Gratitude and Testimony

The other night, Topher and I were reading a story to Grace before bedtime.  Grace is always very attentive and alert for stories at night...she looks with big big eyes at all the pictures, touches all the pages, and even turns them occasionally when you ask her to...

The story we were reading to her a few nights ago is Fanny's Dream....for all of you who have not read this story...you truly need to...it is a wonderful story about how life does not always turn out the way you had planned or imagined...The main character is Fanny...a sturdy, not necessarily beautiful, girl who lives on a farm.  She dreams of marrying a Prince..or someone like that.  And she's sure that her Fairy Godmother will come and make all her dreams come true, just like all the Princesses in the story books.  But on the night of a big dance at the Mayor's house...no Fairy Godmother shows up...instead Heber, a nice farm boy shows up, and asks her to marry him...it says that "even with all that moonlight" it took Fanny "an hour to give up her dreams".  And then it talks about her life...not ending up the way she planned...
A few lines in the story have stuck with me, and actually, when Topher read them aloud to Grace, I heard the 'choke up' in his voice as he read these lines, and then had to chuckle, because the same lines had brought tears to my eyes as well--
"I'm not a prince and I don't live in a castle--but I have dreams of my own.  I need a wife who will work by my side, through thick and thin, sweat and joy, and be glad for good food and great company..."
At that moment, I realized that my life truly had not turned out the way I had ever thought it would.  I had plans for Miss Utah, for college, for BYU-Idaho, traveling, dating.  I never imagined marrying someone like Topher, or having to quit school to have a baby, and never could have imagined having a baby that required so much care, attention...and money.  However, I also never could have imagined the happiness my life has brought me.  
I am so grateful for my little family, for everything we have been blessed with.  With the trials we have faced, we have also always had even more blessings to balance it all out.  With every hurt, there has been tremendous joy also.  I love my little Grace so...she has taught me so much about life, about love and about family, and also about myself.  And I know she said in the pre-existence, that she could and would, bare her burdens and touch those around her with her sweet and feisty spirit.  
I adore my husband.  For those of you who have known me a long time...you know that Topher was never my type...my type was on the dirt-bag end of the spectrum..and Topher is purely angelic.  I am so tremendously lucky and blessed to have made such a catch for a husband.  He is wonderful in every way.
I also am so blessed to have my family.  My sweet sisters and amazing mom, they are my lifelines when times get hard.  The rest of my family-- immediate, extended and in-laws-- also are wonderful.  They are so supportive and helpful, and always willing to jump right in and lend a hand if I but only ask.
I am so grateful for the Priesthood and for all the worthy and willing Priesthood holders in my life.  Blessings have saved, comforted and calmed little Grace so many times.  It is an amazing miracle and blessing to have this power in our lives.  Not only have blessings helped Grace so much, but they have been a sanity saver for me also.  They always soothe and calm me, as well as boost my confidence and help me remember how much I am loved by my Father in Heaven.
I am so grateful also to have the gospel in my life.  So many times since Grace has been born, have I fallen on my knees and cried, because the burden was too much and I didn't think I could do anymore, but immediately my spirits would be lifted...Heavenly Father would use my family to help me...by them sending me a note, or a package, calling to say hello, or running over to help me...and if none of these happened, it was because Jesus decided to carry me instead...this is probably what has happened the most.  Never before have I been carried and shielded through my problems so much.  I know that my Savior loves and watches over me.  I know he has felt all the same pains I have, and that he truly knows what I am going through.  I also know that he is always there to lift me up or sheild me.  And even more so, I know that he is always watching over Grace, and that, as in a painting my sisters and mom recently bought her, she is always being kept safe 'under his wing'.  He is my best friend, my brother, and my Savior.   
I am so blessed, it is amazing.  I'm so grateful for my life.
And no, it did not turn out the way I had thought, imagined or planned...
but, as it says in Fanny's Dream...
"Heber figured that it hadn't been easy for Fanny to give up on her dreams, so he made it a point to wait on her at least once a day, (by rubbing my feet, playing with my hair), as if she were a princess, and every so often he wiped the grime off the windows, (cleaned the toilets, took out the trash)"
Later, Fanny is outside her little house and it is years, and 3 babies later...but her Fairy Godmother shows up, and tells her to hurry up, there's still time to get a nice visiting Colonel as a beau, who is at the Mayor's house...The Fairy Godmother asks --
"Well, do you want to go to the ball or not?"
Fanny looked down at her work roughened hands.  She looked at the little house where Heber was reading to Davy, Ethan, and Edna Faye.  "Not," Fanny said, and she went back into the house""
Later, Heber jokes that he is the "Prince of Sahiba"...Fanny winks at him and says, "Close enough...Close enough"
To that I say that no, my life is not as I planned....it is better, and more than I ever could have planned, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Thank you all so much for your constant prayers in our behalf.  We pray for all of you as well.  We are always thinking of you and grateful for all of your help and support in our lives.  We hope and pray you are all well and happy...and if not, that someone will be sent to you to lift your spirits. :)
Love the Andersens
I know I didn't really update much on Grace...so, just a quick note that she is doing well.  She is happy and healthy.  Not interested in eating yet...and not really gaining weight...but not losing any either.  She is sleeping well and her heart is still perfect and healthy.  She is sweet and fun, and we love her so much.  She is learning how to get attention, high pitched whimpering, and kicking her feet like crazy. She's doing great...and we'll try to post some pictures soon. :)  


Kaleena said...

