Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday December 9, 2010

I should be at school right now, teaching my students, but Spencer is sick today so I am home. I haven't blogged in a very long time. Between school, work, calling, and family, there hasn't been much time for writing. I wanted to share some of the wonderful blessings that have come to our family over the past couple of weeks. It has been amazing!

First, I have been struggling with depression. Most people would never know how hard I struggle with that. I put on a pretty good front. But since we moved to Logan, I have had many days when I get so down, all I can do is cry. I doubt myself and my ability as a mom, friend, and teacher. I know a huge part of my struggle comes from missing my Ashley. The hole is so big. I never know what will make it start to hurt. It might be a song on a radio. It might be seeing a mother with her daughter. It might be a smell, or a picture, or a show on TV. When it hurts, it hurts. Right before Thanksgiving, I was struggling really bad. I thought a lot about where we were last year on the holidays. At that point, Ashley was very ill. We had pulled out her PICC line, and we knew she was going to die. I was praying so hard she would live through Christmas. I struggle with Christmas time anyway, but having her die then would make it difficult forever. We were so blessed to have her with us way beyond Christmas. But reading back over where we were then filled me with painful memories. It was so hard to watch my angel slowly fade away. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was sitting in a dance performance, watching my beautiful niece perform, and I was overcome with the loss of my little girl. She loved to dance, but she never had the energy or the oxygen level, to do it. I couldn't shake that heaviness in my heart. It was like a ten ton rock was plunked on my chest. I couldn't face Christmas. Normally, right after Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas decorations. But I couldn't even look at the boxes. Everytime I did, I would break down crying. I was trying to beat my sadness but it seemed no matter what I did, my heart remained heavy. I new I had to face Christmas. My other children needed me to get out of this hole I was in. Finally, one night, when I was at the lowest of the low, , I asked my sweet husband for a blessing. I couldn't shake the sadness. It was consuming every aspect of my life. In that blessing, he promised me Heavenly Father would strengthen and comfort me. He told me I would be blessed to carry on. And from that moment forward, my burdens were lifted off my shoulders. I was able to fight the depression. I faced my Christmas decorations. (0: I cried when we put up Ashley's special Christmas tree given to her by my amazing aunt and her two wonderful daughters. I know Ashley is watching over us. I know she knows I think of her every day, and I haven't forgotten her. She will be near through this Christmas season.

Since that night, my life has taken a 360 degree turn. It isn't that my heart isn't aching or that I don't cry in the night, but now I know I can survive. I can face each day and I am not alone. Heavenly Father is with me every awful step of the way. I can tell Him anything, and He will comfort me and help me. I know we can get through every awful trial in our lives. We aren't the first family to lose a child, and we won't be the last. But to all out there who grieve, or who think they aren't important, I am here to tell you, you are!! When you think you can't take another step, or life is going to consume you, pray. The comfort and assurance will come. It has come to me, and I know I am important. I know I can contribute something, small as it may be, to this world and to my family. I know even with an aching heart, I can be happy. I have so much to be thankful for. How wonderful it is to know we have a loving Father in Heaven who is always there for us. May everyone have a wonderful weekend, full of peace.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday October 17, 2010

Perhaps I shouldn't write today. I am not feeling very "up". It wasn't that today hasn't been good. Church was wonderful!! It seems like I always hear what I need. Today was no exception. I guess part of my despair comes from thinking about all the things in my life right now. I really LOVE my job at the school. I love working with kids. I love being in school. My classes this semester are interesting and challenging at the same time. The part that makes me happy is that I know I am studying for the career I desire. Now that my kids are growing up, I am so ready to have a career. It has given me a new purpose to be pursuing that goal. It is the right path for me to take. I just wish everything else in my life made more sense. I guess challenges never stop, and that is part of life. I once heard someone say that when you have trials, you know you are loved. I guess I am really loved right now! (0:

So to list all the challenges, well first of all, AUSTIN! (0: My poor son! He is a great kid, but he is struggling. I feel completely responsible for his troubles. I chose to stop his ADHD medication in the summertime. I was sick and tired of the stupid side effects, (like staying awake all night!) I tried to get the medication lady in Nampa to change his medicine, but she led me to believe we didn't have other options. So I just pulled the dang drugs. He did sleep better. But, with all the changes in our household, (moving), his behavior escalated again. By the time we got to Logan, he was driving me nuts. I was hoping with school starting, and his days becoming more structured once again, he might be alright. I had a long talk with his teacher, and she assured me if she felt he needed his medication, she would let me know. Well, time went on and the reports I got from her were alright. She never once said she thought he needed medication. She did tell me he was struggling, wanting to be out of class. I could see he was unhappy, so we got the school counselor involved. I thought he might need some additional help dealing with Ashley's death. I know it has been harder for me over the past couple of months. The counselor, after he and I talked, suggested Austin might benefit from medication. Again, it was only a suggestion. Jason and I talked and decided medication would be helpful. I took him to the doctor and got him on a new, non-stimlant medication. Well, come to find out last week, when we saw the counselor, his teacher was actually having a horrible time with Austin. She told the counselor Austin was rude and disruptive. I could feel the frustration she had. I never heard a work of this!! I about died!! Why didn't she tell me?? Am I that horrible of a person?? That was the first thing I thought. This new medication isn't working well. But I dont' know what option we have. It is a frustrating and discouraging situation. I want Austin to be happy. I want him to love who he is, and to embrace his challenges. He isn't happy, and I know he isn't enjoying school. I am praying constantly we find a remedy to this situation.

Okay, so besides Austin, there is my stupid head! You would think it would get better. But NO! It is getting worse again. I feel off balance every day. I have dizzy spells every day. Some days, it is all I can do to get through one day, with work and studying and taking care of my family. I get exhausted! I know exercise would benefit me, but I don't feel good enough to do that. I need to see a doctor, but I dont' want to. Honestly, I am scared. I don't want to go through a battery of tests just to have them tell me I am fine. That is always what happens to me. I HATE HATE HATE feeling like this. I see so many others happily going through their lives, healthy as a bird. Then here comes Connie. I don't feel good. When I don't, I get so depressed. I want to be healthy. I need to be able to take my kids places, and be the active, busy mom they deserve. I don't feel good enough to take them places, let alone on long drives, exploring and such. Driving for me is a constant challenge. I never know if I will be dizzy or not. YUCK!! Yes, I am praying, hard, for help in this matter.

Of course, I miss my daughter. I don't think anyone realizes how much I miss her, how much my heart aches every day. It is a constant struggle. I dread the coming of the holiday season. I am already hurting so much. How can I face two huge holidays without my angel? I cry every time I think about it. I hope I dont' sound ungrateful. Honestly, I know how blessed I am. I thank Heavenly Father every chance I get for all the good things in my life. I love our home. I love my job. I love being in college. I have the most amazing boys ever!! And I love them all with every fiber of my being. I have a super husband, who is a great support and comfort to me. I have loads to be thankful for. I am just in a rut right now. All I want is a normal life without complications! Ha ha ha! It won't happen for the Winn family, so I am going to keep on making the best of it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sorry, today I am nothing but a big booby head! I really didn't have a bad week. Despite being sick and all, there were so many wonderful things that happened. I survived it all, and this week won't be as bad. Today I just plain out miss my angel girl. I have no idea why I am such a mess. but I am. I haven't been able to do anything but cry. As I sat in church, that feeling of aloneness overwhelmed me. These people here are amazing. Really, they are, but I don't have any close friends yet. I feel very alone. I know with time, that situation will remedy itself. I just don't know anyone well yet.

Jason has been a mess over the past few days. He is not happy. He doesn't like his new job. He isn't selling like he wants to. His back has been paining him. His self-esteem is in the gutter. When he gets like this, he becomes, pardon the term, like an icy, cold robot. He doesn't speak or smile. He hides out in his office. He doesn't want any interaction with anyone. There are no warm vibes coming from him. I know I haven't been meeting his needs lately. I am not sure I ever meet his needs. But with him like he is, I can't talk to him. I knew from the get go he wouldn't go to church today. I had no problem with him staying home. But today, I really needed him with me. PLEASE don't take me wrong, I love Jason with all my heart!! He is a WONDERFUL man, in every way. However, he has skeletons from his past that have seriously damaged him as an adult. He is very insecure. There isn't one day that he doesn't think I am going to divorce him. He makes comments all the time like, "You love me, for now." or "You are with me, but someday you will find a better man." He can't trust in a lasting relationship. He also completely shuts down emotionally. That is his defense. When things hurt too much, he shuts then off, puts them somewhere he doesn't have to feel them. I watched him do that after Ashley died. He is most certainly doing it again now. I have to work so hard to break down the walls and find a way to get inside. Most of the time, I fail. I can't get to him. I think that is one of the biggest driving forces to me studying psychology. I know it will help me with Jason. He has so much hurt locked inside. It is so unhealthy for him! I am hoping someday I will be able to get him the help that I know he needs, so he can feel emotions again. The Jason tangent is just one of my concerns. Please, PLEASE don't anyone ever say anything about this to him. If he knew I was venting on the blog, he would KILL me. I just hope a small explaination of things will help other understand him a little better. At first, one might take him as standoffish. But it is just his defenses. He isn't really like that.

