Friday, February 26, 2016

The Power in Heartache

Sometimes I remember what life felt like before a tragedy, and sometimes I wish for that life back.  It’s so amazing how life’s experiences prepare us for heartache though.  I believe God carefully prepares us for the trials we must face in life…but when the storms rage, we ultimately show Him what we’re made of.  

Little by little I see the power in trials.  We begin to see ourselves as God sees us.  We learn to see life for what it is and what really matters.  We’ll all go through some very scary things in life.  Things that don’t make a whole lot of sense.  Things that break us.  Things that make us wonder why and how.  I’ve always believed wholeheartedly that there is equality in the testing process...and it's because God loves us that much.    

I am not ashamed to say that no man I've ever met was my father’s equal.  My dad drove a beat up brown bomb and had holes in his shoes so that I could have piano lessons and go to dance class.  He made me feel like I was worth every bit of it, too.  He trained me musically and taught me how to be good & descent to other people.  He cried a little every time we said goodbye and reminded me that he’d miss me every day 'til our next hello.  

I discovered this snippet today and couldn’t believe how much it related to everything I’ve been feeling this week.  I’m not always sure where I’m at in the healing process - I’ve come a long ways - but I have hope that someday the raw pain that often catches me off guard won’t affect me so much.  I’m still working towards getting passed that part I think.      

 "I prayed and prayed and prayed (x100,000) that God would take those feelings (of pain)
away, help me forget, and help me move on.
In due time God took it away from me
but in His great wisdom, He didn't take them away completely.
He took away the pain, but not the memories.
I believe the hard parts make us strong.  
They make us fighters, they make us sympathetic,
caring, kind, loving, compassionate, and they make us brave.” - NieNie



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Remembering December

  Well, December was a busy month to say the least!  After Christmas I made the conscious decision to plan for a more peaceful December in 2016.  Sigh.  :)  The opportunities were splendid - and I wouldn’t trade them - but I dare say there was too much busy-ness leading up to the sacred celebration of Christ’s birth.  On and on we go - learning to balance opportunity with plenty of peace in between.       

  I was involved in our Stake Relief Society Christmas Choir (under the direction of Rachel Mohlman & Marianne Larsen - two very talented women).  I am so very fortunate to be in the same stake as them!  It’s inspiring to me that they so freely give of their time and talents year after year to make this happen.  Weekly rehearsals ran from September thru December culminating in a weekend of two performances.  I had the opportunity to play the piano for one of the songs that was sung with the Stake Children’s Choir that AnnMarie was in.  Our Sunday fireside was packed - standing room only - with people all the way back to the stage in our stake center.  All of our music had to be memorized in order to participate which required significant effort on everyone’s part, but it was truly a magnificent experience.      


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  We got a little snow here and there which was an absolute thrill for Gabe & the girls.  

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I made sugar cookies for Carlie’s classroom Christmas party.  Oh, it was sure fun to help out with that!  I love 1st graders.  

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  As I’ve mentioned before, AnnMarie was involved in the Mid-Columbia Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker, and 2015 marked the 40th Anniversary of this event.  Jared’s parents, my grandparents, my mom, & my sister-in-law Emmy all came up to stay with us for the occasion.  It was nothing shy of a professional production, and there is so much I’d like to say about it, but I’ll spare you the details and the lessons we learned. :)  The week leading up to their performances was absolutely intense & exhausting, but wow, what an experience!  The attention to detail surrounding make-up, hair, costumes, volunteer coordination, & logistics was just incredible.          


  Cousin Max & Aunt Katie were able to come, too!  AnnMarie was so excited to see them!  We’ve missed them ever since they moved to Boise last fall.  Use of photography backstage and during performances was completely prohibited, so I had to order a picture of her in costume on stage via the hired photographer.  I’ll have to share it when I get it…hopefully soon. :)      

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  Luke’s 1st Birthday was on the day of AnnMarie's final performances.  Phew.  Poor little guy didn’t get much of a party other than, “Yay!  My life is finally back to normal!”  I took this picture just for fun...and then he seriously took his first steps!!  What are the odds?!!  On his 1st birthday, too!  So of course I started screaming like a crazy person and captured the moment, haha!!



  I didn’t take very many pictures this year, but Christmas Eve was spent together as a family.  We had our traditional humble feast of soup & bread along with a special Christmas story prior to the meal.  The kids sprinkled reindeer food on the front lawn, set Christmas cookies & Pepsi out for Santa, and all slept together in the same room.  It was simple…which was nice.  Jared & I both grew up with lots of extended family surrounding us at nearly every special occasion & holiday, and there are times when I really yearn for my own kids to have those same experiences, but I’m trying to soak it all up and enjoy it for what it is.  Each family unit is so different & unique in its own way with regard to the experiences they’re met with, but be it known that I’m so grateful for my crew and the memories we’re making together.  



Monday, February 1, 2016

New Beginnings

My mom is getting remarried this Saturday, and my head and heart are so full right now!  Memories of my dad are becoming more intense, and sadness in the loss of an expectant future is overwhelming at times!  But I am so happy for my mom & Brad.  He is an amazing person!  It’s truly a miracle the two of them found each other.    

What is an effective example of managing grief?  I think my mom would definitely be an effective example of managing grief.  Last spring my mom took the courageous step of attending the LDS Widows/Widowers Conference in SLC.  There she met Brad - a widower of three years.  So here we are.  The two of them will be married for time in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple on February 6th.  Common griefs knit two hearts together in a sacred way.       

I’m getting better at recognizing my loss as a revolution rather than a deprivation.  Certain habits have terminated while other ones - good ones - have developed.  Indeed, I am a better person!  It is true that there is a tinge of misery in my heart, and I rendezvous with it every day.  But just enough to remind me that I’ve the privilege of happiness, and I’ll create it.  A new chapter is on the rise, an old one waiting to be closed.  

How grateful I am for new beginnings, memories, the reality of life after death, and all that awaits in life everlasting.