Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night, Humble Night

The children were all tucked in their bed for a long winters nap...which leaves me all alone to wrap 1,000 presents and wipe my tears.  Okay, I may have exaggerated just a bit; there are only 100 presents.  I have been quite surprised at how well this Christmas season has gone for me and the kids.  The last two years have been extremely difficult without John.  We had to put on our game faces and we took it like men.  This year has somehow been a bit easier.  I think that we've finally hit our stride.  Which is probably why I was surprised when the tears started to flow tonight.

We have a family tradition of Christmas eve bowling.  John always loved anything that he could compete in, so naturally he and my brothers would have a great time trying to one up each other.  Tonight, I really missed that.  I felt like I could hear his laugh though.  He use to throw his head back, flash that winning smile, and let out the most contagious laugh.  I really loved that laugh.

Then as we went to my parents for dinner, it just felt empty.  The kids had such a great time, but some of my brothers were missing, and it just wasn't the same.  It was, however hilarious to watch the little kids play musical chairs and be introduced to losing for the first time in their lives.  (Oh the tears, and the kicking, and the head banging)

On the drive home, I was just so lonely.  I knew that I had so much to do tonight, and I had no one to help or to keep me company.  I started to let the tears roll, and suddenly I was kneeling in my family room across from John.  He was holding both my hands in one of his own, and hugging me with the other.  He didn't say anything, he just held me.  I knew that he was just as empty without me as I am without him.  It's so hard this trial that we have had to endure.  Both John and I have had to endure it without the benefit of each others support, though I know that he's always here.  One day we will know the reason for this, but until then it just plain stinks.

I like to use the dentists office for a parable for things that are really painful.  When I'm in the waiting room at the dentist office, I tell myself, "In one hour from now, you'll be driving home, and you'll be thinking, hey that wasn't that bad."  I would like to think that in the near future, I will be able to look back on these dark years and say, Hey that wasn't that bad.

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours:

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Confusion Re-loaded

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post.  Between Thanksgiving, book reports, sicknesses, and endless meetings, I have finally found a spare second to put some thoughts down. 

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you for voting for the 
Top Blog award.
I am truly madly deeply humbled by your love and support.
I misunderstood this weeks voting protocol and would like to clear it up.
The Blog Guide Book decided to use a different voting system this week, and that system
allowed for multiple votes
.  However they still asked to keep the voting to one vote per person per week.  Oops!
I take full responsibility for that one.  

I do want to make sure to let everyone know how very thankful that I am for your continued concern in my life and the lives of my family.  
I hope to be able to properly pay tribute to all that you have done for us, just by being there.

We have no idea the power that we hold to lift one another, or the share each others burdens.
Most of the time we are lead astray by the thought that a physical service has to be provided in order to be a help.  I am here to tell you that that is not the case in any way.
Often, I have been lead through a difficult day by re-reading some comments on this blog.
I have felt of the prayers offered up for us.
I have been buoyed up, just knowing that I have people out there that care for me.

We all have that power within us.  
Let's use our strengths for what they were given to us for...
Be a constant light in the darkness.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ding...Round Two

Thanks to all of you wonderful people out in cyber world,
I made it to the second round of voting! 
(Enter he theme to Rocky)

I would love your vote one more time.
And let's see if we can get more of a showing.
Let your friends and family members know.
Thanks a ton,
Love ya millions

Also, remember the blog is called
The Funny Thing About Grief

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#24- Music

I had originally decided on a totally different #24 today, but I just changed it on a whim.  I thought I already talked about my gratitude for music, but I guess I was only silently thankful.  Well, I suppose that is all going to change right now.

I have been so impressed with the emotion that is found in music.  All my life I have been drawn to melody.  Usually, I like said melody to accompany a really great beat, but recently I have re-discovered what a healing tool music can be for me.

There are so many things that music can say or make you feel, that it almost feels like the biggest cosmic cheat there is.  When I am completely out of energy, I love that I can turn on a little P!nk, or Black Eyed Peas, or MGMT, or whatever has a great beat right then.  I love to be able to turn on beautiful piano music when I need the kids or myself to be calm.  AC/DC is great for cleaning the house in a hurry, and the Glee soundtrack is awesome for just building a good mood.  So when I need to feel John close to me I reach for, Snowpatrol, The Shins, Muse, Gin Blossoms, Beautiful South, and The Dave Mathews Band.  In an instant he is right next to me. 

I have been addicted to playing Paul Cardall, and Michael Ethington day and night. Their music brings the safety of the spirit into my home, and re-enforces the trust that Heavenly Father has in me.  I don't know why this is true, but I feel at peace, I feel rejuvenated, I feel protected, and I feel warmth when these beautiful chords are resonating through my home.

Tonight, I am thankful for the gift the celestial vibration of music, and it's ability to lift me to a higher plane.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#23- Blizzard Kinda

Today is the day of the worst blizzard in the past 20 years.  The school shut down early.  Everyone ran to the hardware store for provisions.  We just pretty much hunkered down.  I actually looked forward to being snowed in.  There were so many past day dreams and secret wishes for a day just like this.  The only thing that stands in the way of a dream come true is the fact that John and I aren't in a mountain cabin surrounded by candlelight and sparkling cider and a bubble bath.  I guess the kiddos, spongebob and chocolate chip cookies will have to do.

I am so thankful for the alone time that I get to spend with my kids.  The older they get, the less time it seems that we have together.  I really miss those days of having them all to myself.  No friends calling, no practices to get to, no last minute homework projects to finish.  I often joke about wanting everything to go back to "Little House on the Prairie" times, but I think that that life would be great.  So for just a brief moment, I am thankful for the storm that lets me pretend to be in a little cottage on a big farm living the simple life.