Okay, so back to the issue at hand. I miss my girl. I miss her smile. I miss her laugh. I miss her sweet, loving, compassionate nature. I miss buying her clothes. I miss putting on jam music and watching her wiggle her little, non-existent bum. I miss the special bond I had with her. I couldn't help reflecting back on a conversation she and I had not too long before she died. We were talking and reading about the spirit world and how wonderful it would be for her. She would finally be free from all her worldly cares and pains. Her comment back to me,"It isn't fair mommy that I will be in heaven and be so happy and you have to be stuck here on earth!" She was such a sweetheart!! It was always about others, even at the very hour of her emminent death, she was more concerned with my comfort than with her own pain. I would give anything to hold her in my arms for even five minutes! Today my entire body hurts from head to toe I miss her so badly!

Right now, Austin and Preston aren't helping matters. They are constantly quarrleing and disobeying me. No matter how I treat them, what tone I use to talk to them, they push me to the limits. I know Austin needs his ADHD medication again. He can't think at all. He is struggling so much! I feel horrible about it. It is my fault he is such a mess. I chose to stop his former medication. Instead of consulting with the medication lady, I made my own decision. Part of the reason I did was because I disliked her so much! She was always so mean and critical to me. When I suggested a change of medication previously, because of the side effects Austin was having, she told me it was my fault Austin was awake so late at night. She said I was letting him sleep too long. It wasn't the medicine at all. It was me. If I woke him up at 7:00 every morning, despite him being awake until 3:00, he would go to bed ontime. I am not kidding! She basically told me we had exhausted every medication option. I felt trapped in the situation. It was such a relief to have Austin finally be able to go to sleep by 10:00 at night. Once we stopped the meds, the dizzy spells and headaches and stomach problems and sleeping problems stopped. Of course now, even though those side effects are gone, he is impulsive all over again. We have a whole new pit of problems. He isn't happy. I met with the school counselor at Woodruff on Friday to discuss Austin with him. He is going to start working with Austin at school. He also gave me the names of doctors who deal with ADHD kids so we can re-start Austin's meds. I just want my son to be happy and tolerable! I am sure we will get there.

Spencer is just a sweet, kind soul. I am so thankful he was given to me. He is just like Ashley. Same temperment. Same compassion and selflessness. He is the one who makes me feel like I am acutally doing something right as a mom. The other boys: well, perhaps if I fast and pray every day until they go on their missions, they will be alright! Ha ha ha! No, I think they will be alright. I have to be constantly vigilant about teaching them between right and wrong. And love them unconditionally. Hopefully, some little thread of truth will be implanted in their souls.

So it is all a mishmash in my head. Jason. Austin. Preston. Spencer. Work. School. Ashley. Challenges make us strong, right!!!! (0: Shedding tears isn't bad. Feeling like a failure is common. Husbands being reclusive can be normal. Just got to remember the eternal perspective. I am so grateful I understand it now. I am so grateful for everyting I have learned over the past year, for how precious the gospel of Jesus Christ is to me. I will survive! One footstep at a time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday September 10, 2010

Wow! What a week the past one has been! Last weekend, I took the boys and made the trek to Nampa for my nephew's baptism. Poor Jason had to work. I always hate traveling without him. He is my rock, keeps me sane. (0: What a miracle Zack's baptism was for all of us. Not long ago, my wonderful brother in law, Kris, wasn't too hip on the church. But with recent events, namely the passing of our angel, his heart was touched in a way we never dreamed possible. Now he is going to church. He received the priesthood, and will be ordained an elder in a couple of weeks at stake conference. Amy and Kris have also set their endowment date and will be sealed in the Logan temple on November 6. What miracles our family is witnessing! Included in those miracles is Kris's kidney transplant, in which he had a horrid battle with rejection. He continues to be alright, despite factors that doctors say point to continued rejection. It was such a blessing to witness him baptize his son. Following that baptism, Kris also ordained my other nephew, Kasey, to the office of a deacon. We all felt the spirit. I know Ashley was there. I felt her. She was so proud of her Uncle Albert!! I can't wait to be with my family once again, in the temple, witnessing the sealing of my beloved sister and her wonderful husband! (0: Isn't the gospel so great!!!!!!!!

Well, despite the wonderful weekend, I came home and got sick. The interesting part was, so did two of my sisters and my nephew. We all got a sore throat, cold, cough virus. YUCK! I actually thought I had strep throat, my throat hurt so badly! Now we are all wondering where the stupid sickness came from. We did all eat in Applebees following the baptism. Perhaps we picked it up there. Who knows! I am just thankful no one else got sick.

I am throughly loving my job at Woodruff Elementary. I don't have my set power hour groups yet, but I have been able to spend time in kindergarten, second grade, and third grade. My favorite has been third by far. I think I enjoy it the most because I get to do more teaching with that group. The teacher has given me the entire class three times now. The first time was super scary. I haven't been in front of a group of kids for a very long time. But soon the nerves melted and I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. I have to say, I LOVE teaching! I am not sure I will be the best at it, but I love being with kids and helping them to learn. I find myself cheering them on when they do the smallest things right. It is fun! It will be better once I have my set groups and can teach every day. I know it will be lots of work. We have to prepare the materials to be taught. But what great experience for me! I need all the help I can get!

My USU classes are lots of work. I had forgotten how hard college can be. This week has especially kicked my fanny end! I had two tests and a big paper and lots of reading and so on and so on. I spent hours studying, but thankfully I got it all done. Being sick, it wasn't easy, but I prayed so hard I would be able to survive. I could never have done it without Jason. He has been so helpful and supportive. He did dishes. He helped boys with homework. He fixed dinner. He got me breakfast. I have the bestest husband in the whole wide world!! I could never do all this without him. NEVER! I love him with all my heart. He isn't very happy at his new job. Bless his heart! I wish there was more I could do for him. Here I am, enjoying all these new ventures and poor Jason isn't enjoying his as much. The one thing I do know, beyond all doubt, we are supposed to be in Logan Utah. I feel it through my entire body. Visiting Nampa last weekend only confirmed Logan is the place for us.

I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life! I miss my angel every day. I so wish I still had her here with me, but I know she is ever near, watching over her family.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday August 29, 2010

Today we had the opportunity of speaking in sacrament meeting. They asked our entire family to speak. Jason and I were so proud of the boys. They each stood so confidently, and talked with clarity and expression. It was awesome! I was blessed to speak on family unity. It was the perfect topic for me. We have been struggling with harmony in our home. The boys, meaning Austin and Preston, argue and fight a lot. They haven't been respectful to me. It hurts so much to have them act this way. I am sure they are still adjusting to all the changes. Austin may be struggling with his ADHD. We may yet have to medicate him. He struggled terribly on the medication, I don't want to medicate him again if possible. But if he continues to struggle with his choices, and acts impulsively, we may have no choice. Just last week, he got in trouble for lingering in the bathroom after his specials at school. He got caught for trying to sneak off the school grounds. He shot out one of the windows with Jason's BB gun, only one day after receiving it for his birthday. We are concerned about our son. We love him so much, and I don't want him to go back to where he was before we started counseling and medication. It is a matter to pray about. I want to do the right thing for him, for all my boys. I need them to be unified. I am working at the school in the mornings, and tomorrow I begin my classes at USU. My schedule is going to be hectic. I need our family to be a team so I can do all that I need to do. Tonight I want to present a family home evening on that very subject. I want to talk about what I need them to do while I am in school. I know I am supposed to be in school, and I know with Heavenly Father's help, we will find a way to work through this as a family.

