Star Struck

The America’s Got Talent final show is over and we want to congratulate Darci on her win. We all knew she would wrap things up but the pressure of being the front runner was enormous for her. I’m glad it wasn’t something Evelyn had to carry right now. Thank you to all of you who voted and supported Evie Clair. There is some ambiguity for the lower 5 so we don’t know if she was 6th place or 10th but I believe the opportunities going forward will be similar regardless.

Producers decided to have the star, James Arthur, sing a song with Evie for the finale that she and Kirra and Porter wrote together called “Okay Day.” This is really special for many reasons;

First: celebrities will usually agree to go on shows like this to promote themselves and sing their own songs. James Arthur’s willingness to sing her song and the kind way he did it and his genuine concern for her over the loss of her father were astounding.

Second: a few months ago Evelyn had a very vivid dream where she was in a circle of fire and the rain came down around her and put the fire out. The words to the bridge came to her in that dream;

“When the clouds start to form and the rain starts to fall; everyone knows after rain comes a rainbow after all.”

I’m sure she never imagined that the person who sings the current hit “Say You Won’t Let Go” would be singing it with her for the finale of the biggest show in the world! Nevermind that they only had 20 Minutes to pull it together!

The best parts of the day were the moments we both were star struck. Evie was set to rehearse with James and I had to push her through the practice room door. She was so nervous to meet him in person. She covered her red face and she couldn’t control the water coming from her eyes or the hyperventilating. It was adorable. Thankfully she got past it quickly so they could get to work.

I brought Kirra to help James learn the part she usually sings but they cut the complex parts of the song so he was fine. Hopefully we can get it recorded and release the full version soon. James kept saying he loved the song so much and someone told me he said it was his new favorite.


The star-studded day didn’t end there. We got to hang out with tons of them but the one who personally called her on the phone had the biggest impact.

After stage rehearsal with James Arthur, Evie got a phone call from David Archuleta who is pretty much her favorite singer.

Evie Clair Reacts to Call from David Archuleta

They spok for a long time and after the freak out in front of the AGT staff, she found a quiet corner to really talk with David for a while. When she came back to find me I could tell she had been crying. I asked her about it and she said he was crying too. They were taking about David’s concert that Evie had attended with her dad last Christmas. It was her last daddy daughter date and she will never forget it and is grateful to David for making that time so memorable for her.

Evie then had to dash over for hair and makeup before the dress rehearsal. I thought she looked stunning last night. Our friend Michelle came to our hotel room that morning to do her lashes so she wouldn’t have mascara issues. Love this lady.

I watched the show back stage and their was a segment when they showed Amos. It was so touching and this beautiful Academy Award winning actress, Marlee Matlin, understood the situation despite being deaf, and came over to comfort me. I was a little star stuck by her when I saw out of the corner of my eye that she was crying with me and that someone I looked up to for the barriers she has broken knew what I was going through and mourned with me for that moment.

We spent some time taking pictures with the fan mob after the show then met up with our family and friends for an after party at Johnny Rockets. Aunt Jennie had to head back to the Phillipenes tonight so we were glad to get some time with her and many thanks to my friend Laura for bringing her to the airport.

As the show aired later in Phoenix, Channel 12 News crashed a watch party my sister Christy was having with her mutual group and they interviewed Evie’s cousin Sarah.

Before the night was over, Lucie, the AGT film director who came out to our home a few months ago, handed me a zip drive. She told me it was a message to Evelyn from her dad and to wait to watch it until we were home. What a gift! Not only the Zip drive but this whole day and this whole AGT adventure. It has been a bridge over troubled waters for us and I will always be grateful and marvel the magnitude of these blessings.

In other news, Kirra made her school soccer team! Yay! Can’t wait to get back home to be soccer mom.

Light

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Finale” — Pictured: Evie Clair — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Thank you for lighting up social media last night with Evie Clair. I was reminded by a friend that Clair means light and in some languages it means famous. Both seem appropriate for sweet Evie Clair. She has been a light to me through the darkest days of my life. She is a leader who only watches her own lane unless there is an opportunity to lift someone else. She reminds me of my mom and grandmother who also have the name Clair.

