Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Beginnings

This is a picture of the Oak seed that we planted on behalf of Alan. We are going to plant it in the yard in the Spring. I was just thinking about how it represents new life and a new beginning which feels appropriate as it applies to my life. I know I have posted some pretty sad and depressing things over the last few weeks in an attempt to get it all out there. Some people have taken it to mean that I am depressed and are worried about me. But what I was trying to convey is that I am not depressed. I am extremely happy because I have let it all go. It is my past and it no longer defines who I am. I am choosing to be happy. Not that I haven't been happy before, but now there is nothing weighing me down.

As New Year's is approaching, I have reflected over this past year and the twists and turns it took. From the death of my Grandpa in January, to the death of a friend's daughter, to building new friendships and losing some friendships, to the death of my brother and to being healed from my past hurts and pain. It has been a rollercoaster ride. But in the end, I have been refined and become more devoted to the Savior and so it was all worth it.

I am looking forward to the next year and it's many twists and turns. I can't even begin to imagine what is in store for me. But no matter what happens, I can overcome anything with the Savior by my side. This I know.

On my path to discovering who I am, I have hurt some people. There is no excuse for what I have done, but I am truly sorry that I have hurt you. It was not my intention. I wish more than anything I could have learned an easier way without hurting anyone. I pray everyday that those who have been hurt by me can someday forgive me. It is my greatest wish. Maybe in time....

So to looking forward to my future, I am seeing the twins potty trained, Jason starting Highschool and Seminary, McKenna needing another heart surgery, Joshy learning how to read, teaching the kids piano, a much needed vacation to Hawaii with my sweet hubby, and many more things that I can't see yet. Let the ride begin! :)
Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tough Topic

I don't know why, but I feel like I need to post this link on here. It is a very tough topic to discuss. It is about verbal and emotional abuse. The article was published in the June 1996 Ensign. When I read this, I was floored to realize that I could recognize many forms of this abuse in my own life. I think verbal and emotional abuse are more dangerous because the victim doesn't even realize what is going on and often tells themselves that it isn't a big deal, that we can deal with it or it isn't worth bringing up. We tell ourselves that we are just being sensitive and it is probably just in our head, or that we deserve it. But slowly over time it wears on you and wears on you until you start to believe that what you want doesn't matter, you are stupid, it is all your fault, etc. I have often been told, "Can't you take a joke?" I learned to make myself the butt of jokes so that people thought I was laughing at myself and knew how to have a good time because if I ever expressed that what someone said hurt me, I was made to look like a fool and a poor sport. Along with my low self-esteem, it was a dangerous combination. I was so desperate for people to love me that I would put up with anything. It allowed men to abuse me verbally, emotionally and sexually. Then I would think that it was all my fault, that there was just something about me that made men want to do those things to me, that I must have asked for it somehow. I carried it for years as my fault and beat myself up everyday over it. It wasn't until recently that I have learned that I was not at fault. I have been beating myself up over something that someone else did, taking all the blame. I would hear about abuse victims often feeling like they were the dirty ones and that is why they wouldn't tell anyone about it. But I thought to myself, I really am a bad person. That is why I didn't tell anyone.

So maybe I feel the need to share these things so that someone doesn't make the same mistake I did. Maybe the form of abuse is so subtle that you don't think that you should take any action against it because it will just stir up trouble. You want to be Christ-like and turn the other cheek. I have had all of these thoughts. This article opened my eyes to the ugly truth and now I am so sensitve to any form of it that I feel sick to my stomach whenever I hear it. I sometimes hear spouses do it to each other and I recognize it for what it is now. I can't believe how much it goes on and all in the name of teasing or just being truthful. If it is hurtful, it isn't teasing or fun. Sometimes you might say it in jest, but the person hearing it doesn't know that and takes it as truth and you can never take the effects of that comment back. I have had many experiences like that, things that have affected me for life.

I was given a formula for whether or not something should be said.
In order for you to say something out loud to someone, it must meet two out of three of these criteria.
Is it true?
Is it nice?
Is it necessary?

After I read this I discussed it with my husband and my children and we did a Family Home Evening lesson on it. I keep a copy of it in my journal so that we can constantly be checking ourselves to see if we are doing better. I hope that you can find it useful.

I hope I don't seem like a downer, but there are just some topics you can't laugh at or take lightly and need to be addressed and stopped before the cycle perpetuates. I actually had someone say to me, "You like being mocked, don't you?" And I stopped dead in my tracks. I have taught people that it is okay to mock me because I can "take a joke", but in reality, sometimes it hurts. Or one instance where someone said to me, "but you should just automatically know I love you." So what I'm hearing is, I must look underneath all the garbage and the rude, mean things they say to find the underlying love that is hidden somewhere. That is not how love is supposed to be. I actually thought that if someone was teasing me and giving me a hard time, that must mean they like me. That sounds like kindergarten all over again. Well, if a boy pulls your hair then he must like you. So abuse equals love? CRAZY!

So that brings me to another topic. Change. I have changed. I no longer want to be verbally abused as a form of love. I no longer want to be manipulated. I no longer care about what others think of me. I am no longer so desperate for someone's love that I would let them do what ever they want to me. These changes aren't visible, tangible things that people would be able to look at me and say, "I see I can no longer manipulate Kris." I mean I wish I could wear a sign that says, "I don't tolerate abuse anymore." It would make it so much easier. The thing about change is, there are many people around us that don't like it when we change. Especially those we are closest to because they have gotten into a routine that suits them just fine. If you change, that means the people around you are going to have to change, as well. One example is family. You try to go home and have a nice visit and how many of us fall back into our old routine because our family members have gotten used to treating us a certain way? We oblige to make the visit as nice as possible, with no drama. Or in our marriages. I have seen instances where one spouse tries to change and the other spouse, who is the abuser, goes crazy because they no longer have control over that person and they don't want that change. There are people around you who don't want you to change because it will mean happiness and freedom for you and they are miserable so they can't stand to see that you have overcome your demons and are happy now. These people do everything in their power to bring you back down and put you back into your box. I mean, how dare you try to come out of your shell when they didn't say you could. I have dealt with all of it, all the while telling myself that I will be the peacemaker at the expense of my own self-worth. But I KNOW who I am now and no one is going to ever use me or abuse me again. Now if I hear something abusive towards me, I address it immediately. It isn't always pleasant, believe me. I don't like confrontation, but I also don't like being made to feel stupid or less than I am. If I feel like I am being manipulated, I end the conversation.