It is hard. I haven't felt good this week. I have had more headaches and dizzy spells. One happened while I was in the temple. I was so worried I wouldn't make it through the session. But miraculously, I did. I decided to fill my prescription and take it. My sinuses have been horrible, so perhaps they are causing the flair up in the dizziness. Thank goodness I have been able to work at the school despite my feeling so sick. I love being at the school, with the other aides. It gives me purpose. I feel like for once in my life, I can contribute something valuable to others. I have already learned several things that I know will help me be a better teacher someday. I pray every day my body will hold together for the things I want to do. I don't know what is up with my stupid body. There is definitely a problem, but finding it is another story. At this point, I am going to let things go until I can't stand them anymore. I guess if the dizziness gets worse, I may have to face it. I have lived with it for so long, a few more months won't matter. (0:

Well, better go rest for a bit. I wish everyone a beautiful, peaceful Sunday!! (0: I know I have peace, and I pray everyone else will too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday August 23, 2010

Wow! I think it has been forever since I last updated this blog. I am delighted to report the Winn family is now happily settled in Logan, Utah!! YEA!!!! Moving here proved to be a huge challenge, but we lept over the hurdles and here we are!! (0: The house we moved in is wonderful. I will have to post pictures of the house so everyone can see. We were so blessed to find this home. It is everything we could have wanted and more. The back yard is a little boy's dream. We have bugs of all kinds, as well as snakes and frogs. There are chickens to the north of our property. The boys love to catch grasshoppers and feed them to the chickens through the fence. The dogs have tons of room to run around. We have super awesome neighbors. We have never received such a gracious welcome in our lives. I think we received five plates of cookies and three loaves of bread. Everyone is friendly and helpful. I feel like I am in heaven. I didn't expect to feel so loved right off the bat, but we have been, in every way.

Our ward is also heaven sent!! It is not a huge ward, and everyone is very close knit. I am so grateful for that! Our ward in Rupert was just like this ward. We loved our Rupert ward! What a blessing to land where we are needed and wanted! We have been received with open arms and I can't wait for the chance to serve alongside these celestial people.

The boys started school at Woodruff Elementary last Wednesday. Their teachers are all simply amazing: kind and funny and caring. We do have to start an hour earlier than last year, but the boys have been troopers. They go to bed well, and we have had no problems getting them up in the morning. I was worried about Austin. He struggles so much with mornings, but he is the earliest riser. He gets ready without any reminding. It is amazing!! (0:

I have been additionally blessed. I absolutely know Logan is where our family is supposed to be. When we first moved to Logan, I thought I would need help getting into school. We did not qualify for residency in Utah. Therefore, the tuition was so steep! We had an offer to help us with the extra cost, but I was hoping, someway, somehow, we would find a way to avoid the cost. And it happened! I ended up changing my class schedule. The classes I had origianlly wanted to take became available, but only online. So this semester, I enrolled through distance education. Well, little did I know, when you register through distance education, the out of state tuition is automatically waved. Therefore, the financial aid I received was more than enough to cover the cost of tuition and books. Instead of a big financial burden, we now have money in our pockets, which will help us through the coming months. Now if that isn't a blessing, I don't know what is!!!!

I also found out the school district is hiring part-time teacher aides. Desiring experience, and a little extra cash flow, I applied and was hired at the same school my boys attend. The job is only 3.5 hours a day, and I will be working with small groups of kids, helping them with reading and math activities in three different grade levels. I am stoked!!!! I start training this coming Wednesday. I can't wait! I need time away from home, where I am interacting with other people and the children I love. I am finding that with the boys off to school, and Jason at work, I get very lonely and unhappy. I miss Ashley terribly! I don't like to have too much time on my hands. I also feel working three hours a day will help me be more focused on my online courses. Studying at home is not my first choice, so I want to make sure I am organized and disciplined and take the time needed to succeed in my classes.

We have also been blessed to spend time with my older sister. Dawn and I were always close growing up. She is only 18 months older than I am. We haven't lived by one another since we were in college. It is wonderful to get to spend time with her now. Her family likes to go lots of places. My family isn't used to that. We never were able to go on outings, especially over the past couple of years. Ashley was too sick, and we never wanted her to feel bad she couldn't go. Since moving here, we have been blessed to go swimming, hiking, walking, etc. Just last Saturday, we were able to go to Bear Lake with Dawn and my other sister, Tammy. It was a blast!

I have so much more to write. My heart is full to the brim with feelings of gratitude for all that has been given to our family. The blessings have been poured upon our heads. It is awesome!! I know Heavenly Father is guiding and directing our family. I know we are in the right place. There is a work for our family to perform. Although we can't have our angel with us, I feel her near. I miss her every second of every day. There will always be a huge hole in my heart!!! But Heavenly Father is there, watching over us, helping us through each day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday July 23, 2010

Boy has it been a long time since I last wrote. I need to catch up. So many new things have happened to our family. The last time I wrote, I was feeling a little better about the upcoming changes. I know Logan is where we are supposed to be. Since the last entry, Jason went to Denver and began his training with Verizon. I figured out my class schedule and am thrilled to get back into school. We found out the home we are moving to is in a very wonderful ward. My older sister works with our bishop. Dawn is also friends with one of our neighbors whose husband is in the bishop brick. They are asking about our family, and eager to help us settle in. I feel peaceful in every way about this move. The packing is going well. I feel like we have successfully purged our home of unwanted things. I have discovered how much I don't like clutter, and how good I am at throwing things away. (0: I am very excited for the coming future.

Jason left on July 6 for Denver. I wasn't happy to see him go. He and I have throughly enjoyed our time together over the past three months. In a way, it was like a dating all over again. We found a new connection in our marriage. Jason spent lots of time with the boys. They loved that!! It was a blessing to have that time with him before he went back to work. I have to admit, I was nervous to have him gone, considering my head problems are not solved yet. But I fasted and prayed the weekend before his departure. I pleaded with Heavenly Father that during his absence, I would be alright. My head would stay normal. I wouldn't be plagued by dizziness. In only a hour or so, Jason will return from Denver. It has been three weeks, and not once have I felt dizzy or sick. I have been blessed with strength and peace. I was able to take the boys to Burley and spent 10 days with my family. The driving was not an issue for me. Thank goodness, because I love to drive!! (0: (As my family knows) It hasn't felt like more than a week since Jason left. I know Heavenly Father watched over me and the boys while he was gone. My prayers were answered.

Also during this two weeks, my birthday came and went. It was a bummer to be apart from Jason on my birthday. He still made my day totally rock, despite being in Denver. He sent me beautiful flowers and gift cards so I could shop. My family fussed over me tons. I was able to take the boys swimming that day, and we ordered chinese food for dinner from our favorite restaurant. We had yummy chocolate cake. It was a perfect day for me!

Not long after my birthday, was Ashley's birthday. I was dreading her birthday. I knew it was going to be a painful, hard day for me. I decided way ahead of time, I wasn't going to sit around crying all day long. Ashley would never want that. She would want us to be happy, and spend the day as a family, doing things she would have enjoyed. That is what we did. In the early part of the day, I took some time to look at videos and pictures of my angel. I allowed myself time to cry. It felt good to let the tears flow. How I miss my angel!!!!!! In the early afternoon, Jessica came over and we took the children swimming. Later on, we went out to the cemetery and released balloons. We came home and had cake and ice cream. I even bought some clothes for my nieces. I LOVE girl clothes. I loved buying cute things for Ashley. It was an honor for me to spend a little money doing what I loved to do for my angel girl. (0: The day turned out to be a great day, despite the heaviness in my heart. I was eternally grateful I had my family surrounding me. I could not have faced the day at home, alone. Without my sweetheart. Without my support team.

This week in my packing ventures, I found a book my mom sent not long ago. It is about grieving. I didn't think I needed to read it. I felt like I was doing alright. I was wrong. As I opened the book and read the experiences of other mothers who had lost children, I found myself relating to much of what was said. One mother expressed how hard it was to watch other people, going about their lives. Here she was, hurting and struggling and the world didn't slow down one bit. One mother talked about how hard it was to watch other children, the same age as the child she lost. She was reminded of things she would never see her lost child do. I truly have struggled with that. Especially when it come to Young Women's. I have a lot of hurt when it comes to that. I look at the other 12 year old girls, at the things they can do. They ride bikes. They swim. They dance. They text and hang out with friends. They walk, attend school, and girl's camp. They have no idea how badly Ashley wanted to be normal, like them. She would have loved to dance, to run, to ride a bike, to have enough breath to get to the end of the block. She would have loved to attend mutual. But she was too ill. She never got those opportunities. It tears me up inside to know she will never have those opportunities. I want to shout at those girls, and remind them how lucky they are to be alive and healthy. They have no idea what a blessing it is to have a working heart, a working digestive system, the ability to live without pain. I hope I don't sound bitter. I am not bitter. Not at all. Inside I still have wounds to be healed. I am not sure they will ever heal. I find myself feeling sadder now than when Ashley first passed away. I have become more aware of how many holes are left in my life. I am trying hard to fill them, but no matter how hard I try, the pain does not end. Losing a child is so hard!!! Even with the knowledge she is ours forever, she is free of pain and at peace, doesn't numb the feeling of loss. I would never wish her here again, suffering as greatly as she was. But oh to even have five minutes with her, to hold her and love her and cuddle her, stoke her hair, her cheek, hold her hands like I used to do when she was so ill. I would give anything for those five minutes. I miss her every second of every day. I do hope with time, I won't feel so sad.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday June 20, 2010

So I know my last blog was very depressing. I won't lie. Last week, I was in a talespin. I wasn't feeling well physically, and I wasn't feeling good about this move. But I know, Heavenly Father was watching over us. Not only did Jason and I find a nice place to live, but I was also able to get right into an ear, nose, and throat doctor. While the doctor couldn't give me specific answers, he did offer me a little hope we can get this problem I have had for so long, fixed. We are starting simple. It is possible the ear crystals were jolted out of place when I fell and broke my ankle. He gave me some exercises to try at home, to re-set the ear rocks. If the exercises don't work, then the doctor wants me to go into the hearing/balance therapists for further testing and more advanced exercises. Jason and I have faithfully completed the exercises for several days now. I do feel a little better, but the off balance feeling isn't gone yet. It would be so nice to have an easy fix. I am not sure that will happen, but I can always hope it will. With how long I have been battling this vertigo and dizziness, the doctor is concerned there is a more advanced problem. I pray not. But time will tell.

