Thursday, April 18, 2019

My Thoughts, 20 Years Later: Part Three

“Broken minds can be healed, just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work, making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, non-judgemental, and kind.”

When I was in college I had a roommate that wanted to write a story for English class about what happened to me. I vulnerably told her my story as she proceeded to take notes to use in her paper. A few weeks later she bounced into our dorm room excited that she had gotten an A on her paper. She said her teacher was so impressed and touched by my story. She said she added a few things to spice it up a bit, and proceeded to read me her paper. What she had written was nothing like what I had told her. She had added horrific,  made up details, because she thought my story wasn’t interesting enough. I was in shock. I had told her about a (still raw) moment in my life that had changed everything for me. It was my  story, and she had changed it. I felt violated and invalidated.

I vowed to never make a person feel like what they went through, or were going through wasn’t hard, or wasn’t a big deal. Everyone goes through trials that are hard. It may seem like someone is going through something that is way harder than you could ever imagine, and it may make you feel like your problems are invalid; that you shouldn’t be so upset over them. This is not the case! Pain is pain, and comes in all shapes and sizes. Every feeling you have is valid and okay to have. Don’t ever feel like you aren’t allowed to grieve, to feel, to have a broken heart just because what someone else is going through seems harder. The reality is, you never know what someone has been through until you walk in their shoes. In the meantime, be there for the people in your life who are struggling. Sit with them, cry with them, listen to them.  Encourage them to feel their pain, and stand by them, somtimes silently, as they work through it.

The best way that I can share my story is through the words that I wrote in my journal three days after April 20, 1999. I shared this once before. The things I went through may not have been as hard as what other people endured, but it is my story.  I have taken out all of the names of people and replaced them with [my friend, a girl, etc] to give those people to the chance to tell their story on their own terms.

This is my story:

April 23, 1999

The past 3 or 4 or however many days it's been, I don't know time just seems to run together, have been the worst of my life. I have never felt this horrible in my life. Let me start at the beginning.... It happened Tuesday, April 20th, a day that will never be forgotten. It started out as any normal day. I had to wear a dress to school for a DECA breakfast and I was in a really bad mood because I couldn't find my black high heels that I wanted to wear with my black skirt. As it turns out, it was better that way. I left for school in a really bad mood. The only class I went to that day was journalism. Right after first hour I left school with [my best friend] to go to the DECA breakfast, which was at the Wellshire Inn. The breakfast was so much fun. Everyone had a great time. Little did we know that this was one of the last fun times we would have in a while. After the breakfast we all headed back to school. After getting lost, then stopping by my house to get candy for my seminary devotional, we headed back to school for lunch. We parked in the student lot joking around as usual. We walked up the stairs and put my candy in my locker then went down to the cafeteria and sat at a table near a door by the windows. We sat with [five other girls.] Everything was totally normal. It all seems like a dream and I remember everything happening in slow motion. I just had got done eating the crackers in my lunchable when [a girl] ran in the door hysterical. She was like, "HELP, HELP!" and she started shaking [my friend,] and pulling her outside. We stood up and looked out the window. I saw [a friend,] hunched over with [a boy,] trying to lift her up. My first initial reaction was, she's choking and needs the Heimlich maneuver. So we ran outside first was [My best friend] followed by me, then, [two other girls.] Then, we heard something that sounded like a pop or something. We didn't really know what was going on and then my friend was like, "oh my gosh someones shooting!" and she pushed us back in. Everyone got under the tables. I remember looking up and seeing a janitor by my table with a look of terror on his face, running around. I don't remember who told us to get under the table but we did. [The girl] who had ran in from outside was under our table. She was hysterical. She was screaming, "[She] got shot" and saying her name over and over.  [My best friend] and I were holding her telling her everything was going to be alright, still totally confused about what was going on. Then, [the boy] , who we had seen with [our friend] outside, ran in and hunched down near our table. His face was indescribable. He said in disbelief to the janitor who pulled him in, "She got shot!". His hands were covered in blood from trying to help her. I don't know how long we were under the table. It couldn't have been very long, although it seemed like forever. All of a sudden we heard the sound of gunshots coming from the far end of the cafeteria by the vending machines. I think someone yelled, "run!" and it was just chaos from there. [My friend] started crying and saying over and over, "Where's my brother....." I was clenched onto her arm pulling her, we ran up the stairs. It was like in a movie where a huge mob of people are fleeing. As we were running up the stairs all we could hear was screaming and gunshots. It was coming closer and closer. We were running for our lives. All of a sudden, [my friend] fell, and there was a huge stampede, and I ....kept running. I will never forgive myself for leaving her. No matter how many times people tell me there was too big of a stampede and I would never have been able to find her. To me, I should not have run. It is killing me to think of her lying there on the floor getting run on top of, and me just running out the door. I ran straight out the door with a huge mob of other students, and straight across the street, no one looking before they ran across. When we got across I saw [another friend], and ran up to her. That is when I totally lost it. I started bawling and she was trying to comfort me. No one really knew what was going on. I saw [two other friends] and told them that [a girl] had been shot, and they started crying too. I ran up to [my best friend’s brother] and asked if he knew where [she] was. He didn't. I asked where my sister was, and no one knew. Every time people would run out of the school, I would look for [my best friend] and my sister but I never saw them. Then, suddenly, there were gunshots from the front of the school. We thought they were running out the front doors towards us, so everyone just ran. I couldn't find anyone and finally I found [my two friends]nagain. We linked arms again and ran down the street bawling. People were running everywhere. It was complete confusion. Everyone was scared, so scared....