*The storm is causing a few problems with the computer.  I will add pix later

Monday, November 22, 2010

# 22-infinity: Abundance

Today, I have so much to be thankful for that I just don't know where to start.  Considering that this month is coming to a quick end, I'm packing in a whole bunch of thankfuls.

  1. My dear sweet brother-in-law Dave, for always remembering to put my garbage out when I forget.  (extra gifts for your stocking this year)
  2. For those who serve without looking for acknowledgment.  My driveway has been scrapped twice in two days without any pomp or circumstance.  (Thanks Dave and Shawn)
  3. For my wonderful Aunt who helps me get my stubborn brain back on track.
  4. For the Internet.  Boy you really miss it when it's gone.
  5. For my dear friends who always make me smile, and who don't just laugh at me,  but with me.
  6. For car dealerships that come to your house to switch you vehicles to fix yours up.
  7. For gingerbread herbal tea. 
  8. For essential oils.
  9. For my amazing kiddos.
  10. For laughter.
  11. For the Weather report.
  12. For treat bags discovered at 10:30pm.  Dang, that sneaks up on you sometimes.  Oh well, I love going to the store at 7am in my ho-jays.
  13. For changing my perspective.
  14. For DVR.
  15. For cell phones and the ability it gives me to get more done in the day.
  16. For listening to the kids enjoy playing the piano.
This list could go on for days and days, but this is a representation of today.  I am grateful for all of you who visit this blog and who make me feel worth while.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

#20 & 21- Snow, and Quiet Winter Nights

This morning I woke up to about 8" of fluffy beautiful powdery snow covering this lovely valley in which I live.  There is nothing like the romance of a new snow fall.  The sheer beauty of the soft falling flakes would make Robert Frost weep.  For some reason, I always sleep so soundly during a snow storm.  I think it's natures own sound proofing that makes it so peaceful.

We were late for church this morning due in part to the extreme temper tantrum thrown by our very own diva Averie.  Apparently, it is a matter for the Civil Liberties Union to step in when the tights that you are forced to wear are just a tad itchy.  So, while I dealt with the sweet princess, my boys quietly sneaked out the door.  When I finally decided that I was going to have to leave Ave home, I went to find the boys to tell them that they were on babysitting detail.  Guess what those little guys were up to.  They were in their church clothes, coats, and gloves ...shoveling the snow! 

What sweet little men.  I didn't ask them to do it, they just knew that it needed to be done.  It wasn't easy either, but they worked their little tails off.  I am so proud to be their mom.  I am proud that in spite of me, they are turning out pretty great.  I am grateful that I have them in my life, especially now when I need them so very much.

Today, I was holding Averie, who turned out to be sick (She always hides the fact that she is sick, because she doesn't want to miss out on any fun), and I suddenly was hit with the most profound sadness.  These kids are amazing, and John is missing it.  I wanted to call him and tell him about his boys.  I knew that he would just be proud beyond words.  I wanted him to be able to hold his sweet princess and cuddle her when she didn't feel well.  I know that he still is a part of our lives, but it's not the same.  He's not here.  The kids are missing out on him, and he is missing out on them.

As sad as that is, I am still impressed that he has such an influence on our lives.  There aren't many things that we do that don't usually come from something that we have learned from John or because of John.  I am grateful for all of it, even thought it can be pretty difficult at times.  So on this lonely, quiet, snowy night, I'm grateful for every heartache and pain, because I am remembering every joy, love, kindness, laughter, kiss, and togetherness that we have ever shared and that we will share again.

Friendly Neighbourhood Reminder to Vote!

Hit this link, or the one over here ---------------------->
go to the right of the page and the thumbnail says...
The Funny Thing About Grief

*you can vote once per round
I sure love ya!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Please, Please. Please, Vote for me!!!

Friends today is the day that voting starts for the Blog Guide Book.  
You can find the link on my sidebar---------------------> 

You can vote once this week.  Voting ends Friday.  The lowest votes goes home.
The thumbnail says "The funny thing about grief"

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

#19- Sunglasses

There are so many ways to this girls heart, and sunglasses is one of them.  Not really, but I do love a good pair of "goggles".  This morning my brother Danny and I went to the annual Smith Optic warehouse sale.  This is the third year that we have gone, and it's a bit like a sport.  There is stiff competition with all the pushing, and cramming, and grabbing, and shoving.  There is quite a bit of planning and coaching involved in the whole process as well.  In the end, EBay is flooded with sweet glasses at rock bottom prices.

As we stood in an endless line this morning, I was thinking about how much I love being with my brothers.  There is only seven years between the five of us, so naturally we are very close.  As adults we have become even closer.  I love to be able to joke around with them.  I love that they still invite the kids to do stuff with them.  Danny especially has always liked to take the kids places with him, even when John was still here.  Mitch scaled my crazy steep roof to put up Christmas lights.  Mike built shelves in my garage.  Spence skipped meetings to sit with me when I couldn't take to sadness any longer.  These are just a sample of the things that my sweet brothers have done for me just over the last two years.   It is humbling to hear them talk about John with such love and respect.  I am so grateful that they all got along so well.  I am better for having been raised with such extraordinary men.