I know Heavenly Father guided us last week as we looked for a place to live. It was nearly impossible to find a place that fit all of our requirements. Several places looked promising, and then fell through. I was beginning to think we may have to live in a tent somewhere!! Monday morning, another home opened up. It was the right size, they allowed dogs, there was a fenced yard, it was right by the walking path and golf course. It seemed like the perfect place for us to be. I sent my wonderful sister over to meet with the landlady and scope out the house for us. Unfortunately, when the landlady arrived, she had the wrong keys, and Dawn was unable to see the inside. But she mostly liked what she saw. There was another family who also viewed the property the same day. They didn't want to sign a year lease, as the dad had to re-locate again in six months. To compensate for the six month problem, they had offered $300.00 more a month. Jason and I were heartbroken. We didn't know what we would do if the house went to the other family. We prayed hard that all would work out as it should.

The next morning, the landlady called and offered the property to us, but only if we gave her a deposit by 8:00 that evening. My sister offered to go take the deposit to the lady for us. But when I spoke with my sister, she was hesitant about us taking the home without seeing the inside. She was also hesitant about the location. There was a busy road running in front of the property and that was a huge concern, especially with my little doggy runners. Jason decided he needed to go meet with Linda before we made a final decision. So off to Logan he went. It was a good thing he did. We found out the home was not at all what we wanted. The location was a huge concern. It all worked out in the end. My sister discovered another home for rent, which had not been listed in the newspaper. We were blessed to view the home, and found it to be perfect. The rent was higher, but Jason being the whiz he is, he got them to lower the rent if we signed a two year lease. The only bad part, the house isn't available until August 1. Jason will have to start working before we move. We are praying now Verizon will allow us some time after his training in Denver to move before he starts working in the store. I am not sure they will give us time, but hopefully they will. I am feeling so much better about the whole situation.

It is also good because at the moment, I have Amy and Kris's kids. Kris had his kidney transplant last Tuesday. He got released a couple of hours ago, and is doing well. I need to keep their kids for a little while longer while he recuperates from his surgery. It is so nice to have the stress of the move lifted off of my shoulders. We don't have to pack up and get moved as quickly as we thought. I know that is what is supposed to happen. Now I have time to help my sister, and also will have time in July to go stay in Burley and help my parents. I have time to work on my physical problems, and hopefully get them under control before we move. I am NOT looking forward to Jason being gone for so long. We haven't been apart but three nights since Ashley died. I am so scared to be without him. He is such a comfort and strength to me. I have leaned on him constantly, and he has loved me and lifted my spirits so many times. But I know Heavenly Father will take care of him and of us while he is away. We will be alright. I will be alright.

I still miss my Ashley every second of every day. There is a huge hole. Nothing fills it. It hurts so much. I can't wait for the day when I can hold my angel again. That thought keeps me going each day. It keeps me focused on the eternal perspective. It makes my challenges seem like bumps rather than impassible mountains. I will never be able to express my gratitude that Ashley was given to Jason and I. She changed my life. She changed my heart. I wish I could tell her what a difference her life, her example, her courage, made to me. I wish I could tell her what a privilege it was to be her mother.

May everyone keep up the faith. Don't get discouraged. Life is hard. It was not meant to be easy. But someday, we will all be blessed beyond all our understanding for our faithfulness and courage. What a glorious day that will be!!! (0: I can't wait to rest from the cares of this world with all the people I love so very very very much.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday June 13, 2010

I need to write today. I have so much on my mind, if I don't get it off, I am going to burst. I am feeling very discouraged. I am not sure if it is the stress, but I haven't been feeling well over the past few days. I woke up on Wednesday with horrible vertigo and light-headedness. Of course with my head spinning, I was desperately sick to my stomach and I had a horrible headache. It was Jason's birthday, and that bummed me even more. I didn't feel like going out on a date. I didn't even have him a present. I looked for what I wanted to buy, but hadn't found what I was looking for. We spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning out the garage, trying to prepare to move. My plan was to go out on Wednesday and keep looking for his gift, but naturally, that didn't happen. I was too sick. We ended up getting chinese food and staying at home. Not much of a special birthday. I felt like I let Jason down. It was so hard! The one good part about that day: my parents came to visit. (My dad had heart ablation scheduled for Thursday at St. Luke's downtown). Amy and Kris were able to come over. We did sing happy birthday and have cake, but Jason did not get the fussing he deserved. He was fine with that, but I wasn't and still am not.

Thursday I was able to go with my parents to the hospital for my dad's heart procedure. I still felt off, but Heavenly Father blessed me with the needed energy to go. It turned into a very long day, but the procedure was successful and my dad's atrial flutter was fixed. I enjoyed being with my parents very much. Boy did the memories flood back as we sat in the room, waiting for the cath. My sweet Ashley had so many caths over the course of her lifetime. She HATED them. I could just hear her saying "Poor Grandpa! I know how awful a heart cath is!"

We didn't get home until 10:30 Thursday night, and we were all ready to crash. Hospitals are so draining! We were grateful for the wonderful outcome, despite all the waiting and other yucky stuff.

Friday morning, my dad woke up feeling sore and extremely tired. His blood pressure was low, as was his heart rate. My parents decided to stay in Nampa for another night, to make sure my dad was alright. They wanted to help Amy get ready for her Portland trip as well. I was thankful they were here, as I was still feeling sick myself. The dizziness and off balance sensations continued. I was so awfully tired. All I felt like doing was sleeping. But of course, I couldn't. There is so much to do right now. I don't have time to feel under the weather. The deadlines are fast approaching, and we have to move.

Yesterday was another long day. I woke up feeling just as sick as I did the day before. The one thing we did discover, (with my dad's blood pressure cuff), I do have very low blood pressure. That may be contributing to the dizziness and fatigue. I pushed through it, and worked hard to continue packing and sorting. Jason worked hard too. Bless his heart. He didn't take one break the whole day. I can't tell you how glad I am he is home right now. With me feeling so sick, I need his help. I couldn't do it alone. There is no way I could.

So yes, I feel LOTS of despair right now. I am physically not well. I don't know how I am going to do all that is required over the next month. I just don't know. We don't yet have a place to live in Logan. There was a home we thought might be a possibility for us that surfaced last week, but it fell through. The owners decided the dogs were not allowed, which I totally respect. Dogs are a huge risk for any rental agency. It is a miracle there are any places where pets are allowed. Being a former apartment manager, I know from first hand experience no pets makes things easier for the landlords. We found another townhome yesterday that we both LOVED. Good location. Perfect rent and space. Garage. Pet friendly. But it did not have a yard or anywhere where our dogs could run unsupervised. So we crossed that place off our list. I wouldn't push to keep the dogs, but with Ashley's loss, I can't bear to part with my babies. They are such a comfort to me. I need them. I don't want them to be the reason we can't find a place to live, but I am sure there is someplace that will be right for our family, where I can keep the dogs.

Of course, I don't know what to do about my health problems. They have been there for a long time. I haven't felt right for months. I should have pushed to get into an ENT doctor, but didn't. Now it is too late. And I am not well. I can face anything when I am at my best, but when I am as sick as I feel now, I want to fall on my face and bawl. Everything seems like an impossibly high mountain. On top of the stress of moving, and getting into school, and adjusting to a totally new life, I need to take care of my nephews. My brother in law is having a kidney transplant in two days. I am so thrilled for Kris, and I want to help. Yet here I am barely able to function as a person, let alone be a babysitter. Amy needs errands run, cats tended, yard tended. I am so willing to do anything for her. Anything!! Yet, I don't have the energy to do it!! AHHHH!! I feel so buried and discouraged and I dont know what to do. I didn't go to church today. I should have tried, but I felt so yucky this morning, and with Jason gone, I couldn't.

