Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Heartfelt Apology

Well, I did it again! I royally screwed up! I deeply offended some of my dear family members. What breaks my heart is that I didn't even realize I hurt my family. It was an honest to goodness mistake! I didn't even realize what I had done until my sweet husband brought it to my attention this afternoon. It ruined my day! I feel AWFUL!! I havne't stopped crying since. You see, I am trying so hard to be the best person I can be. I have had so many wonderful spiritual experiences over the past couple of weeks. My heart has been overflowing with happiness and peace. I have felt an overwhelming desire to right every wrong in my life, and to recommit myself to the gospel. Then came this blow today. Amongst all the good efforts I have made, I still brought sadness to someone I love very much. I hope my dear family will know how sorry I am. I will do ALL in my power to right the wrong. I hope in time, they will forgive me. I am human, and I make mistakes. I think this is one of the biggest I have made in a long time. I hope it won't scar my relationship with my family in the future. They are such an important part of our lives!!!!

In a former blog post, I sent out a huge thank you to all of the Christmas elves who made our Christmas special this year. When I did that, I failed to mention some very important family members who contributed more than everyone else to our family this year. This isn't the first time they have helped us out. There have been numerous times they have come to our rescue. They have sacrificed precious time to come and visit our family, even though the drive was far and the sacrifice was great. They helped us move. When we moved to Logan, it was my father-in-law and brother-in-law who drove all the way from Evanston to help us make the move. It was NOT an easy venture. They worked all night long, and then had to return home the next morning for work. When Ashley was the sickest, these wonderful family members drove hundreds of miles to be by her side. I need to mention these special family members are my in-laws. I feel bad I haven't mentioned their great sacrifices before. You have to know, Ashley had an extra special love for her grandfather. She was his princess, and she always knew it. Whenever he came to see the grandkids, he always came bearing the most fun gifts. From candy to stuffed animals to remote control cars, he has been such a loving and Christ-like grandfather to all of our kids. He was always at the hospital each time Ashley had to stay. When he came to her room, he never-fail came bearing the most elaborate gifts for her. I still remember the time he gave her a giant purple care-bear. She treasured that great big bear! It was a favorite toy for a very long time. He also brought her a great big horse. There have been coloring activities, paints, books, pictures, movies, etc. I can't begin to name all of the things he gave to our angel. There was a special bond between them. I know when she passed on, she was sad to leave her grandfather.

This Christmas, my father-in-law again came to our rescue. I think he bought out the toy department at numerous stores. The boys were spoiled rotten. It wasn't just the boys who were spoiled. I also received some wonderful gifts. In addition to all the presents, my father made sure we had several hundred dollars in our pocket. He made sure we knew there was more of that if we needed it. I was so touched, as was Jason!!! I honestly NEVER ever meant to forget to mention my father. He is such a good man. There are so many stories of his selfless service given to those in need. He once shared with us a story about a lady who sold fruit at a stand in Evanston one summer. She wasn't selling much, and seeing her great need, he made sure he stopped by her stand and bought tons of boxes of fruit from her. She was so grateful!! I know he made her summer.

Another time, my father, knowing how much I love whippets, worked for a lady all summer long so he could purchase a whippet statue from her. He traded work for the statue, and it was not easy work. He then drove to Nampa to give it to me. My father is a wonderful man, and we love him so very much. I know Ashley loves him too. Every chance she gets, I know she sends hugs to him. I know she would want him to know how much we appreciate all the gifts, money, and time he has sacrificed so our family would know we are loved!!!! Thanks to my dear father in law, his wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Geni and Nick, who are also guardian angels to our family. We love you so much! I hope you always know how much we treasure your love and friendship!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Own Christmas Miracle

