Sunday, January 8, 2017

Talitha's Baptism and Confirmation - Saturday, September 10, 2016

Recently someone asked me why I haven't posted updates about Talitha. I didn't have a good answer. After all, her life is a miracle. I know that when we were in the middle of the intense trial, the daily blog posts allowed us to remember God and keep everyone updated. It was a sort of life line for which I will always be grateful.

Talitha's baptism at 8 years old was significant not only because of the importance of that ordinance but also because I was told she would live to be baptized. This was a HUGE comfort given most children do not survive Meduloblastoma.

The following is from my journal on her baptism day, September 10, 2016:

My son Trevor baptized Talitha.

Grandpa Peter D. Black was one of the witnesses along with Gary Wood, brother of Phillip Wayne Wood—Talitha’s other grandpa that passed away before Audrey and I were married.

I confirmed Talitha and remember the Spirit was overpoweringly strong. Here are a few thoughts I remember from the blessing:

  • This is a day of prophecy fulfilled
  • Even as she lived that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, even will she yet live to see more and important promises of the Lord fulfilled
  • Talitha is now a daughter of Christ by covenant
  • As she is faithful to Christ—her new covenant Father, He will give her the greatest inheritance of all, Eternal Life
  • She will be protected from the adversary to enable her to continue fulfilling all of her mission and purpose
  • Blessed with power to live according to the Good News of Christ even as the day of His coming to reign personally on the Earth draws nigh
  • Blessed with Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, desire to always repent, strength to keep her baptismal covenant which is re-affirmed and strengthened by the Sacrament each week, power to receive the Holy Ghost as she has been granted this gift, and the ability to endure to the end in so living
  • She has been an example and blessing to her family. She will continue to be a light an example and Her reach will extend even beyond the family now to bring souls unto Christ
  • We all thank Talitha for the service she has already rendered to us all

After the confirmation, Audrey spoke and shared her witness of God’s loving hand in our lives even through trials that can be intense, even overwhelming. She showed two pictures of Tali taken at the Now I Can rehab clinic. One is of her sitting with her head in her hand with a look of complete frustration, exhaustion, even defeat while her therapist is right behind her with loving, kind, strong arms reaching around her to encourage. The other is of her with the same therapist holding her for support while she takes a big step forward. The pictures by themselves brought tears of intense emotion remembering this difficult time and the miracles that brought us through.

Audrey testified that Heavenly Father is right here with us during these times of trial that we all face. Like Talitha in the picture, there are moments of discouragement where we don’t want to go on or don’t know how. Father is right here with us through it all, reaching His arms around us. We also have times of progress where our countenance is bright and we feel great joy in the steps of progress He helps us make. What a beautiful witness of God’s love and constant support to every one of us.

I followed Audrey and told the story of being promised that Talitha would live to be baptized. This revelation was granted very early in the cancer fight when it was anything but certain that Talitha would make it through.  I’ve held to that promise from God and received His comfort over the years. I testified that even as Talitha’s life has great purpose and meaning so does every single life matter. And though each of us is handed trials that can overwhelm, God makes promises to each of us and He always keeps His promises.

I testified of the Good News of Christ and the promise of redemption and hope in Him. I quoted the scripture where Christ told His apostles before His death and resurrection, “In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” I witnessed that these things are true and that we may all rejoice in Christ even through our trials if we will look to Him and live.

It was an absolute joy to feel the Spirit testify through me. The divine words flowed without premeditation or restraint. Praise be to Him, I fulfilled the assignment He gave me to stand as a witness of Him and to testify of truth. I’m so grateful for His words to me in my heart afterwards that He is pleased. It truly was one of the most pure moments I’ve ever experienced where all was aligned with Him—all single to His glory.

Directly following our testimonies, we sang a closing hymn, Gethsemane. So many of us had tears flowing as we sang and Talitha was overcome by the Spirit and unable to sing as she just cried for joy and basked in the light of our loving Savior and Redeemer. What a beautiful thing to behold in my youngest daughter who just received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe it's been two years since we were looking down the barrel of a long battle with cancer starting mid-January of 2010. Then again, it seems like a long, long time ago.

Obviously the updates on Talitha are getting fewer and farther between. That's not because the challenges of life have somehow lost our address. Nor is it because we don't feel deep gratitude for our many, many blessings. Indeed, the support of friends, family, and our loving Father in Heaven are more constant that we could have hoped.

We are no longer in the heat of battle and daily struggle for the life of the little angel for whom this special blog was created to document her valient jouney through some early burning fires of her mortal sojourn. One day she will keep her own record of her on-going journey through what we hope will be a long, full, joyous life on Earth.

Until that time, we will continue to visit here as occasion permits and as the desire remains to provide a record that Talitha is not able to write personally but that hopefully she will someday draw strength from as she reads of the miracles, learning, and strength God gave to us through her life.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I love Christmas! I love everything about Christmas!

Finally a party to celebrate what matters most. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

I love the Christmas story because it tells of the coming of THE central figure in the great plan of salvation. Christmas is a celebration of THE life of the world.

There can never be too many Christmas lights; never too many Christmas songs; never too many Christmas parties and get-togethers; never too much good will; never too much peace on earth; never too much praise and celebration for our great savior and redeemer Jesus Christ!