That is where my journal entry ended. I remember not know what else to say or to think, but I just knew I had to get my thoughts down. 

Thank you to everyone who has been so loving and supportive as I have gone way out of my comfort zone and shared my thoughts. It has been more healing than I ever could have imagined. I will share a few more thoughts over the next few days, but I just wanted to express my deep appreciation to all those who have reached out to me in love. It means more than you know.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My Thoughts, 20 Years Later: Part Two

Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies of the Lord are real and they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.” - David A. Bednar

As I have grown older, I have been able to reflect and see how the Lord’s hand has constantly been in the details of my life. I love looking for tender mercies, and little miracles that happen each day. The more I acknowledge them, the more of them I notice. There were many tender mercies that happened that day. It is so, so, SO easy to get wrapped up in the horrific events that occured. I find myself doing that a lot, especially this time of year. But as I have recognized the tender mercies from that day, it has helped my heart to heal. Here are a few from my story.  Some may seem silly, but it is a testament to me that God is always in the details if we take a closer look:

  • I could not find my high heels to wear that day. I had to dress up for a DECA breakfast, and I REALLY wanted to wear my cute black heels. I was so mad that I couldn’t find them, and so I begrudgingly settled on some flats. Of course I had no idea that in a few short hours I would be running for my life as fast as I could, up a staircase, down a hall, out the door, down a steep hill, across a busy road, and over a fence. Had I been in heels, I would not have been able to run as fast or as easily. I know it wasn’t just an annoying coincidence that I could not find them to wear, but a tender mercy.
  • Driving back from the DECA breakfast, my best friend and I got lost. It took us a good 15 minutes longer than it should have to get back to school. We were just beginning lunch, instead of finishing. I don’t know where we would have been had we not been late. I think of all the times we would walk outside and up the side hill, sometimes stopping by the library. It’s easy to get caught up in the what-ifs. But something tells me we were supposed to get lost, so we were where we were when it all began.
  • I was running with my best friend. We were linking arms holding onto each other. When we reached the top of the stairs, we heard more shots to our right. There was so much chaos. Amidst this chaos we were separated. I thought she was right behind me but she wasn’t. When I got out of the school I stood at the edge of the field as close as I could get, looking at the doors I had ran out of,  waiting for her to come out. I thought for sure she had to be right behind me. I had no idea she had been trampled and ended up stuck in a classroom for hours. Although the guilt of that has haunted me for years, there was a tender mercy in it. I was so worried as the hours went on. I didn’t know where she was. As I sat glued to the tv, hours later her picture came across the screen. I burst into tears when I saw her, and saw that she was safe. As soon as it was possible, I was able to see that she was okay, and I didn’t have to wait any longer. Such a tender mercy.
  • I was in the cafeteria. There was a bomb that had been placed and set to go off as we ate. It was found a few tables from where I was sitting. Had it gone off as planned, everyone in that cafeteria would have been killed. It wasn’t until months later that we found out that the only reason it didn’t go off was because of a faulty wire. A tender mercy....a miracle really.
  • Brandon had just left the school prior to when everything happened. He went home to drop off his car to be repaired. I am forever grateful that he was not present at the school during the shooting, as he tends to move closer to the action instead of away when things happen. It is his natural instinct to jump in and help right away. I feel like him not being there, prevented him from jumping into harm's way. Something that could be justified as just a coincidence, but a tender mercy in my eyes.