I know there is an answer. I feel so good about the direction we are going. The doors have opened up a bit for us. This move is taking so much faith!! Nothing about it has been easy. I don't think it will continue to get any easier. I just pray that I can find a solution to my sickness. There has to be a reason for my dizziness and fatigue and nausea. I told my mom not long ago, we could fast for the next month and still not cover all the things we need help wtih! I still feel that way. I am in no condition to fast at the moment. There will be a light at the end of this dark tunnel. I am sure of it. We are trying so hard to be righteous and live so we are worthy to receive personal revelation. I know it will come. Please pray for us, and for all the others in this world who struggle, who are sad, who are at the end of their rope. There are so many out there who have heavy burdens to bear.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday June 5, 2010

It has been another amazing week. The boys are finally out of school. YEA! I couldn't be more grateful for the year we have had. The teachers were amazing! All of our boys have had excellent grades. They had good friends, and I was able to spend time in all the classrooms at the end of the year. The school staff was exceptional. Not to mention the wonderful memorial the school created in Ashley's honor. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I pray this coming year can be just as wonderful.

Wow, so where does the Winn family stand at the end of another week? You would think we would be at least a little closer to a decision. I suppose we are, in a way. Jason did have an interview with Verizon in Logan yesterday. The interview went well, and Jason was pleased with the general manager and what the company could offer. It would be a good job, and I know Jason would excell there. No doubt about it. The question remains: is it the right thing for our family to move to Logan? Is this a sign we are supposed to move there? We don't know that. Getting a job is only one part. We have to find a place to live, and there is still the out of state tuition problem. Those things may fall into place if Jason accepts the job. Twin Falls appeals greatly to me when it comes to housing and affordability. We found several possible rental properites there that interested us. If only Logan had housing like Twin Falls does!! Trivial thing, but we need to rent a home, so we can keep our animals. I refuse to give up my dogs. The cats we are not keeping, but my dogs are my life. They are so theraputic for me. I know the boys love them. Jason loves them too. I have been praying that we will find a place to live that will let us have them.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble there. So much to think about! Sometimes I feel like my head is spinning. We decided tomorrow we are going to have a family fast. Jason and I need to fast. I have once already, but we need to fast as a family. We need all of our faith to make this decision. We also want to fast for my dad, Amy's husband, Kris, and for my brother. Amy's husband found out last week he will get a kidney on June 15!! No more dialysis for him!! YEA! What a blessing for them!! We are all thrilled and excited about the pending transplant, but of course, we want them to have every possible blessing with them as they go to Oregon. We need to fast for my dad. My dad is going to have ablation done on his heart this Thursday in Boise. The procedure is fairly safe, but my dad is sick today. He started coughing. He also needs special blessings to help him stay well, and be strong enough to have this procedure done. Then there is my brother, who has a horrible sleep apnea problem. He finally got a new machine and mask, but is still struggling to wear it at night. He has to get the sleep apnea under control. Right now, everytime he sits down, he falls alseep. He struggles to drive long distances for fear he will fall asleep. He can't work and his anxiety is out of control because he is always exhausted. I am telling you, we could fast for the next week and still not cover all the things we need to fast for. I haven't even mentioned my Grandma Walquist, who recently had a heart attack, or Grandpa Morgan, who has cancer on his ears. My family is a mess right now. Ha ha ha! (0:

The one thing I do know: I know we will find our path. I have no doubt there is a place meant for our family to be. Whether it be Logan or Twin Falls, Heavenly Father will help us to go where we are supposed to be. All will work out. We have been in this place before. Trying to decide where to move, what to do next. We have always received the inspiration we needed. I know we will now. If there is one thing I have learned over the past few months, it is that we are not alone. Heavenly Father is mindful of our every step. He wants us to be happy and have joy in this life. He sends down blessings for the smallest things we do right. He guides us and directs us. He won't leave us alone. I know this to be true. You watch. The answer will come. Our family will be blessed. We are trying so hard to do what is right!!! We are doing better now than we have ever done before. Once again, we are praying for a miracle, and I know it will come. (0:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday June 1, 2010

I am always amazed at how quickly time flies by. Here we are in June! The kids only have two days left at school. So much has happened in the past three months. I feel like I am in a whirlwind, going from one day to the next, floating from one activity to another. The days blend together week after week. The past couple of weeks have been more stressful because of all the decisions we are struggling to make. We hit a pretty big hurdle last week, and now are trying to find a way around it.

As I mentioned previously, I was accepted to Utah State University and am so excited to return to college there. I LOVE Utah State. I attended there 12 years ago, and the classes and teachers were amazing in every way. Well, last week I found out we don't qualify for a residency exception. Thus, the tuition become outrageously expensive. I talked to two different people trying to find a way around the law, but there wasn't a loop to be found. Of course, I was super discouraged. I felt like a door was slammed in my face. I know we are supposed to go back to Utah. I know I am supposed to pursue Elementary Education and school counseling. I felt so good about Utah State. I have prayed and prayed and prayed to know the right path to take. Jason and I discussed the situation. We figured we have two options. One, we could still move to Utah and both work for a year until we were granted residency. Two, we could stay in Idaho and I could attend college here. We both know we need to leave the Nampa/Boise area. Thus, BSU and NNU are out. Jason and I don't want to go to Pocatello or Rexburg, so ISU and BYU-Idaho are out. That leaves CSI in Twin Falls. I did some research and discovered I can finish up my bachelor's degree at CSI through the ISU extension program. I was thrilled about that! I went ahead and submitted my transcripts for evaluation to see what classes ISU would accept. So now, we are considering Twin Falls. I am not sure that is the path to take. If ISU won't accept some of my classes, I want to shoot for USU, but will have to wait a year. Where I attended USU previously, I could begin right where I left off. I don't want to move backwards in my progression. I don't want to wait a year either. The other consideration: I want to pursue a master's degree in school counseling. Thus, when I finish up my bachelor's degree, I want to make sure all the pre-requisite classes for admission into that program are completed. I worry if I get my bachelor's degree in Idaho, I won't have a smooth transition into the school couseling program at USU, which is where I want to finish up that degree. There are so many things to consider: living costs, available jobs, available housing, etc. I want my kids to be happy. I want Jason to be happy. I want to know we are where Heavenly Father wants and needs us to be. I have fasted and prayed and been to the temple and I still don't feel we know what to do. It makes my head spin to think about it sometimes. But I know the answer will come. I will not lose faith. I just hate the unknown. With Jason not working, the unknown becomes even more stressful.

Ok, so I have so much more to write. But it is time to put the troops to bed. I will update more later. I will say we had a lovely weekend in Burley. It was perfect in every way! I will elaborate more on that later.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Willow Creek Memorial Pictures

Friday May 21, 2010

Today was a beautiful day for memories. I always think of my Ashley. There isn't one day that goes by when I don't think of her often. Just when I think the pain is bearable, I will have a day when it isn't. My heart will ache and ache. In those moments, I long to have her by my side once again, to see her smile, to feel of her strength. It seems so long ago that we were praying for her to go. She was so desperately sick. I can't hardly remember what that time was like. But I know Ashley is at peace. I feel that every day. No matter how hard it was to let her go, I know she is delightfully happy. I have felt that reassurance over and over and over again. What a blessing and a comfort it has been for me to know she is at peace. Her burdens are gone. Her worries are over. She is surrounded by loved ones. She isn't lonely or scared. And someday, we will have her again.

This morning, Jason and I had the opportunity to attend the temple. To our delight, we were also chosen as the witness couple for the session we were in. The spirit was so strong. I felt Ashley so close. I know she is watching over our family. She watches over her brothers. She watches over her dad. I know this with all my heart. It was so nice to sit in the celestial room, with my dear eternal companion, basking in the spirit, escaping the cares of the world for a short time. How I love the temple!!!!! It was a beautiful start to this day.

