by Kari Pike
Happy New Year!
New and exciting things are going to happen and I can't wait to see what they are. Right now I am tucked snugly in the corner of the couch in our son's home in Spanish Fork, Utah. My children children, ages 29-11, are scattered about reading, conversing, playing board games and entertaining my grandchildren. My heart is full of joy and gratitude and I feel a peace that I have not felt for several months.
As many of you know, this past September my husband Doug took a job in Salt Lake City. We hoped that business would pick up in Arizona soon enough to allow him to return home to work so that we would not have to pull up roots and move from our home in Arizona. Due to the kindness and generosity of family members, Doug has a room to stay in and the ability to come home one weekend a month. In order to make the most of our time with him, we decided to spend the majority of the school break with Doug in Utah. Any funds available for Christmas gifts would be needed to pay for gas, and I felt sad that I could not provide the usual surprises and delights we enjoyed in the past. I had no idea we would be given a most precious gift.
What do you get when you have 22 people crammed into a two bedroom house? You either get chaos or...controlled chaos! With a little planning and lots of cooperation, we enjoyed controlled chaos. No one seemed to really miss all the gifts. They spent time playing and laughing and occasionally arguing...and more time reading and visiting and sharing meals. I spent one day house hunting and came away more discouraged than ever. Why?
The third day of our visit, I was in the kitchen with a daughter-in-law, a daughter, and several grandchildren. Thirteen-month-old Nathan toddled around his mother's legs, begging for bites of whatever Mom was putting in her mouth. Mom gave him a bite, and continued cleaning the kitchen. Nathan started to pitch a fit and the next thing I knew, I could see that he was choking. I yelled out in surprise, and his mom grabbed Nathan up and held him upside down and pounded on his back. I swept bits of food out of his mouth, but Nathan continued to choke, then stopped breathing altogether and started turning a horrible shade of gray and blue. His silence tore through my heart. Aprilynne took over and performed a technique she had learned. I prayed for what seemed like forever, but could only have been a few seconds. Just as I began to reach for a phone to call 911, Nathan heaved out bits of food and started coughing and sputtering and crying. I have never heard such a beautiful sound as his crying sounded to me at that time.
I am humbled as I recognize the abundance with which I have been blessed. I am grateful for family and friends and the legions of angels who watch after us and protect us. I am grateful for the blessings of the priesthood and a husband and sons who honor that priesthood and use it to bless others. I am grateful for the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and our Savior and Redeemer. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and all of the other living prophets we have today. I know President Monson is our prophet today and that Heavenly Father continues to send direct revelation to guide us through these troubled times. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that we truly can come closer to God by reading its pages than those of any other book. I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love him with all my heart. I am grateful for his patience with me as I struggle to learn the lessons he sent me here to learn.
As I ponder on my goals for the New Year, I know that they will be much simpler this year. I have a better understanding of what is good, what is better, and what is best. It is a gift I will be opening day after day ...and I can't wait to see what happens!