Let me know your thoughts on the article. I also felt that it was important that I watch my tongue with my children. How many times do I say something in frustration that maybe is not true or nice or necessary that might break their poor little heart and injure them more than a slap would. So even if you don't think you have to deal with these things in your life, it is just nice to be aware of the different forms and make sure you protect your loved ones from it the best you can. These things were very difficult for me to share. I hope that you all take them in the spirit it was intended and that was to hopefully help people see that they don't have to put up with it and if you have a problem with saying abusive things, you will be able to recognize that it is abuse and try to change it.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

I am awestruck by the Savior's grace and mercy and how much he is invested in each one of us. He quietly leads us to places within ourselves and says "what could you be doing better in this area?" He teaches you and then provides an experience for you to learn from. Or he sees that you are struggling and he sends an "angel" to lift you or to say just the thing you needed to hear at that particular moment. They might not even know they are your angel. They are just following a prompting to do or say something, not thinking anything of it.
I have had so many of these experiences through out my life, but I have never been as grateful for them as I am now.
I am so grateful for those people that put themselves in the Lord's hands and are willing to be his instruments. They have lifted me time and again and probably have no idea what they have done for me. I hope one day they will get to see the effect they had on my life. It is so beautiful! It shows how much our Savior truly loves us as individuals. I sometimes think, with all that He has to do and to watch over, how does he have the time to let one person know that they need to call me and share with me.
I had a friend call today. She had no idea what I have been going through. But she just felt the need to open up to me about what she has been going through and it was exactly what I needed to hear. It was not a coincidence. I am so humbled!
It makes me think of President Monson's talk on having an attitude of gratitude. When we start to open our eyes to all of the bounteous blessings around us, our vision expands and then we REALLY start to see, even more than we did before and it blows me away. You start to notice the tiniest little thing that before you might have blown off as just happenstance, but now it is seen for what it is...a huge sign that you are being taken care of, that someone hears and He loves you. And when we acknowledge what He has given us, He will bless us even more.
I just had to share my gratitude. I was overwhelmed by it. You know we read about these things over and over in the scriptures, but until you have truly FELT "to sing the song of redeeming love", you just can't grasp it. It becomes cliche. I hope I never lose the feelings I have been experiencing over the last few months. I hope I can always be grateful even amidst tragedy.
Have a blessed day and be able to recognize it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little Secret

I wanted to thank all of you who have sent me kind messages about my blogging therapy. :0) I have a little secret to share with you. It terrifies me to put myself out there like that. If you only knew how much I "hem" and "haw" over whether or not I should say something or not. I'm worried I will upset someone or you will think I'm crazy. Over the last couple of months I have been changing into a different person. I realized that I have been shutting people out of my life and not sharing my deeper self with anyone because I was afraid that once someone knew the "real" me, they would not love me anymore. I thought I was such a terrible person that no one could love me. I have come to realize that that is not true. It was a real "duh" moment for me. Sad, huh? I'm 34 years old and still feel like a little child inside, scared, afraid, cowering in a corner. But when I realized what I was doing and that it wasn't the best way to go about life, I decided then and there to change. I am reaching out to people. It still scares me to death, but the kind words from you have given me strength to keep at it.

It is easier doing it through blogging because I don't know how it affects people and I can't see your face. I am trying to work my way up to doing it more in person. This is very daunting for me. I can't even tell you the emotional turmoil it causes. My natural instinct is to hole up in my house and not talk to anyone. I wish I could just raise my kids and never interact with a single soul. I have to fight this instinct every day of my life. And I do. I attend my book club, I go play volleyball, I go to church, I sing in front of people, I tell people how much they mean to me, all of it scaring me to the point that sometimes my hands and knees shake. I probably have some sort of anxiety disorder, but I am fighting it. People are usually shocked to hear that I have to struggle with this every day because I seem like such a confident person. It just reminds me that I can never judge anyone by their outside appearance. If I struggle with this and no one knows, I often wonder about what others are going through that I just don't know. I feel compassion for everyone I meet and try to get to know their story and who they really are. I try to help them feel that I love them for who they are and that they never need to put on a show with me. It kind of makes me hypocritical because I am scared to show who I really am. But I am working on it.

I realize that we train people how to treat us and I have trained everyone around me to keep their distance. How do I undo that? I have had to really step outside of my comfort zone and make an effort to let people know that I am ready to let them in. It will probably take some time. There are some that have already welcomed me with open arms like they have just been waiting for me. The Savior has been one of those people. He has just been waiting for me to come to Him and let Him heal me from all of my baggage. It opened my eyes to what the scriptures Matthew 11:28-30 are telling us.

"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

So that is what I am doing. I take all of my uneasiness and anxiety and I lay it at the Lord's feet, I ask Him what he would have me do and He whispers it to me through the Holy Ghost, then I do it. No questions asked. I take up His yoke and it is easier and lighter because I know that if I am doing what the Savior wants me to do, it must be right and that brings me peace, or rest. I know that no matter what happens, it will be for my good. It isn't as easy as it sounds, my natural self still fights it sometimes, but I am gaining more faith and I just need more practice until it becomes natural to me. I hope all of you will bear with me as I strive to grow. My goal in this life is to be more understanding of people and the personal struggles they are facing and to help lift them when I can. I am grateful for those that have done this for me.
Thank you for letting me share with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting Go

I have always loved this picture of Alan and I. I have been thinking back to the morning I found out that Alan had been killed. I just need to share and acknowledge an amazing miracle that happened that morning. The Sherriff that came by to tell us didn't even know that Alan lived here. Out of everything he had in his car, nothing told the cops who to contact or where he lived except one thing. They found some dog tags with our address on it. That address is all they had to go on because he didn't have his drivers license. They found us, not knowing what they were going to find, and we were able to tell them he lived here and who he was. I have been thinking about those dog tags. Alan had only lived here for a little less than three months and as far as I knew, he wasn't planning on living here forever. So why did he have the dog tags made up with our address on them? Out of everything that was in his car and all the things that had been scattered out on the road, how did they find these dog tags? Where and when did he have them made? And most interesting, where are they now? The Sherriff didn't give them to us. We did get a set of dog tags from when he was in the Army back when he graduated HS, but of course our address wasn't on them. So how? I know that it was Heavenly Father's way of letting us know what had happened so that we didn't worry and have to put out a missing person's report or wonder where he was. It was a huge blessing and a miracle. I hope that when we pass to the other side, we will be able to see our life with the veil drawn back that will allow us to see how much divine intervention was put forth on our behalf. I think we will be shocked to see how many times we were saved or protected or strengthened.

Alan left quite a wake of unfinished business for us to deal with. Law suits, credit collectors, an amazing amount of debt and his cat. :0) I have thought about what my choices are in dealing with all of this. And I have just decided to let it all go. I could waste time and energy on dealing with the things that were important in his life, but in the grand eternal scheme of things, none of it really matters. So we will inform the credit agencies that they are never going to get their money, but I am not going to fight his lawsuit battle for him. I'm not going to find his cat that somehow escaped while we were gone. I'm not going to worry about how the accident happened and if there was foul play. God will sort that out in his own due time. None of it will bring him back. At first I felt like a bad sister. But then I realized that it would just bring me anger and turmoil and not peace and forgiveness. My time and energy is better spent on taking care of my children and my amazing husband.