Tonight, and every night, I am thankful for sunglasses...and my brothers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

#18 - Writing

Today, I am thankful for writing, and I'll tell you why.  When speaking directly there is no gap response time.  You know what "gap response time" is right?  That's the time it takes to come up with a super witty come back, erase and re-write said come back to really sting.  Real life doesn't work that way.  My brain is not slow, and I think that's the problem.  There are so many things swirling around in there fighting to come out that there is a bottle neck created somewhere between my firing neurons and my speech pathways.  The result is a dumbfounded look on my face, drool spilling out the left side of my mouth, and an incoherent "duh huh?"

My friends, this is why I love to write.  I sound so much cooler when I can think about what I need to say for a second.  If only my brain came with a backspace button.

Here is a quote that I loved from Mark Twain (Who I love),
The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the
difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
I have always loved to write.  I have always loved the escape that it brings.  Just recently I have learned of the healing outlet that writing can also be.  We have been told our whole lives to keep a journal.  I never wanted to, because I couldn't imagine someone being interested in what I do in a day.  However, now I see the importance of writing your feelings down.  I feel like it is a principle of faith.  When we write down our life experiences we now have a record to refer back to that will show us strength when we need it, or remind us of blessings or lessons learned.  I have so cherished my personal journals, even though they only started a few years ago.  So many times I have re-read passages that have helped me more now than they did then.  What an amazing principle.  I sure wish I would have done it a lot sooner.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#17- PIE!!!

Clockwise from top left.  Micaela, Leslie, Lills, and Jamie
Tonight the ladies and I had the great idea of getting together to "pre-make" our Thanksgiving pies.  Truly, the only reason we did it was so that we could laugh, talk, gossip, and eat delicious pie together.

Our pie making conquests are legendary (this was the first annual pie-off, so you know, we could make records like crazy)  I believe that we each made at least 4 pies.  Micaela may have made more, that woman is an animal!  So math whizzes, do the least 16 pies.  We made apple, cherry, blackberry, peach, chocolate cream, chocolate brownie, and pumpkin.  Now this may sound like a feat of biblical proportions, but just wait...we did it all with 14 kids running around.  I know, I know, I'll will now stand for applause.

So tonight, I am thankful for what pie gave to me.  It gave me friendship, love, laughter, and an expanding waistline.  What else can a girl ask for?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#16- New Baby Smell

Today was an amazing day.  I got to go snuggle a brand new little baby boy.  My sweet nephew was born today, just three weeks early and boy is he a looker.  He is the first baby born since John died, and the first boy born for quite a while.  His parents named him...wait for it...Riley John Carver.  Brings tears to my eyes.

As I was holding this precious little spirit, I couldn't help but imagine John giving him some words of encouragement, and a great send off.  I had quite a spiritual experience holding that little guy.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be witness to the gift of life, and to feel heaven so close.

#15- Averielicious

You guessed it.  Today I am grateful for my ray of sunshine...Averie.  You may have heard this before, but this is my very best description of Averie.  She is the sunshine, crammed into a tiny little body.  This little girl is the most fun, wildest, craziest, most hilarious little princess you could ever meet.  She has set a Guinness world record for speed charming.  I don't think there is a person alive or dead that Averie couldn't wrap around her little finger in 60 seconds or less.

I grew up an only girl with four brothers.  It was very lonely for me most of the time.  I love my brothers dearly, but I really missed out on that special connection that sisters get to have together.  When my first child was a boy, I wasn't surprised because I just thought that babies were boys.  Then when my second child was another boy, I was still okay with it because I was excited for Ethan to have a brother.  I actually thought that because of my all brother upbringing that I would be a perfect mom of all boys.  When that doctor told us that our next baby was a girl, I didn't believe it.  It took three more ultrasounds for me to be convinced.  I realized that I wanted a girl so bad that I had tried to prepare myself for the opposite so that I wouldn't be disappointed.  I was absolutely elated that we were having a girl, but what surprised me was the fact that John was ecstatic.  He never voiced a preference one way or the other, but that little girl was the apple of her daddy's eye.

I can hear Averie's little voice now saying, "Daddy, Daddy, watch me.", and then her sweet dad saying in his cute little voice that is reserved only for his princess, "What babies?  That is so awesome!"  Those two were inseparable.  She was on his lap, his shoulders, holding his hand or just right next to him whenever he was around.   At the funeral, she didn't understand what was going on.  She heard people say that her daddy was in the casket, and at first she thought it was just silly.  As the day went on she kept asking when we can get her daddy out of the box.  Then as the days went on she would not just cry, but scream "Somebody save my daddy from the box."  She screamed and cried like that for about two months.  We could drive past road construction, and she thought that her dad was under the pavement and she would get upset.  To this day, she has to look at a picture of her dad holding her before she can go to school, or go to bed.

Though all of that is as heartbreaking as it is, our little princess has been such a wonderful blessing to me.  She is the one that can make us laugh when we are all upset.  She is the one that brings the light into the room.  She is the reason that I push myself as hard as I do.  She has taught me that even though there is pain and sadness, there is also joy and happiness.  She is just happy to be alive.  Life with Averie is always an adventure, and I love that about her.  Mama loves her Averie.  (She loves to pinch my cheeks and say, "Averie loves her mama")

Sunday, November 14, 2010

#14- My Ashton Boy

When Ashton was born, I felt like I could run a marathon, hike Everest, and swim the English Channel all at the same time.  You see, I was on bed rest from the time that I was 26 weeks along with my little guy.  He was just impatient, and really wanted to be born already.  So after lots of medicine, many blessings, and way too much laying around (all while having pretty severe contractions), Ashton was finally born only three weeks early.  I was so proud to be able to hang on to him for so long, but boy when he had enough, he had enough.

