The other night we were reading scriptures and talking about the Angels that Heavenly Father has sent our family. The boys were participating and interjecting their ideas, and taking turns reading. We weren't paying too close attention to Averie, she was just jabbering away like she always does. Pretty soon, I caught a bit of what she was saying, and I tell ya, it was golden. She was pretending to read the scriptures (which were upside down), and she was essentially bearing her testimony. She was pretending to cry, while "reading", because that's what she has seen when people bear their testimonies. I caught a little of what she said on my cell phone, so here is word for word Averie's sweet testimony...
Today, I learned about Jesus. He was so young. He is around me. I know his name. I love him so much. Families are forever. I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday... When she started singing, the boys and I joined her. You can't resist a beautiful primary song, especially when a four year old is singing it.
So dang cute. Nothing like a forced cry, and those sweet words. A child's simple wisdom.
W We are finishing our basement, so I was forced to clean the dang thing out. As my sis-in-law Mel and I were cleaning, I came across a missionary book of John's. It was compiled by his mission president, and had all the weekly reports in it. It also had notes from different zone meetings and talks that he heard along the way. There were a few that I really loved. He wrote notes from a talk he heard from Pres. Monson. It was call the "W" formula. Work Will Win When Wishy Washy Wishing Won't. Hello, love it! I love Pres. Monson, and how his sense of humor can always be likened to a scripture, or a life lesson.
As I continued to read through the book, I found something that hit me really hard. It was very simple, probably notes to a talk he gave. I said...FATHER IN HEAVEN FATHER ON EARTH FAMILY'S ARE TO EXIST AFTER LIFE He knew then, a mere seven months before we would meet, that the reason for this life was for families. He knew he was leaving his family for a few years, so that other families could be together forever. He knew that our family would be together in heaven because of the covenanted that he made and kept. I am so thankful for a faithful husband, and for an eternal family.
I have spent the last few days back to school. I will briefly describe the modality that I have been learning, but most of you will scratch you heads and say, What? So here goes...I have been learning the foot zoning technique. Basically, in a nutshell, all the systems of the body can be accessed from the feet. It's like hitting the reset button on you body, making it perform the way it was originally designed to perform. So with that said, the things that I learn while in this class have been soooo much more than anatomy and physiology.
Yesterday, as we broke for lunch, we were all sitting around shooting the breeze. The conversation turned to that of a very spiritual nature. Thank goodness for a class full of active latter day saints. We started to talk about our true nature, and how if we can be in tune with our spirits, then we will always have to answers and the tools that we need to find our way through this life. How many times in our lives have we been asked to take a test, when we haven't been given every answer before hand. In the pre-existence, we were taught and trained, so that when we came to this earth we would have every single answer that we would need. The vail was placed over our eyes, but our spirit remembers. We need to practice and get into the habit of relying, listening, and believing what our spirits have to tell us. We will never go wrong, if we go by the spirit.
My heart is full tonight and my mind is set on John. I was just thinking about all the things that we have done together. All the firsts we experienced together. First love, first place, first bills, first babies, first "Oh man, what did we get ourselves into!" First real joy when we were married, and one by one our children came into our family. First real sorrow when we lost our baby. All of these firsts built such a foundation for the "Carter Family." I feel like we have lived such a wonderful and all encompassing life, and at the same time, I feel like it was way too short.
I was picking up a little today, and I just walked past a picture of John, and it fully hit me. He's not coming back. I had to sit down it hit so hard. It's easy to go to that safe little place called denial, and set up residence there. I guess I was away so long, that I forgot that I actually have to live this life without him.
Now before I get a whole bunch of "he's always with you" speeches... I know and realize this probably more than most people, but that doesn't make it easy or fair. Nothing, and nobody will ever take his place. He was the one that I could talk to about anything, and he never judged. Most of the time he would just hold me and tell me that he loved me and that everything was going to be okay. I need that so bad right now. I just need to know it will be okay. I just want this to have had meaning and reason. I want others who are struggling to be able to come across this and see that though things are hard, and sometimes unfair, I can get through it with grace and virtue. I want people to realize that just because something bad happens, or some road block is in your way, that doesn't give you licence to throw away everything that you know to be true and right. I want to document the good things that can come out of an experience like this. Because lets face it, there is always good in everything, and if we don't see it, then we are looking in the wrong places.
The scriptures teach us to endure to the end, but if we read on it says endure well. I don't think it counts if we come barreling through the finish line covered in dust and grime, and hanging on to the coat tails of the guy in front of us. I think that we need to stand ourselves up straight, dust ourselves off, and learn to finish the race on our own two feet. Maybe that is part of what I needed to learn in all of this. I needed to gain my own testimony (a greater testimony) in order not to rely so heavily on John's. I needed to not feel so self-conscious about the things that I feel or believe. I needed to learn what was truly important in my life, so that I could teach my children.
