Friday, April 30, 2010


When my husband was ill and we were planning treatment, we met one day with the Radiologist. They took us into a room that had a row of 'beds'. We assumed our position in the area assigned to us and waited for the doctor. As we sat there, we were looking around - and directly next to us was a little boy about 4 or 5 years old. He had lost his hair due to the chemo and looked very ill. Chris talked to him about what was wrong with him, etc and made some chit chat.

As we left the hospital that day, I walked out with a lump in my throat as I held my husband's hand. It was horrible to watch my husband in pain. It was even more horrible to consider that he may not 'get better'. But as bad as things were - I could not imagine it being my child that was ill. We both uttered those feelings as we drove home and we kissed and hugged our three healthy children as we arrived home that day. We were blessed and we were grateful that if there was to be pain in our home that it didn't have to be our children's pain.

I have a couple friends with sick children. I can not imagine the emotional turmoil that it must take as a mother - unable to take that pain away. My one friend's son is battling cancer and as I read her daily blogs regarding their trial... my heart is filled with such compassion - and I remember that my life is good. I also pray that she will feel, as we did, the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost. That they may, through the atonement, have some of their pain and sorrow taken away. That they may feel their Savior's love. Those things allowed me to press forward with steadfastness every day. I pray it will sustain them as well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


To illustrate for you how my lack of being able to be everywhere I need to be when I need to be there has worked... I will share one experience.

Last year my youngest son wanted to participate in an after school club. Again, my lack of socializing and actually KNOWING the other mothers takes its toll in moments like this. I don't know anyone that I can ask to bring him home who may also happen to be there picking up their child. Isn't that pathetic? Really it is.. I know. I figured it was only a couple times a week for about six weeks. I talked to my boss about the possibility of just skipping lunch on those days and running out later in the day to pick my son up from school. My boss was fine with this. It worked out fine the first few times I went to pick him up. Then one day I was particularly busy at work. I had not even given one thought to the fact that is was a Tuesday, which meant I should be picking my son up at the school. About 30 minutes after the designated time for me to pick him up - I heard my cell phone ringing - but didn't even bother to check it as I WAS at work and WAS very busy. So I continued working. Another 30 minutes later my phone rang again. This time I glanced at the caller id and regretfully recognized the number as coming from the school campus. Immediately my whole body panicked as I realized in an instant that it was TUESDAY! AND it was over an hour PAST the time I should have picked my son up. I answered apologetically. The principal was quite kind. I ran to my car and drove as quickly as legally (kinda) possible to the school.

I parked on the curb and ran in the building. As I walked in, I fully expected my son to be annoyed, upset, frightened... some sort of unpleasant emotion. But he was fine. Seemed completely unaware of the fact that his mother had left him there past the normal time and that the principal and he were the only people left in the building. The principal walked out with us and I profusely apologized.

We got in the car and I asked my son about his experience. Was he worried, what did the principal say, etc. He blankly stated, "The principal told me that I should call you. I told him you were probably in a meeting and you'd come get me when you were done"

My sweet precious little boy. Despite his mother's craziness... still has confidence in me (I didn't dare tell him the truth).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


One of the hardest aspects of single parenting multiple children... is when you have to be more than one place at a time.I am one person. I can only be one place. Usually it takes a lot of juggling and I wish that I had more time to socialize even just for the aspect of making friends with parents of other children so I could engage in carpooling... but somehow - it just doesn't seem to work. I rarely have the opportunity to socialize with my current friends... let alone make new ones. I am usually just trying to be two places at one time and my children have learned that mom is just late... often.

My son has a birthday party on Friday that he has been invited to. He doesn't get invited to too many birthday parties that fall on dates and times that he can ACTUALLY go.. but a Friday night is perfect. The party was originally scheduled for Sunday - which would not have worked - but Friday - so much better... EXCEPT for the fact that I just bought tickets to go see Jersey Boys. You see... I purchased the tickets around 5pm, only to have my son hand me the revised invitation stating the new date at 8pm. I really want him to be able to go to this party. He really needs to have some social interaction with boys his age (in our circle of friends he is always with boys older or younger).

But I really want to go see Jersey Boys. I asked who all was invited.. on the off chance I would know one of them. I don't.

Did I mention I really want to go see Jersey Boys?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


My youngest son, Kyle, asked me the other day why on TV it is always the moms that die - but his dad died.

Because I am just this way... I responded by questioning him... "Are you saying you wish your mom would have died instead of your dad?"


I am going to try not to take that personally. Who has a better response?

Monday, April 26, 2010


The area that I live in looks a little bit like this in the winter. So, to add to my list of "to-do's" that widowhood has left as all mine... There is the shoveling. Who has time for all of this?

On occasion I have persuaded the children to do the shoveling.. and sometimes they have even done it without being persuaded. But, as the winter drags on, they become less interested and I certainly don't have more time.