We had just been into the hospital the night before, but they sent us home because the contractions weren't consistent.  I was so disappointed.  I was sick of being in pain.  I was sick of having to lay around.  I was just plain sick of being pregnant.  So when they sent us home, I was ticked.  Then the next day, all my contractions stopped completely.  I was perplexed. 

John tried to make me feel better by saying that it was better for the baby to stay right where he was, and I agreed, but after all I had gone through, I was just drained.  Around 10:30 we went to bed, and I kid you not when I tell you that not five minutes later I was hit with major contractions.  I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was to go back to the hospital just to be turned away.  I stayed in bed for a while and timed the contractions.  Five minutes apart.  I remembered the nurses saying that a bath would stop the pains if it was false labor.  I drew myself a bath, and after a few minutes, I realized that the contractions weren't going to stop.

By this time it was 1:30, and my contractions were about three minutes apart.  I woke John up, and in his very calm way he rushed to get ready while talking to me in very slow hushed tones, like I was rabid and about to attack.  I sat quietly on the bed and watched him grab the things that he needed, and the things Ethan needed because we had to drop him off at John's parents house.  We got in the car, and drove to Carter's.  John jumped out, carried sleeping little Ethan in, and brought LuDene out with him. 

As we began to drive down to the hospital, John was on the phone with my mom.  While explaining to her the situation, he realized that he didn't have shoes on.  He turned to ask me if it was okay if he went back for shoes.  I was white knuckling the door handle at the time, in the throws of a pretty painful contraction.  I said go for it, but giggled that while he looked so calm and collected, he left the house without shoes.

Long story short, Ashton was born not too long after we got to the hospital.  He didn't come out crying like most kids, in fact we had to really try to get him crying.  He was beautiful, healthy, happy, and perfect.  He looked a lot like his older brother with a head full of black hair.  From the minute they laid him in my arms, that little guy just cuddled so close to me.  He has always been the most cuddly, lovable little guy there ever was.

All of Ashton's cousins consider him their best bud (a trait he gets from his daddy).  All of Ashton's friends look to him as their leader.  I look to him for peace (most of the time), and kindness.  Averie can hardly function without her Ashy, and Ethan considers him not his little brother, but his best friend.

I am grateful for such a sweet little spirit in our home.  He has so many of his dad's characteristics, and wonderful qualities.  I have spent many nights watching him sleep, and wondering if he will still look like his dad the older he gets.  I have often thought that as long as Ashton is around, so is John.  It's funny, we named Ethan after John's father.  I suggested John's name for Ethan, but John refused.  When we found out we were having another boy, John wanted to name him Ashton.  I agreed as long as his middle name could be John.  Irony surely is something.  Ashton truly is a little John, for which I am immensely grateful.

#13- My Sweet Ethan

Tonight, I had the opportunity to go out with a group of girl friends that I haven't ever gone out with.  They are the wives of some of John's friends.  I was so excited to go, and not to mention that I really needed a night out.  I was trying to decide what to do with the kids and Ethan said that he would like to tend.  I have let him watch the little kids a number of times before, but I didn't want to over burden him.  He said that he would like to help me out, so I told him that I would love the help, but that I would pay him for it tonight.  He was thrilled, and I was saved from having to figure out other plans.

Usually, I get a number of calls from crying kids when I'm gone, but tonight they didn't call once.  I expected to see the in-laws car in the driveway when I got home, but nope they weren't there.  I went inside expecting a huge mess, but again I was wrong.  I thought for a minute that they must be over at their grandparents sound asleep.  So I walked up the stairs and lo and behold...everyone tucked snug in their beds and fast asleep.

Wow!  Have you ever met an eleven year old boy that is that responsible?  I don't know what I did to deserve that kid, but man am I glad that I got him.  He is truly an angel.

Just after John and I got married, I had a strong, and I mean strong impression that it was time to have a baby.  We had only been married a few months, and the plan was to wait three years.  John was upset, he felt like I didn't want to spend time with him.  He loved married life, and wanted to be able to spend a little more time together just the two of us before we brought children into our family.  I loved him so much, and loved every second that we got to spend together, but this feeling that I was having was way more than just baby hungry.

We talked over and over about the subject.  I would cry, because I felt like we weren't obeying a very strong prompting from the Lord.  He would laugh and say, "Lisa, Saturdays Warrior is NOT gospel."  I would laugh too, but deep down I felt so guilty.

I remember one night we were deep in discussion and he told me, "If Heavenly Father wanted us to have a baby right now, there wouldn't be anything that could stop that from happening."  Famous last words, because we found out that we were expecting Ethan that month.  Just a week shy of our first anniversary.

My little Ethan has from way before day one carried an extremely strong spirit.  Anyone that meets the kid is well beyond impressed.  I'm not just bragging, it's true 100%.

I remember driving home one night, the kids were asleep in the back seat, and I asked John if he was happy, and if he would have done anything differently.  He said to me that he loved his life and his family, but he wished that Ethan would have waited a couple of years to come to us.  Then, just before he died he said, "Remember that conversation that we had that night?  I take it back, Ethan made us who we are.  Without him coming when he did, we wouldn't be the strong family that we are today."

Thank you Ethan for the amazing young man that you are.  I am in awe of your strength and compassion.  You are so perfect that I worry sometimes that you may be translated before my eyes.  I am honored to be you mother, but even more honored to be witness to your greatness.  I love you bud.

Friday, November 12, 2010

#12- A Good Cry

Tonight, I am thankful for a good cry.  It may sound silly to be thankful for such a thing, but I tend to stuff my emotions way down deep, so it takes some effort.  Usually that effort comes in the form of a movie, or a song.  Tonight, I watched Charlie St. Cloud, and cried like a kid grounded from their cell phone.  I'm not kidding, I was hyperventilating and everything.  It's not too often that movies can get grief right, but this one did a pretty good job.

