Friday, January 23, 2009

Spending Quality Time

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Aaron Jr and his best friend Ode

Aaron Jr has been so much fun lately. He is developing this cute sense of humor that I am laughing at all the time. Here are a couple of photos of him wearing my snow boots and then wearing the bath robe he wore when he was about 3 months old. :)

He has been wanting to wear Aaron's hats lately. This was one of Aaron's favorite hats. Like I said, he loves Chris LeDoux... this is one of MANY baseball caps that are Chris LeDoux inspired.

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So, I hate being cold. But lately, Aaron Jr has seemed to want my attention more than usual. So, today, I decided that we would go out and we would build a snowman. I don't have proper gloves, well I do, but they are packed away somewhere... so the gloves I found in the garage that were Aaron's are not for snow use. They were soaking wet right away. As I got the first ball of the snowman rolled, it took EVERY ounce of my strenth to push it to where it needed to be. I couldn't believe how heavy it was. Little did I know when I made that HUGE base of the snowman... that the second one would be IMPOSSIBLE to hoist up on top of the first one. I tried to pick it up thinking that maybe I could find some strength inside of me... or that Aaron would somehow help me... but no go. I couldn't even get it a milimeter off the ground. So, I finally went into Aaron's shop and found some wood that I could use for a ramp. The next photo demonstrates it:

It still took ALL of my strength to get it up that ramp, but I finally got it up there. I have to admit, I was quite proud of myself. Aaron Jr was helping me by throwing snow AT me while I was trying so hard to roll the balls up. It wasn't that fun for me, but he thought it was pretty funny.

The third layer was also REALLY heavy, but with what was left of my strength, I hoisted it up on top. It was so hard. I couldn't help but think that if Aaron were here, he would have been able to lift the layers with me and it would have been a breeze. But since he isn't here, I was so glad I took this time to do this with Aaron Jr. This is our finished product. We decided to build Aaron. The cowboy hat is actually Aaron Jr's. The eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons are made of black beans. The arms were taken from a tree in our yard that died last year. And that is a glass heart. I felt it was appropriate since Aaron had a huge heart and was so very giving.

I am glad to have had this time with Aaron Jr. He was pretty much done building the snowman before we even started. He was more interested in just playing, but once I started it, I HAD to finish. He helped pack some of the snow and put the beans on.
Lately, Aaron Jr has been testing my patience by going into the kitchen while I am busy with something and trying to prepare his own food. In the past week:

* I have found him with a frypan full of cracked eggs and trying to cook it with a spatula. Luckily he doesn't know how to turn the stove on. He even throws the eggshells into the sink after he cracks them. This has happened twice this week.
* I have found him with an open box of macaroni and cheese and with the cheese packet opened and poured into a little bowl ready to put in the microwave. Luckily I found him before it went in.
* I have also found him with one of those individual cups of apple sauce, with the lid taken off, and the container in the toaster oven and he toasted it. I heard the beep go off, that is how I knew. The plastic container was hot and was soft because it was melting.
* I have also found him with one of those individual packets of oatmeal torn open and poured into a little bowl... this time he DID get that into the microwave... WITHOUT water.

Time outs don't seem to be working to keep him out of the kitchen, so I have now hidden the food. :)

Besides this kitchen stuff and the fact that he finds it necessary to destroy the clean house however he can... he is an angel. Well, he is an angel even with these things. What a blessing he is in my life.

I think I need to clear something up. After my last posting, I received some comments... and some of them were super sweet. I love comments and they are always welcomed and appreciated... but I think I said something in my last posting that must have sounded like I don't think I can be happy until I get married again. I CAN see how that mistake was made and now I would like to clarify. To those of you who comment on my blog to show love and support, just know that I am truly grateful for you. :)

I am happy.
I am happy because I have great memories of my husband and our life together.
I am happy because he loves me and I love him.
I am happy because I have a son who I love and adore.
I am happy because I have a son who loves me.
I am happy because I have family who loves me and is there for me when I need them.
I am happy because I have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life to guide me through this life.
I am happy because the sun was shining today.
I am happy because I am healthy and my son is healthy.
I am happy because I have great friends who have been a support and strength for me.
I am happy because Aaron Jr wanted to hold my hand tonight as he fell asleep.
I am happy because Ode is still here and loves to catch snow in his mouth.
I am happy because it is raining right now and I love the sound of rain.
I am happy because I have a home to live in, a bed to sleep in, heat to keep us warm, and food to eat.
I am happy because of the beauty in this world that I get to look at and take photos of.
I am happy because I can hear the laughter of my son and I can see his smiles as well.
I am happy.

