Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Best in the West

* * * * * * * * *
Sue (Aaron's mom) watched and gathered ornaments all year for The Festival of Trees. She did such a great job at finding such great western stuff to go on the trees for Aaron. Sue decorated most of them before we got them there, then Christa and I met her there to help finish decorating and setting things up.

Here is the tree donated to The Festival of Trees in honor of Aaron. All proceeds went to Primary Childrens Hospital.

I blacked out the background so that the other trees behind weren't so distracting. This whole set up would go to whoever bought the trees.

Steve and Sue (Aaron's parents)

Christa and Leslie

Sue had this little old wagon. She asked Steve (Aaron's brother) to come down and work in Aaron's wood shop to turn the wagon into a little mini buckboard. Steve used some old wood that Aaron had in the shop to create this. The horseshoe on the front is one of Shayla's (Aaron's horse) actual shoes that she wore. I got it from my brother in law for Steve to put on there. Steve did a great job. It is so neat.

Aaron Jr.

Once the festival opened, we went with some of my family to walk through it. It is amazing how many people donate trees for this cause... and so many are in honor of someone who has passed away. Aaron Jr. immediately crawled under the chains to go and sit on the chair. He didn't want to leave there.
Leslie and Aaron Jr.
Sue asked me to do the write up about Aaron to go along with the trees. And also an 8x10 photo of Aaron to frame and put with the trees as well. Here is the write up and the 8x10 photo.

Best in the West
Aaron Sverre Harkness passed away on November 29, 2007 at the age of 30. As I write these words, I hope to portray who this man is. This man that I love and adore; my husband and my best friend… our gentle and loving cowboy. Best in the West and Tougher than the Rest.
Anyone who had ever crossed paths with Aaron knew him to be a kind, loving, and generous soul. Someone who would do anything for anyone at anytime. Aaron was someone who loved others with a love which was deep and a love which was pure. He had a genuine love and concern for the welfare of others. Not only was he generous with his love, but he was also generous with his time and his energy. He was found to be in the service of others often and was more than happy to offer his strong, helping hands. He knew so much about so many things and was the ‘go to guy’ when others found themselves in need of help. He never complained and often made them feel as though they were doing HIM the favor to let him help. ‘…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.’ -Mosiah 2:17 … Aaron lived this principle.
Aaron was also a joy to be around. He was passionate about life and though his life was cut way too short, he lived a full and adventurous life. He loved making others happy and he loved to be happy himself. He had a quick wit and loved to make people laugh. Whether he was the hit of the party, or trying to blend into the background, his presence was always known and felt. People were drawn to him. He made those around him feel loved and wanted. Aaron was a strong man and he was a gentle soul. He was a joy to be around.
His most recent job before he passed away was at a Youth Ranch for troubled teenagers. This was a passion of his. He was able to work closely with teenagers who came there feeling like they had no worth. If there was anyone who could help to show them their worth, it was Aaron. He had overcome obstacles in his own life that were key in helping to build his character and mold him into the man that he became. He had so much to teach and so much to offer. After working there for a while, he became their equine therapist. This is where he would teach the kids relationship skills and how to deal with the challenges of life through learning to relate to and manage a horse. This was Aaron’s dream job. He got to experience two of his passions in life… helping people and also working with horses. He really loved working with these kids and seeing them progress.
Aaron truly was a cowboy at heart and he was guiding our son down that same path. I always have loved this aspect of Aaron’s life. Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man.” I fully believe this to be true in Aaron’s life. There was a powerful bond between Aaron and his animals. The last years of his life, he could often be found in the mountains riding his horse, Sheila, with his dog, Ode following behind them. That is when he was in his element and I could tell he found peace and comfort there.
Aaron will forever be a man that was respected and loved. All who knew him were blessed to have him as a part of our lives. All who knew Aaron will forever be grateful for the honor of calling him a friend, uncle, cousin, grandson, nephew, brother, son, daddy, and husband.

…we will love you always, Aaron…

‘…charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.’ -Moroni 7:47
* * *


Momza said...

What a beautiful tribute to Aaron.
May we all so live that this could be said of each of us.
Very inspiring. The tree looks lovely. Was that chair made by Aaron? just wondering. Aaron Jr. is so adorable. Well done, Leslie.

Tiffany said...

Beautiful tree, beautiful tribute. My thoughts are with you even more during this holiday season.

Kristi said...

That set up was so perfect. I love that neat chair. It looks like something he would build. Neat tribute.
I would have loved to have seen the set up in person.
You and Aaron remain in our prayers.

Mindy said...

I loved your tribute! I'm sure Aaron would approve of it, and the trees! Oh, and if Aaron Jr. was part of the package, those trees would bring in a HUGE amount of money! ;) He's so cute!

Tabitha said...

The trees look truly wonderful ~ what a lovely idea. The words that you wrote about Aaron are beautiful ~ you did him proud!!
Take care my friend ~ sending love and hugs to you XXXXX

Annalee Kelly said...

I love that wooden wagon. What a tremendous tribute and gift to bless someone's life this holiday season. Wishing you my best.

dani said...

what a generous thing to do in aaron's memory, leslie... and simply perfect:)

LL said...

beautiful Leslie...
your words were perfect and the whole arrangement was so fitting.

Anonymous said...

WOW those trees, chair etc - they are AMAZING!! And a beautiful tribute to Aaron too - in "things" and in words.

Love to you


Jennifer said...

Such a beautiful tribute! Thinking of you ........


Steve said...

Such a beautiful tree, I love that Aaron would not leave the chair. How are you holding up. I miss you too! Email me. Oh and this is Liz not Steve, that would just be awkward!

Seesalou said...

i was so, so glad we went. the festival of trees is a wonderful thing but to see aaron's trees there was special. they were so beautiful.

Jyl said...

Wow she did do a great job, I love the trees! Hey I tried to contact you the other day to see if you and Aaron Jr wanted to go to Kangaroo zoo with us for Skylars birthday but then I realized I dont have any contact info for you.. Big Time Bummer! we need to get together now that we are so close

K and K and kids said...

When you told me about the tree, I had no idea how amazing it/they would be. The display is unbelievable and the tribute is beautiful. It was great to see you over Thanksgiving. Take care of yourself and that adorable boy!

J.L said...

Hi, Leslie! My mom said she ran into you at church today. I wanted to write and say hello. Your little Aaron Jr. is so darling! He's getting so big!
The Christmas trees your mo-in-law did are beautiful. And the wagon is especially beautiful and very special. I am sure whoever bought them will be honored to have trees decorated with such love, in their homes!
You're in my prayers!
Merry Christmas.

Matt and Shauna said...

Your words are beautiful! You are so talented Leslie!

Scott / Lori said...

I sure wish we could have seen this in person. How sweet that Aaron Jr. wanted to stay and sit in that chair next to Aaron's picture. What a great cause! Also, what a great way to honor someones life, it is so neat that you could really make an "Aaron tree" and anyone who knew him could recognize it as his. A very nice tribute and picture collection as well! Love you so much! Lori