Yesterday, I was pondering about why Heavenly Father brought Alan into my life when I was going through the toughest emotional ordeal and the lowest point in my life. I was lower than dust and didn't even know who I was. I couldn't eat and had little to no energy. This is when Alan stepped into my world. I hope that someday I will be able to see why the timing was necessary for him. I know how it was necessary for me. I was down in the pantry, getting crackers, and I said out loud, "I'm so sorry that I was not able to reach out to you like I wanted to because I was such a mess," and the most amazing thing happened. I felt his arms surround me and give me a big hug, I felt the most amazing love wash over me, and I heard the words, "It is okay." I started crying. Now you, the reader, can question my sanity at this point or say that maybe I just wanted it so badly that I thought that is what I felt, but I know that I have never felt anything like that before or so strongly that it moved me so deeply. Even if it wasn't "real", it felt wonderful and brought me comfort and so I am thankful for that experience. It is what allowed me to finally let go and say good-bye. I will still miss him, I will still cry when something reminds me of him, but I am now ready to move on.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I hope that it touched some of you and let you know that you aren't alone in some of your thoughts and feelings. I hope it allowed you to see the day to day miracles that happen in our lives.
I will now get back to regularly scheduled programming, or in other words, the mundane happenings called Life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alan's photography

Some of these were taken with Al's cell phone. Pretty amazing. I told him he should go into photography. :0)

The next 5 pics were taken at the Red Rocks Amphitheater

Colorado Sunset

Sunset at the Webster's BBQ

Colorado storm clouds rolling in.
As seen from our deck. He thought that was pretty cool.

To My Mom

I hope that by expressing myself about past hurts and pain that I haven't hurt you in any way. I want you to know that I love you dearly. The thing I am learning is that everyone has their own personal struggles and things they are working through. Isn't that what life is all about? We are here to learn and grow from them and it is our trials that bring us closer to the Lord. I have learned to ask myself "what am I supposed to learn from this?" Not "why did this happen to me?" I am thankful for every trial I have been through. It has formed me into who I am today. I have often thought that if it weren't for the dark times, we wouldn't be able to appreciate the Light. The Light shines that much brighter when we come out of the dark and we turn to the Light that much more.
Please don't beat yourself up for things you did or didn't do. The beauty of the Gospel is that we have our free agency to chose if we will be happy or miserable. The more we trust in the Lord, the easier it is to be happy. He also bore our pain and our sorrows and knows exactly what we are going through. If we feel the inner yearnings to change, he will help us and is just waiting for us to ask for his help!
I have been thinking about all of the beautiful things you have brought into my life. First and foremost, you had me at a time when you were coming back to the church. That has been the biggest blessing of all in my life. I can't even imagine where I would be if you hadn't had the courage to make that change and come back. You also had the courage to get out of some bad marriages and you found Dad. It was painful to feel cast aside by fathers who were supposed to love me and take care of me, but I know it was for the best. I am grateful every day of my life that I have Richard as my father. You brought music into my life. You used to sing me songs all the time. I didn't make it easy for you with requests like "Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah Chorus". LOL Music has been another huge blessing in my life. You also taught me how to be a hard worker and how to clean those corners! :0) Through the years you have provided me with many self help books in an effort to help me, and I love that about you! I am definitely a better person because you have been my mother. You are such a beautiful angel to me. I hope you know that and never doubt it! I'm sure my kids will have lots of issues with how I raised them, but we are doing the best we can, aren't we. :0) And Heavenly Father will be there to help them work through the things that I was lacking in. And so it goes....
I don't want you to think I blame you or harbor any anger towards you in any way. Through the atonement, we are healed and our very natures are changed. It is so blessedly WONDERFUL! Don't worry about Alan. If Heavenly Father has been so mindful of us and our needs, I know that he has done the same for Alan. He will be okay.
I just didn't want anyone to think that I have been whining and feeling sorry for myself. I feel abundantly blessed and I am full of Joy. The people I have been blessed with to be my friends are so amazing. Words cannot express how much love you have brought into my life at a very dark time, when I needed it the most. Family has been another great blessing, even family I have never met or don't know very well. I have come to realize that the relationships we form in this life are what sustain us and the things we will treasure once we are called home.
Man, I am such a sap! But I needed to express my gratitude, even for this trial because through it I have been set free from chains I had forged. I am now ready to move on and soar. Break free from your chains and lay them at the Savior's feet.
I love you, Mommy. I hope you know it and now everyone who reads this blog will know it, too :0)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Brothers

