Saturday, December 13, 2008

Camping @ Refugio State Beach

We went camping at Refugio State Beach in July last year. We were invited to go with the McDermott family, who has done this every year for forever (translation = many years). This was by far my kids best 2008 memory. They absolutely loved it! Noah is always asking when we can go back to the beach and the hotel (4th of July "getaway" to Mesa).

Keith & Ammon (barely walking)

Sometimes you've just gotta go ... right? (David wants me to hang this in their room :)

Noah rolling in the sand to get warm.

Riding Bikes

Sand Castle Time

Noah with his "girlfriend" Maddison, love connection at the beach

Lacey & Hanna (niece) boogie boarding

Jacob, rowing his little pool?

Playing in the sand.

Courtesy of David

Friday, December 12, 2008

Angels Among Us, by Simon Dewey

Have you seen this?
I walked in to Seagull Book today and this picture stopped me in my tracks.
I was frozen as I just stood looking at it.
That's my mommy holding the little baby girl inside of me to soothe my pain.

If not for the $300 price tag, I would have walked out of the store with that picture.
Instead a rationally came home looked it up on the Internet and found a smaller print
with a more feasible price tag and ordered it.
I can't wait to hang this by my bed.
Merry Christmas to me. Thanks honey!
I love the present you don't even know yet that you bought me :)

Our Merry litte Christmas Tree

This year, in order to get through the holidays, I am keeping it simple. Presents, parties, decorations and yes the Christmas Tree.
So I purchased a little fiber-optic table top tree that I didn't have to decorate and I could literally throw away after Christmas if I didn't want to deal with it. My children were thrilled to have a Christmas Tree up, despite its small size and lack of dazzle.

If you look closely you can see it's sparkly :)

Well come to find out, when they very excitedly showed their Christmas tree to "Grandma Barbara" they explained to her that their tree was little because they were growing it! So basically they believe that this little artificial fiber-optic Christmas tree is something we have harvested to grow into a great big Christmas tree by Christmas! :)
I don't have the heart too "correct" them. I'm just hoping that when Christmas comes they will be so distracted by presents that they will not take note that their little tree failed to grow.

In Honor of Mom, I Will Be Better

This morning, I sent this email to my siblings. I am sharing it with you because perhaps you will be inspired by Marjorie H. Weeks to become better as well.

"Mom was such an excellent example to everyone; especially us, her child, that had the privilege of interacting with her regularly and knowing her so personally. She taught us how to be good people, to be honest and hardworking. She taught us to love, one another and others, despite their weaknesses. She taught us that family is priority. She taught us that parenting is difficult but rewarding. She taught us that Jesus Christ is our Savior & Redeemer that he suffering all that we may have the opportunity to return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven; together as families with joy immeasurable and peace eternally. She was passionate and emotional about her testimony.

Mom also taught us that we should always be striving to improve ourselves. She did this daily. In honor of that profound example that she set, this year on the anniversary of her death, I will reflect upon my life and what I could or should be doing better and make a commitment in my heart to select something I would like to improve about myself. While we should be striving everyday like she did, this will be a special and very personal commitment that I will work to improve."

We all grieve and are able to handle things differently; so I don’t know what your plans are for next Wednesday. I am going to spend most the day at the temple, free from the burdens of life and surrounded by love. Later that evening, I would like to go to the cemetery. If anyone else would like to meet there that would be wonderful; family soothes. Perhaps we can light some candles or something as we remember her?

We are so lucky to have had her love and example. She has given us the tools, know we must find them and use them. I love you all!

Acceptance ... Timeline

Frequently, my grief work has been interrupted as I have questioned whether my grief was accepted by others. For example, I have worried that others may be thinking or feeling; "Why can't Angel just accept that her mom is gone and more on?" "It's been a year, is she ever gonna let this go and live again?" "She knows that she will see her again, why is she still such a mess?"

Now whether this is true, a product of my own distorted thoughts or an influence of the Adversary. In my mind, I then begin to formulate a timeline and evaluate where I'm not at yet and why. This is toxic and unproductive. I quit concentrating on the present and how I can overcome today and begin focusing on why I am not further progressed.

Then, in an answer to prayer, because I had been praying with discouragement about why I was where I was and not where I wanted to be, I received this answer. It has really only been 6 short very rocky months that we have had to work on our grief. The first 5 months (12/17/07 - 5/28/08) was devastation, shock, numbness, death, as we faced and pursued the criminal proceedings. Trauma, Trauma, Trauma as we uncovered all the details of the accident that took moms life.

After the sentencing, (5/29/08 - 12/12/08) has been interrupted by difficulties with Bruce's boy regarding the estate. This seemed to upset me as much as the criminal proceedings because their actions questioned and/or undervalued my relationship with mom which was equally devastating. First someone kills her, then these idiots have the nerve to minimize her significance to us or our significance t her!?! This made my head spin with emotion, leaving me feeling out of control. The emotions dictated my days; whether it was one where I could fight the despair or one in which I could not and would just agonize in grief and pain.

That being said and considering the ever quickly approaching anniversary of her death and Christmas, I am satisfied with my level or amount of recovery. I work and fight everyday to get better or improve. I am striving to create a new normal and to redefine life without the person who continually feed me acceptance, always and unconditionally.

For Better or For WORSE .....

At some point early during this year I recall having a conversation with my husband concerning the loss of mom and the affects that it has had on me. Feeling appreciation for his patience and long suffering for me and my grieving, I turned to him and sad "I'm sorry! This isn't what you signed on for!" To which he casually replied, "Yes it is! I agreed to the better and the worst!"

Over the past several months, that casual statement has really been put to the test as David has carried the burdens so that I can mourn. He has had to do more, give more and learn to be tender with my fragile heart. He has loved me when I have felt so unlovable. The wife that he had on 12/16/07 is no more and he has had to watch every painful step of recovery as his "new" wife is created. Honestly, I don't know how he maintains his hope, when the end is so far away it is not even in sight?

While mom was living, she was impressed with David's love for me. She was proud of him for loving me so deeply the way she desired for me to be loved. She loved him for the man that he was, for his determination and hard work. She respected him for the testimony he held sacred and was able to love him from the inside out; soul -- weaknesses. She appreciated that he allowed her to be close in our lives. She felt accepted and wanted by him. It was a blossoming relationship.

It is interesting and wonderful to feel the development of our relationship, as our trust and commitment to one another has been deepened through this adversity.


My Little Goblins ....

Ammon the Lion

Lacey the Nice Witch

Spiderman Jacob & Noah the Clown

Everyone LOVED trick-or-treating! "Walking around and getting free candy ... could this be real?" Just having difficulty explaining in little people language why we can't trick-or-treat every night!