Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Morning

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up from the fog of dreamland with a smile on your face?  You can't exactly remember why you are smiling, or filled with that peaceful feeling, but you just know it's going to be a beautiful day.

Today has been one of those mornings.  I live a charmed life, if only in my dreams.

There is an expression I use to describe the way I feel, but only when I am being brutally honest.  I feel like a russian orphan, who curls up and dies because no one shows any love or affection to them.  Kinda harsh, I know, but truthful.  I never knew how much I needed to be held, and loved until my sweet husband was gone.  I ache for the security of those strong arms, and the knowledge that he would do absolutely anything for my love.

I've had an extremely hard time admitting that I have been lonely.  I don't know exactly why I feel that way.  It may be because I don't want to be weak, or that I'm too proud to admit that I need someone in my life.  I could just be because of the fact that I don't want to have to put myself out there again.

I had lunch with a darling friend of mine yesterday and we talked about all things related to family.  She and her husband have had to go the long way around to build their family, so she gets where I'm coming from.  She knows first hand what it feels like to be incomplete.  To long for something that you can't have.  She knows how hard it is to see happy families going about their day without a care in the world.

While talking to her I realized that one of the reasons that I don't like to admit to loneliness is because John is always with me.  How can I hurt him by still being lonely?  He's doing his best to watch over his family.  Talk about going the extra mile.

We realized together that people are always looking to us to be a pillar of strength, and that sometimes it's just to hard to take on that roll.  We understood that we were sent into each others lives at specific times to help and guide each other, but what about us?  Why are some people spared when we weren't?  Why are some people taught by example, but we had to be that example?  Sometimes that reality of our hardships are just that...super hard.

Sitting in my car after lunch, we talked and cried, and laughed because we were such "boo-waa-hoo-ers" (that's a Johnny word for bawl baby.  It usually ended with, should we call the waambulance?).  I looked at my beautiful friend and realized that without a doubt, I was loved.  Heavenly Father knew that this was going to take all the courage I could muster, and about ten times more than that.  He knew that at those times when my reserves were depleted, that I would need reinforcements.  Yesterday that reinforcement came in a tiny, blond haired body.  How grateful I am to be able to be lifted up by the courage, and validation of others.  To be shown that by complete and perfect love, all things are accomplished.

Thanks Erin.  Today wouldn't be a good one without having you as my friend.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Pops

This weekend marked the 60th birthday of my sweet daddy.  We had to opportunity of spending the long weekend with my parents and some of the cousins in Park City.  We have many of our fondest memories in a crappy little condo in that fun resort town.

Though it can get a little loud with 13 grandkids running around, we are so grateful to have such wonderful parents that will sacrifice to give us such wonderful memories.  After all, what better gift is there?

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hero Moments

I visited with my sweet aunt Andrea today.  We had such a great talk.  She noticed that I was really doing so much better, which I agree with.  However, I shared with her some of my frustrations that I have with myself.  She very politely listened to my lists of reasons why I think I could be doing better, accomplishing more, or serving better.  When I finished she simply said to me,

 "If you were writing a book about yourself right now,
 would you be the victim, survivor, or the hero?"

I had to think about that question.  I knew right away that I wasn't a victim.  Victims allow themselves to be conquered.  That is definitely not me.  Was I a survivor?  Sure, at least most of the time I feel that way.  Hero?  Not likely.

"I guess I would say that I'm a survivor."  I answered, feeling pretty truthful.

She reflected for a moment then said,

"The first year, you were in survivor mode.  Since then, I truly believe that you have been in hero mode."

I have to say, I was seriously wowed!  How? What? Why? and How???

She smiled at the dumbfounded look on my face.  She proceeded to tell me about all the things that she has seen me do since John died.  The funny thing is, I had forgotten most of the things that she illustrated.  It's so weird to see that I was wrong about myself.  Wacky huh!

I had held myself to this impossible standard.  I felt like I was meant to do something big, something that I was ignoring.  I felt like I was letting everyone down because I couldn't figure out what it was that I was suppose to be doing.  I met with my bishop, friends and even my stake president.  They all said the same thing...You are doing plenty.