I found a solution.
A 4x4 vehicle goes through the snow quite well. And once you have gone over the snow a few times... it becomes nicely packed and driving in and out is less of a problem. Except, as anyone who lives in snow country can tell you, at the base of the driveway. That is where all the snow and gunk from the road gets dumped by the snowplows that come through. The snow there is thick and heavy. Difficult to shovel... let alone to drive through.
I was determined... and I found a way. The key: no fear... drive fast. Excellent - one less thing on my 'to-do' list.
I think my neighbors found my lack of shoveling peculiar. One day after we had quite the snow fall I was outside with the shovel. My intent was to shovel in front of the mailbox so the mailman would not bypass me (as he does if he feels there is too much snow...seriously... its annoying). My neighbor saw me and inquired if I needed help with my driveway. In my mind I questioned if that was a serious offer or more of a hint that I should actually REMOVE the snow off my driveway. I quickly informed him I was just shoveling around the mailbox... the driveway... well, I don't shovel that. That is why I have 4 wheel drive.
I have also been blessed with a snow plow fairy. He probably would not appreciate my calling him a fairy. But, somehow I never see him come - I just see the results of him having been there. It is a good thing too... as last year I switched from 4x4 to AWD. I never understood the difference... but now I know the difference. Thanks to my snow plow fairy it has not been a burden. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


A couple years ago I had the opportunity to have our family photos taken by a professional, who also happens to be a friend. I was so thrilled with how well they came out. The family photo was great and each of the children had individual photos that really captured them. It was really great to have a nice photo that I could display of our "current" family (i.e. minus Chris) that I was happy to look at.

Last summer when she was in town I decided to have another photo session and get an updated photo. It is amazing how much the kids grow and change in one year. I was so excited to get the photos back. Aften was very fast with the turn around and I had them back within a week! She gives me a CD version and print versions. I took the CD and popped it in my computer. The photos, once again, were great! Except for one thing. I looked awful! Really. Now, I know it may not be natural to view a photos at 400% zoom - but how is it possible that I look that much worse in just one year. My eyes were horrible. I started crying. I am not an overly emotional person... but I just sat there looking at myself wondering how I let myself fall apart in one year. I looked terrible.

Admittedly, it was not as noticeable until you zoomed in on my eyes... but nonetheless... it was there. Pictures don't lie. Take a look at yesterday's post... Hello!!! What is going on? Not only was my life spinning out of control... but it was starting to wear on me. I am certain people have whispered about me behind my back "Look at her... You can see the stress is getting to her. She looks awful." I am sure it has been said... and possibly not even said that nicely.

Crying... I just sat there crying. And I vowed to take better care of me this year.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I have heard people comment before about the sad eyes of those who have endured a loss. I think I can see sadness in my eyes... but then I believe that sadness turned to tiredness. What do you think? Below are three pictures of my eyes. One is from before my husband was sick. One is from the day of his funeral. And the other is from this winter.

Can you guess which is which? Can you see sadness in my eyes?

Tired, Sad, or Happy?

Friday, April 23, 2010


Let’s take a poll. How many woman out there (widowed or not) when they’re driving along and their car starts to make a funny noise, so they pull over – only to discover a flat tire – think ‘no problem’? Then you quickly start the process of changing a tire.

How many of you? OK, yes, I know there are plenty of women who are schooled in this – and are perfectly capable. But, do you really WANT to do it? Yes, I am sure there are those of you out there that would even want to – and enjoy it.

We have discussed this before….. I am not cut out for being a widow. This is one of many things I just don’t like to deal with. Don’t get me wrong. I really am not afraid of breaking a nail or getting dirty. I just don’t like the hassle… or the pressure of having to do something right. ‘Cause think of it. If you don’t put the tire on tightly enough… that is just all bad! Too much pressure. Not to mention even just trying to get the tire off. I have inherited WEAK upper body strength. Can’t do it.

AAA was on the list of first things to get after my husband passed. I never worried about that type of thing before – because no matter where I was… I would make a phone call and wait – and my husband would be along to take care of me. Now, I am a proud Premiere member of AAA. I certainly get my money’s worth out of my membership. Aside from having a great AAA lady to help me every time I go to travel (shameless plug for Debbie – if you want to be set up with someone great – let me know… I love her), I also have this handy dandy card that I pull out anytime I have car trouble.

Let me illustrate for you the benefits….

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am in the car driving to church about 45 minutes from our home with two kids and a dog (why the dog was with us is another story). It is about 9am. I am dressed in heels and a suit. Church is scheduled to begin at 10am and I am on the program to speak. I hear a strange noise and feel the car driving differently. I pull over on the side of the road. I have, of course, taken the back roads to where I was headed… not a soul in sight. I pull out my AAA card, dial the number and request the assistance of changing a flat tire. They inquire as to where I am… thank goodness for GPS – I provide the address.

I make a phone call to the church to let them know I will be late. They assure me it will be no problem – as I am scheduled later in the service. We pull out the movie Black Beauty pop it in the DVD player and begin watching it.

Some time later I see a AAA van pulling up behind me. I couldn’t tell you how long it was – because quite frankly I was perfectly content sitting in the car with my kids watching a movie with them. No stress. No big deal. Within 15 minutes (not kidding) of the AAA guy’s arrival my tire is changed and I am back on the road.