  • My sister was saved by our principal, who had been in the right place at just the right time to stop her and her friends from walking into the line of fire. They were unknowingly headed right where everything was happening when he heard them. The gym doors that were directly behind them were locked because the school had gone into lockdown. He had a key ring which held every key to the school. He had no idea which key unlocked the door. They were in a panic not knowing if they were being followed and they were terrified. The first key that he tried, unlocked the door, allowing the girls  to be hidden and safe, while he ran on to figure out what was happening. He has said that he tried to do the same thing time and time again to see if he could randomly choose the correct key, and has never been able to. It is a not a coincidence that the first key he tried unlocked the door. It was a tender mercy.
  • My grandparents were visiting from Idaho. It was such a blessing to have them there. They brought us comfort, and hugs and strengthened us as we went through the unimaginable. It was a tender mercy for them as well, as I know it would have been torture for them to be so far away from us.
  • When I reached the outside of the school I congregated with several other students in the front of the school. Moments later more gunshots were heard coming form the front of the school. Sure that they were coming after us, we all began running, crying, down the road into the neighborhood across from the school. I live in that neighborhood. A car stopped and picked up two friends and I. They drove me to my house. The door was locked. Too terrified to wait outside, we went to an acquaintances house around the corner. I was able to get ahold of my mom who rushed over to get me. As soon as I saw her I ran out the doors and into her safe, open arms. I’m so grateful I was able to be reunited with family so quickly, and that our parents were able to find out that we were safe without having to wait for hours to know. I have faced guilt about this as well though, and have had to make a conscience effort to just be grateful for that tender mercy that day.

I am so grateful for the tender mercies amidst the darkness that day. I have heard of so many more from my classmates’ stories as well. Focusing on these, have helped me to overcome the trauma and the feelings of guilt I have had, and still have from time to time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My Thoughts, 20 Years Later: Part One

  I want to believe this.
When you’re growing up, and a vulnerable teenager, sometimes it feels like the world revolves around you. Twenty years ago, I can definitely say that was my frame of mind. A 17 year old girl whose mind was consumed with the gossip of prom from the previous weekend, as she sat with friends in the lunchroom that day, having arrived late to lunch after getting lost coming home from a DECA breakfast. Its funny how details from our everyday life are easily forgotten, yet other things become etched in your mind, not able to be forgotten even if you try. The clothes I wore, the food I was eating, the conversation we were having, all etched in my mind forever. The screams, the confusion, the running, the looks of terror on everyone around us… etched there forever. Every year as the anniversary rolls around I go into it with the same frame of mind-- it's just a normal day. Let’s just keep on going on. Nothing has to be said, nothing has to be felt, it’s just a normal day. I’m not sure why I feel that way, but I always do. Yet as the day comes closer, no matter how hard I try, my body won’t let me forget. It’s not just a normal day, and never will be, and that’s okay. It’s a part of my past that will always be there.

When something traumatic happens at such a young age, it’s sometimes hard to know whether something you are going through is a result of that. Am I this way because of what I went through, or is that just how I am? Does the reason even matter? Everything we go through shapes us in some way or another. My experiences at Columbine and since, have shaped me into the person I am 20 years later, a person who is still growing and changing, and learning.  As I reflect on the past 20 years, it almost feels surreal. When Columbine happened, school shootings were not something that happened. Since then, they have become a normal occurrence. People want things to change. Everyone has their own idea of what needs to happen. I feel like the best thing we can do is to lift where we stand. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can influence the people around us. We can teach our children to be kind, to reach out to others, to have compassion, to rely on the Savior in everything. He will take our burdens, He will lift us up, and He will work through us to life those around us. I have to focus on the good or else I will be engulfed by the bad.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Red Ants