I really just thought that everyone was just saying that because either they didn't understand, or I just didn't explain my predicament properly.  However, this little talk with my darling aunt pointed a neon sign on my own misunderstanding.  

I just experienced the death of my husband, a move, and new schools, and all of which I did by myself.  I didn't fall apart.  I didn't bury my head in the sand.  I just got to work and did what I needed to do.  I was moving forward.  I was learning and trying to be helpful to others.  I was raising my kids to be healthy and happy.  I was doing all that was expected of me, so why was I expecting more?  Why did I think that motherhood was a small job, or not enough?

All I have ever wanted was to be a wife and a mother, but suddenly I felt like there was way more than just being a mom.  I felt like I had to slay dragons not only for my family, but for everyone in the village.  I felt a huge responsibility to make sure that everyone knew that no matter what they had to endure, they would be alright.  I wanted to make sure that the loss of John wasn't for nothing, so I was on a mission.  

I love...adore being a mom.  Now though, it's really hard work.  I have had to morph into a mom and a dad.  I'm not even the same mom that I was.  I have to be more regimented, more demanding, more stern...I kind of hate that I have had to change into that.  

My little talk with my aunt made me realize that I am good enough.  I am doing quite enough.  I am a good mom, and they are more important than anything else right now.  I can be a hero in my story, because that's what I am for my kids.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dinner Time

Tonight is family night.  I have tried very hard to keep that part of our family in tacked and normal.  So tonight we went to the fruit stand and picked out pumpkins to carve.

While the kids began carving, I started dinner.  Usually, at least since John died, we would go out to eat or bring in some take out.  Dinner time has been a part of my life that I can't seem to get back.  I don't know if it's because I have no time, or if it's because it brings me back to the days that I wish were still here.  Either way, it's pretty painful.

Back to dinner...I made a meal that I hadn't made since John died.  It was a family favorite, and an invention of mine.  The recipe just jumped into my head again tonight.  I had no idea it would send me back in time the way that it did.

Dinner Table

Ethan is laughing,
John is teasing,
Ashton is playing with his food,
Averie is choking.

What am I doing?
Pointing and gesturing helplessly at my chocking baby.

Cool and a cucumber, John sticks his bite of food in his mouth, reaches across the table for Averie, lifts her up with one hand pats her back with the other, and sets her back down.

John scoops up another bite of food, while finishing the story he was telling the boys.
He didn't have a hair out of place, or even a drop of sweat on his brow.
I just sat and stared.  I was so bugged that I had such crappy reflexes.
John could always best me, and actually pretty much everybody.
Boy did I love him...admired him really.
My very own superhero.

All of that and more came from that one simple dish.  A lifetime of memories.  A time that was so ordinary, and yet so profound.  What an importance those few minutes mean in the history of a family.  I now understand the brilliance of that time together.  I would be missing out on so much if we hadn't had those meals together.  

It now begs the question, what are we missing out on now?  Life gets busy, especially with growing kids, but why can't I make dinner time important like it use to be?  I now know just how important that time is in our lives, and I intend to make it worth something.  I'm sure I'll shed more than a few tears, but those tears will bring memories of my beautiful husband...I sure miss that guy.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lead Kindly Light

I woke early this morning.  My heart was heavy with loneliness and sorrow.  As a pondered and prayed, the lyrics of a hymn came into my mind.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
-Lead Kindly Light

This hymn is especially profound for me, because it talks about the long night of sorrow.  It illustrates just how difficult the journey is sometimes, but it shares the hope of tomorrow.  When the daybreaks and the suns rays warm the earth, and hope is replenished again.  How in the mean time, there is our loving savior leading us by the hand.

The phrase above is a really difficult one for me.  I want to know desperately what is looming in the distance.  I want to be prepared and ready for whatever may be in front of me.  I may have seen one too many war dramas, or who-done-it's. 

I have to remember that I don't know the way.  Only my Father in Heaven knows where I need to go, and whom I need to meet on the way.  Keep thou my step enough for me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Life Is Precious

There is so much life to be lived. There is so much to experience, so many things to learn. For so long I've lived in the periphery of life. Somewhere between life and death. That blurry gray line of inability, or indecision.