This afternoon, we had the opportunity to attend a special ceremony at Willow Creek in honor of Ashley. A little over a month ago, the school counselor at Willow Creek called me and asked if it would be alright if the school planted a tree in Ashley's honor. In front of the tree, they wanted to place a plaque with her name and a favorite saying. We were delighted, and heartedly agreed. Today was the day the trees were planted and the plaque unveiled. The boy's classes were invited to come, as well as several other special teachers and staff members. As the ceremony began, the principal had 12 students hand Jason and I pink carnations, which symbolized each year of Ashley's life. I was so touched!! In addition to the carnations, Spencer's teacher had her students stand and recite a beautiful poem. Then the counselor and the principal spoke. I was chosen as the final speaker. Then they let the boys put dirt around both trees. It was a beautiful time for all of us. I couldn't express enough gratitude to the school and staff for such a wonderful memorial to our angel. It was amazing in every way!!!! I know Ashley was pleased today. She smiled down on us all. Her influence continues to touch lives and hearts in numerous ways, even now. What a beautiful soul!! What a little missionary!! What an angel!!!!

The Lord continues to pour blessings on our family. Just this week, Jason was blessed to have a job interview. He stands a great chance of getting a job very soon. We were able to attend the temple. Jason and I have had several special moments together, where the spirit flows between us. We are so close, and it feels so heavenly!! Our boys have been happy and content, and are all doing excellent in school. I have been blessed with several opportunities to serve, that have filled my heart with happiness and contentment. I found out this week I qualified for some awesome financial aid. YEE HAW!! I feel nothing but excitement about school. Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me to attend in the fall. Jason's back has been a little better. He is still uncomfortable, but we will take every bit of improvement we can get. I could go on and on. Who would have thought that such a horrible tragedy would have brought so many blessings into the lives of numerous people? Wow!

I am so thankful for all of my challenges. I am so thankful for the blessings our family has received. I know we are heading in the right direction. The Lord will bless us in our righteous desires. (0: May everyone have a beautiful weekend!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday May 16, 2010

I am not going to write a long entry tonight. But I would be so ungrateful if I didn't write about this day. It was a beautiful Sunday. In sacrament meeting, the primary children presented a beautiful program centered around prayer and how prayer helps us in our lives. The music was spectacular. The speakers were inspired. The spirit was so strong! I came away feeling like I could conquer the world. I can't express how much I love our primary leaders. I include in that not only our presidency, but also the teachers and scout leaders my children are blessed to have. All of these individuals are helping my boys to learn about their Heavenly Father, and His beloved son, Jesus Christ. They are helping them to develop their testimonies. With such valiant, strong examples, my boys could never go astray. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of our lives here in Nampa. This ward we are in is wonderful!! I can't think of anyone whom I don't love and admire. It is going to be so hard to leave. I am so thankful I was in sacrament meeting today. I heard what I needed to hear. I feel prepared and armed for another long week. (0:

Yesterday we were blessed with a visit from Jason's mom. She came for Preston's birthday, which was Friday. She brought Preston an awesome Toy Story slip and slide, as well as oodles of food. And by oodles, I mean oodles: meat, bread, fruit, treats, crackers, cheese.....etc. With Jason not working, the groceries were greatly appreciated. We are going to save a bundle over the next while. What a great, generous gift for our family. (0: I know Heavenly Father is watching out for us. There is no doubt we are blessed. Last week alone, Jason was able to sell some things, which brought a little income for us. And then the groceries from his mom. It was a testimony to me that when we pay our tithing, and we pray, we are blessed in numerous ways. We were blessed yesterday.

Tonight Jason and I sat and talked about our future plans. We really feel good about Brigham City. I want to live there SO BAD. Whenever we visit Brigham, we feel like we are home. There is nothing like that feeling. I found out I can finish up my elementary ed degree on that campus, as well as the psychology minor. I can also pursue a master's degree, on that campus, in school counseling. Initially, I thought I would have to be in Logan to get my masters, but not so. Oh it would be so perfect if we could land in Brigham!! The town is perfect. Not too big and not too small. We would be close to family. They are building a temple there too!! It is perfect!! Of course, our desires are only one thing. The Lord has a plan for our family. We have to trust in Him in all things. I am willing to go where ever the Lord needs us to go. He will direct our path. (It would be nice if that path included Brigham ha ha ha!) I know this with all my heart!! It is going to be a wonderful time for our family: moving on, setting goals and achieving them. I want nothing more than to go where the Lord wants me to be. To do what He needs me to do. To develop my talents and strengths and encourage my husband and sons to do the same.

Isn't the Gospel of Jesus Christ the most amazing thing!!!!!!!! Where would I be without prayer? Where would I be without the Book of Mormon? Where would I be without the temple? Where would I be without so many wonderful people who have been placed in my life? I feel nothing but gratitude for the life I have been given, for every trial, for every heartache, for every pain. I am stronger now than I ever thought I could be. Miracles do happen today. God lives and speaks to his children through His prophet on the earth. Jesus is the Christ. He died for us so we can return to our Father in Heaven someday, to be reunited with our loved ones. I know this is true with every fiber of my being!! May everyone have peace this week!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday May 13, 2010

Tonight my heart is aching terribly! I just finished reading the carepage link of a good friend whose only child was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. Her daughter is only in the fourth grade. The daughter is currently a patient at Primary Children's Hospital where she started her chemotherapy just last night. My goodness that takes me back. It breaks my heart to see such a lovely young girl suffering so greatly, and to watch her parents stand helplessly by, not able to bear her burdens. I can't think of anything worse than watching a child suffer like that. I pray for this wonderful family. I hope their daughter can beat this terrible illness that has overtaken her body. My heart is with them every horrid step of the way.

The past couple of days have been difficult. Monday morning Spencer turned up with the stomach flu. He stayed home, and by Tuesday was feeling better. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling off. By Tuesday night, I knew I was sick too. Poor Jason, who has had trouble with his back for a few weeks now, simply bent over to pick up something off the floor, Tuesday morning, and threw his back out so badly, he couldn't walk. He has spent the past couple of days in horrid pain. We have iced his back, hoping that would offer at least some relief. But not so. Jason also went to the chiropractor, but was hurting so greatly after the adjustment, was unable to get off the table. I wasn't with him at the time, as I had to take Austin to a counseling appointment. I wish I would have been. It was all he could do to get himself home. I am at a loss how to help Jason. I am so worried he has an injury bad enough he may need to see a bone doctor. But no insurance, so of course, he won't go. We aren't exactly in a position to afford a huge hospital bill. It is an extremely frustrating situation. I am worried out of my mind.

I have also been struggling with dizziness this week. There are certain times for me when I feel worse, and this week has been one of those times. I do need to see a doctor. I always dread that because when I go to doctors, they tell me I am fine. No one seems to find anything wrong when I feel sick. Then it becomes a huge waste of time and money. I am so scared I will go and they will tell me I am fine. I can't bear that!! I know I have a problem. I need to get it taken care of before I get into school. I can't live like I am now, always fighting dizziness and feeling off balance. Yuck! Man, the poor Winn family is a mess of complaints at the present time.

On the good side, I received a letter from Utah State just yesterday accepting me as a student for the fall semester. I was thrilled!! I can't wait to begin school. Now we have to apply for financial aid and figure out where in the world we are going to live. I can finish my degree at the Brigham City campus or at the main campus in Logan. I won't be able to register for any classes until we figure out where it is we will officially move. We want to live in Brigham. I would prefer that. Jason would prefer that. But I am not sure finding work and a place to live in Brigham will be as easy to do as it would be in Logan. The unknown is driving me crazy!! I don't like living in limbo. It stresses me out. With Jason injured like he is, I am super worried he will not feel like moving everything. And I know he won't want anyone to help. He may have to swallow his pride for this move. His health is so important!!!! I can't bear to see him hurting like he is now. It is so awful, and I can't do a thing to help him feel better. All the things I have done don't offer any relief. I need him to be at his best. I need to be at my best as well. The stress is not going to get any better.

Yes, I am feeling discouraged tonight. And I miss my little girl!!! Thinking about moving, leaving this house we have lived in for so long, makes me sad. I know it is right to move, but it still hurts. My heart still hurts. I didn't get to go to the temple today, which didn't help. But there wasn't any way I could go. I wasn't feeling the best and Jason was hurt. Austin turned up sick. I needed to be home with Jason and Austin. I used the time to take care of Jason and Austin, to help at the school, and to prepare for Preston's birthday tomorrow. It wasn't a wasted day per se, but I feel so empty tonight. I hope I am up to the challenges that lie ahead for our family. Lots of faith and prayers are needed still!!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday May 9, 2010

I am in a very pondering mood today. I have had so many wonderful experiences over the past while. I know the blessings of heaven are upon our family. I was so worried when we first lost Ashley, how I would fill my time. I felt so lost!! Desperately lost!! I knew what I wanted to do, but wanting and doing are two different things. I jumped in whole heartedly at the school, volunteering as much as possible. Being at the school has been such a delight to my heart. I feel home when I am in the classroom. No doubt about it. (0: I have also been blessed to attend the temple, not once, but four times over the past week. I had forgotten what a blessing the temple is. I won't say how many years I went without attending the temple. I never should have stayed away for so long. There is a spirit in the temple like no other. I come out feeling totally uplifted and full of light. I will never, EVER take the temple for granted again. I know where true strength comes from, and I know where to go to escape the burdens of this world. What a blessing to have a temple so close!!