The story is about a boy and his little brother.  They were in a car wreck and the little brother dies.  The older bother refuses to move on, and so he misses out on his life because he is holding so tightly to the past.

To say that it hit close to home would be a massive understatement.  I can't tell you how many times I can feel that I have an almost choke hold on John.  I feel like he can't move on as long as I am holding on so tight, and yet I can't let him go.  I know that I wont forget him, and the he wont forget me, but it's just really hard to face.  There are days that I can let him go a bit, but there are days that I need him close by.  I don't really know that there is a right way or a wrong way to deal with loss.  The only thing that I can do is keep on living.

So tonight I am thankful for that movie because it really made me re-evaluate my current thought patters and really think about how I want to heal.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

#11- Transportation, Just Dance, Photo Albums, and Blogging

I have found that having this blog to answer to everynight
has made me ultra aware of my everyday life.
I spend my free time (time I didn't know I had) thinking about what I can write about,
which in turn makes me notice every blessing that comes my way.

Today, I'm thankful for...
  • Transportation- instead of complaining about all of the thousands of errands that I am forced to make on my own, I realized that I am thankful for the ability to get to all of the desinations that I am required to be to everyday.

  • Just Dance - I don't know if any of you have this game, but I am willing to wager that all forms of depression could be cured with this simple game.  Nothing is better than dancing you guts out in a room full of surprised on lookers.

  • Photo Albums - I am thankful for the ability to keep such precious memories.  I have found that through all the trama of the past couple of years, I have forgotten pieces of it. Through pictures I can better remember those important times.

  • Blogging - I am thankful to have an outlet for emotion.  It's difficult for me to really properly express emotion, so I appreciate the ability to write.  Somehow it clears things up in my mind so that I can process my feelings better.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#10- My Daddy

Today I barged into my dad's office an practically took him hostage to come purchase a car with me.  He of course went willingly, but it did take most of the day to work out all of the details.  I took him, because to call him a car guy is like calling superman just a reporter.  It is a huge understatement.  I knew that if I took him, he would know all the ways to get the price I wanted, and all of the little traps that I wanted to avoid.  It all started out pretty good until we walked inside. On display right inside the front doors was a '67 Chevy Camaro, fully restored, and fully sweet (I could put another describing word that may have a song attached, but I'll refrain).  I'm telling you, we both stopped in our tracks.  I turned to him and said, "I think we need to re-evaluate our options."

Even though I didn't drive home in this beauty, I sure have a nice ride.  I am thankful that I have a dad who has always been there for me.  I am grateful for the lessons that he has taught me.  It is by watching him that I have learned that a positive attitude will get you through really tough situation.  It is because of that attitude that I am as far along as I am today.  I am so truly grateful that he is here to influence my children for the better.  He and John had a wonderful friendship and my dad understood how John wanted his children to be raised, and my dad has repeatedly gone out of his way to help those kids.  I know that DNA makes up part of who we are, and our surroundings and experiences make up the rest.  I am grateful to have been blessed with both courageous DNA, but to also be surrounded by intelligent, faithful, strong, loving, kind, and righteous parents who have done their best to raise a wonderful family.  It is because of their protective and nutritive surroundings that I was able to face my own life experiences and be able to come away from those experiences a better person.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#9- A Hopeful Future

In the last few days I have realized that I have been excited for the future.  Not only that, I have been planning for the future.  This is big news in my little world.  It's been a really long time since I have felt this way, however I will admit I'm still not 100%.

I have had several people ask me how I was considering our anniversary had just past.  When I really thought about the answer to that question, I realized that I am actually feeling so much better than I was last year, even better than I was two weeks ago.  What's the change you ask?  D R E A M  B O A R D!

What's a dream board?  Well I'll tell you.  It's basically a poster board with cut outs of all the future goals that you have in mind for yourself.  I was first asked to make one of these in my zoning class earlier this year.  The instructor explained that if you visualize your future, you will attain it.  At the time, I wasn't ready for it, and I actually left class because I was so upset.  That's how difficult it was for me to visualize the future. 

The other night, I realized that (as I have previously posted) lists work.  It is an act of faith to write down the righteous desires of your heart.  With that in mind I put a list together of my future, and I was very specific.  This is an actual law of nature, called the Law of Attraction.  You have to be specific, because it is true that you have to be careful what you wish for (That's a story for another time).

I am so grateful for the ability that I have to dream of the future again.  I know that my life will be great again.  I'm grateful to know that I am loved, and that my Father in Heaven doesn't want me to be sad and alone.  He wants what every parent wants for their child.  He wants me to have a happy, productive life, and share it with others.

#8- The Crackling Fireplace

We recently finished our basement, where we installed a wood burning fireplace.  Because yesterday was such a cold yucky day, Ethan decided that it was the perfect time to try it out.  Fortunately, my kind bro in-law Dave came over to help us figure it out.  You may not think it was rocket science, but you would be surprised.

It was fun to see the boys so enthralled with watching the fire, their inner caveman came right out.  I swear that their voices went a little deeper, and they let a few "Tim the tool man Taylor" grunts out.  Men and women truly are different from the get go.