This week we have been at the happiest place on earth. That's right the big D. Disneyland, California!!!

I find that in all the line waiting, there's more than enough time to ponder life. I watch other families and how they handle their specific situations and I compare myself with them. I know we should never compare, but I have found that I'm totally normal! It's awesome!!!

I have also loved seeing people with their children. It's such a heart warming sight to see a big strong dad wearing Mickey ears and holding the hand of a five year old princess. Disneyland is the great equalizer. It's the place that everyone turns into a kid again.

This particular trip is different in a lot of ways. First off, it's the first one that I don't have an adult family member with me. Also, I decided to drive the 700 or so miles...I'm still not really sure how I feel about that one. Finally, it's a place that John and I went together as a family, and my first time back since he died.

That may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you that it is. Four years later and there still are firsts. First long road trip. First time to a memorable place we visited together. It has been really hard.

The things that have made this trip great?.. That would be fantastic friends! My darling friend Charese and her hubby John, her wonderful parents, Randy and Chris, my sweet friend Hillari, and her fun mom Susan, and Hil's beautiful sister Mikkel. Oh, and lets not forget the hoards of kids betwixed us all. I think the total is somewhere around 17.
This trip was planned a year ago.  It was suppose to have taken place in March last.  However, stupid cancer changed all our plans.  That's all right.  We made it anyway, and Charese used a wheelchair that let her line jump.  She's pretty wiley when she needs to be.
 That's our group on the right
 Me and Hillari


 I'd like to thank the academy.
 They like me.  They really like me.

 We represent the lollipop guild.
Spider Ash

Friday, September 28, 2012

Little House on the Prairie

Today was going to be an easy, cake walk of a day.  I had no where to be, and the kids were going to be at school for part of the day.  Oh what a treat.

So I went about my lazy morning.  I walked around and made beds while listening to music.  I made it down stairs to straighten up the kitchen.  Then, as luck would have it I decided to water the tomatoes, since I skipped watering yesterday.  To my shock and amazement, several tomato bushes were absolutely brimming with beautiful red fruit.

My veggies have yielded a huge amount of produce this year.  I had picked all the ripe tomatoes just two days ago, leaving only the really green ones behind.  So suddenly my lazy day turned into a canning day.

While I peeled and canned tomatoes, I had some great alone time to just think.  There is something therapeutic in being elbows deep in tomato guts.  I quickly realized how far I have come.  Just a few years ago, I couldn't have spent a day alone without ending up in the fetal position.  Just a few months ago, I didn't have the energy to tackle canning on my own.  Today, I put up tomatoes, did four batches of jalapeno jelly (watch out at christmas for that little prize to surface), and helped the kids make banana bread (Okay, Ethan and Averie made the bread, but it was totally my idea).

I am actually amazed at myself.  I may be getting back to my old self, or better yet, a way better new self.  Would you look at that.  I guess there is a better place to end up after great hardships.  I have endurance now that I never had before, and I enjoy my life.  I love my kids and all that they do (minus the endless messing up of the house).  I have the sweetest brothers.  I adore my parents.  I love to pieces every member of Johns side of the family.  I have the best friends a girl could ask for.  Hallelujah!!!!!!

For those who want recipes for the jelly, I did four kinds, HOT, Pineapple, raspberry, and apricot.
  Click the blue link on each for the recipe that I used.
 *be aware, that I change everything just a bit.
  I am against following any recipe to the letter.*
 (just don't strain you peppers out.  It's prettier with the pieces left in)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Birthday Girl

My dear friend Charese celebrated her 33rd birthday today. What an amazing woman this is. She has been my strength, and my cheerleader, even in the middle of her own chemo treatments. How I love you my sweet friend.

Watch My sweet friends journey through cancer.
part 1
part 2

Part 3

I was thinking all day about the wise man who built his house upon the rock.  The rain came down, and the floods came up.  The wind beat down upon the house, but the house stood strong on the rock that it was planted.

