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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A shout out to my Heroes...

Today is Remembrance Day...and I am grateful.  I am grateful for my country, I am grateful for my ancestors, for Grandpas {and Grandmas} and Great-Uncles and all those who have fought so that I could continue to live in a beautiful, free country.  I have a deep testimony of freedom, of agency, and the right to make choices.  I know that is what our Father in Heaven wants for his children, because it is through choices that we are able to learn and grow...and so I am grateful for my heroes.  My beautiful Aunt Patti {or as Polly would say, my "Aunt-In-Law", who is one of my many heroes} posted a beautiful and touching little story on Facebook last week about my husband's uncle Alfred Gales, who was killed at Vimy Ridge, and whom our family had the opportunity to lay a wreath for in Cardston, Alberta today.  His name is on the Cenotaph there and the family has quite a bit of papers, pictures and letters etc including a picture of his grave in France {which I don't have a copy of, I'm sorry}.  In one of his last letters home he wrote..."I will be home for Christmas...Tell the girls at home to save a dance for me."  He never came home.  I don't have the words to express the gratitude that I have in my heart for the heroes of our country, but I want to say thank you to Uncle Alfred Gales, and all those who have served for our countries' freedom.  We owe you each a tremendous debt.

Jordan's cousin Cody as part of the Honour Guard, laid the wreath for Uncle Alfred Gales
I started this post as I sat reflecting, undergoing my own personal "moment of silence" at 11:00, and I got to thinking about the heroes in my life.  I have a lot of heroes...people I look up to, whom I see sacrificing for others and setting good examples day in and day out.  Today I would like to pay tribute to heroes both in the spotlight and behind the scenes.  When I sit and reflect on my life, I feel so blessed...blessed to have support surrounding me and people that love me...people that selflessly give to others daily.  Because the heroes in my life are so far reaching that I could never EVER EVER list them all in this post, I am going to stick with my "current" heroes in my present day, people that affect my life daily, and because I'm feeling a little bit feminist today, I'm going to go ahead and stick with my female heroes this time {that's not to say that I don't have a million male heroes, but I just needed to cut down the ever growing list of people that are popping into my head}.  I had better start with...

MY MAMA...since she brought me into this world.  She has lived a life brimming with service and selflessness, and has set an example for me that cannot be equaled.  I could say so much more, but I just posted my tribute to her and my dad not long ago.  Thanks Mom, I love you.  I love being your daughter.

MY Grandma Wilson is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest person you will ever meet.  She is the epitome of "Grandma" and she will always hold a tender place in my heart.  I have never heard her yell, she never even raises her voice, she is patient and kind and a perfect example of love.  I love being her grand-daughter.

I am more like my Grandma Baker {as much as it pains me to admit it}.  I love her!  She is bold and opinionated, and hard-working, and she is always, always, always, giving service.  She would babysit my kids every day, all day, for a month straight if I asked her to, even if her back was killing her and she was exhausted {for the record, I would never ask this of her}.  She is full of love, and long-suffering, and although you may not know it to look at her or talk to her, she has bourn heartbreaking burdens and trials in her life with the utmost grace, and is one of the most forgiving and loving people that I know.  Her and I fight like cats and dogs sometimes, because we are too much alike, but if she only knew how much I truly love and admire her!  I love being her grand-daughter.

MY SISTER...Amy is the best sister anyone could ever ask for.  She is kind and patient and mother-like {even before she had her own 5 children}.  No matter what I say to Amy, I know it won't be repeated.  She is respectful, kind, and wouldn't say a mean word about anyone.  If ever I feel like I need a break from life, she is almost always the first person that comes to my mind.  Visiting Amy is one of my very favourite things.  Being near her means being words are safe, and I know her ears are open.  She is the best listener, and often the things I'm thinking become clear as I talk them out to her.  She doesn't swarm me with advice, but whatever secret little knack she has, my burdens always seem lighter just by being near her.  She knows how to just love, and is compassionate and caring.  I love being her sister.

MY SISTER-IN-LAWS...ok, so I have 7 sister-in-laws, and I can't even tell you what they mean to me {as I sit at my computer and cry, because I can't even keep it together while I write}.  I love them all so much!!!  I will go in order of sibling rank, not importance ;) , starting on the Michel side...

LESLIE...such a rock!  She is so sweet and always looks out for me.  I can't even tell you how many times I have needed just the right words of advice, and have found them coming from her lips, or from a book she's been inspired to recommend to me.  She is my library.  She knows what I should be reading and when I should read it.  She is so in tune with the spirit, so selfless, and she has her priorities in check.  Did I mention she is the mother of six, and somehow still so patient!  Being a mother is her pride and joy, anyone who comes in contact with her knows this.  I love learning from her, and I love being her sister {in-law}.