I arrived at church right before the intermediate hymn. During the hymn I walk up and assume my position on the stand. Immediately after the hymn they announce I will be speaking.

I have no dirt on me. My hands are clean. I don’t have a broken heel on my shoe or even a broken nail. My hair looks almost as good as it did when I left and I don’t even have a run in my nylons. I don’t feel the least bit stressed, because quite honestly it was a bit relaxing!

Yes, with some things I have learned to be proactive!

Lesson Manual: How to be a widow:
7. Think of everything you hate to do and sign up for any memberships that will get you out of doing it! i.e. AAA = no changing flat tires, no worries if you run out of gas, and someone else can come jump your battery!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I finally decided to finish some of the planned projects I had a year ago before I decided I was going to move. One of those projects was the bathroom by my daughter's bedroom. I headed to Home Depot last night right after work to 'color match' a piece that was in the bathroom for an accent color. I arrived in the paint area and there was a man at the counter in front of me. He was just waiting for his paint to mix, so he stepped aside so I could be waited on.

They matched the color I brought in and I assumed the waiting position as well. The man next to me... who I will say was a very good looking man.... started to talk to me about paint colors and the conversation evolved into what he was currently working on, and the fact he would be spending his evening painting the same wall for the fourth time in order to try and get the color correct. We continued on about household projects when he presented me with the following offer: "If you come to my house and paint my wall, I will come to your house and watch you paint". It was a tremendous offer. Such benefits... for him. So, I thanked him for the generous offer and asked that he clarify what the up side was for me. "Would you entertain me while I worked? Sing? Dance?" He revealed his ability to dance and inability to sing, and spoke of his ability to be a conversationalist and in times of great need, his ability to even listen if he had to. He mentioned he even knew how to cook. He got me there. Excellent, so if I paint, you will cook me dinner. No. He said he 'could' not would'. I was still intrigued so asked what he 'could' cook if he 'would'. Salmon? No, I don't do seafood. Steak? Yes, steak would work. I asked what else he had. He mentioned his taking a massage class in college, then quickly withdrew and mentioned that may be too much information for someone he has just met.

About this time the Home Depot worker looked up from his work and inquired if he was sensing a romance brewing here. The man's face turned a color somewhere in between the color he was getting and the color I was getting, then acknowledged that now it was just plain awkward. To which I replied that this is the best relationship I'd ever had. No drama, no false expectations. He continued my list agreeing, no 'where's my engagement ring'. About this time his paint was done mixing and was ready to go. He grabbed his paint and was off. I coyly looked at the Home Depot guy and said, "I just had a relationship with a man, and I didn't even know his name."

The man overheard my statement, made an 180 degree turn and returned to introduce himself. Mike.

(Just to eliminate the need for any questions about our next encounter... let me just clarify.... I am not so smooth in these situations. His first name is all I got. No number. No last name. This was sadly the end of our relationship... not the beginning)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I was out shopping this past weekend, spending some girl time with my daughter and a girlfriend. I was standing in line to check out and my daughter came up to me to show me this cool gadget she had found and to begin the petition for me to purchase the item. I looked at it and smiled...
"No way - but too bad cause if your dad was here that is just the kind of contraption he would purchase for you."

My daughter gave a half smile and went back towards where she had gotten the item from. I continued waiting in line. A minute later my daughter returned.

"Mom, I talked to dad. He said I could have it, but you will have to pay for it."

Cute. Nice try.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have told you before about some of the changes I made after Chris' death. Due to my bad experience with the garbage when Chris was ill, I was quick to make some changes to how my garbage was disposed of.

This was not an immediate change - and I did OK for the first few months.

By OK I mean that on the multiple mornings I would hit the snooze and not be up in time to take the garbage out to the curb before they came to pick it up, there were no additional incidents. I do believe my cold location was a definite benefit. I was able to store up a few weeks of garbage without any odor or mishaps.

When I moved, I knew I had to do something different with my garbage. Early Tuesday morning was not working for me - and I didn't have any men showing up at my doorstop volunteering to assume the chore of taking the garbage out. I had a friend with an apartment complex that had an on-site dumpster... and he was kind enough to allow me to use it.

This was the perfect solution. Aside from the few downsides, such as having to throw the bags in the back of my car and people looking at my strangely, truly not understanding why I would take my garbage somewhere when there were these things called Garbage Trucks that come and pick it up at your house. They didn't understand the inconvenience of having to be so structured. I am not a very structured person in some areas. So, to be told the exact date and time for my garbage to be on the curb...I found it highly inconvenient. It has been great! No early mornings... complete flexibility. Isn't it funny how little things seem to simplify your life tremendously?

The only hitch in my whole garbage plan is when the tenants call the landlord (my friend) and report the crazy lady throwing garbage in his dumpster! My friend always thanks them for their watchful eye and promises to take care of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It has been a few months of me writing here... you have gotten a sampling of my crazy life. Maybe I am not the typical widow - as not all will have to deal with dead cats in their attics, maggots on their back patio and the police on their doorstep. It could be said with honesty that some of my trials come... well... cause I am just plain crazy and scatterbrained!