I miss my little girl. It has been almost two years now since she left this life for the next. You would think time heals all wounds. Pain fades with time, but it never leaves your heart. When you love someone so much, and they die, there is a huge hole that remains. It doesn't go away. You never know when that hole will begin to hurt. You never know when the pain will wash over you. It might be a song on the radio. It might be a toy in a toy store. It might be a song in church. When it comes, it hurts so much! For the longest time, I felt it was a sign of weakness to be sad, to show my emotions. I felt I was weak because I was depressed. But you know what? I have learned it is okay to cry. I am NOT weak because I get sad. I am not weak because I struggle with depression. These are normal ways of dealing with grief. It is all part of the healing process. I didn't understand that. I once had a lady tell me about her friend, who had lost a child to cancer. This lady said how her friend was always so happy and cheerful. She didn't cry. She carried on with a big grin on her face every day. I immediately went home and felt like the worst person in the world. I wondered if I was being a baby because I wasn't smiling all the time. I wondered if I lacked faith because I felt depressed. I wondered if I was silly for watering my pillow at night with my tears. This Christmas, I learned so much about faith, hope, and grief. It all began shortly before Christmas. I received a package in the mail from my wonderful aunt. She sent me two books: "The Christmas Box" and "The Christmas Box Miracle". I read the Christmas Box years and years ago. I didn't even remember the story. I decided to read The Christmas Box Miracle first. I devoured it in two days. Each time I opened the book, I felt the spirit fill my heart. I felt peace and I felt comfort. It was a reminder to me of how very much our Heavenly Father is mindful of all who have lost children in this world. The story of the Christmas Box was a gift given to Richard Paul Evans to bring comfort to grieving hearts around the world. I know this to be true. It was crazy, but as I read of the wonderful experiences Richard Evans had as he promoted his book, and letters he has received since, I felt a connection to those people. For the first time in a long time, I felt understood. I was overcome with a desire to visit one of his special angel statues. I felt by doing so, I would find another place where I could truly grieve and heal my broken heart.

Now for the true miracle of this Christmas. I told Jason I didn't need anything for Christmas. He was determined to get me a little something. He said he had gone to the Hallmark store to look for something uplifting for me. He found a special statue of a couple which he really liked. As he continued to browse the store, he stumbled across an angel statue. He said he was so taken with the statue, he looked at it several times. In the end, he decided, in honor of our December 22 anniversary, to get me the couple statue. When he went to the counter to check out, the lady went to the back to get item he requested. When she returned to the front, she opened the box to make sure it was the right statue. Inside the box, instead of the statue, was the angel!!! The lady couldn't explain it. But Jason knew. I needed that angel statue. He bought it for me. When I opened it on Christmas day, I was overcome with emotion. It was like Ashley came and gave me a huge bear hug!!! I felt her near, and that feeling did not leave me the entire day. I didn't need to go to Richard Paul Evan's angel shrine. I had one of my own. It was the best gift I could have ever received. (0: I knew it was my own special Christmas miracle. Ashley wanted us to know she was near. What a wonderful blessing!!!!

December 29, 2011

I can't believe it is almost 2012! My how time flies! The past couple of weeks have been wonderful! I am so proud to say my hard work paid off last semester. Once again, through the miraclous power of the Holy Ghost, I passed all my classes with A's. I could not have done it alone, especially Stats. I can't describe the feeling when I finished my last final. I felt like a 200 pound rock had been lifted off my body. It was great! In addition to that, the bishop told me I was going to be released as Cubmaster. That too lifted a tremendous burden off of my person. I enjoy the calling, but it has not been easy for me. I am glad to pass it along to the next person.

As I mentioned before, Christmas is hard for me. Jason and I were so stressed this year. Our financial situation has not been great. We are plugging along, barely surviving paycheck to paycheck. Honestly, we did not know how we would have any money for Christmas. Our savings was depleted. We don't have anything of value to sell. Jason is a gifted salesman. He could sell a pound of dirt if he wanted to. (0: However, you can't sell what you don't have. We sat our kids down and told them there wouldn't be much this year. They all agreed that was alright. We talked quite a bit about all the good things we do have. There are so many! I was so grateful my children were able to see them as well.

The closer we got to Christmas, the more blessings came our way. It all began with a knock on our door one afternoon. It was our bishop. He had been given money anonimously, to give to a family in the ward. He felt the money should be given to us. I was speechless. In addition, the same day, my younger siblings put their money together and sent Jason and I money for Christmas. Two nights after that, our doorbell rang about 9:30 p.m. We discovered an envelope with money taped to our door. In addition, there were three gifts for the boys. The next morning, our doorbell rang again. There stood a woman we did not know. She filled our porch with groceries and left two sacks full of presents for the boys. The only thing she said was that it was from someone who loved us. That night, our doorbell rang again. By this time, we were scared to open the door. (0: Another envelope full of money was taped to the door. All I could do was cry! Because of the generosity of others, our family had a wonderful, simple Christmas. Our fridge and freezer are currently stocked with food. We were able to put a little money back into savings. It was our own special miracle! I knew Heavenly Father was mindful of our little family. We weren't insignificant. We were important. The windows of heaven were opened and the blessings were poured on our family. I don't know who the special elves were who reached out to us. Even if we knew, how can you ever thank someone for such generosity? You can't. We will forever be in their debt. It was a lift we needed. It was a lift I needed. Miracles do happen today. In those moments when we need a lift, if we reach out to our Father in Heaven, He will answer our prayers. He will send his angels to attend to our needs. The angels came. And we were blessed.