy' label in the right hand column}

Friday, July 27, 2012

life-support: sustaining hope and my Daddy's desire to fight

this morning i awoke with swollen eyes to images of Mike getting ready to leave for the hospital
i am so grateful for this man that i married who loves my father
and has created through the years, a bond of mutual admiration and brotherhood with him

this morning i write with deep reverence
i don't know if i can eek out all the details with these weak fingers
but i wanted to reach as many people this morning and plead with you for your prayers

yesterday my family received such difficult information regarding my Daddy's health and the decision that we needed to make, that initially i felt as though someone had knocked the wind out of me.

the overall picture
is that the infection is in his blood and his body is laboring too much to be able to fight this on his own.
would be required to continue to fight this infection
if you think that this would be a simple decision, you are seriously mistaken

after much prayer and trying to honor the desires of my father
we decided that putting Daddy on life-support in order to try and battle this infection
in hopes of still bringing his body to a level of stability to be transported to Huntsman Cancer Institute
would be the best decision
granted there are so many other factors that i have not mentioned, that this is an extremely oversimplified version of this

i have so many more things in my heart that are flooding my thoughts
but my main message for today is
PRAY, PLEAD that Daddy's body will be able to fight this infection in the coming few days.

this is the greatest battle of his life.
and we all know he is a fighter,
the strongest man i have ever know.

PRAY for strength for my mother
PRAY for a miracle.
PRAY that all of us may be at peace as we make decisions and as we watch the will of Heavenly Father unfold before us, whatever that may be.
PRAY my friends, please pray.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away

everything i learned, i learned on sesame street, right?
can you hear the beat of the opening song
dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun

sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away...
{enjoy this beautiful rendition by Joshua Radin here}

{yes i have my own Sesame Street book}

that's what i'm trying to do over here in 'woe-is-me'ville
sweep those blues away
and focus on the sunnier side of my blessed life

here are a few of the rays of sunshine that have parted those clouds
represented through a little iphoneographie and instragramologie

a girl's night out with my dearest Leslie always my advocate and cheering section... boy did i need the laughs and yummy food and there were plenty of both  {you've got to try PF Chang's banana spring rolls ... they're heaven!!}

Leslie and i created a photo scavenger hunt for each other...Leslie was killer and determined to win of my requirements: a mohawk with a peace sign.  oh the antics to get this one!

'may i take your order?' owen asks.  in n out...always a bright spot.  i never tire of its yumminess, even after working there in high school.  tate wasn't into it, but that's ok.  he was definitely into his shake.

Dada and baby girl sharing a neapolitan shake.  yes, they make those on request!  this man is such an amazing father, husband, and optimist...keeps going and going.  

a surprise party for my gorgeous little sis...her 30th!  man i'm old.  nes knows just the right times to check on me.  must be sister intuition:)

some time alone...just me and the sea.  there is just something about the lulling sound of the majestic ocean waves that washes away the worries of a day.

a game of telephone with some serious cuties.

seriously it had been far too long since i had blown bubbles in my gum.  a feeling of carefree childhood rushed to my lips.

for a understanding husband who stays home with the kids so i can spend hours at a time with my Daddy.   Mike himself spends hours of time with him as well.  so grateful for their relationship.

rejuvenating time with my Mom at the San Diego Temple...feeling so near to my Heavenly Father... refueling spiritually then physically with some scrumptious greek food.

Abigail the miracle baby turned one... she is such a joy to our family with her busy little ways.  her life is a testament of God's power and love and the effect of a community of prayers.

living next door to my parents is such a blessing.  overnight campouts for the boys being one of the many benefits.

some Papa time at home...even if just for a day

some girlie time with Mom and my sisters.  so blessed to have all of their support in my life.  we have been holding each other up.  just missing Kelli here.  can you believe i got my toe nails painted?  much do to the encouragement of Mike who is not a 'foot' person. apparently mine were in dire need of attention.

a surprise 35th wedding anniversary party for my parents!!! Daddy was able to come home straight from the hospital to be at my Mom's side to greet his 150 guests who celebrated their exemplary marriage with all of us.  many, many hands made this unforgettable evening possible!!!

morning yoga with the kids.  love their enthusiasm and energy.  i miss teaching.  yoga is medicine for the soul.

Felicity displaying her excellent form in the 3-legged downward dog and Tate with his alligator pose.

life is a joy when i see the little bits that fit together to give it real meaning.
i have shared this moving video with you before, but i hope you will enjoy it again, as i do each time i watch it.
watch it here.

it features some of my favorite quotes that keep me focusing on what truly matters most:

moments are the molecules that make up eternity.
Elder Neal A Maxwell

its not so much the major events, as the small day to day decisions that map the course of our living.  
Pres. Gordon B Hinckley

we would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes and truly see the things that matter most.  strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light.  it comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most. diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the World 
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

as i focus on the significant and lift up my eyes
sunny days will most definitely sweep those clouds away.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

a blue period

Pablo Picasso
marked with having a blue period
Van Gogh
continually expressed emotion with intense blue
great works brought forth during times of deep introspection and difficulty

i have been having a bit of a blue period myself
i thought i had been doing an adequate job of hiding how i was feeling from everyone else
until yesterday when my loving mother pointed it out
she even used the 'd' word to describe what i was experiencing
immediately tears released in agreement

unlike Van Gogh and Picasso, whose blue period brought forth masterpieces such as
Picasso's Self Portrait 1901

and my personal favorite, Van Gogh's Almond Blossoms

my blue period has been marked by a vortex or even a black hole of creativity
writing, painting, parenting, living life in any creative fashion has escaped my fingertips
despite the lack of production of any visible masterpieces
i am hoping that there was been some other sort of workings in the process of production
workings of the soul
the work of dependency
the work of submission
the work of humility
the work of yearning
the work of endurance
the work of change

i am reaching out to my Heavenly Father to ask him to lift me to heights i can not see
to fill me up with the springs of the living water of hope, of faith, of perserverence
that i may access that divine gift of His Son, my Savior's Atonement
that i, a small blip in his vast creations, am somehow known, loved, and sustained through this power is almost incomprehensible
as i had the privilege this past Saturday of attending our church's temple, a House of the Lord, the closest thing to being in the presence of God here on Earth, i felt his warmth, his peace, his love, and his encouragement

my prayer now is that i may raise my eyes above the turbulent waves of my current situation and fix my gaze upon Him that has felt and overcome all

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people...and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Alma 7:11-12 {emphasis added} 

there is no greater miracle than that

this blue period is not an expression of whether I believe Christ performed this miracle for me, that I know to be true
this blue period is an expression of my battle to keep that knowledge in the forefront as i search to understand this new me that is being created through these workings of change...this new me that must emerge from this blue period and hand in hand with my Savior walk, walk in whatever new path i am to blaze.  discovering that this is where he needs me, this where i belong now.  and as long as i keep my hand in His, wherever that may lead me, that is where He wants me to be.  and i will in turn become the work of change: a work of His will, the Master himself.


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