It is great to know that there is an alternate source of heat in our home, and it is even nicer to know that we are surrounded by kind, loving family members that are always there willing to lend a helping hand.  Thanks Dave.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

#7- Anniversaries

This exact day 13 years ago, I was sealed for time and all eternity to my love and my best friend.  I really prepared myself for a pretty tough day, but somehow my attitude changed from sorrow to gratitude.  I admit that my emotions are still very close to the surface today, but the day turned out to be a nice day for me to reflect on my married life and to look forward to the future.  I truly consider this to be a miracle.  I never thought that I would get to this point, where I can think very fondly on my sweet husband, but the sting is no longer there.  The heartache and loneliness are still present, and I'm sure they always will be, but I can see a future now.

Everyday we are faced with new experiences, and new decisions to make, and new people to meet.  Everyday that we wake up and eagerly greet the day, we have opportunity upon opportunity placed in our path.  I am grateful for all of the people I crossed paths with today that made a difference in my tomorrow.  Thank you for the testimonies that were shared.  Thank you for the songs that were sung.  Thank you for the love that was expressed.  Thank you for the prayers that were offered.  I love you more than you know.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

#6- Grief, Health, and Healing

Today was a pretty big, and emotional day for me.  I had to leave sick kids early this morning to attend an all day class.  Then, I had a meeting in Salt Lake right after that.  By the time it was all said and done, I got to see the kiddo's for a few minutes before they headed off to dreamland.  So, for that reason, I apologize before hand for the jumbled thoughts.

I was talking to my sweet mother tonight, and we talked about my next "grateful" post.  She started giving me a list that kept growing and growing, and so as I stated in the beginning of this list...there is never enough space or time to record the things for which I am grateful.

I want to keep it to just a few so I can expound upon my thoughts, so for that reason I chose, Grief, Health, and Healing.

Why am I thankful for grief???  Well I am thankful because it has been a very profound teacher.  There have been lessons and principles that I have learned rather well, that could have never been comprehended by any other means.  I am grateful that I have grief to experience, because it means that I loved very deeply.  I'm grateful for sadness and loneliness, because it means that I had an amazing friend and partner.  We have to praise our Father in Heaven for giving us opportunities to learn eternal principles, which I have learned so many of. 

I am thankful for my health and the health of my children.  There is so much sickness and disease in the world, to which none of us are immune.  For today, even in sickness (especially in sickness) I am grateful for health.  I just heard some very upsetting news about a beloved family member who is beginning the battle with cancer.  The news is sickening, and shocking, and just plain sad, but there is a silver lining.  God loves everyone of us, and wants to give us everything he can.  Through trials like this one, my sweet family member as well as extended family have the opportunity to come together and learn sacred lessons.  Faith always proceeds the miracle, and I believe in miracles.

Healing is something that will always impress me.  Whether it's through a life saving surgery, a wonderful medicine, a priesthood blessing, a natural remedy, fasting or prayer.  I am always blown away by those who are in authority, and who have spent the time and energy and faith on behalf of the ailing person.  I know that in every case, Christ was there, and it was through him that the sick are made well.  I love, and am very grateful for the ability to learn of many of the techniques that can help those who are injured or not well.  I will always be researching a new technique, or taking a new class or teaching a subject.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this very humbling opportunity to be a tool in thy hands.

Friday, November 5, 2010

#5- Disinfectant

Oh boy am I grateful for Clorox, Lysol, Essential Oils, and good 'ole soap.  It has been a full two weeks of sickness over at the Carter farm.  We have had every strain of bug known to man.  Up next...Avian flu. (I hope that is a joke)

I am a true believer in natural healing.  I am a foot zoner by trade, and so I have studied many areas of natural medicine.  Through my journey I discovered essential oils.  They are amazing.  Last year the kids got the swine flu.  I treated them with essential oils and zoned them, and they were only sick for three days, and had no nasty side effects from prescriptions.  Now, I do very much believe in modern medicine, it has it's place.  If we could combine both practices we would have an amazing health care system.

If you want more info on Essential Oils, try this link.(my favorite brand), link, link

*Sorry for the "business-like" feeling of this post.  You got to go with what you know, right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

#4- Laughter is the Best Medicine

My dad always said that laughter was the best medicine.
Which is why several of us died of tuberculosis.
-Jack Handy

My favorite emotion.

I remember the first time that I laughed after John died.
  I stopped mid cackle, because I thought I was breaking a very serious law.
It was really quick that I realized that the only way I was going to make it,
was through a lot of (self deprecating) laughter.

In the first few months, I couldn't watch T.V.
I couldn't listen to music at all.
I read a lot, but they were all books on grief (not super uplifting).
So, in order to hold on to my sanity I watched the only thing that kept me afloat...
That's right. 
Me and Buddy the Elf have the same favorite color.
We both love the four basic food groups
Candy Canes
Candy Corns and

I think I watched that movie 37 time is a few weeks.
It was the only thing that made me feel human, and that was because I was laughing.
For those who sit at home and wallow in their grief or circumstance I say...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#3-Friendly Friends

Today I am thankful for great friends.  How would I have ever made it this far without the wonderful support system that I have.  I am grateful for good examples of patience, kindness, service, motherhood, and humor in my life.

I grew up a very shy, introverted child.  I was literally afraid of everyone.  I had a hard time making friends, and so the ones that I ended up with weren't necessarily the best of the best.  Now there were a few choice gals that are still my friends today, but it wasn't until I started working and was forced out of my shell that I really made some great friends.