Thank you soo much for sharing all of that Buggy! That's all I have to say.

aj said...

Thanks for sharing all those beautiful thoughts, Buggy.

I really love that book as well, and I totally agree with its message and everything you said. Life is never how you expect it to be, but if you use Heavenly Father's guidance to make your decisions along the way - just as you've done - then it ends up better than any dream you could have EVER had :)

Kisses for Grace :* :*

Mythreesons said...

Oh, Little Bug. You at times display more wisdom than I ever imagined you capable of...;) I love that book... it's one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing your testimony and sweet thoughts with us. Thank you for always thinking of me... thanks again for the sweet package. I love you!

Bev said...

I repeat what kaleena said. or is that cheating:)

Ryan & Brytten Pettit said...

DIDO...that was beautiful and perfect!

Sara and Company said...

Love you all so much! And how is it that those deserving of the most boost are the ones that seem to give it to the rest of us the best? Thank you.

Katie said...

I love your post. What a beautiful story...I NEED to read that one! Thanks for sharing- I'm so glad Gracey is doing so well. She's truly amazing!

Katie & Maddie

Super Daysh said...

That was really sweet Bug. As always, I am inspired by you and your little family and your incredible amounts of faith. You continue to be an example to me and I just love you so much! (I even love Topher and little angle Grace too). We love you and are grateful that you teach us all you do too.

Nicolle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
princess jen said...

That is a wonderful book. We've borrowed from the library on numerous occasions and it never fails to make me cry (then again...what doesn't?!) I'm glad you find so much inspiration from it. Love you!!

Anonymous said...

Way to make me cry. I think I gave you that book when you two got married. I love it and I love you. Your stength has become legend. I am so happy that Toph picked you out of all of the girls in the kingdom. You are indeed a princess and prince in training. Someday, because of your faith, you will be a king ad queen.

I love you,

Grandma Atkinson

Liz said...

You're adorable!! I'm so glad things are doing well. Your spirit is amazing and you're wonderful!

Izabell said...

Hello! my daughter Izabell was bron with a CHD also and is looked after by seattle childrens as well. I came across your blog and wanted to say hello! you can visit her blog at

I just wanted to say hello!

There is a heart support group that meet at Children's the 1st Sunday of every month. We meet at 2pm -4pm in the meeting rooms by the cafeteria. Heart-to-Heart Congenital Heart Defects Support Group.

info on this group here...
This parent-led support group is for Puget Sound families of children affected by heart issues. We welcome families dealing with congenital heart defects (CHD), heart conditions from illness, heart transplant, or who are grieving the loss of a child to a heart condition.

We are here for parents who have been told that their unborn baby may have a heart problem. This group is also a place for our heart kids and their siblings to meet others who have gone through similar times.

We meet once a month at Children's Hospital in Seattle. Childcare is offered during the meetings. If you would like to join us or you want to know more, please call Josephine Young, MD at (425) 827-4600 or e-mail heartmom1204@yahoo.com.

Austin (the uncle) said...

Go Grace!!! why no news of the triathlon? i think that is a big deal!

aj said...

OHHHHH, I love the new blog template, Buggy :)

Candace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Candace said...

I just wanted to let you know that I really apreciate you sharing this. It has inspired me to start my own blog :). Hope you guys continue to do well!
~ Candace Calder

Jenn said...

Buggy! (Ok, it's not a name I ever called you, but I know if I attempt to spell your name, I'd butcher it. So, sorry.)
It was good to see you at WAL-MART! (of all places!) the other day. I can't get over what an amazingly beautiful woman you have become. I am so happy to read you and your family are doing so well. Gracey must be amazing. She'll have to meet my Johnny. You saw the kid- he'll show her how to put on the lbs!

Allison said...

Love this post! & I love all of the pictures in the previous post!
When you get a minute will you send me your e-mail address??? Thanks!


Thoughtful Runner said...

What can a person really add to what you have written and shared here? Suffice it to say, I think you are pretty amazing - and I obviously still have much to learn about the depth of breadth of your wisdom, understanding, faith and testimony. Thank you for sharing.