I was listening to some of the ladies talk at chemo today.  They were discussing heart failure, hair loss, bone pain, major nausea, bleeding noses, hearing loss, and all manner of scary topics.  They were talking about these things in the same way that I would talk to my mom about my shopping list.  It was typical conversation, like nothing out of the ordinary.

They have been dealing with so much, that this next little thing was just that...a little thing.  That brings me back to my thought about the wise man.  The man wasn't spared from the storms that came his way just because he followed what he was taught.  He did everything right in building his house.  Those storms still ravaged his home, and probably caused damage.  However, he still did what he was meant to do and his house stood strong.  He learned to fortify his home against further damage, and lived a good life.  He never questioned why God would send the rain, instead he thanked God for keeping his home standing.

These amazing people that I spent the afternoon with, did nothing wrong to end up with the horrible diseases that they have.  They are good people, doing good things.  They have build their houses upon the rock, and they will be blessed with the kind of unbreakable strength that the Lord can provide.  Sometimes that happens in our eternal life, but it always happens.

*I have included a link to Charese's blog.  She has a donation tab at the top right of the page.  Please give what you can, anything would be a major help.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life Is What Happens When You Are Making Other Plans

I am continually amazed by how time can just fly by.  I remember vividly my first day of kindergarten. I was instantly head over heals for a red headed, freckle faced boy named Cash.  I recall with complete clarity the birthday party that I was invited to when I was 6.  I had to go right after dance, so I had bright red tights on under my pants.  After a red rover injury, it was discovered that I had my tights on under my pants and everyone teased me.  Later, I got passed up when ice cream cones were being passed out.

I remember seventh grade.  Every last rotten day of seventh grade is burned into my memory.  I remember being so proud when in 10th grade, I was named English Scholar.  I remember a phone call at work when I was 21 from a nervous sounding young man named John.  He told me that he was given my number, and wondered if I would do him a favor by going out with him that night.

I remember that same young man, getting down on one knee holding a white box in his hand.  Then later, I remember looking across at him as we were pronounced man and wife.  We hugged for so long that everyone started giving us grief about it.

I remember the stunned look in his eye when I showed him the positive pregnancy test.  We were studying for school tests, and every few minutes he would stop and say, "No...Really???"  Then I remember the absolute gleam that radiated off of him when his son came into this world.  I thought that he was going to be airborne with the amount of joy that was billowing of him.

Now, I look at that same baby boy, who is now a young man himself.  He didn't get to have that amazing man around for too long, but you better believe that he has learned from him every single day since.

Just today, he was getting ready to go to a young mens activity.  It suddenly struck me how much he is like his dad.  Not so much in looks, but more in how his mind works, in the things he says, and the way he moves.

Just yesterday I was holding my newborn baby boy, and now that sweet little boy holds his mom.  I'm going to take a mental picture of this day, and this time, and hold it in my heart forever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mama Mia

Moms are the greatest!  I got to spend the afternoon with my mom today.  I love that kind of time.  We have been able to share so much together as adults.  Without sisters, I have relied on my mom for all things girly.  We enjoy going to lunch, getting pedicures, shopping for fabric, and any number of crafty do dads.

Today was the kind of day that we both needed.  She was dealing with some difficult emotional situations, and I was dealing with avoiding house work.

When I dropped her off to her house, we sat in the car for several minutes and just talked.  How wonderful it is to have someone who knows you so well that they can guide you through tough situations and difficult emotions.  I love my mother so much.  She is the reason that I am a mom.  She is my archetype for motherhood.  She is the reason that I sing to my kids to wake them in the morning.  She is the reason that I make breakfast for dinner when everyone is cranky.  She is the reason that the kids get to sleep on the couch with a bottle of Sprite when they are sick.  She is the reason that we pray every night.  She is the reason that I first loved the Savior.

Thank you mom.  I wouldn't be me without you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The crisp air
The smell of a fire burning off in the distance
Warm, soft fleece
Harvesting all the wonderful tasty produce grown to maturity
The beautiful colors on the mountains

Oh how I love fall.

Sunday drive to Snowbasin