When I met my handsome husband, I unintentionally put most of my friends on the back burner.  It wasn't that I didn't like them, but my husband quickly became my best friend, and I didn't feel like I needed or had time for anyone else.  In the last few years of our marriage, we both realized the importance of wonderful friends.  We actually morned the loss of friendships that we had let go by the wayside.  Those last few years, we worked on reviving and making new friendships whenever possible.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to one of my dearest friends through our then first grader sons.  It was the first time in my adult life that I had someone other than John and my sweet mother to talk to, and I valued that friendship so much.  John even commented several times that he was grateful that I had such a wonderful friend.  He too made some amazing friends, of course that was always easy for him.  He was constantly doing the handshake/hug in the grocery store, or at the gas station.  I swear he knew everyone.

Then suddenly I realized that I was surrounded by a group of amazing women, who were both friends and teachers to me. I kid you not when I say I was surrounded.  The day that John died, a group of about 10 gals were at my house, cleaning, doing laundry, washing windows, stocking cupboards, and just comforting me.  In the weeks and months to come, they didn't stop.  They harvested my garden, and canned for me.  They picked up homework, and even sat with the boys to catch them up.  They cooked.  They bought nice things.  They cried, and hugged and prayed.  I am being truly honest when I say, "I couldn't have survived this without them."

Thank you to my sweet friends, both old and new.  I know that we were meant to be a part of each others lives, and I am sure grateful that you are a part of mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gratitude is Lattitude

With it being the month of Thanksgiving, I found it to be fitting to A. rip off your friends ideas, and B. try to properly express those things that I am the most grateful for.  My goal here is to use a post a day to express my gratitude.  There will never be enough days in November, or enough Novembers to properly express my immense gratitude, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

I was supposed to start this yesterday, so I will use this post to make up for yesterday as well.

*1.  I am so very grateful for the tremendous opportunity that I was given of being a Mother.  All I ever wanted in the world was to be a wife and a mother.  I can't tell you how often I have had to pinch myself.  My two biggest dreams came true.  Now, I'm not saying that it's been a cake walk, my kids will attest to that, but it's been wonderful.  The good, the bad, and the ugliness of motherhood is beyond description.

  Just tonight, I put the kids to bed, and within minutes I hear the familiar gagging sound that I have come to associate with my beautiful daughter.  The kid has a bowl next to her be at all times, because she believes that whenever you cough, you must also empty your entire stomach contents.  Well problem is, the bowl is of no use, because she insists on getting out of bed and trailing throw up from her bed to the bathroom.  UGHHH!  This little incident may be classified as an ugly, but as I was cleaning up the mess, I realized how I wouldn't trade this job for the world.  When a tiny voice says, "I'm sorry mom, I sure love ya."  Man, it makes everything worth it.
This is the scene that I usually find when I check on the kiddos.

*2.  Marriage
Through the years I have met so many people.  I have always been impressed by individual strengths, and inane talents and abilities.  For so many years I thought that I was totally skipped in the whole "talent" category.  It took many years to figure out those things that I am really good at.  The reason it took me so long was because my particular gifts are not the usual run of the mill "talent show" talents.  One of these talents is that of wife.

I know, I know, how is that a talent?  Well I will tell you how.  I L-O-V-E-D being married.  I  lived to serve my husband.  I loved to see him smile.  I loved to hear about his day.  I loved that he called me on his way home from work and we would talk until he got home, knowing that he would be swarmed with kids as soon as he walked in the door.  I loved being able to cook for him, and hear him brag to all his friends and co-workers about how spoiled he was.  I loved that he was always there for me, and I loved to be there for him.

Marriage is the ultimate team sport, and boy were we competitive.  We could have given pretty much everyone a run for their money.  Now you may be saying to yourself, Hey I'm the same way.  Well my friend, then you too have this gift.  Hold it dear.  Cultivate it.  Work on it always.  It is truly a blessing to be able to have someone in your corner at all times, whether that someone is here or gone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Well, we did it.  Another holiday down.  As obscure as Halloween is, I love it!  It is the only time in your life that you get to pretend to be someone that you aren't (Within reason of course).  The kids and I carved pumpkins, and roasted pumpkin seeds.  I was crazy tired and had been dealing with a sick little Averie, so I told the kids that if they wanted to carve pumpkins, that they had to actually do the work themselves.  You see in past years, I clean out a pile of pumpkins, and then within minutes they have lost interest and I am left to carve four pumpkins by myself.  I usually end up spending the midnight hours cursing like a sailor (in my mind of course, and usually made-up words, but still) and sawing away at the stupid pumpkins.

So, I cut off the tops, and let them go to it.  Even Averie did her own pumpkin!  Holy cow, I have babied them all these years.  Those little suckers played me.  They even separated the seeds from the pulp so that we could have some delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.

I wish I would have had a recorder going through all of this, because it was quite funny.  Averie kept saying, "This is hopeless!"  Where does she even get stuff like that.  Ashton, I pretty sure was saying some words that he knew his mama didn't want him saying, but somehow he got away with it.  And Ethan, just quietly went to work.  It was a great night.

We ended up at my Bro and Sister-in-laws for dinner before trick-or-treating, and guess who was the only adult dressed up???  You got it.  Seriously.  What's with you grown-ups?  You too good for acting like a kid?  Well, you really missed out!

Here are some pics from our great adventures.

Ethan hard at work.  Ashton showing us who's boss.  Averie, proud as can be.  Me, all concentration.

Just before the lighting ceremony.  You can cast your vote now.

Top l. Ethan as the Reaper, Ashton as Ironman, Bottom l. Averie as stuff she found in the dress-up box, and Ethan sans mask.

Who am I you ask?  Well, I have no idea.  I just grabbed some stuff and put it on.