But, you see... it IS because I am widowed that every day my life is crazy... because once upon a time there was someone who kept me balanced and sane.

Let me give you a quick sampling of my "regular" life.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

6:30am - The alarm goes off and I hit snooze even though I don't have time today.
6:40am - The alarm goes off again. I hit snooze and put in my eye drops.
6:50am - The alarm goes off again. I am 20 min late. Crud.
I wake the children and put the dog outside. Hurrying up to get ready and we now are running late.
7:45am - We leave the house. We are late.

We drove to a friend's house - where we carpooled together to attend church about 1.5 hrs. away. Had a great day and enjoyed seeing friends I had not seen in several months since we were there last.

Immediately after church is over the kids take the keys and head for the car. I talked for an hour to various people, enjoying the quiet and lack of pestering from the children.

1:30pm -I get in the car to head home. But we weren't going anywhere as apparently the children had the car battery on so they could watch videos in the car. My battery is dead. We find someone to help us - get a jump and we are on our way home.

3:00pm - We arrive home.... and there is no dog. Yes, the dog I just told you is a new member of the family is missing. How can he be missing??

A few minutes later the neighbor calls and tells me someone from a street over was looking for me as they think they have my dog. Yes, they DID... but now Ace is in the pound. I make a few phone calls... wait for return calls...he is stuck there until Monday.

Debates ensue regarding how the dog ended up missing... and how he got out of the house. No resolution.

It is now late... we were supposed to stop at a friend's baby's birthday party. No time now, hopefully they will understand.

3:45pm - I get the frozen Stouffers Lasagna out of the freezer. Company should be here in an hour and fifteen minutes for dinner. Guess I should have checked the cooking time earlier. 1hr. 40min to cook. I guess dinner will be late.

5:30pm - I check the lasagna. I suppose I should have read the directions beyond the cooking time. You are supposed the "tent" the foil on the top... and then remove it at the end (not to mention they suggest putting it on a cookie sheet). Now the lasagna needs to cook even LONGER.

6:00pm - Decided to make cookies. Pull the first batch out of the oven, open the bottom drawer of stove to get the cooling rack. It falls down behind the drawer. I try to reach it. I burn my wrist. I don't stop trying until I am burned in three places. Now the drawer is stuck open until the oven cools and I can get the cooling rack without getting burned.

6:10pm - I take the cookies off the baking sheet with a spatula. The first one breaks and lands on my sock. Melted chocolate all over my sock. I clean it up (as best as you can clean melted chocolate off a white sock). I get the next cookie. My other sock gets caught on the drawer that is still open. Ripped a hole in my sock.

6:25pm - Second batch of cookies are burned. Oops.

6:45pm - Let's do something easy like watch a movie.

7:00pm - Yikes... these cookies are so burned it is hard to call them cookies any longer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


My thought for this Sabbath is to reflect on the Atonement. At Chris' funeral my brother-in-law sang the song . “There is a Green Hill Far Away"

There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us

He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n and let us in.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.

I haven't attended a lot of funerals in my life - but I don't know that a song on the atonement is typical. But when we think about the atonement... and what it does for us.. it is powerfully appropriate.

Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy, speaking of the atonement, said:

"The power of Christ is not limited to payment for our sins. Through that power, He also took upon Himself the pains and sicknesses of His people, and He took upon Himself every negative consequence of a fallen world. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Since not all human sorrow and pain is connected to sin, the full intensiveness of the Atonement involved [Christ’s] bearing our pains, infirmities, and sicknesses, as well as our sins.”

Serious illnesses, family tragedies, and emotional struggles do not happen necessarily because we have sinned. Adversity and heartbreak happen to good people; such is the fruit of a fallen world. But having experienced tragedy, sickness, and disappointment in His own life, the Savior knows how to strengthen us in such trials as well. He is there not only when we cry out from the burden of sin but also when we cry out for any other reason.

The power of the Atonement also covers the consequences of sin in the lives of innocent people. We pay no eternal price for things over which we have no control, including harm done to us by others. The Atonement can heal us. The only thing for which we pay a spiritual price is misuse of our own agency, and for that the Savior has given us the Atonement.

Sometimes we think of the power of the Atonement as something that works after this life, as though it were something that applied only at the Judgment Day. But that is not true doctrine. The redeeming power of Jesus Christ works during our lives, day by day, moment by moment, as He gives us strength to overcome, as He forgives us of sin, and as He brings us, through the Holy Ghost, comfort, peace, and joy.

My prayer and hope is that we will discover the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, that we will understand that the Atonement is not something abstract. Christ literally overcame the world and stands as our friend, a Prince who has lived among us and knows how to make us strong."

Saturday, April 17, 2010


After my husband passed and the funeral was over, the next step of picking a gravestone came. I went to the shop and talked to them about options, materials, sizes, etc. I had taken my oldest son with me. I hoped this would be a healthy step for him to have some input into what the gravestone would look like. I picked the color, size and material and turned the rest over to him.

