Friday, January 29, 2010

Breathe Easy Sweet Emily...

My eyes are swollen and my heart is aching from another loss. It is the reality of this disease, one of the hardest to bare. We lose people; family members, precious friends...too often. We never get used to it and it doesn't get easier. We don't become immune to the pain or desensitized. It is a fresh wound every time that brings up doubts, fears, and emotions that are physically exhausting to process and deal with. I feel weary.

Despite the weariness that comes sometimes, I would not trade knowing these earth angels for anything...even not having C.F. I have always said that C.F. has blessed my life in so many ways and the precious relationships and bonds I've formed not only with Lexi but with many fellow CFers are some of the greatest blessings of my life.

I'm not sure how it happens, how you can form such a strong bond and such a deep love for someone you have never even met but I truly loved Emily and felt so connected to her. It sounds cliche to say she never complained but honestly, I never read a blog post that didn't end with a scripture verse and beautiful praise to her Savior. She was one of the most faithful people I have ever met and was an amazing example to me of trusting in the Lord and learning from our trials.

She was a courageous mother and was a huge strength to me as I was pregnant myself. She was such an inspiration to me and seeing her with her beautiful daughter Faith filled me with hope. One thing I know for sure is that Faith will have a guardian angel right by her side for the rest of her life. I know that Emily will never be far from her and will bless Faith's life with her presence.

Emily, I know you are free now and breathing easy. How glorious for you to be reunited with the Savior you loved and worshiped with unwavering strength and faith. I will hold you in my heart and will in your honor, strive every day to be a better mother, to have more faith, to not take one breath for granted and to do everything in my power to bless others and spread joy as you did.

I looked forward to the day that we would finally meet and now I know that reunion will not be in this life but in the next. It will be a sweet embrace. Breathe Easy Dear Friend and give Lexi a hug for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vacation of a Lifetime!

90 Larsens on this Cruise Ship = BEST vacation EVER!!

What a blast we had! My generous uncles were in charge of the annual Larsen Family Reunion this year and decided to take us all on a cruise. It was seriously the highlight of our year and definitely one of the best reunions of all time!

Layover in Atlanta on our way to Miami...playing cards with Soph and Jaydie in the airport

Setting sail! Leaving Miami en route to Labadee.

First port, Labadee. This is what we woke up to!

Second port, Ocho Rios. Most of the family did Dunns River Falls. Mom and I went shopping : )
After we boarded the ship again and got our fill of self serve soft serve, we hit the pools!

Formal night
(my Grandpa is a Stud!)

A Highlight: Every night after dinner we would meet in the "Sky Lounge" for games (name game, mafia, psychiatrist, etc.) During the course of the cruise we picked up a few extra family members...Dustin was our favorite
(after a long night of games...about 2:00 am crammed into elevator on way to get hot cocoa! Set off the elevator alarm)

Another Highlight: Taking ridiculous photos at the photo stations. And even better; watching other people take ridiculous photos without knowing they are ridiculous : ) Witnessing the arrangement for this last picture (everybody involved, ie: the couple and the photographer were COMPLETELY SERIOUS) almost had me peeing my pants.

Hanging out on the boat...
is that Texas Hold em' ?!

Family meeting in one of the conference rooms

Abby and Tony got picked for the Newleywed game and we all gotta a little TMI : )

Rock Climbing on the Ship and the Winning Dodge Ball Team!!

I am so honored and blessed to be a part of this family...

Thank you Dallin and Randy for providing a way for us all to experience this amazing cruise together. There are not words to thank you for your generosity or to explain how much I love both of you!