Yes, of course, I have hopes for the future. My hopes for the future do not minimize my sorrow for what I have lost. I will always feel sorrow that Aaron is gone. I will be grieving about that for the rest of my life. I would prefer that he were still here and we were getting to enjoy our life together. My hopes for the future do not minimize the sorrow that others are feeling either. My hopes show that I still have faith to move forward in life.

If I continue spending my time being angry for what I have lost, I will miss out on the joy that is still here for me to enjoy. Aaron wouldn't want that. He wouldn't want that for any of us. Especially, I don't want Aaron Jr to have a mom who is negative and constantly down on life. He should be able to experience a childhood full of joy and have a mom who is positive about what life has to offer even in the darkest of circumstances. I cannot change the fact that Aaron is gone, so I must learn to submit to the will of our Father in Heaven. We must all seek to know what His will is and put our hand in His hand to let Him lead us.

I am feeling stronger lately than ever before. The article in the Ensign that I talked about in my last posting has seriously helped me see life differently. It reminded me of the things I have learned throughout my life that I need to apply during these storms in my life. I still have bad days... I still have awful and heartbreaking days... I am still sad about Aaron being gone... but I am looking at life differently and it is bringing more peace and hope to my life.

I miss Aaron. I am lonely... but I know I am not alone.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inner Turmoil / Inner Peace

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I have been struggling lately with trying really hard to prove that I am being strong, but also feeling this turmoil inside of me because I feel like I am falling to pieces. It is still so difficult to be here alone in this life. Alone meaning... without the other half of me.
When I read my scriptures or even just think in my mind about what I need to do to prove to God that I can do this, I feel this sense of duty... the duty that I need to prove that I can find joy in any situation, through any trial. I wake up each day with a sense of renewed hope that the day is going to bring something new and exciting, something great that is going to bring me the courage to keep going... the hope that my life can be whole again.
Then each day goes like all the rest and I am sorely disappointed at the end of the day that my life still feels like it is hanging in the balance, like I am in limbo.
I emailed another widow yesterday to ask her how long she had been a widow and if she had remarried yet and how long it took for her life to start feeling normal again. The words she wrote back to me are exactly how I have felt for so many months. The feelings where you think you are doing great, but then you hit a bump and everything feels so wrong again, then you feel like you are doing pretty good for a bit, then once again, you feel like your world is crashing down around you yet again... and again... and again... and again... and again...
She said that she didn't feel like life was normal again until she found love again and was remarried. Then the routine of life came again and normal felt normal again. Of course these are not her exact words... but basically, this is exactly how I have felt lately. I have felt as though life can't feel normal again, until our broken little family becomes a complete family again... someday.
I am not trying to have a pity party for myself. I am just wanting to express some feelings that are deep inside of me that are complete opposites of each other... that seem to be driving a wedge inside that is tearing me apart. I feel like my emotions are in a constant battle and I can't seem to get a handle on the contention between them. I feel such turmoil and heartache, but then on the other hand... I DO feel peace as well and want so badly to show on the outside the peace that I AM feeling on the inside... but I feel like the turmoil is what comes out most of the time. It is so difficult to explain.
I don't even know why it is possible to feel them both at the same time. I guess the feelings of turmoil come when I focus my thoughts on THIS life and the elements of this life that scare me when I think of doing it all alone. But the feelings of peace come when I focus my thoughts on the life to come and the blessings and joys of eternity that I will receive when I get there.
Why is it so easy for us to focus our energy more on the here and now and so difficult to focus our energy on the wonderful things to come if we live worthy of those blessings?
It goes right along with a quote that I have loved most of my life... 'Don't give up what you want MOST, for what you want at the moment.' It doesn't mean that I am wanting something now that is going to ruin my chances at what I want most, but it does go along with focusing on the here and now instead of the blessings to come.
There is a scripture that I love. Ether 12:6 which reads:
'... ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.'
I guess I just need to increase my faith and trust in my Father in Heaven. I am sure He has great things in store for me. It is difficult for me to understand, but I know He does have wonderful blessings in my future.
My sister in law, Kristi, told me about an article in this month's Ensign that she thought I should read. I just read it and it opened my eyes again to the focus I need to have as I endure this trial in my life. Thank you Kristi. The author of this article was also a young widow. The title is 'Putting my Hand in the Lord's'. As soon as I read the title, I felt something. In the past, I have had a very personal experience regarding taking the Lord's hand and letting him guide me that helped me through another trial in my life. I need to remember the things that I learn.
Anyhow, in this article, the experience of Joseph Smith was talked about when he asks the Lord how much more he is going to have to endure. The Lord responds with this answer in Doctrine and Covenants 122:
'... if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?'