To everyone, everywhere: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To our families, friends, and neighbors....Thank you for another wonderful year of support, prayers, and friendship. MERRY CHRISTMAS and may God continue to bless us every one!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just bee-cause

Talitha's latest rounds of tests--MRIs, spinal tap, labs, IQ, etc--are encouraging. She's healthy, alert, capable, and progressing. Still a few areas playing catch-up--e.g. mobility up and down stairs--but overall a very positive outlook and indications of even being a little ahead for her age. I recently reviewed some pictures from the days following her brain surgery and know it's a miracle that she's even still with us. Those were some frightening days and weeks hoping and praying that she would "come back".

Tali's zest for life seems only to increase with time. She's getting a little more sure footed as the months pass and gets so excited anywhere she goes that she tries to run, even skip a little. She's polite when she wants to be; and gets her way consistently. She can be bold and demanding but always very tenderhearted especially when someone around her is crying or hurt. She seems to relate to those going through pain of any kind and tries very hard to get a smile back onto their face.

She loved dressing up yesterday as a little bee and even joined in with her brother and sisters in carving pumpkins. But she insisted on having her mom carve a sad pumpkin. So that's what she got. (I guess that's better than a scary or mean pumpkin.)

Interesting to note that after all the trouble Audrey went to in getting costumes put together, Talitha ended up spending a great deal of time walking around the house with a box on her head bumping into things. She loved this original box costume of her own making so much that she insisted on getting her picture taken just like she did with her bee costume.

She keeps us giggling and laughing for sure!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smile and Laugh!

Talitha loves to smile and laugh.

Sometimes her laughter is genuine and deep. Sometimes it's fake. Either way it's infectious. Laughter and smiles breed more laughter and more smiles.

Just yesterday, Audrey was telling me about a documentary she watched about the making of the Star Wars movies. Fascinating, the ingenuity used in the first Star Wars movie when they didn't have unlimited funds (and things like light sabers didn't already exist). But perhaps the most interesting story is about R2D2, the endearing little robot that rolls around and never seems to get too shook up about anything in the crazy shoot-up-the-far-away-galaxy drama.

Well, this little robot character actually had a real, live actor inside controlling the movements and blinking, and rotating, etc... Of all the acting instructions you could give to someone who will never be "seen", what could you possible say other than "have fun" and "remember to push the right buttons at the right time"?

As it turns out, the director instructed this actor to smile. That's! And I guess his reaction was similar to mine when I heard that. After all, what difference could smiling have if no one will ever see your face?

But actors don't get paid to argue with the director so this guy just shook his head and did what he was told. Later on, he reported that the funniest thing started happening as he smiled and smiled inside this little robot can. The smile started showing up in the actions and blinking and movements of R2D2. Not only did the actor start having more fun with the part, people on the set remarked about the noticeable difference. And of course, who doesn't just love R2D2.

Smiling matters. Laughing matters. It changes us and it changes others around us.

When my younger brother called the other day and asked me how my business was doing, I started in telling him all the reasons why things were going great. Well, he knows something of the struggles and challenges of the economy and the recession and what we've been going through with life's trials. So I suddenly stopped and told him the obvious. "Hugh, it's my job to be positive."

Are things getting better? Yes.
Either things really are better, OR... just being positive for so long has talked my brain into believing things really are better. And if the mind can't tell the difference, why not just make the decision to be happy.

Why not decide to smile a little more. And laugh a little more. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO FAKE IT A LITTLE to begin with.

Except for when she's really tired, Tali is one pretty happy little girl. She doesn't wait for life to cheer her up. She decides to be happy and cheers up life!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(Come on over sometime...maybe she'll even do one of her fake laughs for you. It works. I promise you'll smile...and feel better too!)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


What a day of celebration!

Tali was SO excited to turn three. She's been talking about it for months. And was here! She made the most of her day and just beamed.

I've never been more grateful for a birthday. Each day is a miracle in its own way. And a reminder...

Talitha is at the stage where depending on the moment she can look more like a young lady than a baby. I think I'll always see her as "my little girl".

For several days, she has been insistent that she have a birthday hat. And when the Birthday Princess hat appeared, it did not part from her head the whole day--except when the wind blew it off!

This morning when she woke up, she asked her mom, "have you made my cake?"  Even better, she got to help make her cake!

She loved opening her presents! Wish you could have seen some of her facial expressions. We're talking eye-popping, face-stretching delight! Her sisters and mom know exactly what floats her boat--everything Princess!

She loves playing at the park so her birthday party the park.  Too much wind to get the candles lit on her cupcakes. But she pretended to blow them out any way.

The day was everything she imagined and more!

Welcome to another year, Tali.  We love you!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A different kind of summer

What a difference one year makes!

Last summer, Tali really couldn't be outside very much due to problems with sun exposure after chemotherapy.

This year, she'd live outside if we'd let her!

Last summer she was bald.

This summer...well let's just say she would've been right at home in the 80's with her mom and the "big hair" craze.  :-)

She's enjoying life and living to the fullest, almost like she's making up for lost time.

In between work, re-roofing our home, and the craziness of trying to keep up with 6 children ranging in age from 2 to 20, we are enjoying snatches of time together whenever we can find them. 

Gratitude--that's a word I just can't get enough of.  So grateful for the blessings of life, learning, and love. Amazed and grateful Talitha is still with us. How much she has taught me! 

Yes, it's a different kind of summer.

And different is good!