Friday, July 3, 2009


So I may be pushing it a little with the title of this one, but I like it anyway. This is just a quick story of a previous camping trip. First off I would like to say that camping in the middle of June is kind of a mistake to begin with unless you are in the mountains or way up north. That being said we camped out last weekend in June for a family reunion. Other than the fact that is was above 90 degrees and extremely muggy it started out like normal. We got to the Badin Lake camp site and set up. My family and one of my sisters were the first to show up followed later by my ma and and some neices and nephews. We had some fun that first day and tried our best to sleep through the heat the first night. Then on the second night everyone else showed up. Nothing to exciting to talk about yet, but now comes the fun part... on the second night there was this storm. My sister Leslie had started getting her kids to bed which got everyone else to start doing the same. Luckily she started that because about the time they were all down we noticed some lightning and distant thunder. Nothing too scary or threatening, but we saw it coming anyway. My ma just said it was heat lightning and was convinced of that. My wife and I were more convinced that it was an actual storm since most "heat lightning" isn't followed by thunder. Anyway, we got things put away and covered for the night and just as we were getting in our tents to lay down it started to sprinkle. So.... Now we know it is not heat lightning. We still weren't worried about it and we were trying to drift off to sleep without sweating to death or sticking to our air mattress when the storm started getting a little more intense. The rain got a little heavier and the thunder got louder. It continued to intensify until it was right on top of us. At this point we were not sleeping as the claps of thunder were so loud that they were shaking the tent and the lightning seemed to light the sky without end. One flash after another and one loud clap of thunder followed by a constant low rumble and seconds later another loud clap. We definitely weren't sleeping now, except for Kaiya that is. Somehow when we go to check on her at home she stirs when we quietly tip toe into her room, but during this freak storm she did not even budge. Then something hit our tent! What it was we are not sure of, but we do know that it was solid and it scared the hell out of us. I was sitting straight up now and listening intently to what was going on outside the thin walls of our shelter. Then suddenly there was a loud crack and a thud followed by one of the scariest sounds I have ever heard. It was the sound of my mom screaming for help. My wife and all of heaven as a witness, I through on my shorts and flew out of my tent at record speed. My wife asked in the frenzy what she should do and I replied that she should stay with Kaiya and I would be right back. Without thinking twice about anything and putting my fears of getting struck aside I ran over to my parents tent. I had my glasses on and it was pouring rain, I couldn't see to well so what I did see in the dark made my heart drop for a moment. I thought that I full size tree had fallen over on my parents tent and the worst thoughts came to mind. When I got to the tent I soon realized it was just a branch, thank goodness. However, it was a large branch from the top of a nearby tree. I began to pull the branches off my parents collapsed tent along with my 8 month pregnant sister. She truly is amazing, and suprises me at times. By all miracles when the branches were off the tent sprung back to it's original shape. The poles had not broken, but there was a hole in the tent and water was pouring in. I apparently pushed my sister aside to get in the tent to check on my parents and youngest sister and when I decided all was well and nobody was hurt to bad I returned to my tent to be with my beautiful wife and still sleeping baby. The rest is just waiting out the storm and packing to go home. All in all, I felt I had a superhero moment only to find out how exhausting it is. I'm not sure I would want to do it full time! Through it all though I realized how thankful I am for my parents and I am so happy that nothing serious happened to my dad. It bruised his chest a little, but he is ok now. So the moral of the story is..... Don't camp in June when there is rain! Hurricane season is coming.... time for my nice comfy bed. Good Night!

Kaiya and Me

So It's been forever since I was last on here, but I have a few stories that I need to record and where better than on my blog where hopefully it will always be. My little Kaiya is now 1 year old and she is absolutely amazing. Her smile can lighten the mood of anybody around and her laugh is extremely contagious. She is now walking a little on her own and says momma and dadda.... maybe. At least that is what it sounds like. She gets total strangers that normally wouldn't give anyone else the time of day to just stop and admire her. She is adored by almost all around her and we couldn't be happier with her. She is, no doubt, one of the greatest physical blessings in my life aside from my extremely supportive and loving wife. Lately she has had a lot of teeth breaking through at the same time so she is a little fussier and clingy than normal, but we still can not imagine how life ever was without her. Now that I have gone on about her for a bit, I need to tell about what happened not to long ago that struck me very deeply. At a younger age she showed signs that she loved animals, especially underwater animals. I'm not sure if it's the fact that she can get right up to the glass and see many colorful fish swimming right by the tank or if it is like a very realistic tv, but she just giggles and stands at fish tanks forever just talking to the fish. That being said, one of her favorite places is the Aquarium. We were down at the Fort Fisher Aquarium not to long ago enjoying watching her stare at the animals. As I stood her up at one of the tanks, she was in her world watching everything when she looked away from the tank directly at me and said "Dad". Her eyes seemed to linger on me for a few moments before she looked away again. Now she's done many cute and amazing things that make me love her, but this one moment in my life is one that I may hopefully never forget. That moment created an unbreakable bond between me and her and I hope to be able to fully relay this moment to her as she gets older. To Kaiya many years from now if this is still here..... I love you baby! I always will! Trust in me and I will do my best to lead you on the straight and narrow!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The life I live.....