The other day Scarlett and I were outside and she was riding her bike. I was sitting on the porch stairs watching her as she was zooming around squealing with delight at how fast she had learned to go. She stopped to take a break for a minute. Suddenly she looked down at her leg and then up at me, completely alarmed. She started riding towards me as fast as she could screaming, "A bug! A bug!" I hopped up just as she arrived in front of me. Her panic had increased as she was screaming that there was a bug on her leg. I looked down to see a red ant crawling up her leg. I quickly flicked it away before the ant was able to bite her, and all was well. As I thought about that quick little experience I couldn't help but compare it to life and to raising children. Scarlett didn't know that she could just reach down and brush the ant off her leg. She needed me to do it; to show her what to do. Next time she will probably be able to brush it off herself. Just like in life as children are learning and growing, they need to be shown through teaching and example, what to do. If I had not brushed the ant off, it would probably have bitten her. There are many things out there that will "bite" our children if we don't teach them how to push them away. I feel like there are so many things bombarding our kids each day, and Satan is having a hay day trying to lead people astray. We have been told over and over that what was sufficient in the past, will not longer be sufficient enough when teaching our kids the gospel. They will have to withstand so much more than we ever had to, and I feel like we had to withstand a lot! This terrifies me to no end. I am constantly wondering if I am doing enough to teach my kids, and to help them to develop their own testimonies of the gospel that they will be able to stand on. What a huge responsibility we have as parents to teach our kids the right way to go. Does that mean that things will always go perfectly and our kids will never make wrong choices or get "bitten"? No. That red ant could have bitten Scarlett before I was able to flick it away. Then I would have been there to comfort her and help to treat the bite. Our kids will make mistakes. They will feel hurt and pain from mistakes, and when that happens it is so important for us be there to help  to nurse the wounds and to help them through it. I try to always tell my kids that no matter what they do I will always be here for them; that they can always come to Brandon and I, and that they can always turn to prayer and to their Heavenly Father for comfort and counsel.  I hope and pray they know that is true. I hope and pray that Brandon and I are doing what we can to not only protect them from the "bites" in life, but to help them to know how to protect themselves. I love being a mom. I am going to school right now to further my education, and I love that too. But I know that my most important job is to be the kind of mom that my kids need; to help them to learn to stand on their own, and to know they are always loved, and that there is nothing that they can't do. 

Helamen 5:12 says, " And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

God Gave Us Families - free print - LDS conference printable - Gdesigned:

                                               It's never too early or too late to lead, guide, and walk beside our children because families are forever.  Bradley D. Foster, October 2015:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Grandma....

To my sweet grandmother.  Oh how I miss you. We laid you to rest on February 13th in Lewiston Idaho. You are now in heaven, free from the bounds of Alzheimers that held you for the past seven years. Even though I know that you are happy, I will miss you so much. I have missed you for the past several years as we have seen the disease slowly take you from us. At the beginning I remember thinking that you would never forget us, how could you? How was that even possible? That is the horrible reality of Alzheimers. I remember talking to my mom and talking about how even though you could not remember the conversation that we would have, minutes after it happened, in those few minutes that we were talking, it was you.  We treasured. those little moments.  Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother and friend. I will cherish all of the memories that I have with you.

When I saw you in your casket at the funeral, you did not look like yourself. But then I noticed, that even though your face did not look the same, your hair looked perfect. I think if you had to choose, you would have chosen to have your hair perfect =)  You always took great care of your hair, and although we teased you about how much time you spent on it, it was a great lesson of the importance of always trying to look your best. 

A few days before you passed away I had a dream. I want to record it so I do not forget it. In the dream we were going to a large house. In this house we were able to see the spirits of our relatives who had passed away. They were all sitting in a row, waving at us, so happy to see us. As I looked down the line, I saw someone flickering in and out, like they were not completely there. I realized it was you. Sitting right next to you was your mother, exactly as I remember her when she was alive, but a little younger looking. You looked younger too. Your arms were linked and she was clasping your hand so tight. She was pointing to everyone and explaining to you what was happening. You both looked so happy.