First of all, can I just say I love my Heavenly Father and believe that all things are for our good, but my first question to Him is going to be, "What is up with PMS?" It takes our emotions and magnifies them x100! I guess the one bonus is it keeps me humble. I know I have to turn to him more than ever during those times. Yesterday I was so emotional. I just sat and balled and balled and then Rob came home and I balled and balled. Poor guy. I have to say he is amazing. He has been so supportive and willing to do anything to help out my parents and me. He has been my rock, especially over the last couple of months. I will have to make it up to him somehow.
So with the death of Alan, my thoughts have naturally turned to the death of my other brother, Ricky. Ricky and I were only siblings on this earth for a short time, 9 months. He and I were thrown together in a blended family. He was the oldest in his family and I was the oldest in my family. Both of us shouldered a lot of responsibility at a young age. We both watched over our younger siblings and cared for them. When we first met, he was not very nice to me. I in turn would try to make his life miserable. Did he think I was happy about all of a sudden being the middle child? Then I don't know what happened, but one day we were good friends. He really took me under his wing. He would let me hang out in his room and listen to Ratt or Cinderella (popular bands at the time). You couldnt help but love Ricky. He had the best sense of humor! One day we were making dinner and he stuck the raw chicken on his hand and started attacking the kids with it, singing, "Attack of the killer chicken!" He would make the mundane task of washing dishes fun. I loved washing dishes with him and to this day I still love washing dishes. He was also very talented. He would draw pictures and write stories. I wanted to be just like him. We would try to do fun things for the kids. We pulled together a New Year's party. He would let me ride in his car with him. I was only 11 at the time, but he treated me like his equal. One day we were driving around Burley and we saw this sign for free kittens, so we decided to pick one up for the kids. We brought it home and our dad made us take it back. I was so bummed. One night I fell down the stairs. It was a new house and the stairs were steep. He came out and said, "Are you dead?" I was crying, but that made me laugh. I had found someone that understood me and was watching out for me. But I was also there for him. I remember he would get uspet about something, as teenagers do. He would go sit in his car and turn up the music. I would find him and sit in his car with him and listen to him vent. I wanted him to know that I understood and I cared. Then he was taken. I didn't feel like I had a right to grieve for him because we didn't know each other that long. I buried my grief. But deep down I was very upset that Heavenly father had taken him from me. I understood it was his time to go, but I was upset that he got to move on and had left me behind to deal with everything on my own. That is when my Anerexia started. I was trying to starve myself to death. First of all to see if anyone would even care, second of all because I wanted to die. It took a lot of well placed people in my life to help get me through that time. My grief has shown up in little ways throughout my life. I have always been looking for a brotherly relationship to replace the one I lost, someone that could make me laugh, got my sense of humor and someone that made me feel like they were watching out for me.
With Alan, I have been protecting him and looking out for him my whole life. He was a rambunxious child, to say the least. Very angry, very active. I used to sit on him and beat him into submission. But No One else was allowed to hurt him. There was this kid named Gentry. He bullied Alan bad. One day at recess I got in his face and told him if he ever touched my brother again, I would beat the living snot out of him. He was a big kid. I can't believe I did it, but he never touched Al again. One time Al got thrown in the trash can by some HS boys when he was in Junior High. I told them off, even knowing that he probably egged it on. I have said many prayers and fasted many times for him. One day a few years ago, I had the sudden thought that he was going to kill himself. I was frantic. I tried calling him and he wouldn't answer. I didn't know what to do. I was in Minnesota and he was in Wisconsin. So I don't know why, but I called the mission office in Wisconsin and just asked them if they could send some missionaries over to his house to knock on the door. I just needed something to interrupt him. Amazingly, they did as I asked. He was very upset about it. He thought my mom had sent them over to try to convert him. :0) Later, I found out that he had tried to kill himself. When he went on his rampage to try to "open my eyes" to the truth about the church, I listened to him and tried to explain that it was my choice to be active in the church. He thought I was doing it because I was trying to please my mom. He thought Rob was making me have all of these children. He wanted to save me. I truly appreciated that he was doing it out of love for me. He wanted me to be "free" like he was free. But he wasn't happy. I tried to tell him that I was happy and loved my life. It had all been my decision. He was pretty upset and we ended the conversation on a bad note. He called my husband bad names. That was right after we moved to Colorado. He then distanced himself from the family further. But I always prayed for him and asked that his heart would be softened, that he would know that I loved him no matter what. He came out for our family reunion a couple of years ago. That was a big deal for him and us. He talked to my dad and hung out with my brothers. I was wary of him because I didn't know how he felt about me. We didn't really talk, but I gave him a big hug. Then he started sending me messages about how he wanted to write music with me. He sent me a song that he had done and wanted me to write a melody line for it. I was so excited. I wish I had had more time to work on it. I was homeschooling the kids and teaching piano. There just wasn't time. Then one night at the beginning of this year, he said hi to me through chat on FB. I asked him how he was doing and he said not so good. I knew something was wrong. I told him to call me immediately. He didn't answer so I called him. He was crying so badly he couldn't even talk. I just waited for him to calm down and my heart was breaking for him. How could I help him see how to be happy? We had both been through a lot of crap as children. We both felt unwanted, unloved, and we didn't love ourselves. But he had harbored all that pain until it had consumed him and made him bitter. I had dealt with it the best I could and tried to focus on my children. He said he didn't know what he had to live for. I tried to get him to talk about his goals, what he wanted to be, what he wanted to accomplish. He said he just didn't have the motivation to change. He knew he needed to but didn't know how or if he even wanted to. I tried to get him laughing. I don't know if I did much good, but he didn't harm himself. Then I found out that he was going to be homeless. I told him that he had a home with me whenever he needed it. He never needed to ask. He considered moving in with my parents, but situations arose where it wouldn't have been a good idea. So I was his last resort. I told him I was so excited that he was moving in with us. I warned him about the kids. :0) Right at the last minute he said he might not have to because he had a job interview. But it fell through. He came here. He would come out sometimes and read the scriptures with the family and help the little kids read. He would sit with us while we had family prayer. He would join us for dinner every night. We always made him feel welcome and made sure he had a chair at the table. He took lots of pictures of the beauty here in CO. I know he loved it here. He would come with me to play volleyball every once in a while. We would get tacoes and sit in the parking lot and talk until 1 or 2 in the morning. Almost every night he would pop himself two batches of popcorn and take it to his room and eat it all. He would also get his ice water. I will miss the sound of the grinding ice in the middle of the night and the smell of popcorn. We would bring up some ice cream and stick it in the freezer and over the next couple of days it was gone. LOL Or if you left Oreos in the pantry, they disappeared. The thing about Al was, I loved him dearly, but he didn't make it easy to love him. He distanced himself, he was ornery to my kids. One time he started yelling at them because he thought the twins were trying to poison his cat. They had put soap in the cats water or something. The cat threw up all over my basement. I just quietly cleaned it up. He took the cat to live in his room after that. I hope that he could see that I just loved him for who he was. That I accepted him. One time he came out and told me that he thought Rob was a great guy. He respected him and saw that he was a hard worker. He told me he wanted to be more like that. That meant everything to me because of our earlier argument.
The difference between Ricky's death and Alan's death is that I am opening up about my grief this time. Everyone grieves differently and some people are probably like, get over it already. But it is hard to let go of someone you have watched over your whole life. Again, I have lost someone who knew what I was suffering because he was suffering in the same ways. I feel lost. I am glad that he is being taken care of by loved ones on the other side. I am just having a hard time letting him go. I wanted to do so much more.

I feel like I am reliving the grief from Ricky's death at the same time I am mourning Alan's death. Maybe that is good. I can get it out and get it taken care of finally. I can completely be healed from everything I have been carrying with me. Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.

I am feeling better today. I cleaned the house, ate some breakfast and got a shower by 9AM this morning. That is pretty darn good for me. I just had to get this all out. I realized yesterday why I was feeling so unsettled. I took care of it today and will hopefully get some closure from it.