Tonight Howie also spoke of light. After her performance he said…

“Before I tell you what I think of that, I just wanna say that our hearts and our souls go out to you, Evie. I know that your father passed this week, and I cannot believe the strength that I’m seeing in such a beautiful young girl, and this is a very dark time in your life, and we all go through dark times. What gets us through is hoping and praying for that light at the end of the tunnel and your voice, and your song, and your presence here is that light at the end of the tunnel, so thank you so much.”

Mel B: “Well first of all, you look absolutely stunningly gorgeous tonight. You really, really do, and I know your dad’s up there looking down and you must be so, so, so, so proud because what you just did was beautiful. It was so pure and so raw, just well done. Well done, seriously.”

Heidi: “Well I can’t even imagine what you and your family must be going through right now and I just wanna say that you’re one brave little young lady and one amazing singer, and we loved having you here and I wish you all the best of luck tonight.”

Simon: “Evie, I’m not gonna judge you. I am going to send you, or tell you how much I respect you, how much strength you have. This was a perfect tribute to your dad. Just the fact it was total silence means that everyone was listening to you. Your voice was beautiful, the song was beautiful, and I am very proud of you, Evie, for what you’ve just done and you’ve given yourself a shot for tonight, congratulations.”

Simon pulled Evie into his dressing room before the show to acknowledge a thank you card she had given him for the funeral flowers. She has found Simon to be such a kind person through this whole experience. Maybe being a father himself has softened him a little.

I’m not sure how the voting will turn out by morning but I feel she has already won no matter what happens. She loves the other contestants dearly and will be so happy no matter who takes home the prize. Her performance was the most beautiful I have ever seen or heard.

Evie had big support last night. Amos’s mom was there along with all of these crazy kids who flagged down Howie for a picture. He was running from the crowds until he realized they were Evie’s family and friends.

What a Wonderful World was Amos’s song and she sang it as a tribute to him. She said in an interview that he was out there on that stage with her and I believe he was.

Evie will be singing a special song tonight with a guest celebrity so tune in again for the 2 hour Wednesday finale.

My gratitute tonight is to my Heavenly Father and His Son who is the true Light of the World. Evie Clair is only reflecting that source. A mother couldn’t ask for more from her children.

Gearing Up for Finals



Tomorrow is the big day and today was a day of preparation.

First we were taken to Universal Studios for live news interviews right next to the Harry Potter ride. My sister messsaged me from Texas to tell me Evelyn was on her local news.

We had all kinds of other preparations today including a meeting about what Evie would want to do for the Vegas show should she win. That would take place on a Friday and Saturday the first weekend of November. So the winner doesn’t necessarily need to be a “Vegas act” as some argue because there are really only 2 shows.

Evie doesn’t expect to win and is not a front runner but the timing of this in connection with Amos’s passing has been so peculiar to me.

Evie is making great friends on set and is loving her time here. She misses her siblings and is so excited that they will be here tomorrow.

Now for voting. There is an app you can download to vote 10 times. There is nbc.com that is also connected to Facebook and you can vote 10 times per email address there. You can also vote 10 times per phone with the number they provide for Evie Clair during the show.

Her song tomorrow is very special to her dad and I can hardly wait for you all to hear it and see her beautiful set.

Thank you all for encouraging me to keep writing the blog. I’ll probably end this one but start another one.

I miss Amos so much and think about him almost every minute. I find myself praying that I will dream about him. Last night I started a dream that he was in but quickly woke up. I felt like Christopher Reeves in the movie “Somewhere in Time” as I  tried desperately to fall back to sleep so that same dream would continue. 

This photo was from the day Evie first appeared on America’s Got Talent and Amos watched from a hotel near the hospital while recovering from a surgery.   I never would have believed at that moment how things would play out. I’m sure there is a purpose and until we understand all we can do is hang on and find joy in the journey.

