Thursday, January 27, 2011


School was cancelled on Monday as the morning temperature read a balmy -16 degrees. It is fitting.

January is always cold... well, because it is January. The week after Chris passed I remember frigid temperatures. There was no deisre to hang around at the cemetary... it was too cold to be outside for too long.

I don't remember January being so bitterly cold in years before Chris' passing.

But since his passing, I remember that week in January following his death. I remember how cold it was. That was the week our back patio cracked from the bitterly cold temperatures (or as a statement of sadness over its' owners' death).

The cold sticks out to me now.... the temperatures in the negatives. It seems very fitting for the events that transpired in my life in the month of January.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have made a few trips to the Cancer Center about an hour from here in the last few weeks. I have had the opportunity to continue to accompany my husband's cousin to her doctor appointments and treatments.

I have been pleasantly surprised at how well I have done with it all. It seems every time we go, we walk into another place that has memories that takes me back. Amazing how many waiting rooms I sat in years ago. Each for a different reason, a different test or scan, a different doctor, a different treatment. When my stay in the waiting rooms was long, I would sometimes walk out into the hall. Each floor in the Cancer Center (aside from the hospital room floors) has a balcony that overlooks the lobby. There are volunteers that come in and perform in the 'background' their various musical talents. I remember the piano. I don't know who, and perhaps it was several different people, but I remember laying on the bench floors above the lobby, passing the time while listening to someone play the piano. It was soothing.

A couple years ago, I had stopped into the Cancer Center around Christmas time as I was looking for a particular item I knew they sold there in the Gift Shop. When I walked in, I was struck by the sound of the piano. I walked into the gift shop, but was overcome and I had to leave.

With my recent visits there I have seen guitar players and other instruments, but this past week I walked in to a pianist. It felt good. He was young and talented. I watched him. He was casually watching the hustle of the lobby while playing a beautiful and soothing piece. He caught my eye, and I smiled. I was grateful. Grateful that time has passed enough for me to feel the soothing peace in the music and grateful for people like him that share their talents so people like me can feel some peace in their storm.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I was just watching the movie The Last Song. I didn't know anything about the movie... it just looked like a good clean family movie to watch.

My father-in-law died in an industrial accident years ago, before he was my father-in-law. Our families were friends, so I still remember very clearly when I was told he had passed. There had been an explosion, he was burned badly. He had survived a couple days, but then passed.

In the early days of the TV Show ER, I used to enjoy watching it. My mother-in-law would watch with me. I remember one time the subject matter of the show was a case involving a burn victim. My mother-in-law left the room. She couldn't watch. I understood, but didn't understand what that felt like.

Tonight as I was watching the movie, I found it was about a father who had been estranged from his children. He has them come stay with him for the summer. As the movie unfolds you discover he is dying from cancer. It is still hard to watch that. I find it impossible to watch it - without feeling those feelings all over again. Without looking at the 'reality' of life as I know it.... as my kids know it. Without feeling the pain all over again of my kids growing up without their father. Now, years later, I can truly understand what that must have felt like for my mother-in-law. Why she preferred to change the channel on those nights.

In the movie the older sister comments regarding her younger brother that her dad won't get to see him grow up.

I would just like to disagree with that, if I may. My kids are not the little kids they were when their father passed. They have grown up. They are turning into teenagers, young adults with mature thoughts and decision making power. They have missed the daily interaction with their father. Had he been here, they would have become someone else. But, even though he was not here... I know that he has watched them grow up. He has been there for them in moments he could not have been otherwise. He has not been able to physically hold them or discipline them, but he has been able to help them feel his love for them when they needed it. He has watched them grow up. Death takes away many things, but that is not one of them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


As I read the following story told by James E. Faust, it reminded me of how I felt facing my life alone after Chris' passing. It reminded me of the gratitude I felt (feel) for a loving Father in Heaven who knows me and loves me and walks beside me. We never are alone... unless we choose to walk away from Him.

"One young woman became much more aware of the wonderful relationship we have to our Heavenly Father when she left home for the first time to go to college. Her father gave her a blessing and expressed his love. Then she writes:

'I clung to his words of love and support as I said a painful good-bye to my family. I felt alone and scared in those uncharted waters. Before I left the apartment that morning, I knelt down to ask for help. Desperately I pleaded with my Heavenly Father for strength to be able to face the college world all alone. I had left my family and friends and everything familiar the day before, and I knew I needed His help.