Thanks for letting me vent. Not that anyone really reads everything I write. LOL But it sure does ME some good!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A good memory

This was a very good day. It was shortly after Alan had moved here. The Websters were having a BBQ at their house. They are a couple in my ward and their BBQ's are World famous. :0) I had invited Alan even though I was afraid he would say no because it would have a lot of LDS people there and the missionaries. He came, though. Sister Webster came right up to him and gave him a big hug. That meant a lot to me, that she was so welcoming and loving to him just because he was my brother. Alan and I hung out the entire time. We played ping pong and then went outside and played some other games. It was like we were kids again and all the arguing and bad memories of our childhood were gone. We didn't talk very much, but we didn't have to. We were just content to spend time with each other. At the end, we found Alan taking pictures in the Webster's yard. This was one of the pictures he took. Isn't it gorgeous? I think I will print it and hang it on my wall.
Today is a very hard day for me. I feel so unsettled somehow. I don't want to talk to anyone. I am feeling very anti-social for some reason. I did get up this morning and got the kids off to school with a family prayer. I cleaned the house and then I just sat and played the piano and sang uplifting songs, but I still feel very uneasy. I know it will take time, but I don't want to waste anymore time. The last couple of months I have been changing and becoming a new person. I am anxious to move on with my life and use my new found skills and become what Heavenly Father wants me to be. I guess I am just very impatient. You would think that I would have tons of patience, what with having 9 kids and all. Maybe that is why God sent me so many kids, to teach me patience. Please don't send anymore! I Promise I will learn from the ones you have given me....
Sorry, a little inner dialogue there.
Going to go cry in the shower now.
Kids have a funny way of bringing you back to reality more abruptly than you would like sometimes. I'm having a rough day and Ty decides it would be a good idea to dump BBQ sauce all over my carpet. I clean that up as best I can. Then Parker says Ty spilled shampoo all over the carpet. He tried to clean it up but it was pretty soapy. I grab the carpet steamer and suck up all the soapy, bubbly goodness that smells like strawberry shampoo. I have 15 minutes to get the kids lunch and get Parker to school. While I'm finishing cleaning, Ty grabs the potato pearls and dumps them in a nice little pile on my carpet. Okay, clean it up and now I have 5 minutes to make lunch! I quickly get them food and take the carpet cleaner over to the BBQ mess. Might as well get it really clean while I have it out. Quickly clean , throw the rest of the kids' lunch in a ziploc baggie, throw the kids in the van and away we go! No time to pout and feel sorry for myself. On the way home, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the accident site. I will have to pass it everyday, twice a day for the rest of my life, probably. So I wanted to see. Not the best idea I've had, but I found Al's pen, so that proves that it was the spot. I also found other things that I will have to burn from my mind. Something about the accident is eating at me. I want to get the accident report. I need to know what their conclusions are about how it happened. Maybe it is just my mind trying to find closure, but I have just been restless all day. Hopefully once I know, I can put it to rest.
One thing we are doing is grief therapy with the kids. We decided to write Alan some good-bye letters and then shred them and dig a hole. We are going to put the letters in the hole and plant a tree in it. That way we will always have something beautiful to help us remember the good things about Alan. I want to plant a weeping willow that will eventually get big and provide us with a nice shady spot to sit under. Is that cheesy? Oh, well. I'm finding I am very sentimental.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beautiful Funeral

The trip up to Idaho was very windy. There was a strong head wind which slowed us down a little. I was worried about us transporting Al's body by ourselves. But there were no mishaps. It made me think of the movie "Weekend at Bernies". I'm thankful our trip was not that adventurous.....
We stayed in a hotel so that the kids would get some sleep and so that our family could have quiet time if we needed. Teresa and Randy flew in from Wisconsin. It was a lot of fun to have them there. I haven't seen Randy in a long time. I love his sense of humor and laugh. Teresa is also a riot. We were getting the kids ready for a Halloween party out at our old church in View since we missed it here in Parker and Teresa decided to try on her sons outfit. Apprently she found an old cowboy costume in Alan's things that she had stored at her house. It fit her son pefectly so she used it. Rob got a picture and posted it on FB. :0) Against her wishes, I might add. LOL
I felt pretty numb the whole time. I wasn't emotional. I wasn't anything. I was trying to enjoy the time with the family. We took my mom shopping for a new dress and it almost felt normal until I remembered what the dress was for. We had some good talks, though.
Saturday morning, the day of the funeral, I woke up to dark , dreary, cold clouds. It was heavily overcast. On the drive to the View church I prayed that if it was possible that the sun come out for at least the time we were outside for the dedication of the gravesite. I looked for any opening in the clouds wondering if there was sun anywhere. We went inside for the funeral. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many family members that had made the long trip to be there. There were also friends from long ago that came. People from our old ward in View came. Rob's brother and sister and my father-in-law came, as well. That meant a lot to me. It was so good to see everyone.
My mom gave the life sketch and we laughed at some of the things Alan had done. He was one who lived without fear. LOL I was reminded of the time he graduated from HS and after he got his diploma he did a backflip in his robe. That was totally Alan. :0) My dad got up and told us how much he loved Alan. He told some experiences he had with him. He said that he wanted all of his kids with him in the Celestial Kingdom. Even if it meant he had to go to hell to get one of us. He said, "You better believe I'm comin' for you." Emi read her poem and was so nervous but she did it. I sang a song for Alan. At first I was going to sing "Come Thou Fount" but I thought it might be too churchy for Al. The lyrics of this other song kept going over and over in my head and I knew that I had to sing it. It described Alan perfectly. The Lyrics are as follows:

Love Will Find You There
No one left to fool. Every wall you've built is gone.
You don't know what to do to get off the path you're on.
You are questioning the very truths you've believed in all along.
Looking back on how it used to be, you wonder what went wrong.
But deep inside your heart there is a prayer.
Love will find you there.
Living with the pain from the choices you have made.
Knowing how to change, but believing it's too late.
Every path you take convinces you that you don't know who you are.
But a voice inside is telling you, you've never gone too far.
Whispering a promise of a prayer,
Love will find you there.
There's a broken heart that's healing.
There's a life that has been changed.
There are answers to the prayers that you have prayed.
When you're sure your soul can't make it one more day,
love will find you there and light your way.
One who knows your heart and sees what you can't see
has been there from the start and believes in what you'll be.
He will shine a light through every darkest field you'll ever know.
His arms are reaching out to you through the ones that love you so.
He will hear your heart's unspoken prayer that
love will find you there.
Love will find you.