Hollywood Ward

The whole staff here at America’s Got Talent is now well versed in all things Evie Clair. They know she has special dress standards and that she needs Sunday mornings off for church.

The wardrobe lady was so excited to figure out that she could buy two of the same skirts for Evie when they are too short. That way she can layer them so they reach her knees. I told her that was very clever. She also had an open back dress picked out as one option and she told me not to worry because they would sew a back on just for her if that dress was selected by the executives.

This morning we attended the Hollywood Ward. We were warmly welcomed. Before the meeting, the first counselor told us they have had lots of celebrity visits over the years including Donny Osmond, David Archuleta and members of the cast of Porgy and Bess. It’s strange to have him compare Evie to such famous people.

Evie is a huge David Archuleta fan. In fact she was fangirling yesterday when Bishop Elwood called to tell us David Archuleta was trying to get ahold of her through him. David hasn’t contacted us yet but we are looking forward to it. At Christmas last year Evie and her dad went on a date to see a David Archuleta concert and it is one of her favorite memories with Amos.

After a visit with the bishopric counselor,  he asked Evelyn if she would mind being the impromptu youth speaker today. She was stunned but accepted and did a beautiful job. I think she would have felt more comfortable with a special musical number.  She spoke of her dad and her testimony of eternal families. Everyone was touched by her.

We then were taken back to the theater where we were able to see her set for Tuesday. I wish I could share pictures because I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. I kept wishing I could have some confirmation that her dad would be able to see her on that stage.

Grandma and Aunt Jennie took my kids to Stake Conference back at home today where they called a new stake Presidency. We will miss President Ray and I will always be grateful for him and his love for Amos. He spent many nights in the hospital with him.

I got to FaceTime my kids tonight. I feel that Porter might be struggling most with his dad’s passing. He is such a great son and is putting on a smile for now but I can see the pain in his eyes. He was very close to his dad who always took time to understand him and connect to his brilliant mind in a way I can’t.

The Hollywood ward had an especially good Sunday School class where I gained many good insights and parallels between our journey in life and the journey of he early pioneers.

Looking forward to a big week and grateful to all of you for your continued support. I will probably only keep up this blog up until the end of the week to report on how things turn out with Evie since Amos’s cancer journey seems to have come to an end. I will miss writing each day  I think it has been therapeutic for me.

 

 

Death is Nothing at All

Evie Clair has made the decision to return and compete in the finals of America’s Got Talent after being given the option from Simon to come back next season.

We are happy to be back in LA with the remaining cast, crew and staff who have become like a second family to us this past year.

I was sitting in the Dolby Theater this morning when Malcom, the script writer for America’s Got Talent, gave me this letter with his condolences.

Death is Nothing at All

By Henry Scott-Holland

“Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”

I loved these words and believe that he is near. I speak to him often and have felt him close.

Porter is at his first homecoming dance tonight and I’m missing him but happy that he will soon join me here in LA.

My cute little girls are being well cared for by grandparents and aunts and friends who love them dearly and I’m happy that they will also be able join us soon.

Some big AGT plans are in the works for both Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. You will not want to miss the finale so keep your schedules open and start planning parties to make sure your friends see it too.

Amos Abplanalp – Obituary

Amos Dean Abplanalp 1975-2017

Amos Dean Abplanalp was born December 11, 1975 in Malad, Idaho. He passed away September 7th, 2017 at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Arizona surrounded by his wife and children, mother and brother. He fought a courageous fight with colon cancer for a year and a half. He lost the battle, but won the war enduring well until the end.

Amos was born the third child of Dean Abplanalp and Sandra Carol Sagers. He joined his brother, Tom, and sister, Katie Jo. Three years later Abbe completed the family.

When he was two, the family moved to Blackfoot where he spent the next 17 years of his life. When he was nine, his parents divorced. His mother later met and married Evan Dance and six more siblings were added to his family.

He grew up on a potato farm where he learned to work hard. He also learned that he wanted an education.

Amos loved sports. He played little league baseball and basketball, but his real love was wrestling. He was on a state championship wrestling team at Snake River High School where he graduated in 1994.