The next morning my mom text me and told me that you had been placed in hospice care and only had a few more days to live. This was shocking. We knew that the disease would take you, but we had no idea that it would be so soon. I am grateful for the tender mercy that my dream was. I know that you were surrounded by angels in your last days, who were helping to prepare you to leave this earth. For the past several months, you had been asking for your mother everyday, I know as soon as she was able to grab a hold of you and hug you, she did. How hard it must have been to see you suffering and wanting her so badly. I know that you saw your dear daughter Kristin Joe, who passed away several years ago. I still remember her smile even though I was so young when she passed away. I was able to read her journals a few years back, and came to know the wonderful person she was . She loved you so much. I know she was there to welcome you into heaven and that, the reunion with her was glorious. 

I feel strongly that during your last days the veil was very thin. I think you were aware of what was happening and that your time on earth was coming to an end. I think you knew that grandpa, and your two daughters on earth were lovingly sitting by you, soaking up every last minute that they had with you. I like to think that for brief a moment the Alzheimers was gone, and you were very aware of who they were and remembered how much you loved them. I think that your heart would not be content leaving until you were able to let them how much you loved them and that you wanted them to know that you knew who they were. For a brief moment one morning you opened your eyes. Grandpa told you that my mom and aunt were there. You said, "I know they are". What a tender mercy and a gift. A gift that you were able to give them.

Speaking of grandpa. My mom has a quote in her home that says, "True Love Never Grows Old." From the moment I saw that, I thought of you and grandpa. Grandpa took such good care of you. Even though you may not have completely known who he was, he never forgot who you were, and how much he loved you. You were and will always be his sweetheart, and he treated you that way until your last day on earth. What I great example of selfless unconditional love. 

At your funeral I was reminded of some of the things you use to say such as, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."  And, "pretty is as pretty does." I was able to use one of those sayings with Alexis today. I want to keep your memory alive for my children. I want them to know the wonderful woman that you were, and how much you impacted me in my life. 

I know that I will see you again. I know that you are happy. I know that you are now watching over us, and that you are you again. For that I am so grateful.

I love you grandma,



Friday, February 19, 2016

January Re-Cap

My cousin did a monthly re-cap post, and I thought it was a great idea! I have been wanting to get back into blogging and it seemed like the perfect way. It may end up only being this one month, but one is better than none! So here is a look at January of 2016:

We were originally supposed to be back in Rexburg for New Years, but Alexis talked us into staying in Colorado so that she could go to the New Years Eve dance with her friends. It was her first stake dance, since they rarely have them in Rexburg, and she had so much fun. The theme was Star Wars.

I somehow didn't get a picture of the rest of us celebrating New Years, but we had a blast celebrating with the Beyerleins and Shaws. Oh how we miss our Colorado friends!

We were welcomed back to Rexburg with freezing cold temperatures.
But I guess it was much colder the two weeks we were gone, so we are glad we missed that! It has been very cold, and we have had a lot of snow. I really miss Colorado winters, where it can snow in the morning and melt by the afternoon. That's definitely not the case here. It snows, and stays there all winter long, turning a lovely muddy brown color.

We have a metal roof that slants downward. So this sight is a common occurrence when we walk out our front door:
The snow slides right off onto our walkway which is quite a pain and we are constantly dodging falling snow =)

The first Sunday in January Scarlett went to Sunbeams! She was so excited and loved it so much. Her excitement has faded as the weeks have gone on, but she still enjoys it for the most part. 

Brandon and I and the kids started back to school shortly after we arrived back in Rexburg. We have a pretty busy schedule during the week. Brandon and I worked our school schedules out so that one of us is always home with Scarlett. So there is a lot of shuffling around. Scarlett started back to preschool at the College and absolutely loves it. They have a two way mirror that the parents can watch through and there are two days a week where Brandon and I can watch her for about 20 minutes. We love it. Last semester she was a little more timid, but she is really opening up a lot this semester. Her teachers tell us that all of the little girls want to play with her. I didn't get a picture of the first day this semester but here is the first day of last semester. She is so cute and little. I love it! 

It took a few weeks after we got back to take down our Christmas tree, but it was nice to finally get it down.