Had I designed the stone, I am certain I would have put something religious - a testimony of our Savior and of His plan of happiness for us. But, I let go.. and let my son have complete creative rights.

He chose to let the stone show the memory of what he loved doing with his dad. The stone was designed to show a man fishing on a boat. Beside him were two boys, one taller than the other. With a little girl at the helm. The man in the etching had hold of a huge fish with his fishing line.

As I looked approvingly at the picture, I coyly asked my son where I was. He quickly responded that I was down below the boat's deck taking a nap~!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Last year, after my oldest son had gone to live with my brother-in-law, and we were in the process of 'repairing his wrath' around the home... my kids started to pester me constantly about getting a dog. I heard about it every day.

A conversation would go like this:
**mom at work, receives a call from the children**
"Hi Mom"
"Hi Sweetie"
"So, what time are you going to be home"
"I shouldn't be too late tonight"
"OK, I'll see you later"
"Bye sweetie"
"Bye" *** "Wait, Mom?"
"I want a dog"

"I want a dog" was the ending to almost every conversation. Let me clarify that I don't dislike animals... I just don't want to have any of my own to care for. Really, do you think I have time for one more thing? But, the children were insistent. And I would come home after work to a house that was once filled with the anger and chaos of my oldest child to a home that felt empty. That was silent.

I started to keep my ears and eyes open for a small dog. Maybe. Just maybe. But, there was no way I was going to go to the pet store and pay hundreds of dollars for a dog.

I was walking with my girlfriend one evening and she mentioned there was a lady at her work that had puppy that was considering giving it away. It was a complicated situation - but it was a pure breed miniature schnauzer. I didn't know what that was - but it was a miniature - so that sounded good. I told her to let me know, I might be interested.

As it turned out her friend was interested in giving the puppy away to a good home. Unsure that "a good home" described us, I asked if we could "dog-sit" for a week. I was at their home a couple days later to get "Ace". He fit in. He was crazy and wild. He brought the life, that my oldest son's departure had taken, back into the house. He would run around and never stop. He greeted the children with jumps and kisses the minute they walked in the door. The minute that their mom should have been there to do it... but since I was at work - call me crazy but there was something comforting about knowing my kids were being greeted with excitement.

At the end of the week I was watching the kids play with him... and I just knew. I knew I wasn't giving him back. He was as crazy and wild as the rest of us and he belonged right here with us.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy said, "“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”

Think about that. Do you have something that is precious to you? A family heirloom, a set of china or silver, something you collect, or worked hard to save to obtain? How do you treat that? How do you treat your spouse?

As the saying goes... you don't know what you got, 'till its gone... I would not agree completely with that, as I knew what I had. But I do wonder if I treated it as carefully as I should have. I know when I look around me or listen to people talking about their spouses, it is too often that I cringe. Too often that I want to say... "What would you do if they were taken from you tomorrow? Would you regret the words you speak?"

If you think back to the day you got married, how did you feel about that person standing beside you? If through the regular trials that come in time, you have in any way grown more distant, rather than closer... I want you to know that you have lost your perspective. You have something that could be wonderful right before you - but are you choosing to make it wonderful or are you choosing to let it go the way of the wind?

I was with a couple friends on Sunday, both of whom are divorced. Both of whom miss the companionship and have a desire to be married. Marriage is good. We can make it great, so why do so many people take advantage of the gift that they have and choose to be selfish? Choose to think more of their own happiness, than the happiness of their spouse. Don't they understand that by seeking another's happiness, they will find their own and will find joy in their marriage?

A wise friend once told me the secret to a strong marriage is to BRAG.

B - Believe that it will last. Don't think like the world.. that divorce is always an option. Believe in marriage.
R - Respect. Show respect always. Never speak negative about your spouse
A - Affection. Always... hold hands, touch each other tenderly
G - Gratitude. Be grateful for what they do. Even if at first you have to look hard for something - find those things and let them know you are grateful. More will come in time.

Chris loved me. Truly cared about me and desired for me to develop my talents and pursue my interests. It was often not convenient for him, in fact often inconvenient – but he was always willing to find a way. He made sure my needs were taken care of and thought about what those needs were before I ever voiced them. He believed in me, and he inspired me to know more and be stronger.

As a widow, I miss my marriage. I miss the physical and emotional support my husband was to me. And this is IN ADDITION to missing the man. I guess for me the way I try to make up for this is to try and provide opportunities for others to "go out" to have regular "date nights". Call me... I will babysit. Drop the kids off. It really does bring me joy to know I may be helping another couple fall more in love. That another couple is having the opportunity to enjoy each other. Time is precious. Don't waste it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The angel of death with a sudden blow
In the season of youth has laid him low
In a time when the heart’s warm springs were rife
With the hopes and the prospects of future life.

He was well belov’d by the wise and good
For his heart was noble – his mind imbued
With the principles of truth and light –
In the ways of Wisdom he took delight.

For the Gospel’s sake he had left behind
The friends that around his heart entwin’d
His soul was inspir’d with the noblest love
He pursued the course which the heav’ns approve.