Didn't they do such a great job? (top l. Me, Ave, bottom l. Ethan, Ash)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Memory Blitz

B.C. or before children, I had an amazing memory.  In fact, the memory from those days is still intact.  I just seems that the brain power has been brought down a few notches with each pregnancy.  Then with the loss of John...well let's just say that I'm no longer a threat to the debate club dweebs.  Anyway, there have been so many memories that will come up, and I really have to think hard to figure out if John was there or not.  It's a pretty strange sensation actually.

The other day, one of these memories surfaced.  It was a memory of having to put dilating eye drops into one of Averies' eyes.  In my minds eye, I can clearly see John holding her while I administer the drops.  She really hated those drops.  They were painful, and they made it hard for her to see, so she always threw a fit when it was time for the drops.  This scenario is a perfect example of how our marriage worked.  One of us would hold the squirming child, while the other would work the magic of whatever treatment needed to be performed.  The only problem with this particular memory is that it took place just a few months ago. 

I sat back and thought to myself, "Wow, you're really losing it sister!"  I realized that this wasn't a one time memory blip, but that there were several occasions that I could recall in which John was right there with us, only he couldn't have been.  In fact, one of the times was up at the Alpine slides in Park City.  I can clearly see him laughing with my brothers, while holding Averie's hand and calling to the boys.  I swear to you that the memory is very vivid and very real, however, this outing took place before we even got his body home from Guatemala.  It was a really somber occasion for all of us.  We were still in shock, and just trying our hardest to run from the pain and reality of the situation.  But in my memory, he was there with us.  Handsome as ever.

I guess the thing that became glaringly obvious was the fact that he was there.  He has always been here.  I have always been able to feel him, but maybe I thought that I was pretending a bit.  Funny how I can do that to myself.  I can know something for sure, and still think that I made it up.  I am so grateful for this little realization.  I am so thankful for my sweet memories, and I am especially grateful for the knowledge that those sweet memories can continue to grow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It's still a strangely sad feeling to me to have the kids tucked in their beds and not have a soul to talk to.  The last few nights have been especially hard, I think because I've had some down time to really think about it.  I have intentionally kept myself overly busy just so that when I finally stopped for the night, I would be exhausted enough to sleep right away.  The recent problem has been not just down time, but dreams.  I swear I can't catch a break.

I finally made myself attend a singles activity.  I h.a.t.e. those things, but I figured that I couldn't sit around feeling sorry for myself if I didn't at least put forth some effort.  So, a great friend of mine accompanied me to a costume party of all things.  My friend Leslie, who lost her husband about a year before I did, wasn't way thrilled about the "singles" scene either, but we gave it a go.  When we first got there, it was just uncomfortable.  I felt like a seventh grader at my first stomp.  We walked around for a bit, and then we were going to duck out.  It occurred to me that first of all, no one knew me, and second, I wanted to unwind and have some fun.  So, I dragged Leslie out onto the dance floor, and we had a blast.  I laughed until it hurt.  We talked to a few people, but no love connections were made.  Leslie kept saying, "I can't imagine that I would be meeting my future husband at some singles dance."  I will say this, I can't even picture John being at anything even remotely like this costume party.  Oh well, it was fun.

The singles life is so much harder than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really hard.  Dating is one thing when there is just you to worry about, but when you have a precious little family at home, boy it's really difficult.  I find that I don't want to deal with any cute quirks, or silliness.  I have really had to sit down and think about what we need for our family to not only survive, but to thrive.  My list has really evolved and changed.  I'm not looking for someone with tons of money, or someone who drives a really cool car.  I'm not looking for someone who is really cool, and has lots of admirers.  I'm looking for someone who knows who he is.  I'm looking for someone who has respect for hard work, and who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and get down to business.  I'm looking for someone who upholds his priesthood and hold it dear.  I'm looking for someone who will love my kids like his own, and who wants the same things for them that John wants for them.  I'm looking for someone who will hold me and make me feel safe again.  Someone whom I will want to fight for every single day, who I can give my heart to.  Someone who is kind, and loving, and who will know that even though there are going to be tough times ahead, that all the sacrifice and hard work will all be worth it.

Some people say that I'm way to picky, and maybe to judgemental.  I say, you can never be too picky or too judgemental.  Fifteen years ago, I carried around a list very similar to this one.  My brothers, and my friends teased me that I would never find anyone to fit that description.  I'm here to tell you that I did.  He was perfect for me, and unfortunately we weren't meant to be together for very long here on this earth.  I know that he is working his magic, trying to find the best candidate to help take care of his little family.  I sure wish things didn't have to be this way, but that doesn't change the fact that they are this way.  All I know is that there was a very important reason why these things happened to us, and it isn't for me to understand right now.

Even though the loneliness is very profound, I know that I'm not alone.  It's not the same, and it doesn't erase the pain, but it does give me hope, and isn't that what it's all about?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Corn Maze

Last weekend, my friend Jamie and I took our kiddos to a fun little corn maze/fun center.  It was so great to get out into the fresh fall air and run and laugh and play.  Wow, it really does a body good. 

 Here's my sweet little toothless Ashton cheesing it up.

 Averie and Lucy...forever best friends
 Gotcha!  (it's always a good day when I can spring a pic on an unsuspecting Jamie)
 Sweet little gals
 Ashton, Scarlett, and Sarah
Ashton was getting a little worries that we would never find our way out.
 Ethan and Noah took off like a shot, map in hand and ready to conquer the big maze on their own.
 Awe!  So cute.
 Lo, and behold, they made it back alive.
 I need to remember this contraption next time I have extra bails of straw.
Look at the face on the little one. (Averie, not Jamie. Ha!)