Scarlett finally had her first hair cut. I was at school when I got a call from Brandon that he was taking her to get a hair cut. I was really sad because it was her first one! He assured me that he would take pictures, and get a lock of her hair. You can't even tell that it was cut, but at least we got the split ends off. We love her long hair!

 We had a really busy month with the kids' activities. Alexis's cheer season was in full swing. She had practice 4-5 mornings a week bright and early. She never complained. That's how you know they love what they are doing =)  

One Saturday we had so many things going on I didn't know how we would keep it all straight. I posted something on Facebook about all the things that we had going on and one of my friends made a comment that really affected the way I looked at it. She said that she used to have days like that with her kids, and now that they are grown she really misses it. She said to enjoy it before it is gone. Brandon and I really took her words to heart. When we are busy running here and there we are trying to be grateful for our busy days. 

On this particular day, Alexis and Tori both had cheer competitions, Levi had a basketball game, and then Tori had a Ballroom performance. 

Scarlett was such a trooper watching all of the performances that day. She only had a few meltdowns. But it was nothing that a candy bribe couldn't fix =)  As you can see, Scarlett is still in love with lip gloss (or in this case, lip stick)

Tori had two completely different hair styles and makeup to do that day. It was quite the challenge to get it switched over in between, but I think we managed okay =)

Alexis had  basketball games to cheer at at least 3 times a week. I loved going to watch her cheer when I could. I was able to snap a few pictures when when she wasn't looking =)

Most of our Sunday afternoons were spent at the Sardakowski's house watching the Broncos play. They were always so sweet to have us over since we don't have cable. Sadly these are the only two pictures I got, haha. We got more on Super Bowl Sunday, but I'll save that for next month's post =)

Like I mentioned, we had a lot of snow in January. It made for some fun days playing in the snow. Scarlett only lasted for a few minutes each time. Tori, a little longer, Lexi not at all,  and Levi the longest. He made some snow forts with his friends and spent many hours out there having snow ball fights. 

Elder Bednar came to BYU-Idaho in January and we had the pleasure of hearing him speak. It was so wonderful to hear his words, and we especially loved going to "Date night with the Bednars"  

I am finding that post-it notes help me to stay more organized with my school work. Alexis thought it would be funny to draw faces on the corners of a whole stack of them. It did make me smile when I pulled them  out of my backpack =)

It's still hard trying to find a good balance between school, and being a mom. Tori has been so great to step in with Scarlett and play with her when I am not able to. On this particular day they made monsters.

I recently got called into Cub Scouts at church. I would be lying if I said that I was excited about this calling. I was a little sad at first, especially since Levi was no longer in the age group that I was going to be over. But I quickly grew to love it. Levi has been able to come to some activities since his Weblos leader was sick for a while. On this particular activity we learned all about recycling, and the boys made creatures out of recyclable items. 

And that wraps up January. We are well into February and have had a busy month already. Hopefully I will be back next month to record about it =)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Yearly Post

Maybe I should change this blog's title to: "Cindy's Happy Birthday Blog" =) I have to do my yearly post! Cindy never forgets to do a birthday post for anyone in our family. Each parent, sibling, in law, niece and nephew gets a heartfelt message from Cindy on their birthday that I know we all look forward to.

Cindy has been through a lot the past few years as her and AJ have gone to all lengths to expand their family. Although it has been absolutely heartbreaking and devastating for both Cindy and AJ, I am constantly amazed at their strength and faith through it all. Cindy has a great talent for writing and is always able to put her thoughts into such eloquent words. I have always enjoyed reading what she writes. But there is just something different about the writing she does about the trials that she has endured. There is a special spirit that permeates from the page, and I know that her words are inspired and meant to reach, comfort, and help heal many people who find themselves in similar situations as her.  She may be my younger sister, but I look up to her so much. She is such a great example to me. She is a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. We are so blessed to be able to live closer to Cindy and her sweet family. The hardest thing about being in Rexburg is being so far from family, and so having them closer is good for my soul.

Happy Birthday Cindy! I know you will be spoiled and showered with love from AJ, your girls  and all of your friends there. I can't wait to come see you in a few weeks. Thank you for being such a wonderful sister. I love you!