Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dear Jason,

Dear Jason,

On August 11th, 2012, I sat next to Richard in Capital theater anxiously waiting for the musical Wicked to start. I could not wait to be able to hash it over with you and Gerb at our next couples dinner. I was excited and had looked forward to being able share my experience with you guys since I received the tickets for Mother's Day. Unfortunately, that talk over dinner would never happen. At the time I didn't know it, but you were already gone.

Losing you has been one of toughest things I have experienced in my 37 years of life. The last 2 years have been filled with questions, regret, sadness, and tears. There have also been moments of self discovery, understanding, learning and even more tears. Being ever the teacher, I have been taught many things through the experience of losing you. Perhaps, I knew them all along from Primary or such, but didn't really understand until I experienced them.

It is hard to capture the thoughts and feelings of the moments these things happened, but I would like to try and share a few with you:

-We cannot judge. Thank heavens we have a very loving and caring Heavenly Father who knows every little part of our hearts and the desires in it who has already claimed that job. He is merciful and extends that mercy willingly.
- We should remember everyone by the good they bring into this world, not by their mistakes or weaknesses. Would you want to be remembered for the worst thing you did? Neither does anyone else.
-I learned that I have limits and that I don't have to do everything by myself. Even though I have trouble with executing this, I am doing better.
-It has been confirmed to me over and over again that my Heavenly Father loves me. That he considers me a treasure.
-I also know how much He loves you. I know how much he loved you while you spent time here on earth, but also how that love has extended and grown since you have returned to him.
-The Atonement is not just for sins. It is for broken hearts and struggling souls too. It is there to make us whole and steady our faltering feet.
-The Atonement cannot work if we don't come unto Christ and allow him to take that burden from us.
-Give up the burden. Holding on impedes healing and you don't have to hold on to the hurt to show love for someone.
-He is waiting for us to come to him. He is calling our name with open arms.
- We must have faith.
-We must remember that faith is more than believing. Believing is not enough. Faith requires action (prayers, scripture study, faithfulness in callings, temple service, etc.) along with belief.

One thing that hasn't changed, that I have known all along is that I stand beside you. Your name is golden in my eyes and until I am give absolute proof of wrong doing it will remain so. There are no number of hunches or signs that prove to me otherwise. You are my friend and if I were in a similar position I hope you would treat me the same way.

Do I wish I could have my friend back? Heck YES! Everyday! Would I give up the lessons and experiences I have gained through the trial of losing you? No, not at all. I am a better person because of it. Which brings me back to Wicked....

Over these past couple of years anything that has dealt with Wicked has been Taboo. When it came to town the billboards, Facebook posts and advertisements made me feel nauseous. The music was banned in our house. Whenever a certain song came on it was quickly changed to something else with less memories attached to it. The ban continued until the other day a few weeks ago.

I was busy cleaning to my iTunes account playing from the computer in the kitchen. I had been down stairs and before I knew what song was playing it was already past the introduction and into the first verse of the song. I reached for the mouse to skip to another song and as I did the words penetrated my heart. It was time. I let the song play on while I sat like a puddle on the floor and missed you, my friend.

This is your song.Your good permeates my life even to this day. I have learned so much from you! Now and then, before and after, you have touched my life for good. I thank you.

And HaPpY BiRtHdAy Jas! May there be rainbows, kittens, and unicorns to make your day complete.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

On Friday, September 21st, Richard and I celebrated our 16th Anniversary. Richard sent me on a fun treasure hunt last year, so this year I thought I could step things up a bit and put a little more effort into my gift and ultimately, our relationship. Here's what I came up with-

16 Candles- One for every year we've been married.

A note delivered with Candle #1 and breakfast that said:
Sweet 16 and you've never missed an opportunity to make me feel loved or give me a kiss,
so throughout today enjoy a gift or deed for every year of marital bliss. 
(I know it doesn't really rhyme- I was brain dead.)

#2- His favorite soda pop.

#3 His favorite gum.

#4 Route 44 Coke Zero with lemon served along with...

...#5- Lunch from Bajio.

#6- A favorite candy bar.

#7- A gift card for a healthy lunch.

#8- A favorite snack.

# 9- Sweet sentiments

#10- Another favorite snack.

#11- Yummy chips

#12- Money for movie tickets.