Then my Uncle Mark gave a talk and the kids sang "I am a child of God." The Bishop of that ward spoke a little and gave us peace. He also talked about free agency. Also Teresa and Bob and I got up and told some of our memories. Spring had sent us an email with her memories and I talked Teresa into getting up to read it. She wasn't going to go up at all, but she did and she did great. It was a great funeral as far as funerals go.
We headed outside and I was so happy to see that a part had opened up right above the mountain for the sun to shine through! My prayer had been answered. We went to the cemetary. It was warmer with the sun shining. My husband dedicated the grave site. My mom was handed a United States flag for service rendered in the Army. Everyone came up and hugged my parents. As soon as we were done, the clouds closed up again and it started to rain. Another tender mercy from my loving Heavenly Father.
We went back to the church and had a wonderful lunch prepared for us. We talked with family and friends we hadn't seen for a long time.
Now we are home again. Coming home was a huge dose of reality. Last night I was very sad and cried. Even with everything I know, it still isn't easy. I mourn that he lived such a sad and troubled life. I mourn the time we all lost with him because he distanced himself from the family. I am going to continue to pray for him even though he is on the other side. I pray that he will find the peace and happiness that he couldn't find here.
I need to say "Thank You!" to everyone that has reached out to me, to everyone that has helped take care of my kids and the pets, to everyone that has told me memories of Alan. I am so blessed to know so many amazing people!
BLOGGING is cheap therapy. :0)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Today was a hard day. These are the pictures we took of Al's car. He was obviously killed instantly. He was also thrown from the vehicle. We were able to see his body today, as well. They prepared us extensively before we saw him that the damage to his body was very bad. They were not able to make him look like himself, but they were able to put his face somewhat back together. Depsite that, I knew that I had to see him for the closure it would provide me. It will be a closed-casket funeral but we are getting a very nice picture to put up of him, the one that I used for his obituary. As we were viewing his body, I did not feel his presence at all. I did feel that he was very upset that we were seeing him in that shape. Most times, at funerals, I will get the feeling that the spirit is standing close by. Not with Al. I did feel his presence when we went to see the car. I cried because I felt that he was upset that his most prized possessions, the things he had saved throughout the years, his memories, were going to be discarded. We weren't able to get much out due to the condition of the car, but we did find some great things he had saved. We are going to use some of them as a tribute at the funeral.
I have been feeling that I want to take very good care of him during this process. I wanted him to be dressed in some nice clothes even though no one will see him. So we went and bought a white shirt, tie and some dress pants. I wanted the funeral to be special. I am singing a song for him. While he lived with me, he would sometimes come out and listen to me play the piano and sing, so even though it will be very difficult, I want to sing for him. I want him to see that we loved him in life and in death. I want him to know that he was just as important as everyone else. That his actions in life didn't make him any less or any less deserving of our love and respect.
We are leaving tomorrow to transport his body to Idaho. I won't be back until next Tuesday. I will share more as time allows and as I feel the need to help me deal with this loss. I was told today by someone very dear to Al that he had a special place in his heart for me, that he loved me very much. I needed to hear that. It means more to me than they will ever know, because he couldn't say it to me, but he said it to someone and that means alot to me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Alan Grout Obituary

Alan Roger Grout, 33, passed away as the result of a car accident in Parker, CO in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, October 24, 2010. He was born in Nampa, ID on July 17,1977 at a birthing center instead of a hospital.

Alan lived in View, (a small community outside of Burley) ID where he attended school in Delco until 1991. He moved with his family to East Troy, WI and graduated from East Troy High School in 1995. He participated in the wrestling program for a short time in high school. He loved to water-ski and was a natural at the sport. The first time he tried it he went off the dock and went around and around without falling, so his father stopped the boat so Alan would get his hair wet. He went into the military shortly after graduating and specialized in electronics. He loved music and spent many hours playing his guitar and writing his own songs. He enjoyed creating electronic music on his computer and was planning on doing it professionally.

Alan lived in Middleton, WI, which is a suburb of Madison, for most of his adult life and recently moved to Parker, CO, with his cat Monkey, looking for work. At the time of his death he was living with his sister Kristina and her family. He loved playing with Kris’ 9 children and had a passion for ice cream and popcorn. He also loved the Colorado scenery and took many pictures of the beauty around him.

Alan is survived by his parents, Richard & Verdella Grout, Driggs, ID, and six siblings: Robert and Jenny Grout of Hansen, ID, Kristina and Robert Tolman of Parker, CO, Ryan Grout of Driggs, ID, Teresa and Adam Wehrheim of Waukesha, WI, Randy Grout of Pewaukee, WI, and Spring and Lars Shurilla, currently living in the People’s Republic of China. He had 15 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by an older brother, Ricky Grout, and his grandparents, Verdas and Bardella Reed and Kenneth and Louise Grout.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00AM Saturday, October 30, 2010 at the View LDS Ward building located at 554 S 490 E. The family will receive friends beginning at 9:00AM prior to the funeral service. Burial will be at the View Cemetery.

Emi's song

My daughter had written a song a few days before Alan died. She was so excited to share it with me. I didn't think much about it until today when I stopped to really read it. She is 11. I thought I would share it with you.

Would I?
By Emilyssa Nicole Tolman
Vs.1: If I were to ascend this very second, would I get in?
If He were to take me up, what would I do?
Would he take me up, that is my question, but
The bigger one is
Chorus: Would I be holy enough to look up?
Would I tremble in His presence?
Would I feel fear if He was present?
Would I be worthy to get the glory that might come,
If I were to go this very second?
Vs. 2: Would I be able to look up when he said your time is up?
Would I make it?
Would I be worthy?
Would I be holy?
Would I cower in His presence or would I stand tall?
If He were present would He look down at me and say
"Good job. You've made it to me."
Or would I hide my face too ashamed to say anything or
Would I be worthy enough?