WENDY...I don't even notice that half my smile has been missing until Wendy walks into the room.  She just has that aura that makes you want to just glue yourself to her so that you can stay happy all the time.  She is my hero for her strength, for her independence, for her optimism through trials and just life in general.  Wendy is simply would never know from her soft, bubbly appearance {and because she would never brag about it} that she has spent 5 years serving in the Navy, that she is the most dedicated and stellar athlete, that she is the most patient, gentle and kind wife and mother, that she has worked her butt off with four little kids to get her nursing degree online.  She is more than an example to me...she is a light to me, and to many others I am sure.  I love being her sister {in-law}. sweet.  I love seeing how kind Laura is to everyone she comes in contact with.  She is soft-spoken, gentle, and loving.  Laura is the beautiful mother of 5, and she is involved, creative and artistic.  She is a good friend, a great listener, and her example as a supportive wife is one that {although she may not know it} I look up to.  I love being her sister {in-law}.

KRISTEN...oh I love Kristen so much!!!  I went to school with Kristen, we graduated together, and I feel a connection with her.  I feel like I can relax around her because no matter what I say or do, she will never, EVER judge me, and I know that, and I can't express how much that means to me.  At the hardest time in my life, she was the very first to seek me out, to hug me, to cry with me, and I will never forget her for that.  She is a sweet girl with a tender heart.  She is a wonderful mother of 3 beautiful children, whom I have never seen with a hair out of place.  She is organized and clean, she is a wonderful housekeeper, and I can tell by the way she parents, that her children will always see her as one of their closest friends.  I love being her sister {in-law}

JESIKA...I feel like she is my sister.  I love being around her.  She is one of those people who welcomes in the sunshine on the cloudiest of days.  She is definitely a light, and that attribute makes me want to harness myself to her sometimes.  She is fun, she is a sport, she is always good for a joke or a laugh, and yet she is loyal, trustworthy, and full of service all at the same time.  She is patient and she is someone who never expects recognition, very much one of my heroes who is content to not be in the spotlight, but who deserves to be.  She is happy, and she is happy no matter what.  She is the girl who on any given day will have her own 4 kids + maybe 10 others at her house because she just plain attracts people, and any person {child or grown up} who walks through her door, feels the spirit in her home, feels like they want to stay a little longer, and feels the sunshine that follows her everywhere she goes.  I love being her sister {in-law}. my home-girl.  Lindsey and I go way back.  She is another sister-in-law that I went to school with, and we were besties long before my brother came into the picture.  She has a big heart, and is so creative and funny.  Her home looks like Pinterest, no matter what she's got to work with, and her 4 little kids might as well be GAP models.  She's a great example to me.  She's athletic and funny, and up for anything, always.  She is such a supportive wife, and I love who she is for my brother.  She's also a good friend, and has the best sense of humour.  She's the only sister-in-law I have that has ever sent me a hand written note in the mail just to let me know she loves me.  She's just Lindsey, and I love being her sister {in-law}. the little sister I never had...and I LOVE having!  I get to tease her and pick on her {just a little}, and she's good for it, because she has five big brothers that have been doing it to her her whole life!  She is compassionate and loving, has a huge heart and is sensitive {in the best way}.  She is the perfect match for my special little bro and I feel so much like there just couldn't be a Spencer without a Nicole.  She is oh so often my comic-relief in life.  I swear she always waits for the perfect "down moment" in my life to text me out of the blue with a hilarious video.  She started this habit at a time she knew I would need it, and she hasn't ever let me down since.  She's a sport, she's cute, she's clever, she's so perfectly placed in our family.  I hope she never changes, because she is so uniquely herself, and I love her for who she is!  I love being her sister {in-law}.

MY MOM {IN-LAW}...this is where Jesika gets her spirit of service from.  Sheila is the epitome of service, goodness and overall wholesomeness.  She is the matriarch of the most beautiful family I have ever known.  She has raised 5 of the most wonderful and respectful sons this world has ever seen, and a beautiful, charitable daughter of which I have already said much.  She is a wonderful example of a wife, and a patient, quiet, and kind-hearted woman.  She will never be found anywhere except in a holy place, and will always have a good quote up her sleeve, a good book in her hand, and a good meal on the table.  She is an energizer bunny, and I have every confidence that she will never run out of juice.  I love being her daughter-in-law.

MY DAUGHTER...who else but Polly do I have to let us all know in the middle of dinner that "crackers are called crackers because they're for people with butt-cracks, and because everybody has a butt-crack, crackers are for everyone!"  I am so grateful that Polly puts a little {or maybe a lot} of pizzaz into my life.  She is also such a sweetie.  She tells me every day, at least once that I am "the most beautifullest girl in the whole wide world".  This special, sweet little best friend of mine knowingly chose me to be her mother.  Could I be more blessed?!  She knew I would make mistakes, she knew I would be so far from perfect, and yet, I know with all my heart that she willingly came into our family, and for that she is my hero.  I learn so much from her.  She is the funniest, quirkiest, friendliest little miss I have ever met, and I am so grateful that she is my daughter.  If I can only have one daughter, she's the one I'd have picked, one million percent.  I love being her mother.

