Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Aaron !!!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Aaron !!! We love you !!!

It is so difficult to believe he is not here with us. We had a pretty nice day today. Of course we went to church and it was a good place to be on his birthday. The spirit was strong today and it brought peace and comfort.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to speak to the Young Women at church today. The topic was Self Reliance. I talked some about becoming financially self reliant and how they can prepare now for what could happen in the future... because I am living the exact scenario that I never would have expected to be living. I also talked about spiritual self reliance and that each of us has to reach a point in life when we gain our own testimony of the gospel and of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Becoming self reliant spiritually is what helps us brave the storms of life and hold firm to the word of God... even through the most difficult of circumstances. When we are the ones experiencing the trials in our lives, we can't depend on the testimony of others to pull us through... we can rely on the strength of others to a certain degree, but we have to gain our own strength and rely on the strength of the Lord to pull us through.
When I was asked to speak, I knew that I was never going to feel completely ready to start speaking in public about the things to do with this trial, but I knew it would be a growing experience for me and I just needed to do it. I cried a lot of the way through it and I was nervous, but it was good for me and I hope it was helpful to those who were there.
I also shared my testimony in Sacrament meeting as well. It was the first time since Aaron passed away that I did that in this ward. I wanted to share the gratitude I have for the healing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I love Him and I am so grateful for Him. He loves us all more than we can even comprehend. I can't remember a time when I have been up in front of people bearing my testimony where I have felt the comfort and peace as much as I felt up there today. I felt more calm than I think I ever have while speaking to a whole congregation. I am sure the spirit had a lot to do with that, but I like to think that Aaron was there with me today. I felt blessed to feel so much peace as I spoke of things that means so much to me.

Here is the candle that has been burning all last night, all today, and will burn all today in remembrance of Aaron on his birthday.

Aaron Jr. holding a FORD cupcake that Sadie made.
After church, we went up to Aaron's parents house. Aaron's mom made a delicious dinner for everyone. It was a really nice evening. As you can see, Aaron Jr. still fits into the shirt I made last year with the photo of him and his Daddy on it. Hopefully it will fit him next year on Aaron's birthday. We will see. :)

I gave everyone a gift that I had been putting together for a while.
Last year, I gave them all the book of memories that I had collected from his friends and some family. This year, I copied Aaron's journals from him mission to Brasil. I copied them on my printer, then took them to get copied at a copy store, then I had them bound. I wanted the front of the journal to be a collage of photos of Aaron on his mission. So, I created the collage and had it printed and it was bound as the front cover of the journal. Here is the photo collage I put together:

Reading Aaron's journals from his mission last year right after he passed away was amazing. It was painful to read those words, but it was also very comforting. When Aaron and I wrote to each other from our missions, we got to know each other for the first time, and I was amazed at the man he was. I grew to love him through those letters and I am so grateful that I was blessed to become his wife. He had some amazing experiences on his mission and I hope when his family reads of those experiences, they can feel comfort and peace from the words Aaron wrote. I look forward to the day when Aaron Jr. can read the words written in this journal and get to know his Dad from his own words and grow closer to his Dad through reading those experiences.

Happy Birthday, Menino !!! I love you so very much.
We miss you and think of you every moment of every day.

Loving you always...

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Mindy said...

I taught that lesson in yw yesterday, and I wish so much my girls could've heard you talk. I am sure you did an amazing job, and made an impression on those girls that they will never forget.

Happy Birthday to Aaron. :)

Kristi said...

I was going to call to see how speaking in Young Womens went. It sounds like the spirit was with you all day long and especially during those times when you were sharing your experiences and testimony. It sounds like it was a special day.
We miss you guys.

April said...

I wish I could have been there with you all yesterday. The special occasions and anniversaries have seemed to be particularly hard... but, just as you wrote, I too, felt comforted and had a peaceful feeling yesterday. Of course, tears were shed but I felt extra tender love from Heavenly Father.
My mom said you did amazing with your lesson in young womens and that the journal with its cover you made is priceless.
Love you.

amanda said...

I was thinking of you all day. Birthdays are tough. I can only imagine the void you must have felt. I am glad you were busy to keep your mind focused on happy times. I have watched you go through this process of healing and am amazed at your strength.

There are times I miss my mom so much and don't know how I will last 50 more years without her, and then the sun comes up and I am doing it. I don't know how but I am coping.

Someone once told me that going through the motions will get me through and someday the motions will have meaning again. Someday....

You are an inspiration!!

Joann said...

Happy Birthday Aaron. We miss you!

Leslie, I am sure you did wonderfully speaking and bearing your testimony. I am wondering when we are are going to get together for Aaron's birthday. Soon, I hope!

Tabitha said...

That is such a wonderful gift that you made Leslie.
Just know that I am thinking of you ~ especially on these hard(er) days.
Sending love and hugs as always XXX

Anonymous said...

Well done Leslie. Speaking in public can always be a daunting experience. But speaking from the heart, when it is still amazing effort. I don't think I could do that. Once again, I am amazed and humbled by you.

Happy birthday Aaron. You have a wonderful wife. I am glad to "know" her.



dani said...

happy birthday, aaron, up to where you are...

the book you made for aaron's family is priceless, what a treasure:)
dani xx

Anonymous said...


So happy that you have felt an increase of peace in those moments of testifying of our Savior. I thought much of you today in conference as our leaders spoke of just what you have experienced. Thank you for sharing of yourself once again and what gives you hope and peace amidst such heartache. I love you so much, my friend. What a wonderful way to celebrate Aaron's life- through the beautiful memories of his mission where he gave "life" to others. Awesome and inspired again.


Lisa (seesalou) said...

we thought of aaron on his birthday. i was glad you got to spend some nice time with his family and how neat to give them such a neat gift. aaron jr. looks happy as always. so glad that he has pure happiness coursing through his veins most of the time. love you. all.

Supercool Hotmama said...

I'm glad you were able to spend your sweetheart's birthday serving and bearing testimony. What a wonderful thing for you to do. I'm sure it was difficult to speak to the girls, but I bet hearing it from you will make such a difference in their truly hearing the message and taking it in - using it in their lives. I'm sure it will be a lesson that they will think back on frequently as they have experiences and hardships in their own lives, and they'll remember your strength through your trials.

I've been reading back over the past few months of your posts. Good for you on getting through potty training! and Good for Aaron Jr! I have a post on my sidebar that you'll appreciate and identify with: "You know you're potty training when..."

(You came and commented on my recipe blog, in reply to a comment from several months ago. Thank you. It sounds like you've come a long way in dealing with your new normal. Please stop by my public blog when you have time :D hotmamashouse dot blogspot dot com)