Last week was difficult for me. I found myself missing Ashley at every turn. I found myself longing to hold her in my arms. Everything reminded me of her. I found myself feeling sad for all the things she won't get to do. I would hear about other girls her age, and things they were participating in. I was deeply saddened for the things I will never get to do with my Ashley. I wanted to sit and cry many many times. I did. On Thursday, when I was in the temple, I was sitting in the celestial room, pondering over the last few months of my life. I thought about Ashley, and how very much I missed her. I thought about the temple, and what blessings the temple has brought to our family. I was overcome with gratitude for my temple marriage. I was overcome with gratitude for my wonderful husband, whom I love with all my heart. I was overcome with gratitude for my sons, who make every day worth living. I was most grateful for the privilege of having Ashley given to us. She will never know how much she gave to Jason and I. She will never know how her life changed our hearts forever. I am not the same person now. I will never be the same again. I have a fire inside that will never be quenched. I have a determination to live better than I have ever lived before. I have strength to fight Satan like I never could before. I feel a new excitement for the future. And it was because of her life, and death, that I am becoming the person I always knew I could be. The person I have wanted to be for several years now, but was not strong enough to become. The most amazing part that day, I felt my angel. I felt her like she was right next to me. I felt her saying, "You see Mom, all the struggles weren't in vain. I understand now, and you should too. My life was part of God's plan. God gave me to you for a reason. Now go forth, and LIVE! Live like you never lived before. I will always be close. Someday we will be together again. I love you and Dad and my brothers forever!!" I did not want to leave the celestial room. I felt if I did, I would lose my connection to her. But I was wrong. When you lose someone you love, you always carry them in your heart. In the temple, we are closer to the veil than ever, and it gives us the opportunity to be so close to our dearly departed ones. You do feel them near. But even after I left the temple, I felt her close. I knew she was still with me, cheering me on. I won't ever forget her. Sometimes, when the memories begin to fade a bit, like the sound of her voice, or the feel of her skin, I get scared I will forget part of her. Then I realize, we were blessed with the opportunity, and time, to make many memories of her. We have pictures and videos galore. A couple of weeks ago, I found some videos she made on the computer in our kitchen. I never knew those videos existed, but what a gift to have them now. They were from a time when the sparkle was still in Ashley's eyes, when you could see her spunk and zest for life. What a blessing to have those treasures! I would not have been able to deal with Ashley's death as well as I have without having all those pictures, videos, and fond memories. They keep her bright in my mind. They help me remember the little things I don't want to ever forget.

And so we keep moving forward. I am so glad for this life I have been given. The grief is ever present, but through our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can face the future with faith, hope, and the knowledge, we are NEVER alone. Because of His atonement, death is not the end. He lives still, and our Ashley will too. She will be resurrected and have a perfect body. We will be a family forever!! All because of Him. He is always there!! ALWAYS! He will bear us up when we think we can't take another step. I know this to be true with all my heart and soul. Because of this faith, we are moving forward to the next stage in our lives, righteous desires in our hearts!! Heavenly Father and Jesus will be with us. And now I know, I am worthy in every way, to hear His voice and to fulfill the purpose of my existence. And I am holding tight to those convictions I hold dear, that someday, with unspeakable joy, we will be reunited as an eternal family, in the beautiful world above, rejoicing together, knowing we have done our part. We have lived well. How I long for that day!!! How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ!!!! It is true!!!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday April 25, 2010

I have lots to write about again. I meant to update the blog several times this week. Unfortunately, Fablehaven was calling my name. Ashley loved that series. I never had the opportunity to read any of the books, but decided to start reading the first one this week. Thus, in my free time at night, insead of writing, I have chosen to read. I find it relaxes me so nicely before I go to sleep. And it makes me feel close to my angel girl. I can see why she enjoyed the books so much.

Well, it is official. Jason quit Idaho Watersports on Thursday. And yes, I support him wholeheartedly in his decision. It took a lot of faith. But Jason has never led us astray before. We have been blessed and guided with every change we have made in our lives. I know we will be blessed in our desires to make changes once again. With Ashley's passing, we are now free to leave Idaho and return to Utah. We need to leave Nampa. There are things that have happened here that need to be left in the past, bad memories that haunt us. We need to leave them behind. We had considered making changes last summer, for that exact reason. But it wasn't the right time. Ashley was very ill. She needed her nurses here. It would have been a nightmare to move at that time. But now, our situation is different. With her passing, our goals have changed. We both feel we need to get back into school to better our family situation. I don't care how long we have to sacrifice. It is 100% worth our time to finish college and earn degrees that will take us to where we want to go. Idaho Watersports is wonderful. But working there, there is no room to advance. Jason would need to work long hours for us to make ends meet. We would have to fight for insurance and retirement. He would never have Saturdays. In the summertime, when the boys are out of school, Jason would have to work long hours, as it is the busiest season for boaters. Every summer since we moved to Nampa has been like that. We don't have family time because of boat demos or whatever else has arisen. Jason doesn't want to be away from the family. There was a time when work was everything. He worked long and hard. We had a good living, but at what cost? Our family started to fall apart. I was very unhappy and always alone. We didn't attend church as a family. We became complacent in our goals and our eternal perspective became distorted. I found happiness in places that were not appropriate. No more! We are NOT going to let anything get in the way of our family, ever again! Our plan is to move to Utah. We are most interested in Logan. I will start school in the fall. I have already applied to Utah State. I will finish up my Elementary Education degree and then, if it is right, (and I am still praying about this one), pursue a degree in school counseling. I will work and then Jason will be free to finish up his degree. He is considering teaching as well. I know he would be a fine teacher. That is our goal. Education. Better jobs. Better future for our stripling warriors. I know our desires are righteous. I know Heavenly Father will bless us as we ponder carefully over our future. We will be guided.

I am also very excited to return to the temple. I am embarassed to say how many years it has been since Jason and I were in the temple together. He has been. I have been. But we have not been together for a very very long time. We need the blessings of the temple to fill our lives. We need be as close to the spirit as we can be, especially as we make all these decisions. In addition, when I am close to the spirit, I feel like I am close to my Ashley. I feel her near, and I love that feeling. I know she will be close when we are in the House of the Lord. Jason and I are planning a trip to the temple next weekend. We will go with my parents and my brother and his wife. It is going to be a joyous day for all of us!!! (0;

So now that all that business is out of the way, I need to share some of the amazing experiences I have had over the past couple of weeks. I have been volunteering like crazy in the school. In fact, I have been at the school at least four days a week, often both morning and afternoon. Thankfully, the teachers have let me come. I needed to know if I still wanted to be a teacher. And I found out, I do. I LOVE children. I love helping them, talking to them, watching them interact together. Children are amazing. I know teaching isn't the most glamourous job in the world. You certainly don't become a teacher for the pay. You do it for the kids, for the love of teaching. And I feel that. I know that is what I am supposed to do now.

Two weeks ago, I was in Austin's classroom. He was having a challenging day, and ended up sitting at the back table with me. When the bell rang for lunch, he asked me if I would take him out to lunch, so we could sit and talk. I am embarassed to say I have never done that before. I took Ashley out to lunch all the time. It was a wonderful time for us to talk and bond. I was thrilled Austin wanted to have some one on one time wtih his mom. We went to McDonald's and got sandwiches. And then sat and talked. It was so fun! I felt such a bond with my Austin son. I was so thankful I was there for him when he needed me. I always want to be there for my boys. I love them so much!

Last week I had another special experience with Austin. The fourth graders had an aluminum can drive to earn money for their Wagons Ho Idaho History day in May. Mr. B asked me if I would take the cans to the the recycling center, which I was happy to do. Austin was able to come with me. We had such a fun time watching the men unload the cans. The kids ended up with 37 pounds of cans which earned them $18.50. Austin was the one who took the receipt to the cashier who in turn gave the money for him to take back to his class. On the way back to the school, we stopped and saw Jason at work. It was a very fun. What a blessing to have time with Austin. I appreciate him now more than ever. He is often a difficult child, as most know, and I haven't been as close to him as I need to be. I am so glad I can focus on him now. What a great kid he is!

Well, time for choir practice! I will write more later!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Special Tribute to Ashley

This special picture was given to our family last week. It was drawn by an artist who wished to remain anonymous, but wanted to give us something special to remember Ashley. I was speechless!! Jason was speechless! What a beautiful tribute to our angel! What talent in capturing her life and her couragious spirit! I wanted to send a special thank you to a very generous individual who is truly an angel!! We love you and we thank you!! Thank you for helping us to heal.