Dealing With Heartache

Life never ceases to amaze me. You think you are doing great and starting to figure it out and then...Life does it's own thing. Fortunately, I have the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and our Savior. I have been struggling with so many things. I started seeing a counselor in September to help me work through some of my past issues that I had buried deep inside of me. These things were holding me back. I was using them to beat myself up which was leading to self-loathing. In July I started waking up sick every morning. See post below for the health problems. It has been difficult to eat and have the energy I need to accomplish all that I have to. Things were starting to get better. I have become stronger mentally and overcome so much over the last few weeks, with the help of the Savior. I had been feeling a little better and had been able to eat 1000 calories a day. Then the final blow. My dear brother, Alan, who had moved in with us, dies two miles from my house.
Alan and I shared a unique bond. He was my only FULL blood brother. I love ALL of the people I am blessed enough to call my family, but I felt very protective of him. He and I shared so many of the same trials in our childhood. We both suffered from self-loathing and not feeling loved or wanted or even worthy of love. He turned away from the gospel, I clung onto it for dear life. We were just starting to get to know each other again. But I was too wrapped up in my own little world trying to deal with all of my baggage. I didn't reach out to him the way I wanted to. Sometimes we would have deep discussions about life. He knew he had so many things to resolve but I don't know if he knew where to start. He was happy I was getting professional help and told me to let him know what I learned. Last week I felt like I needed to prepare for a tough week. I started making freezer meals just in case, so I would have dinner on hand if needed. I felt that I needed to sit down and talk with Alan and let him know that I loved him and wanted to help him. I was going to take him out to dinner Friday night to just talk and find out what his goals were. Rob and I decided against it, thinking that it would be better for Al and I to talk alone. I was scared to do it by myself. I was scared to say something that would upset him and cause him to not love me anymore. So I put it off until Sunday night. Sunday morning came and he was gone. The old me would be beating myself up over the fact the the Spirit promtped me to talk to him. I could have made sure he knew that I loved him and given him one last hug. But I didn't and I will be sorry about it forever, but life must go on.
We got a visit from the Sheriff at 5AM Sunday morning. He didn't even know that Alan lived here, he just had an address that he found in Al's car. Rob answered the door. He thought Al was locked out. Then the news. I was very distraught. I wanted to go see his body. We called the coroner and he advised against it. Alan was not in good shape. It is hard to not get that closure right away. As we started going through Alan's things, we felt like any minute he was going to walk in and get after us for being in his room.
We didn't tell the children right away. They had a Primary Program that they had to sing in and they had been working hard on their parts. So we went to church. It was hard for me to keep it together. I knew it would be with the Spirit so strong around me. We had to pass by the scene of the accident on the way to church and that didn't help. But I was so very blessed because I went. I talked to my Bishop for an hour and he gave me a blessing. I received so much comfort and peace from it.
I now know that Alan will be able to heal on the other side in a way that COULD NOT happen here. There he is surrounded by so many that love him. The Bishop told me that Alan knew I loved him and that he appreciated all that I had done for him. That one thing was exactly the thing I was upset about. That I didn't tell him. But now I knew. I have felt him close by me. He is happy and at peace. I know that he will have to work through a lot of things he did in this life, but I know that he will accept the Gospel on the other side. I have spent many hours and days fasting and praying for him. This was the Lord's answer.
The funny thing about all of this is that he didn't feel loved and yet he had SO many that loved him. He just didn't realize it. That is an eye opener for me....through this so many have reached out to comfort me and now I see that there are so many people that love me, too. I have been living my life in fear of losing people's love or people not loving me but not anymore. I can learn from this experience.
Sorry if this is jumping all over the place. It is just my thoughts bouncing around my head and I'm trying to get it all down.
I received a message from someone who knew Alan on FB. She told me that she loved him so much but lives in South Africa. She was upset by the news. She had been talking to Al for over a year and they had helped each other through depression and thoughts of suicide. I told her what had happened. She told me that Alan had been worried about me over the last couple of weeks. He said I was too thin and he thought I was depressed. Side note, I wasn't depressed, just soul-searching. I cried to hear that and then laughed because we both were worried about each other but both afraid to approach each other and talk. LESSON LEARNED! Don't waste the time you have with your loved ones!!!! When I feel love or appreciation for someone, I am going to make sure that they know it.
We were able to get into Al's email account and found that he went out the night he died with a girl here in Colorado. She was supposed to meet with him the next day, but he never showed. We sent her a message and she called and asked for Alan. I had to tell her the terrible news. She had only been out with him a few times, but she was very upset. I wish he had known the affect he had on people. They loved him for who he was. He was a good person with a big heart, but so scared of being hurt. One more way that we were alike.
I also received a message from another guy on FB saying that he had been spending most of the day trying to find someone from Al's family. It turns out that he had driven by the accident scene last night and there were picures and papers thrown all over the road. He gathered them and wanted to get them to the family. He had pieced together what info he had and found us on FB. That meant so much to me. The kindness of a total stranger.
I know that Heavenly Father has a plan and nothing is left to chance. If we put our faith in him, we can be blessed and be at peace with whatever happens. I sincerely believe this with my whole heart! The last couple of months have taught me this. I have seen his hand working miracles in my everyday life. It amazes me at the love and tenderness he showers on all of us each day if we just open our eyes to see it.
We are burying Alan next to my other brother who died in a car accident, Ricky, in View cemetary which is in Burley, ID. The next few days are going to be rough as we have to transport his body there. I know it will all work out and there will be many blessings along the way, but it doesn't mean that it is easy.
Alan and I both had a love for music and for the beauty that surrounds us. He wanted me to write some music with him. Sadly, I was too busy. He took so many beautiful pictures which I will share on my blog as a tribute to a kind, loving, but troubled man. I will also share some of the writings that we found when we went through his things. I hope he won't mind. It does make one stop and think about what others will find when you pass away....what am I leaving behind for my children and loved ones that will allow a glimpse of who I really am? Food for thought.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So all my test restults came back normal. Oh Joy. I'm perfectly healthy except that I can't eat and I vomit almost every morning and sometimes at night. Now the doctor wants me to try a medicine for acid reflux. So we'll see if that helps. I am now down to 128lbs. When I do feel hungry I try to eat as much as I can, which isn't much. I asked the doctor if I could have a colonoscopy because polyps run in the family. She wasn't very on board with that saying that polyps wouldn't cause those kinds of symptoms. Yeah, maybe in most people, but couldn't it just be possible that it might in me? I also asked if I could have a pap done. She said, sure but not right now. So I'm thinking it is time to try another doctor or she could just wait until I'm so emaciated and dehydrated that THEN she could treat me for that and feel like she did something to help. DOCTORS! Love them, but could you please think outside the box sometimes? TO BE CONTINUED......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wanna Play Doctor?

So for the last few months, I have been waking up every morning sick to my stomach. I have been fatigued, bruising easily, light headed, and now the nausea has gotten so bad that I haven't been able to eat more than 500 calories a day. Also, my periods have been wonky over the last couple years, but last month I had a period every two weeks. Sorry to get graphic here, but the periods are VERY clotty, too. At first I thought I might be pregnant and even took a few pregnancy tests, but no, and thank goodness because how would I explain THAT one to my hubby that got snipped... It isn't low iron; I take vitamins every day including extra iron. I went to the doctor thinking it was mono back in July, but tested negative. The nausea continued so I went back last week and the doctor did an ultrasound and they found a cyst on my ovary. They said it is common and not to worry, but with the periods being weird for over a year I wonder how long it has been there? I thought the weird periods were because of the IUD which is when Rob got snipped so I could take it out, but no IUD and even weirder periods. Is this TMI? I just don't have any faith in doctors. They make educated guesses and prescribe medicine to help the symptoms, but not get to the problem. In fact the doctor I saw gave me a prescrip for an anti-nausea medicine that isn't working. They did some blood tests and so forth and I haven't heard back at all even though I called to get the results. So here I sit, sick to my stomach and wanting to die because it is no fun feeling like you have the flu for over two months. My body is weak from lack of eating and I've lost a lot of weight. Good times. One other thing. I have been sweating pretty badly from my armpits even though I am cold most of the time. It is very weird. So any ideas? I thought it would be fun to take you along on this fun little journey to see "What is wrong with Kris Tolman,", and let's not get analytical about what is wrong with me mentally. Only physically. Let's cross our fingers and hope it is something NOT serious. Plus I just have this thing that if you tell someone you are dying, it usually turns out to be nothing because fate likes to prove you wrong. :) Update coming soon, but I would like to hear your thoughts....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Long overdue update

Well, so much has happened over the summer that I don't even think to blog about it cuz no one really cares I'm sure....

First of all I injured my ankle playing volleyball and I'm still recovering from that so I haven't been able to take the kids swimming like I was planning. I also made the decision to take a break from teaching piano for a while to focus on my kiddos. This was a very hard decision for me, but I feel like it will be the best decision. We are still homeschooling our kids this year and I need to be able to give them my full attention!