#13- Favorite dessert. 
No, I didn't just give him the box, I actually made it for him.

#14- A little something to relax after a hard day of work.

#15- A garment steamer for making dressing for the corporate world a little easier.

#16- CENSORED!  :) We are married after all.

It turned out to be a really fun day and Richard was surprised and pleased with all of his gifts, which in turn made it all the more fun for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Request

You know how you don't want to talk about something or in this case, write about something, because you're afraid if you do then it will really be true? Well, that is partly why this post has taken me so long to write.

You see, a little over a month ago, August 12th to be exact, my friend, Gerb, showed up at my church along with her husband, Allen. I was excited to see her poke her head into the overflow and catch my eye. She motioned for me to come and talk to her. We were having a missionary farewell that day and since her oldest son had just left on a mission, I thought that perhaps the boy speaking was one of his friends and that they had come to come to listen.

The look on Gerb's face and the way she suggested we go outside to talk told me otherwise.

My mind was racing as I crossed the short expanse of foyer. I associate with Gerb along with two other friends that if something was dreadfully wrong, which I had the feeling this was going  be, she would come get me out of church to tell me. Since I had seen the back of Rachel's head a few benches ahead of me, I knew it wasn't her. That left one person- Jason.

I thought perhaps he had injured himself on one of his solo desert excursions, but my mind questioned why she didn't just call to inform me? That is when it registered that I needed to brace myself for what was coming. Gerb told me that our amazingly gifted friend, Jason, had left us the day before to return to our true home and to our loving Heavenly Father.

My mind rebelled at the thought of someone so full of life being absent from it. Since then I have had the hardest time grasping the loss. I have cried many tears at the thought of the world without this friend. Since it has gone on just as before without coming to a grinding halt as you feel it should when you lose someone close, I figured he really couldn't be gone. Could he? This had to be some cruel twisted joke or elaborate hoax. I even told Richard that he had to be in the Witness Protection Program because there was no way Jason could really be gone.

I thought about driving past his house or visiting his classroom to find out the truth, but I haven't. I don't really want to know. Deep down under all of the denial I knew, accepting the truth hurts.

But last week, the realization of a world without him started to settle in around me. His picture taking presence was absent at skate night. He did not ride the saddle at Texas Roadhouse for his birthday dinner. His blog has been stagnant. His phone disconnected.  He is not driving any of the blue Hyundai Santa Fe's that pass me on the road. And, I hear there is a different teacher in his classroom, though I haven't been able to bring myself to go find out.

So if I seem a little quiet, slightly distracted or a little slow to laugh, please, bear with me- I miss my friend - and getting used to a new "normal" is hard to do.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dallin Said- Race Day Filings

Yesterday, I ran my first race since having surgery on my foot this past winter. It felt really good to be back in the saddle, so to speak.
Runner's high.

Running this race was kind of a last minute decision, but since I had been running with my friend Rachel as she trained anyway, I felt like this decision was meant to be. I easily found someone selling their race bib and they happened to actually be in my age division. It was a sign!

Finish line hugs.
I seriously re-thought this meant-to-be scenario when, 2 days before the race, I acquired the stomach bug my children had been passing around since school let out. Luckily, it was a fast and furious 24 hour kind of thing and even though, I was feeling a little pooped (pun-ny), I was able to make it to the bus and down the course finishing with an official time of  2:42:02. Our unofficial time is more around 2:31, due to my running buddy's call of nature and the race organizers lack of porta-pottys at mile #6. Seriously, the wait time for a turn during a race should not be almost 11 minutes!

But, we are happy with our unofficial time considering we only had a month and a half of training with little to no running up to that point. I proved that my foot is back on track and Rachel, who suffers with Chronic West Nile, showed that pesky little mosquito just who is boss.
Happy finishers.

My wonderful friend and neighbor, Carrilyne was running her first full marathon yesterday also, so of course, I had to stay and see her triumphantly across the finish line. With Richard having business in the Philippines, my munchkins were on their own until I got home around 10:30 in the morning.
Me with my marathon hero.

I walked through the front door, carried by the euphoria of a runner's high, expecting an excited chorus of greetings asking me about my race. Instead, I got this-

Dallin: "Clean it up."
Me: "What?"
Dallin: "The cat puked. Clean it up."

(A long, probably too long, stunned pause.)