MY AUNTIE CHERYL...I don't care what anyone says about me having no "blood" related Aunt Cheryl's, I am telling you, my Auntie Cheryl is my Auntie Cheryl, and that's that.  She is so calm, so collected, so funny, and talented, and firm in her convictions.  She is so secure, and so patient, and she is my anchor during hard times.  I know I can always ring her up for a good therapy session, and she will listen, not judge...she will love and give wonderful advice, focused around gospel truths and scriptures.  She is a fountain of knowledge, a lover of life, always game for adventure, and an example of grace.  She is a wonderful wife and mother, an incredibly loyal friend, an involved and spirited grand-mother and a huge strength to me.  I love being her niece.


PAIGE...well, Paige is my little family away from family.  Paige {and Herb, but we're talking girls here} have done so much for our little family since moving to this land of far far away.  They let us crash at their house the first night we officially met them, they have done so much foot-work for us during our house-hunting search a few years back, and when we were 20 hours away, they even found us the home we ended up buying through a friend at Paige's work.  She is a wonderful leader of the Young Women's group we work together with at church, the sweetest little Grandma and Mom, and a priceless example to me of being laid back enough to allow your children to make their own choices, and learn things for themselves.  Because I am naturally the opposite, I often catch myself thinking "What would Paige do in this situation?"  She is bubbly, funny, a wonderful knitting student, and always, always, willing to help.  In fact, just on Saturday, Jordan and I were able to go on a fun little date night because of Paige's kind offer to come watch the kids for us one night.  Paige is just amazing to me, and I love being her friend. my surrogate sister, and we have a real special bond.  She is just a kindred spirit, one of those friends you know was meant to be placed in your path, for so many reasons.  She is an example to me of testimony, loyalty, kindness and selflessness.  She even came with me and four crazy kiddos across the country to keep me company last year, and never uttered a word of complaint!  She is a faithful friend, she is respectful, gentle and wonderful in every way.  She is good to my children, and a great mother to her own little guy, she mellows me out when she comes through the door, she is just Kayla, and Kayla is good.  I love being her friend. my dear friend.  She serves and she serves and she serves.  She has served me FAR more than I have her in our friendship, and the tables to me seem so lop-sided.  She has 5 children of her own, and yet she has had me and my children for dinner on countless occasions, she has taken Polly to playgroup so that I could rest so many times after Reggie was born, she has stocked my freezer with meals, she has car-pooled to piano lessons and when I think of Marj I can just picture her saying "What can I do to help?"  She is now also my doggy-friend, and I am loving our new little weekly dog park dates since our family has jumped on board the puppy train.  Marj is a friend that makes a busy girl's life a little lighter, a little sweeter, and a whole lot more bearable.  I love being her friend. a great girl.  She is quiet and matter of fact, and very independent.  She doesn't accept help easily, and I should probably offer it more...She makes life with 5 children look far too easy and is somehow always willing to take on more.  She threw me the funnest little surprise shower before I had Reggie, and pooled together freezer meals and treats to boot.  She just had a baby of her own, and still offered to take our puppy over the Christmas holidays!  Some people just blow my mind, and Tawnya is one of them.  I love being her friend.

MY NEIGHBOR...Barbara is another surrogate family member that my family could not live without.  She is my kid's surrogate Grandmother and she is deeply loved within the walls of our home {and without our home for that matter}.  She is so charitable!  She bakes raspberry pies for Jordan {with hand-picked raspberries I might add}, as well as making countless other donations to us from their beautiful garden {although I suppose it's more Dave's garden technically} ;) Barbara's house is my Sabbath day {and sometimes other days too} grocery store when I get myself into a pinch in the middle of a recipe because I overlooked one ingredient or another.  Her and Dave are our house-sitters, our pillow-case lenders, our school-bus cake bakers {on the kids first day of school}, and the overall best neighbour{s} a person could ask for.  Barbara is the sweetest, kindest woman I could ever know, and I love being her neighbour.

And the one hero I have to list who is non-female, but gets a place in my hero post despite his gender, is my wonderful husband JORDAN, who, among other things has come home two days in a row now with groceries, knowing I am under the weather, and who daily and continuously blows me away with his hero-like qualities, of which I could name many.  I will save my words for today as I don't want to take away from the others I've written about, but here's a picture of the flowers I got from him yesterday, just because I can't resist...

{sigh} hero!
So there's a few of my heroes.  Wow, am I ever blessed!!!  Just look at that support system!!!  Multiply the above by two, because every one of these wonderful women has a husband that is equally heroic to me.  I feel so blessed to have heroes today, and every day, who sacrifice their time, talents and {especially today on Remembrance Day} their very lives to service, freedom, and truth.

Thank you all.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute. Well done. Thanks Lise-Anne. You are a wonderful wife, mother, daughter & friend. I love you.