He served in the Canada Toronto Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning honorably after two years he attended Brigham Young University and met the love of his life and eternal companion, Hillary Clair Mann.

Amos graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He and his wife and son then moved to Arizona where he attended Arizona State University to persue a master’s degree in Criminal Justice.

He was a teacher for emotionally disabled students at Gilbert High School for 10 years and a wrestling coach. He was certified to teach multiple high school subjects and was a beloved teacher.

He and his wife had five beautiful children together who have brought them incredible joy.

He later received a Master’s Degree in Counseling and worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor at the Florence, AZ prison in the Eyman Complex.

He served in many church callings and his most recent calling was as bishop of the Magma Ranch Ward in the SanTan Valley Stake.

Just as Amos learned of his cancer diagnosis his daughter, Evie Clair, was invited to audition for the show “America’s Got Talent.” Her musical talents, bright spirit and love for her father propelled her forward in the show. She made it to the finals the night before her father passed away. He lived his last few months seeing his daughter’s dreams play out and it was the highlight of his life.

Amos affected many in his life for good through his kindness, humility, wisdom and service. To know Amos was to love him.  His faith in God and great love for his family, friends, neighbors and coworkers inspired many.

Amos is survived by his wife: Hillary; his children: Porter, Evelyn, Kirra, Ruth and Blakely; his parents: Sandra and Evan Dance (ID) and Dean and Connie Abplanalp (FL), his siblings: Tracy Beede (UT) Tom (Paije) Abplanalp (WA), Katie Jo Abplanalp (ID), Abbe (Les) Fisher (ID), Russell (Tammy) Dance (WA), Jeremy (Jennifer) Dance (WA), Dustin Dance (WA), Jennie (Josh) Cobb (Philippines), Amanda Dance (ID), Hilary (Shawn) Wilmot (WA); grandmother: Janet Abplanalp (UT).

He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Moe and Carol Sagers, Tom Abplanalp and Ora Ezell; his nephew: Daniel Gurr and mother in law: Pamalee Mann.

There will be a viewing at the funeral home Tuesday evening from 6 to 8pm at 33 N Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201. Flowers, etc. can be sent to that address.

The funeral services will be held 10am Wednesday, September 13th at 1521 E Bella Vista Rd San Tan Valley, AZ 85143 with a viewing at 9am.

Amos’s body will be laid to rest in the Mesa Cemetery.

Grief and Solace

We spent time at Bunker Funeral Home today making burial arrangements for Amos.

There will be a viewing at the funeral home Tuesday evening from 6 to 8pm at 33 N Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201. Flowers, etc. can be sent to that address.

The funeral services will be held 10am Wednesday, September 13th at 1521 E Bella Vista Rd San Tan Valley, AZ 85143 with a viewing at 9am.

Stages of grief have been apparent in all of us since Amos passed away yesterday. It comes in waves and moves between sadness, anxiety, grief, apathy, anger and love. We take turns comforting each other and breaking down when we are triggered by sentiments. We love him so much and are having difficulty defining our new world without him physically in it.

I found solace in the temple tonight with my sisters Phoebe and Sarah and my friend Rebecca. The blessings of the temple helped broaden my perspective and help me realize that we will have an eternity together. Right now is only a small moment in that big scene.

We ran into a teacher from the kids’ school at the temple who told us they had a moment of silence for Amos today and everyone was so emotional. We love our community and have been flooded with love and support from everywhere.

We need to apologize to Darin and Greg. There were two local radio spots we had planned. We couldn’t make them happen today but I’m sure things will get easier for us to talk about.

The Consultation

Today is moving minute by minute and has been the most difficult and most beautiful day of my life.

My sweetheart has declined to critical condition to the point of life support. Dr. K told me Amos is in the process of dying and Bishop Elwood gave him a blessing before he was sedated that released him in God’s timing.

At this point, there is no medical solution for the multiple organ failures in his body and the only consultation we are seeking is that of the Savior who with the Father created our bodies and knows how to heal them. This picture captures my feelings today. I trust God’s will and timing and I have personally been comforted through this day.