With the saints of God he was truly blest
And with them he had found a place of rest;
And then from the hand of oppression free
He sung the sweet echo of Liberty.

With a friendship true and a love sincere
To the youthful circle he still is dear;
And the mirror of mem’ry long will hold
His impression there in its native mould.

But there is one whose affectionate heart
More acutely than others feels the smart
A fair maiden mourns in her loveliness
O’er his loss whom she felt her life would bless.

Yet the morn of the resurrection is near
When in greater perfection he’ll reappear;
Yes Franklin and Mary Jane will meet
When happiness will be more complete.

Now his form is laid in the grave to rest;
While his spirit returns to the home of the blest
And from thence to the spirits in prison sent
With salvation’s tidings as Jesus went.

Therefore dry your tears and weep no more
For with him the toils of this life is o’er
In the regeneration he will come
Cloth’d with glory, pow’r and immortal bloom.

composed 6 February 1848

(Eliza R. Snow – The Complete Poetry; BYU Press © 2009; pp 374-376.)

Thank you to a friend for sending me this!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


While my husband was ill, there were many things that his health had once afforded him to do, that he could no longer do. In those moments, I was happy to step up and do whatever needed to be done. Although, I will say, my lack of fear could be compared to my lack of restraining myself from singing - I may have been willing to do it, but that did not equate my ability to do it well.

As spring time arrived we needed to till the flower gardens to get them ready for planting. Physically my husband was very weak at that time - so I willfully volunteered to run the rototiller under his direction.

He prepped the rototiller - to ensure the gas and oil were all set. I wheeled it out to where I would be working... got it started and looked to him for instructions on how to make it go. He gave me simple and concise instructions. I followed them and the rototiller started lunging forward. I started screaming, very uncomfortable with how quickly it was moving. I was screaming for it to stop. Repeatedly, over and over I kept screaming, "make it stop!" But I was trying too hard to keep a hold of the thing to think clearly enough to just let go... of the gas.

My husband began to yell for me to let go of the gas as he was beginning to have visions of our neighbor's lawn being tilled... By this point I had made it across the yard and was on our driveway - where my brain finally caught up with my body enabling me to let go. It stopped. I took a deep breath and asked, "OK, what bed needs to be done next?"

It was evident from the very beginning that I was not equipped to be a widow. It was about this time my husband starting having ideas for a book entitled, "How My Cancer Killed My Wife".

Monday, April 12, 2010


Continuing with yesterday’s thoughts, I would like to share one piece of inspiration… one time of being willing to believe.

A little over a year ago I was driving alone in the car, coming home from the temple. As I drove, I had the distinct impression that my time in New York was coming to an end. The mere thought of such a thing caused me to immediately begin to cry. I love my home. I love the east. I miss my family – and have often over the years since Chris’ passing considered relocating near them – but fear and the ease of life in an area that is mine has kept me from making that move.

As I drove home that day, unable to stop the tears, I knew. I knew I would need to do it now. That I could no longer hide out in my comfortable world – but that the next stretching of mind and soul was quickly coming.

It took me two months to be able to reflect back on that impression without starting the uncontrollable tears. And once I had reached that milestone, I was still unable to speak the words.

All of this was interrupted by my son’s declining behavior. His circumstances certainly made it easy to believe that leaving my home was the right decision. We were not thriving as much as we were surviving.

Once the changes were made with him – my thoughts again began to reflect on the where and the when of this change. My mind (mostly) felt as ease – knowing that when the time was right – I would know where to go and when.

Mid-summer I was looking at a map of the United States and looking at where my family members and in-laws live. I had never paid much attention to the location of my one sister who had moved from Phoenix to Boise, ID just a couple years before. As I looked at her location on a map I realized she was very centrally located to the rest of my family. I went on and started checking out real estate prices in the area. I was pleasantly surprised that they were such that living there would be realistic for me (thanks, I am sure to the recent crash in real estate prices). I kept it as food for thought, and went to bed. I woke up the next morning – so sure that this was where I was supposed to be. The feeling was overwhelming that Boise was my location. I felt scared, excited, and overwhelmed all at once.

I knew where…. I was just left with the question of when.

(I will say… I am still in NY – but if anyone would like to buy my house and if someone else would like to offer me a job (preferably as a TV Personality… hey if I am going to ask, I am going to ask for what I really want!)… I will be on my way. Oh, and double that would even be better – as in the last few months I have a girlfriend who will now be joining me.. so someone buy our houses… and offer us jobs. Please. In the mean time… I am home – and there is much good to do here)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Are we ever like Naaman, the Syrian leper who was sent to the prophet in Israel to be cleansed? When Elisha sent a messenger with instructions to dip seven times in the Jordan River, Naaman went away angry. Thankfully, he had a servant who said, “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13).

I have thought of that story often over the years. Who among us wants to be like Naaman? But, how often are we slow to follow counsel that has been given… or slow to heed the teachings in the scriptures… or hesitant to observe the personal revelation we have received?

Wouldn’t we rather be seen as individuals who are willing and easy to believe?