So it's been a long while since I have graced my blog. Been busy, a little lazy and I guess I just don't write about everything I do I suppose. But tonight I just wanted to write a little update on the year so far. A lot has happened since I last wrote in January. First I want to go on a little about my litte girl, Kaiya. She has been amazing in every way. She has her first birthday on the 18th of this month and I can't believe we are at this point already. Seems like just yesterday that she was the size of my forearm and weighed about 5 pounds. Now a year later she still barely comes to my knees and only weighes 17 pounds, but she's trying to walk and can at least say "hi" and "dad". Good enough for me, I couldn't be more proud! My wife and I have been extremely lucky to have such an easy going and happy little girl. Anyway, so since January it seems like we have been everywhere. My wife's grandmother died in Jan. so she was gone for a few days, then all was quiet until. April when she suprised me for my birthday and we headed out to the Columbia, SC zoo and then on to Carowinds for a little roller coaster action. Then on that same weekend, she threw me a suprise party, at which I was definetely suprised. Then on to May, where my wife went back to Columbia with all my sisters for a getaway, followed by my sister Karie's wedding to Ryan Jury on May 15th and then we headed down to Hilton Head Island for a few days for an early anniverssary trip. Somewhere in all of that we were in Myrtle Beach with a couple of friends from Utah (Brian and Lacee). We have also been back up to Fayetteville numerous times and back and forth to Myrtle Beach. That's just the half of what I've been up to in the past year, but figured I needed a brief update. Today however was when we actually celebrated our anniverssary with dinner at The Melting Pot, which was all kinds of fun in and of itself and then we headed down to the beach for a little lightning and fireworks show. It was a pretty night to be out in the sand. So now it's late and I have church in the morning, so off to bed I go. Hopefully I'll be on more to keep things updated. Till then, good night.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Life and My Strength

Beyond the thoughts,
Of a scattered brain,
Beyond the whims,
Of choice like rain.
Comes the joy of my life,
And the strength of my will,
To keep a smile on my face,
For my journey uphill.
I tell you now,
From the beat in my chest,
Where my life and my will,
Have served me best!
First, my life I pursue,
And the pleasure therein,
Are the one and the two,
To keep the happiness in.
My mate forever,
My child so pure;
Place faith in a man,
With a destiny unsure.
How do they trust?
Why do they Love?
The answer I know,
Sung sweet as a dove!
Bound tight by chains,
Yet free as nature,
Our love remains,
As the grandest feature!
My life on Earth,
Made sense at last,
By the One and the Two,
And the shadow they cast.
Next my will and my wish,
To do well by these two,
Is strong to the end,
'Cause the kiss and the coo.
My mate pushes gently,
My child laughs daily,
To help me dream,
And create my destiny.
Without them both,
I'm merely a boy,
On the edge of an ocean,
No will and no joy.
Now bring them together,
You'll see in my face,
My life and my will,
Forever in place!
I owe them alone,
My spirit and heart,
As the sun has shown,
We will never part!

My Love will always go out first to you Emily, the reason my heart beats!
And to you Kaiya, the reason I move forward with faith!
Thank you both for my life!

Joseph Brett Shurtleff

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My personal gift from God....

3 Nephi 17:21-24

21 And when he had said these words, he wept
, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
22 And when he had done this he wept again;
23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

I was sitting and thinking of my baby Kaiya Lilly Shurtleff, when I got the urge to read this scripture. Never before have I felt so much love for 2 individuals as I do now for my wife and my new baby girl. I can't wait to see my Heavenly Father and my brother and savior Jesus Christ and allow him to bless me family like the children in these verses. After reading and pondering this, I couldn't help but to go into the other room kneel down on my knees and give the most sincere thanks to my Father in Heaven for these two wonderful people in my life. I cried like a baby with joy and gratitude. I could never live without them. I only hope that I can create the same feelings of love and gratitude within my child(ren) as I continue to live and teach them here on earth. I love you Kaiya! May the angels of heaven surround you at all times!

Birthing experience....

I have tons to say about my new little girl, but first I gotta talk about the past week's experience in the hospital. I have to say that nothing in this world can make you feel more helpless than to see a love one in so much pain and not be able to do a thing about it. Of course growing up as a Latter Day Saint I do believe that there are things on a spiritual level that I can do and I can put much trust in God. But after that point, just watching the pain is unbearable at times. I admit there were times during my wife's pregnancy that it bothered me so much that I would almost ignore her to avoid the guilt of not being able to take away the pain. Now in the past week was even worse. She had nurses and doctors looking after her 24/7 and she was still in pain. What do you do after that? All I could do was stay with her and hold her hand through the worst times I guess. So after saying that, we entered the hospital on Mon night the 16th. That night she was given an I.V. and medicine to soften her cervix. Defying statistics, Emily quickly started dilating. Terrible pain; they gave her pain medicine concoctions which only made her drunk, but never deadened the pain. A long first night I promise you that. After getting only 3 hours sleep in a very uncomfortable chair we started early the next day with her getting drugs to start the induction. When they started this she dilated to a 4 fairly quickly and when she did they decided it was time for the epidural. Thank goodness for that, cause most pain and all itching subsided with the use of that miracle. While she tried to nap I ran home to shower and get lunch to prepare for more waiting at the hospital. Through the rest of the day we waited played games and talked to many family members anxious to know what's happening. Finally, about 10:30 or so she dilated to a 5 and things moved quick from there. Soon a 6 and at that point I decided to go down and tell the parents. 15 min later when I returned to the room she was in much pain. We buzzed for the nurses, who when checking Em, said she was a 10 and was ready to push. This was about 11:40. My amazing wife started pushing and at exactly 12 midnight, my perfect little girl took her first breathe in this world. My emotions were high and mixed, I felt unexplainable love for the two of them, and complete gratitude for the nurse. Unfortunately, that was not the end. We enjoyed the moment while I took pictures of Kaiya getting cleaned and prepped for this world. I then said, "I'll see ya in a minute," to my wife and followed Kaiya down to the nursery. 15 min later I returned to a blood soaked room to see Emmy prepped for the O.R. She was bleeding and they rolled her away without an explanation. My heart sank, and again helplessness set in. I called family and told of the mixed news. Thankfully, after everything she was brought back to me. Healthy and happy to be done. My love! What would I do without you?