Me: (in my best angry, but hurt voice) "I love that I come home from just running 13.1 miles and I don't even get a "Hi, Mom. How was your race?" I just get a demand- clean it up."

Dallin: "Soooorrrrry. I'll file that in my brain under things not to say if you ever run another race when the cat pukes."

Please, give me another race to run. It's far easier than dealing with a 9 year old.

*Thank you to Rachel and Kristen, who I shamelessly stole these pictures from off Facebook. Thanks for all of the great captures.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hunger Games

A little less than a year ago, our kids discovered a computer game named "Minecraft". Really, I don't find the appeal of it, but then again, I haven't found the appeal of a video game since the Atari was popular. That being the case, you would think Minecraft would appeal to me since the graphics look like an antiquated game of virtual blocks or Legos.

Evidently, I'm missing something very important about this game of creating virtual worlds because my kids are, for lack of a better word, obsessed. Obsessed in so much, that they will play or watch each other build worlds for hours and would wither away to nothingness if I did not remind them to eat.

With four equally obsessed children and only two computers you can imagine the fuss over whose turn it is to play. We have had quite the war of words and knock down drag outs over this little virtual playground. It infuriates me to no end, especially, when it gets down to tooth and nail.

That red mark on Dallin's upper arm? That, is a bite mark from his brother, Ben. And yes, it was done in a fit of rage over a dumb video game. How completely insane is that?

At first, I thought I had forgotten to remind them to eat and they were turning into cannibals! But, upon my question laden scolding, Ben's defense was that he has "anger issues".

I promptly told Ben that until he resolved those "issues", he could consider himself and his little button pushing fingers grounded. And, he was for an entire week. Dallin was also grounded for his part in provoking the bite, so we had one week free from fighting to the death over Minecraft. One simply wonderful week.

Maybe I should consider letting them starve more often. ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Do You Find...

What do you find underneath all of this?

You've found treasure in this handsome young man I am proud to call my son.

 Even though, he refuses to obey when we tell him to quit growing and is now an inch or so taller than me.
Teenagers....they never listen.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Best Christmas Present Ever

I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday. I may as well been told the end of the world was near. You see, I don't particularly like to talk in church, but I do it anyway. Kind of a type of self torture, I guess. But I told this story in my talk and decided that it would make a good blog post. And since I haven't written a whole lot lately I figured I would post what I have written. So to those of you who didn't have to hear me in person, you get to read it minus my shaky chipmunk voice and trembling hands. And to those of you who suffered through it already, I'm sorry and God bless you.

When I was growing up our family had a paper route which had to be completed every day, even on Christmas. I should say especially on Christmas, as the papers were very large due to the fact that they were stuffed with the ads for the sales to occur the following day. 
The massive amounts of ads caused the paper to be delivered in two parts requiring us to assemble the paper before trying to stretch a wimpy rubber band around the massive girth of those Christmas papers. Needless to say, many a rubber band broke making the delivery process even more tedious and lengthy. 
 Oh, how I loathed delivering those papers on Christmas morning.
It wasn’t just the process of getting the papers delivered, but the fact that we couldn’t open any packages or see any of our Christmas until all of the papers were done. The time came that the paper route became my responsibility after being passed down through all of my brothers and after 6 years of helping, I would be delivering the Christmas morning papers alone. 
I dreaded the very thought.
Christmas morning came and I could hear my parents upstairs rustling around and I knew that soon they would be coming for me. So true to the lazy teenager that I was, I pulled my covers up closer around me, clinging to the warmth and comfort that my bed offered and quickly drifted back to sleep. 
When I woke up some time later, knowing that my parents usually woke us around 6:00, I put off looking at the clock not wanting know the minutes left before the impending doom would occur. And that’s when it dawned on me that the light beyond my closed eyelids was a little too bright for 6am. I stole an glance at the clock- it was 9:06! The papers were late!
I rushed upstairs questioning my mom along the way. 
“Where are the papers? How come you didn’t get me up sooner?”  
My mother just smiled and said, “Merry Christmas! We got you a sub.”
Over the years, I have been asked about the best present I have ever received and to this day it remains the time my parents arranged a sub on Christmas morning for my paper route. This gift was nothing concrete that I could hold in my hands and only lasted the length of a morning, but the feeling and sentiment behind what others hands had done for me that morning has stuck with me for the last 20 years.