And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words. Helaman 6:36
The journey of widowhood has been one that has increased my trust in the Lord. It has caused me to be more patient and to take the steps I feel inspired to take. Regardless of whether I understand where that step is going to take me. I have more fully been able to follow blindly, with an easiness to believe. There have been steps that have been difficult – but with each step I take I feel as though I have strengthened my relationship with my Savior. He does not leave us. I may get lazy in doing the things I know draw me closer – such as daily prayer and scripture reading – but He is always there, I just need to come back to Him.

As I look back over the past five years and look at the outcomes to difficult decisions, I am grateful. Grateful that this has not been a journey I have walked alone. Grateful to my Savior for leading me, guiding me and walking by me.

Friday, April 9, 2010


The inventive side is from my husband.

The gene to fix things and make them work... from my husband.

The kids left alone with time on their hands... well, that has just become a norm around here.

As you can read about here, I moved a few times. In my second home, we lived in town - but the location was great with each of my neighbors actually having acres - not just a lot. Ours was a 'lot' but we felt like we had space.

My kids claimed more space than what was really ours. Multiple times I would look out my kitchen window and see toys over on the neighbors property. Some of those items... such as brooms and other household items along with boards and chairs they had apparently used to build a 'clubhouse' were not apparent until the leaves fell in the fall.

Some days I would be driving up the road and see my children riding skateboards down the neighbors driveway (they had a long driveway that had a steep decline). I tried to explain to them that just because there was lots of space around us... it wasn't ours. We had this nice little lot and that is where they should play.

One day I came home and saw my oldest son pushing his brother down the road and onto the neighbors' driveway. At first glance I couldn't figure out what 'ride toy' he was on. Then, I realized that was because it wasn't a toy. My son was strapped into a child's car seat that they had attached to one of those things you lay on and it has wheels - and you use it to roll underneath a vehicle.

Nice contraption. And we are again... riding down the neighbor's driveway.

Stop the insanity. We were turning into white trash.


I love this talk. When we think we have too much to do... or we don't feel as though we are acknowledged enough for what we do... we just need to put it all in perspective and remember we are engaged in an important work. And we need to be at work accomplishing those things of importance.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


We are nearing the end of the school year, and when summer comes my oldest will be back home with us.

I am glad. I miss him. I want our family to be back together.

I have thought so much about my decision to send him to live with his aunt and uncle a year ago. I don't regret it. He is in such a better place now than he was. They have been so great to have made the tremendous sacrifices they have to help us.

Making the decision for him to go, ranks up there as one of the greatest times of personal trial for me. It was those moments of wrestling with questions like, "if the Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle... I must be a failure - because I am not able to handle him. To the point that I have to have him leave my home."

I would try to console myself with the reminder that I was acting under inspiration. But, I felt like a complete failure. I was not able to be the parent my child needed me to be. I felt guilt, so guilty for my short comings as a mother and for allowing his actions to hurt the other children.

If I was spiritually where I should be, shouldn't I be able to handle any trial that comes my way?

Part of the lesson we have to learn in life is that we are imperfect. We will not always be able to be everything we need to be.

Through this I know my Savior loves me. His love is perfect enough to accept someone like me... imperfect in so many ways.

It makes me wonder if I show that same love to others. I need it from my Savior, but do I in turn show it to others? Complete acceptance for who they are, despite what their short-comings may be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My husband was blessed with the talent of a beautiful voice. I loved to hear him sing. He would sing in the shower... sing while he worked... and on rare occasion, perform.

When I was a teenager and had wisely made a list of the qualities I would someday want in my future husband, one of the important items on that list was musical ability. I was thinking of my unborn children. I can not sing. No, I take that back - I can - and I do... but it is not enjoyed by most.

One time (long, long ago... in a lifetime that was good and normal) my husband was on the piano and was playing some songs. I was singing along a little (as I have never been one to keep my inability to hit a correct note from the fun and games of singing and karaoke). Chris stopped. Looked at me, and said "come here". I walked over to the piano. He played one note. "Sing that", he said. I tried. A painful expression crossed his and the children's face. He played the note again, "No, really try". I again belted what was the closest to that note I could muster. Painful expressions again crossed every one's faces. I retorted with a "Stop it! I am trying!".

My kids still talk about that day. They thought it was very funny. Of course, it is easy to find humor in one's lack of ability when you have been blessed with that ability. I have tried to explain to the children my wisdom and foresight in choosing a husband with the talent to sing... and that they should thank me for the talent they posses.