Then Rob injured his knee playing basketball and tore his ACL so he needs surgery. But before he gets surgery he is going on a 10 mile hike up into the mountain with the scouts!!! MEN!
We went to the Tolman Family Reunion in Idaho and that was nice to see all of the family we don't get to see very often. We also visited Rob's mom in the nursing home. Then went down to Utah to visit Lori and her family and Phee. That is always a good time. :0)
Rob and I celebrated our 14 year Anniversary on the 26th. Where did the time go??? How did I end up with 9 kids and the oldest being a teenager!? I'm too young for that....
MY SUMMER IN A NUTSHELL...but we are ending with a camping trip this weekend with an awesome family from the ward. CAN'T WAIT!
Then back to school and the old grind stone...:0) LIFE IS GOOD!
Thanks for stopping by for this Tolman update. I will try to do better!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SO much FUN!

I LOVE it when I make new friends! :) I have been going to the Recreation Center here in Parker for the last couple of weeks to play volleyball. Volleyball is an obsession of mine. It is very addicting....
The people there have been playing together for a while so I was nervous to come in. They don't know me or how I play and I haven't been playing as consistently as they have. But they were so welcoming and every time I go there is a group that is always inviting me to play with them. Then last night, they invited me to go out for tacoes. It was so much fun! These are the kind of people I wouldn't normally "hang out" with. They are men that are single from ages 30-50 and some women that are my age that are single and there are some guys that are married that have kids that play volleyball and then there are the 20 something kids that have youth and energy on their side. We play from 6:30PM to 10PM. They found out I have nine kids and they couldn't get over it....It was fun getting to know them and find out their stories.
Just thought I would share since my last post was such a downer....But you are never too old to meet new people and make new friends. That is my two cents for the day. :)
Thanks for stopping by! I will try to get pictures of them. I'm sure they will looooove THAT! LOL

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What to say....?

Well, First off, I am horrible at blogging. But I have been so consumed with lots of feelings about the past, about the present, about life and death. I think this post is going to be more for my benefit of getting everything out then for your benefit. Although, if someone reads this and can relate, that's great. :0)

We have some friends that lost their 12 year old daughter this morning. She has been fighting a long battle due to being born with congenital heart defects and other defects. She made it a lot longer than the doctors thought she would. I have been reading their blog to keep up on how they have been doing. The link is here, if you would like to read it. http://www.lovemyangel1997.blogspot.com/ It is very humbling to read it and the faith and testimony of the parents is amazing during the hardest trial they have had to face. I cry just thinking about it. It really hit home for me because that could have been my daughter, McKenna. It just never ceases to amaze me that the trials we are called to face are so different. We really just cannot judge anyone, because we don't have a clue as to what they are going through or have gone through.

I have also been thinking about my past and how I thought I had bottled it up all nice and neat so that I could move forward in life. Then someone came back into my life that brought up all those feelings of worthlessness I try to hide. It has been very trying for me. I went through anger at having felt so worthless and anger at those who made me feel worthless. But I just came to the realization that I needed to go through this so that I could get it all out of my system. So there was one person I thought was a friend but turned out to be the epitome of everything I had to deal with in being abandoned by my fathers. I felt abandoned all over again and like I wasn't worth loving. But I am grateful I went through it, even though it hurt, because I feel like I've grown from it. It amazes me that Heavenly Father knew just the thing I needed to go through. I didn't understand what the purpose was until I was truly humbled and then when I was crying on my knees, he let me know what I needed to learn from it. This may sound crazy, but it was very personal and not even my husband knew I was going through it. It also got me thinking about the people that come into our lives and how they have a purpose. Sometimes they are there to lift us when we need it, but sometimes they are there because there is something we need to learn from them. I'm grateful for all of them. I hope I'm the person in your life that was there to lift you when you needed it.

I just feel so much gratitude at the blessings I have been given in my life, that I feel I'm not worthy of, but He blesses me anyway. I also came to the sweet realization that it doesn't matter that I was abandoned by my fathers because I have always had ONE father that has NEVER forsaken me. I love Him with all my heart! I have a very personal relationship with my Father in heaven. I feel Him laughing at me at some of the boneheaded things I do. He laughs in a gentle, loving way. He also gently reminds me when I make mistakes. He reminds me in a talk I hear at church that seems like it's just for me. Or an article I read. Or in someone making a passing comment. He never judges me harshly. I'm grateful for that.

I love my husband SOOOOOOOO much! I can't believe that I married the one man that was perfect for me. He may not be anyone else's ideal, but he is mine. :0) I'm grateful for the beautiful children I have been given and trusted with. I'm grateful for their strong spirits and willingness to do what is right. They teach me everyday. Mostly what they teach me is patience, but sometimes they surprise me with their wisdom and insight. :0)

Sorry this is such a serious post, but it is very therapeutic for me. With the passing of that dear sweet girl, it just made me realize what is important in life. Our friendships, relationships with our family, and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. So go out and tell someone how much they mean to you today.
Thanks for letting me blather on.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The NEWEST Member of our Family

Everyone modeling their new Christmas Jammies
Jason doesn't wear jammies anymore so we found him these boxers with the Grinch on the hiney. Everyone modeled like Jason. :0)

Petey looks like the puppy from the Cottnelle commercials.

Well, we finally did it. We got a dog! I wasn't the one that needed convincing. :0) Here is how it happened....

ME: Rob, Randy Schmidt called and said that he is driving to Utah to pick up some dogs. They're free and he is wondering if he should bring us back one, too.
Rob: No.

Later that night.....

ME: I really feel that we should get that puppy. If we don't do it now, we will miss this opportunity. Jason is almost twelve and he has wanted one so badly for such a long time. Pause....they are sooooo cute!

Rob: crickets chirping.........

The next day........

ME: We told the kids that we would get them a dog last year and you have always found an excuse to not get one....

Rob: We need a fence first and we can't afford it right now.

ME: We can put it in the garage. And since I cant have anymore babies, I want a puppy....

5 minutes later.....

Rob: Hey, Randy. I guess we're going to need that dog after all.

I was so excited! We kept the puppy at the Schmidt's house until 5AM Christmas morning. NORMALLY, we tell the kids not to get us out of bed until 7AM. But I was so excited I got up at 5Am and sat and waited.....didn't hear any noises. Rob got home with the puppy and I said, "Go wake up the kids." They came out all bleary-eyed...."what time is it?" "Mom, I heard some whining."

I said, "Uh-oh. Do we have an animal caught in our garage?"

They all run to check. "Be careful!"

They open the door. "Hey, there is a dog in our garage! Who does it belong to?" Checking the tag. "Hey, our number is on the tag! It's our dog!"

BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!! :0) Rob has become attached to Petey the sweetie, too. He is such a good puppy. He doesn't ever bark and he is almost potty-trained.

I hope everyone had an AMAZING CHRISTMAS! Happy New Year!