'My prayers were answered as I reflected on the tender experience with my father the day before. A wave of comfort fell over me as I realized that I had not come to college with the blessing of just my earthly father. I suddenly felt that one day, not so long ago, my Heavenly Father had held me close in His arms. Perhaps He gave me words of advice and encouragement and told me that He believed in me, just as my earthly father had. And at that moment, I knew that I am never without the perfect love and endless support of my Father in Heaven.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


On my last day of work a couple weeks ago, I came home to flowers from a friend with a note that read, "To brighten your day and celebrate a new door opening in your life!"

I feel as though that has been my theme this year. Moving forward... new doors opening... I have gained tremendous strength and finished much of the healing process. I am liking the person I am becoming and accepting myself in all my weaknesses. My kids are stronger.. they are better. It truly felt like a milestone year.

We attended church today, my oldest went home with a friend following church and the younger two are snug on the couch with each other watching a movie. Chris died on a Sunday. It is odd thinking the years have gone by enough for the 16th to fall on the same day of the week. It has my mind thinking forward to the events of the days that followed.

I asked my kids today to tell me some 'stories' they remember about their dad. This is what they told me... in their words:

Wrestling on the furry white carpet at Grandma's house.

He woke us up late at night and made us finish our chores.

Packing us a lunch box to go to grandma's and then watching him work (he packed pringles).

When we worked with him he gave us cracker sticks with cheese (in the little packages).

In the winter when he plowed at Grandma's he would make us big hills to sled on.

When we went to the hospital to see him they gave us popsicles.

When he was sick I (daughter) would come home from school and sit in his blue chair with him and watch TV with him.

He made me (youngest son) fried bologna for lunch.

We wanted to play in the sprinkler but he made us clean our room.

He put the train around the Christmas Tree.

He read us Harry Potter every night.

He told us ghost stories.

He took us to plane shows and car shows.

He took us out on the boat and when he turned fast our sister would cry.

He had dogs.

He showed us a stick bug.

Six years and moving forward. Life goes on. The Lord compensates for the loss. Joy is felt.

I think I am going to put in a fire.... and join the kids for the movie. And tonight when I say my prayers... I am going to express my gratitude for the tender mecies and the blessings that have made my cup to 'runneth over'.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


My phone rang yesterday around 2:50pm. My oldest son was on the other end of the line. I was finishing up some errands and he had just arrived home from school. He recounted a story to me about a visit he had with the neighbor when he got home from school. He had walked over to his home as he saw him shoveling the six inches of snow that fell and thought he may be able to help him. The neighbor declined the assistance as he was a few scoops away from being done, but engaged in some conversation with him. As a mother I felt proud that my son had been so thoughtful as to offer his assistance. When he was done telling me about their conversation, I said, "You know... there is this widow that actually lives at the same address you do. Perhaps you should consider giving her a hand. I know her driveway needs to be shoveled." There was a pause. "What? No. You don't count."

"What do you mean I don't count?"

"You can't keep calling yourself a widow."

"Why, he is still dead. I AM still a widow."


"Yes. And the widow would really like her driveway shoveled."

Friday, January 14, 2011


My girlfriend just walked in the house carrying a priority mail box. I glanced lightly at it, assuming it was another of my youngest son's many airsoft guns. He has become obsessed with the sport and spends every dollar he gets on a new gun or accessory.

On my glance it caught my eye as saying "Kimmy" not "Kim" or "Kimberly", so I got up to take the package from my friend. I knew right away it was from family. No one else calls (or could get away with calling) me "Kimmy". Upon ripping the package open (I am still like a kids when it comes to opening presents) I started screaming and jumping up and down. My girlfriend just watched curiously. Then I got teary eyed. They love me. My family loves me. They know what I want, they know what is important to me and despite the many miles between us.. they do what they can to lend a helping hand. I pulled out the card, and read it "Kimmy, Just a little something to let you know we're all thinking of you. It's been six tough years- Here's to moving forward, reaching your goals & being your best self. Love, your siblings" My voice cracked as I read it. I am so blessed with such a loving and supportive family. My girlfriend was so excited to be here to witness the emotions... the teary eyes.

The gift... A Body Media FIT Armband.

The "Thank You" I say does not come close to expressing my gratitude for all they do.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


As the title indicates, this post is for the ladies only. So, if you are of the male variety... move on. I guarantee you DO NOT want to hear what I have to write here. But, I find the message very important... so I am drawn to writing this. For those of the male variety out there who are curious what exactly the message is, let me just start with that, then you can turn away... and not read any further. Lesson: Take a day to take care of you... you will thank yourself.