Last night I came home from work and my daughter was not in a very good mood. She started fighting with everything that I said. I was tired (as I am most nights when I walk in), I went to my room to change my clothes and laid down on my bed to decompress for a few minutes. I turned the radio on and after a bit my daughter came in with a sulky face. I told her to lay down and rest with me. She glared at me. I pulled her down onto the bed and she laid there stiff as a board. Then, a familiar tune came on the radio and I started to belt out the words. My daughter continued to glare at me. As the song progressed every time I would belt a note - she would (in a singers "ahhh" kind of way) hit the correct note and give me a look like, "try this note". She continued as I continued singing loudly. As we played our little game I couldn't help but laugh. She was acting like her dad. She is blessed with his beautiful voice and talent. I hugged her, kissed her cheek... told her I missed her daddy and continued singing... and she continued to try and correct me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The life of Sarah and Abraham was not one void of trials. They faced many trials along their path. No doubt, those trials worked together for their good to increase their faith in Christ. Imagine the faith it would take to believe:
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? Genesis 17: 16, 17

But Sarah had faith:
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

Because their faith had been given opportunity to grow through their trials, Abraham and Sarah were prepared to prove their willingness to the Lord and sacrifice their son. They followed the Father's will in faith. Abraham made it as far as having Issac on the alter before the Lord stopped him.

I don't think I have ever felt as much faith in my life as I did the day my husband died. I can imagine a small piece of what Abraham felt. Except, I knew how the story of Abraham and Issac ended. I knew the Lord just wanted to test him - and then his son would return to him.

As I stood in the hospital room when my husband lay on the verge of this life and the next, I was willing. I was willing to give him to my Father in Heaven. I was willing to let go. But I would be lieing if I said I didn't wish. Wish that this was my test. That I had to be pushed this far. That he was before me about to cross to the other side - and I just need to prove to the Lord that I would believe Him... even unto death. That I would trust in Him. And then once I did, my husband would be healed. And much like Abraham and Isaac walked back down off that mountain, my husband and I could walk out of that hospital.

I guess the difference was that for me, this was just the beginning. For Abraham and Sarah, this was closer to the end of their trials that would prove them qualified for the promised blessings.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Sometimes I don't feel like playing the role that parents should play on holidays. When it is late and the kids are in bed and I should be busily getting ready for the next day...

The house is quiet and in those moments of stillness I miss the company... the companionship of doing it with someone. Or the ability to make someone else do it. Or the complaining that I have to do it. :)

Last Easter my kids walked to the Hallmark store and bought me a present and some candy. They made me an Easter Basket and hid it. I had no idea. In moments like that, I thank God for giving me such good kids.

I love these kids. I love that I can still see their father in them. I love that they are patient (sometimes) with my inability to be the perfect mom and dad at the same time.

I am grateful that I have them to force me to celebrate the holidays!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


My Savior. My Redeemer.

He has walked by my side and carried my burden when it was too much for me alone.

He has heard and answered my prayers.

He never leaves us, we only leave Him.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I am trying to adjust... but sometimes it still bothers me. The whole feeling of being the 3rd wheel... or 5th wheel... or whatever number - Me being there makes it an odd number. I suppose 5th is better than 3rd.

To be the 3rd wheel means there are two women and the poor husband doesn't get any company. At least if I am the 5th wheel there are already two men, so I can just chime in with the women in their conversation.

But, it is odd. More than just an odd number, for some reason I feel odd. I guess it is that whole environment of "couples".... and there I am.

Do you know what else has become harder? Having company for dinner. What couple wants to come over for dinner? The poor husband has to engage in conversation with two women or the children. There is no counter-part for 'testosterone based' conversation. Unless I invite TWO couples for dinner... but then you have to make sure they are both solid shows. Because to have a no-show, leaves the one man out. And you have to make sure they are couples whose male counterparts enjoy each other.

I don't like not being a couple some days.

Lesson Manual: How to Be a Widow
6. Be confident in being you. Because now you are not defined by the 'couple' that you are - but only by you and who you are. (This is why as a widow I found myself drawn to the song, "Who I Am". You have to define yourself)

Friday, April 2, 2010


Steve Harvey said, "It's almost virtually impossible for a man to be a woman's friend. The only reason we're your friend [is because] you've made it perfectly clear it will go no further than this."

So, is it a girl thing? It is really true that men can not be friends with women? Because, you know what would be perfect for a widow? A friend. A guy friend. Someone who you could go out with when your bored... who could fix broken things around the house... someone to talk to and glean the 'male perspective' from. Just a friend.

Sometimes the complications of a relationship, the emotions and the expectations, are just too much to deal with on top of everything else going on in life. But, the simpleness of a good friendship would be so ideal. The question is, if you have that friendship... and it seems to be working... is it only because, as a woman, you are completely naive to the fact that the man is just sitting around waiting for things to change?

Lesson Manual: How to Be a Widow
5. Realize as much as you want a friend, you may not ever find a friend of the male assortment. :) Can men and women really be "just friends"?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


"All things come from Heavenly Father. Birds, fish, trees, people. They are born. They live. And they die. Everything dies."

That is how the book What Happens When People Die begins.

Consider this nothing more than a plug for that book. For anyone who has children suffering a loss. It is profound and it is simple.

It ends... "It is sad when people die. But it's not forever. Their spirits live on. And we can all be together again. Someday. Until then, we gather our loved ones around us. We think about those who have died and tell stories about them. And we thank Heavenly Father and Jesus for making a way... that we can be together again."

I don't remember who gave me this book after Chris died. But I am glad they did. So, thank you to whomever it was! I love it. :)