When there is an old tarnished silver dollar, one way to polish it is by rubbing it against a shiny NEW silver dollar. This process both removes tarnish, but polishes both silver dollars. This story was relayed to me the other day, and I have been thinking about it ever since. The woman who relayed this story likend it to working with the youth. She told of how working and serving the youth, her tarnished soul is polished by their new shiny spirits. I loved this analogy so much. I would further state, that by our associating with those who are just a bit more loving, a little more in tune, a touch more kind, and helpful our tarnished souls can also be polished, and refined by their glowing example, and association. I have looked around me and found myself smack dab in the middle of the most brilliant, luminous silver dollars in the mint. I am thankful for my associations with all of those who contribute to my progression and I am thankful for the opportunity to rub up against those whom I truly look up to.
There is so much satisfaction that comes from growing your own produce. This year we planted peas, beans, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts (oops, I thought John was still home. He's the only one that eats those nasty little things), tomatillos, peppers, tomatoes, corn and all kinds of squash. We also have several fruit trees. Two apple, (plus two more that were given to us by Pres. Porter), three plum, and an appricot. How fun to see the kids go out side and pick themselves a nice treat.
The thing that you don't give much thought to when you are joyfully planting is, "what in the world and I going to do with all this stuff?" Well the answer is about 4 weeks of energy burning, back breaking, hand crippling harvesting and canning. Oh how I hate that part.
I have a wonderful group of friends that have been crazy into canning, and boy have we gone to town. So far we have canned salsa, grape juice, plum jelly, apple sauce, apple pie filling, apple jelly, and the girls did spaghetti sauce, pickles, corn, beans, beets, and jalapino jelly without me yesterday. (I was busy having a full on panic attack about our Relief Society Fall Social, and taking LuDene to lunch for her birthday)
All of this got me thinking about the things that we do in life that maybe we don't want to do, but we love it when it's done. I think that this directly applies to our trials. We hate to even think that tough times exist, or that most likely we will experience them. They still loom out on the horizon. I wont claim that I am through my trial, but I will say that though this has been the most profoundly difficult thing that I have ever even come close to. It has also been the most spiritual, emotional, and mental growth that I have ever experienced. I know who I am. I know where I'm going. I am more driven that I have ever been to do the things that I know to be right, and to be an example while doing it. I am no longer afraid of how people see me, or if I'm doing what so and so down the street thinks I should be doing. I know what is right for me and my family, and there is nothing standing in my way.
Well it finally came, the first day of Pretty School!!!!!!! (Pre-school for you laymen out there) Averie was so excited that she couldn't sleep the night before. So 8am came really early, but she jumped out of bed and ran to her room, got dressed and was ready to go in a matter of seconds. If only I could get that kind of cooperation on a Sunday.
This is Averie walking into class. I wish I could remember the conversation that we were having, I was laughing the whole way in. It went something like this; "I wonder who all my friends are going to be? I wonder when snack time is? I wonder what snack is? Hey, look there is fun stuff to play of? Where is my Teacher? Do you think I look beautiful?" My princess picking her nose.
Waiting for moms to pick up the kids Meeting new friends. "Hey mom, this is the girl who took the last lollipop at church!" Fast friends
In the past year, I have never worried so much about anything as I did the kids. My biggest worry was, "How can I do this on my own?" "I'm totally going to screw these kids up!" "I'm not smart enough to be the only parent to these kids!" ... You can probably imagine all the questions and concerns that I have had for my little sweeties.
Then one day I sat down with a very wise friend, and I voiced all my concerns to him. He said, "What makes you think that Heavenly Father loves those kids less than you love them?" Hummmmmmmmmm, well that sort of puts everything into prospective doesn't it. Why would Heavenly Father let HIS children falter and fail just because they had the misfortune to have to grow up without a father in a single parent home? Heavenly Father would give these little people extra blessing to survive in spite of me. In fact, Heavenly Father would send this clueless mother three of his best little spirits to teach her, and help her along her own journey. Thank Goodness for Kids!
August 2009 marked the first of the annual Carver Family Reunion. We all met at the Heber Girls Camp in Heber Valley for the fun and festivities. In attendance were the JBL Pose (Janet's Family), the SoCal Carvers (Doug's Family), the Gorbies (David's Family), the O'Hil-Bob's (us, Steven's Family), the Scotty Bobos (Scott's Family), and the Gun's and Roses (Charlie's family). In all there were about 105 of us crazy Carvers.
Here are just a few of us being instructed on some of the Challenge courses.
Here is Grandpa Steve-a-rino climbing up to traverse the wire to the zip line.
I can fly!!!!!!
Here's Mikey, wow or Mitch! That's a first, I can't tell them apart.
Here is Ethan's action shots.
This is the only picture of me I could find. You guessed it, I'm the one being groped by the brothers. Yikes that is a story for another day.
We can never sign off until we show the characteristic temper tantrum/spaz attack by little Averie Neva.
This is the story of one woman's navigation through grief following the loss of her true love, and husband of almost eleven years. Questions of who am I now, questions of how to raise the kids alone, and leaning how to live again will be confronted, hopefully in a positive and meaningful light.