Enjoying my extra time to take care of life, my girlfriend and I left after putting my kids on the bus and made the two hour drive to attend the temple this morning. We made a day of it and stopped half-way home for lunch and some shopping. My girlfriend indicated that while we were shopping she needed to stop at a certain specialty shop to look for certain undergarments. I thought that would be fine and knew where this particular store (let's just call it VS, for somewhat obvious reasons) was located in the mall. So, after lunch we headed over there and I commented to her, that perhaps I should have them measure me while we are there, as I was somewhat suspicious that I was not wearing the correct size of undergarment (let's just refer to this as a 'b' for simplification). With the weight that I had gained I had picked up some new b's over the years - in a larger size than I had once worn - and for years assumed it was correct. For some reason in the last week-and-a-half when I have not been in such a rush dressing in the morning, I began to wonder if I was perhaps wrong??

We made our way to VS and my girlfriend inquired on the location of specific b's and then we headed for the dressing room. Once there I asked the associate working if she would mind measuring me... just for my curious sake. I was right... I had been wearing a size too small for all these years. I hopped in a dressing room and was pleased with the results of the larger sized undergarment. I looked fabulous. I tried on a different style... I still looked fabulous. Who knew such a simple thing could make such a difference. I debated. If I loose weight I won't need the larger size. But, in the meantime I could look fabulous.... I decided to hit the clearance rack and look fabulous without spending a fortune.

I have to say, I do look fantastic. I keep checking myself out in the mirror. I can't believe I have gone all these years not looking as great as I could have! In fact I may not need to lose as much weight as I thought I did... I somehow look slimmer with things all in line. So, ladies... do yourself a favor... get measured and get fabulous.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I mentioned a couple days ago that watching me.... is painful. At least when I am functioning in life on my "own". When the Lord is not using me, and therefore not making me better so I am usable... it is truly a painful experience. I have come to find that if there is a way to draw attention to myself in a negative way, I seek after these things. Not intentionally, mind you. For instance, my last day of work I was walking up the stairs from the lobby and I tripped on the step and fell on my face. It made quite the racket and the receptionist jumped. But, when she turned and saw that it was me, she just shook her head. That is a move she has seen too many times before from me. There was another associate in the lobby who was startled, but relaxed once I rolled over onto my back laughing at myself. I felt it appropriate that I would go out that way. I have made that move in front of numerous visitors who were patiently waiting in the lobby over the years.

I have a new way of drawing attention to myself these days. A couple days before Christmas I had returned with the children from Christmas shopping. My oldest, with an agenda I am sure, announced that he would be happy to clean out the car. I was grateful as we had accumulated quite the amount of garbage in there. I called a friend to pick me up and went to his home to wrap gifts. Christmas Eve we were going to dinner with friends and as we got ready to run some last minute errands before heading out of town, I realized I could not find the keys. I questioned my oldest regarding where the keys were. A blank look spread across his face and despite the hours spent that day, Christmas day, the day after Christmas, the week after Christmas... we never found the keys. So, celebrating my free time to take care of such inconveniences, I spent unemployed day two having the car towed about 45 minutes away to our closest Subaru dealership. Apparently, my car is full of security features, one of which is a feature within the key that requires having the car in a Subaru shop in order to make a copy (or a key from scratch).I didn't spend the extra $130 on the little push button thing to lock / unlock my car.. perhaps that indulgence will be for when I am employed again.

Again celebrating my new found time, I left the dealership with my new key and headed for Sam's Club. I manually (OK - by manually, I mean I pushed the button from in the car since I don't have a little remote any longer) locked the door and headed in to do some shopping. When I came out I put the key in the lock and unlocked the car. Upon doing so my car alarm went off. HONK..HONK..HONK..HONK..HONK.. I quickly got in the car and started it - which luckily turned the alarm off. After one more errand with the same results I called the dealership wondering what I was doing wrong. Nothing. Apparently that is just one more security device the vehicle has. For as long as I put off spending $130 on a remote... I won't be able to avoid making a spectacle of myself every time I get in the car.

I have gotten used to it now. But, I just shake my head in awe. It is so me. So painful to watch me trying to function in life. Sometimes I think Chris must get a kick out of watching my insanity!