Sunday April 18, 2010

It seems like yesterday it was Valentine's day and I was worrying what to give Jason. Here we are, half way through the month of April. I can't believe how fast time flies. Before too long, it is going to be June and school will be out for the summer.

I took the time a couple of days ago to go back through some of the entries I made in November and December. It brought a whole flood of feelings rushing into my body. At that time, things seemed pretty difficult. It was only a touch of what was to come. I have to say, I was proud of how I survived. It wasn't on my own that I did. I know Heavenly Father carried me through all those dark, painful days. I have no doubt He was there with us, every awful step of the way. And I know He was with Ashley. There is no other way to explain how we all made it through the rain. Today in Relief Society, we had a wonderful lesson on the Holy Ghost. At the end of the lesson, Sis. Stokes invited the sisters to share some of their experiences when the Holy Ghost helped them or guided them. I felt impressed to share some of my experiences, but didn't get the time. I am going to share here. Over the past few months, I have had many experiences where the Holy Ghost brought comfort and strength to my heart. The most prevalent was right after Ashley's death. The months prior, I didn't know how I could let her go. I didn't want her to suffer, but I didn't want to live without her either. My heart broke every time I comtemplated life without her. I knew I couldn't let go without divine intervention. I prayed for the strength to give her back to her eternal Father. Every day since Ashley passed, in one way or another, I have felt the Holy Ghost with me. I have felt comfort in those moments of intense sorrow. I have felt joy in the new path my life is now taking. I have felt incredible gratitude for my amazing husband and boys. I have always loved them, but when the spirit is in my heart, as it has been, my feelings overflow!! I feel bonded to them in ways I never felt before. I feel peace about Ashley. I know she is alright. I know she is deliciously happy. Even though I miss her every second of every day, I have been blessed to let her go. I have been blessed with experiences where I feel her near. I have been blessed with the assurance that as long as we live righteously, she is ours forever. She is cheering us on. She wants us to be with her. I know this. I could not have survived the past month without the gift of the Holy Ghost. I want everyone to know I have a testimony of prayer. I have a testimony of the great gift the Holy Ghost is to us on this earth. His influence truly bears us up and testifies of eternal truths. When we strive to feel his presence every day, he will be with us. He will comfort us. I have so much more to write, but for now, I need to get boys ready for bed.

Thanks again to everyone for everything!! We continue to miss our angel, but we are moving forward with faith.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday April 11, 2010

I have written for so long, I have lots of catching up to do. It was a wonderful week last week. I can't complain one bit. I was busier than I have been in a very long time. Thankfully so. I didn't have much time left over to be consumed by my sadness. There were still moments when my heart ached for Ashley. Those moments will never go away. There will always be an empty space, but it does help to stay busy, helping others. When you think your situation is not very good, all you have to do is put yourself in someone else's shoes for a while and very soon you will discover how very blessed you are. Jason and I have many many blessings to be thankful for. I hope and pray that I will always be properly grateful for all we have been given.

I never look forward to Mondays. Even when I was younger, Mondays were hard. Looking at the start of another week is sometimes frightening, sometimes exciting, sometimes discouraging. I have felt all of those emotions over the past few months. I didn't know what to expect at the first of last week. Sunday was a difficult day for me. I was really missing my angel girl. General conference was very uplifting and inspirational. I was thankful for all of the words spoken, the testimonies born. But at the end of the day, I was feeling pretty empty inside. Thinking can be a bad thing for me. I allowed myself to ponder too much on who I am, on what talents and strengths I have. I came up feeling very inadequate, in every way. I have to fight those feelings. I knew I had to fight them, to dig into my heart and find faith in myself, in what I can add to this world. I spent a lot of time on my knees, pleading with my Father in Heaven for help to beat off the depression and dispair that overtook me. It was a miracle what happened.

On Monday, I had the opportunity to take a meal to my friend. I spend the afternoon with Jason in Boise. We had some lovely family time Monday evening. Monday turned into a good day, despite my hesitation that it would be.

Tuesday I started volunteering in Austin's classroom. I was nervous at first, wondering if I would really be helpful and not wanting to be in the way. When I left, I truly knew in my heart I was helpful. I know first hand, from watching my own parents, who are teachers, how much busy work is involved in the classroom. I was able to help with that, and it felt very good to know I contributed at least a little something to someone's day. (0:

That afternoon, I originally thought I would need to go spend the afternoon with my friend, helping her with her two year old daughter while she rested. She ended up not needing me to come, so I went with Jason to Lucky Peak for a boat demo. I have never been to Lucky Peak before. It was fun to be there, riding on a boat, watching Jason explain the ins and outs of boating. We had a blast. And Jason sold the boat. (0: Another plus! Ha ha ha!

Wednesday morning I was blessed to get to be chapperone for Spencer's fieldtrip to the Nampa Civic Center. It was another bonus that the performance the second graders watched was by the Idaho Dance Theater. That is one thing I am very passionate about: dancing! I grew up dancing and had the opportunity in college to be on the Folk Dance Team at BYU-Idaho. The Idaho Dance theater presented a wonderful show for the kids. I loved the opportunity to be around the other children in Spencer's class. Now I can put faces with names.

When I got back from the performance, Jason and I went to lunch and then I had an appointment for a massage with Sara Hodges. Sara is a wonderful massage therapist. I would recommend her to everyone. I have had so many aches and pains and it helps so much to have the knots worked out. I have never had a massage before, and man, I have really been missing out!! So relaxing!!

Wednesday night was scouts for both boys, and of course, completeing homework. I also took another meal to my friend. By the time I got the boys to bed, I literally crashed. I was so tired. It was an extremely busy day.

Thursday I went back to the school for a few hours to help Austin's teacher. Then it was out to Caldwell for a haircut by the talented Tasha Johns. Then it was home again, to get the boys. Austin had a counseling appointment. Then home again to finish up the meal I took to my friend. Then back home to make dinner for my own troopers. I was beat by the end of the night. I seriously didn't even have time to listen to my meditation music, like I do every day.

Friday was a little quieter. Jason and I went to Boise in the morning. I spent the afternoon cleaning my house and running errands, preparing for the weekend. I couldn't have been more grateful for all of the things Heavenly Father blessed me to be a part of over the week. I felt happy and useful. Most of all, I felt like Ashley was so proud of me. I was given the help I needed to beat the blues and serve those around me. I know that wasn't an accident. I asked for help and the help was given to me.

There are still lots of moments when sadness grips my heart. Life just isn't the same without Ashley here with us. But at the same time, I know we are beginning a new chapter in our lives. We can't look back now. We have to look forward, with heads held high, trusting in our loving Father in Heaven to guide us into the future. I know He will. He will help us, walk with us, lift us when we fall. In the words of one of my favorite songs, "There will be miracles when you believe."

May everyone have a beautiful Sunday filled with peace!! (0:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday April 5, 2010

Just a brief entry tonight. Today has been a much better day. I woke up early this morning and made sure I took the time to study and pray. I can't even describe the strength and peace that I felt flow into my person. It was amazing! From that point on, I felt my a lightness in my heart that I haven't felt for a few days now. I love that feeling. It makes me feel closer to my little girl. I miss her so much, and I want to make her proud. I want her to know I am doing all I can, so one day, I can hold her in my arms again. There are times when my heart just aches to hold her hand, to caress her cheek, or to simply tell her how much I love her. I am richly blessed to have so many wonderful memories to look back on. We had a wonderful mother/daughter relationship that I will treasure forever!!

The other reason today was uplifting for me was that I was blessed with an opportunity to serve. One of my dear visiting teaching sisters had her baby on Saturday afternoon, via C-section, and she came home today. Over the next while, she will need lots of attentive care and help while she recovers from this painful operation. I am now in a position where I can help her. I can be in her home, and I know how to care for the injured. I feel very confident in my ability to do that. (0: I have had 12 years experience. I am not writing about this to boast or to shout to the world what I get to do. Just to simply state what a blessing it is to humbly serve others. There is no greater blessing than taking care of those around us. I am honored to give back what others have so generously given to me. I am confident Heavenly Father will guide me in my desires to be the hands of heaven on earth.

How grateful I am for prayer. How grateful I am for the Book of Mormon, and the spirit that fills my heart when I read and study it. How grateful I am for a charming, wonderful husband who treasures me. I never doubt for one second that he loves me, despite my feelings of inadequacy. He took the time last night to hold me, to cuddle me, to reassure me that I was important. That I would find my place again. That my heartache would subside with time. I love him so!!!

I wish everyone a wonderful evening.