Evie Clair is about to go live on the East Coast. Everything they have prepared for her is so beautiful and I can’t wait for you all to see it tonight. Thank you for your constant support and your unwavering faith through his incredible journey.

During this process Amos filmed a section of video where he says he isn’t afraid of dying but only afraid of not being there to see his children accomplish their goals. I feel he wants me here tonight for our beautiful daughter. We are both so happy to see her fill the world with light.

Fasting for Evie’s Dad

My friend Nicole sent me this message today… “We started this morning with a prayer and a fast for Amos and your family. Frankly we have never sat together and done this as a family. My daughter Lacey 8 year old during sacrament started crying. She was saying I’m so hungry. I told her it was good to try and fast but if she needed to she could eat. With more tears she said then Evie’s dad won’t get better!!! It was the sweetest thing. I talked to her about how Heavenly Father appreciated her effort and it’s really the first time she really fasted and it was up to her if she wanted to eat. I said a silent prayer to comfort her and let her accomplish this task because she was so concerned for Evie’s dad. She made it and fasted. Thank you for being such a good example of faith so I can follow your families example and teach my kiddos! I hope you can have some peace today.”

We are thankful for all the people who fasted for Amos today. I know good will come from it and after today, we are desperate for a little good.

While his white blood cell counts improved today, his billiruben got worse and is back up to 9.4.

The draining procedure for the lungs went well yesterday. I was feeling so good last night as they drained one and a half liters from his chest and his oxygen and heart rate numbers started looking much better. 

Sadly, the improvement didn’t last and his lungs filled back up overnight.

Our entire stake fasted for Amos today and it was wonderful to be in my ward and feel the love of our friends.

After church the kids got to come see daddy. He hasn’t been very responsive today and that was hard on all of us.

The Johnstone cousins came out to be with us at church and the hospital and helped at home. It’s so great to have family around.

Dad and Tracy and her kids have taken good care of us today and I got to meet Caitlyn’s baby. She is adorable!!

Bishop Elwood came to see how he was today but couldn’t see him because he was doing a scan. They scanned his gall bladder and we are still waiting for results on that.

Amos’s Gilbert High friends came for a minute and so did my nephew Spencer and my sister Christy.

Our friends the Rawls were fun visitors. We appreciate them so much. They brought Amos a cool Super Man lanyard like the Captain America one Jef is wearing. It even lights up. I think we’ll try it out tomorrow.

Intensive Care Unit

I was able to be with Amos over night and it was a special time for us. He was very sweet to me despite his pain and discomfort.

He didn’t have any terrible issues until early this morning when they said they were going to give him his pain pills by mouth rather than through the vein as they had done all night. He threw up and may have aspirated. Now his lung issues have become more of a problem than his liver issues.

His billiruben dropped again last night which is a good sign that his liver is making a comeback, but the lung and oxygen issues got him transferred to a new floor and now I just heard that they are transferring him again. Now he will be in the ICU and they will do the lung and abdomen draining procedures there at his bedside around 7pm.

Please pray for his procedures to go well. He is still fighting with everything he’s got. He really wants to pull that oxygen mask off.

The Johnstone clan showed up today and we are so glad. Amos hasn’t been too responsive today but when he woke up to Casey’s face he said “holy crap!”

Tracy’s kids also drove all night to be here today and it is fun to see them. Tracy is such a calming influence on everyone.

Dean is still doing an amazing job keeping his boy going. He also helped me last night when Porter got lost driving around and ran out of phone battery. He finally asked directions after about an hour and found his way.

Our ward continues to bring meals and cards and love and support. The stake president asked us to have a special fast for Amos tomorrow and I look forward to the needed blessings that will come from that.

Evie Clair is getting ready for the big show and I’m so excited for her. She had to catch up on some “on set” school today. I can’t show any of the exciting photos like sets or wardrobe so a school picture with Darci and Merrick will have to do. It looks like they got photobombed by Miss Blakely.