Monday, January 10, 2011


My last day of work was December 30th. Last week was my first official week home. I had the option of starting a "J Term" class at the college on the 3rd and going right into a full semester. Logically it seemed like the right thing to do. I need to finish my degree. It is no fun providing for a family and being limited due to a piece of paper. But, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I have been running like a crazy lady for over seven years. I was craving the down time. My house is craving some attention. Things to be cleaned, organized and fixed. And my body is craving some attention as well. When did I get this roll on my midriff? (I know... tmi)

After my first week... I can say I exercised three days. Saw two friends I had not seen in a very long time. Made dinner for a family. And watched other friend's kids. I also spent some time in doctor offices as my post a couple days ago mentioned. And I spent a day having my car towed and at the Subaru dealership having a new key made for my car that has been sitting in my garage for two weeks (thank you to the oldest child). So - I still have the roll around the waist and I am sitting here looking at my house wondering how it can be such a mess when I am HOME?? But, the kids did eat more REAL dinners last week. And I made cookies twice and banana bread once. And... in the process of it all I applied for unemployment and looked for a new job.

I am looking forward to a busy and productive week this week. So much to do!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


“It may not be on the mountain height Or over the stormy sea, It may not be at the battle’s front My Lord will have need of me. But if, by a still, small voice he calls To paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go.”

Living our lives as instruments in the Lord’s hands is a matter of faith and trust in God that he will direct our paths for good... Henry B. Eyring said, “Trust comes from knowing God.” In Psalm 46:10 we read, “Be still, and know that I am God” I cannot tell you how this faith is developed for everyone, but I can tell you for me it was a process. A process that began with an internal desire and a curiosity. The visual was intriguing. A poem by Myra Brooks Welch:

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer Thought it scarcely worth his while To waste much time on the old violin, But held it up with a smile: “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three—” But no, From the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening the loose strings, He played a melody pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow. “A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, And going, and gone!” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch of a master’s hand.” And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin. A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine, A game—and he travels on. He’s “going” once, and “going” twice, He’s “going” and almost “gone.” But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.

Often I feel like I am much like that violin. I am simple and often look battered and scarred. Life has me in a rush. I am not someone within my community who anyone would look to as a person of great value.

My daughter plays the violin and I remember the first concert we went to. It began with the “Beginners” and proceeded to more advanced levels from there. When the “Beginners” came out on stage they ‘squeaked’ out the melody “Mississippi Hot Dog”. It was a bit painful. But the proud parents applauded. At the end of the concert the Advanced students played a melody that was beautiful to listen to.

If I am that violin… what tune do I want to have played? Do I want to be Mississippi Hot Dog forever? Because I certainly feel that despite my life experience thus far, I am still a beginner and when attempting to control my own life… watching me can be painful. But I, as each of us, has the opportunity for the Master’s hand to touch my life and use me as His instrument in creating a symphony. When faced with that choice, I want, hands down, to be used by Him… to be a part of something I could not conduct on my own.

Friday, January 7, 2011


My deceased husband’s cousin was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is single and found herself at the many doctor appointments and chemotherapy appointments that the diagnosis required. Shortly after the diagnosis, I was informed that my job was being eliminated at the company I was working for. I felt very sure that my Father in Heaven had prepared the way for my cousin to have a companion during this difficult time. My first day off from work (Monday) we went to chemo, my fifth (today) we went to a new doctor in hopes of a more clear understanding of her prognosis. I have sat in these same chairs before and heard very similar news. This was not new to me. But for her, facing her own mortality was difficult. I have not sat in those shoes and cannot completely comprehend what that feels like. When the doctor had left the room she looked at me and asked, "what do you think? Do you think I am going to beat this or do you think I am going to die". In that moment I didn’t really know how to respond. I know very well that cancer, especially in its advanced stages, may lead to death. But I also remember six year ago when my husband lay in a hospital bed with health that had seriously declined at a very steady and real pace, I remember the faith that I felt. I knew very clearly that Chris’ life – the duration of it - was not attached to any prognosis that a doctor gave. God had complete control. I knew that he could wake up from the deep sleep the morphine caused and be whole. This was not a game of science. It was a game of faith. Faith to know that no matter the path that lay ahead – I was loved and cared for by my Father in Heaven. That He would care for me and my children and that the course would be according to His will. So, in that moment today… sitting in the doctor’s office when she asked what I thought… I told her exactly what I thought. “I think you are going to die. And I think I am going to die. I think we are all going to die. In fact, I may kill us both just driving home today. Life is not about dying, it is about living. Cancer can be a gift that reminds us how fragile life is. How we should not waste the time that is given to us. But cancer does not determine if you live or die. God determines if you live or die. Your part is to keep living, and do everything that you can to be healthy.”