Basically, the reason I wanted to write this tonight was just to try to give myself a pep talk. I know what I need to do. I know what is expected of me. I know I am going through this trial to prepare me in this life for whatever else will be required of me. I know I need this experience to prepare me for what is to come. I am in the refiner's fire... being shaped and molded into what the Lord needs me to be. So, what does He need me to learn from all of this? That is what I need to find out.
And now, as I sit here sobbing, I am feeling the inadequecies of my mortality, but in a moment, I will pray and I will feel the strength that comes from trusting in my Father in Heaven. There is joy and peace and happiness and experience yet to be had and I want it all. I miss Aaron. I always will. There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled here, but I can endure it. I am being given strength that is not my own. The Lord wants me to succeed and that gives me courage and hope.
Now, the next step is to find out what I need to do to serve the Lord will all of my heart, might, mind, and strength... that is where true happiness will come from. I hope and pray that I can begin to seek for the lessons I need to learn from this trial instead of feeling like I am being tossed around by it.

'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'
-Philippians 4:13

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just Checking In...

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I haven't written for a while, so I thought I would put down a few thoughts today.
The past couple of months have been a whirlwind. Once November hit, life became a blur. Knowing that the one year anniversary was coming up at the end of the month, that month was just really emotional and I don't remember much about it. The end of the month brought with it mixed emotions. Of course, the sorrow of the anniversary coming, but also a hope for my future. I had been wanting to have that whole first year to mourn properly and not have to worry about worldly things that bring stress and worry. I didn't want to worry about how I was going to pay bills and make ends meet, I just wanted to be Aaron Jr's stay at home mommy still and take the time to truly mourn the loss of my husband. Once the anniversary came, I felt more of an urgency to try to figure out life. An urgency to figure out finances and also to figure out where I wanted my future to go. I had a bright hope for things to come... or at least I was trying to have it.
December was also a whirlwind. The beginning of December was one of the most joyful and happy times for me since Aaron passed away. Once the middle of the month hit, I felt a heartache again that I hadn't felt for a while. I won't go into any of the details about why.
Then getting ready for a holiday that I didn't really want to come... Christmas was just not feeling like Christmas again this year. I went about the usual steps... decorating a tree, putting out the Christmas decor... but I still wasn't feeling it. On Christmas Eve and Christmas, it was lovely to be with family, but the absense of Aaron was truly felt. Watching the other kids with their Dads is always difficult for me knowing that Aaron Jr. doesn't have that. Surrounded by people, but still feeling an overwhelming loneliness.
Last night, I went to dinner with some friends that I hadn't seen for so long. Kerianne and her husband Charlie were there as well. Josh and Al (and Al's wife, Emily). These old friends are two of my best guy friends in the whole world. They can make you laugh so hard without even trying. I laughed all night as we talked about old memories. I came home on cloud nine after such a fun night.
Then I crashed. Aaron Jr. went to sleep and I layed there next to him sobbing as I hit one of my lows. I don't expect that it will always be like this, I do have hope for my future, but right now the feelings of loneliness are truly difficult to bear. I am not someone who has ever liked to be alone in life. Of course, the occasional hike in the mountains by myself is needed and desired, but as far as being alone, I am not built for it. I miss Aaron and I am so very lonely here without him.
I pray that my future, the future I have hopes for, whatever it may be, comes sooner than later...

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

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This is what we did on New Years...

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I wish everyone peace and joy this coming NEW year.
I subscribe to something called LDS Daily Gems and I get a quote each day sent to my email. This one came last week and when I read it, I thought it was perfect for the New Year. I have come to learn in my life that TODAY might be all we have. If we desire to change anything in our lives, then TODAY is the time we have... tomorrow might never come. This has been taught to me several times in my life, and again, I am setting goals TODAY to try harder to be better. If we just decide TODAY to start fresh and have a sincere desire, the Lord knows our hearts and He will help us accomplish our goals.Well, I love you all. I am grateful for the friendship and love you share with me. Here is the quote:

"The person we are when we depart this life is the person we will be as we enter the next. Thankfully, we do have Today. . . . We really are immortal in the sense that Christ's Atonement conquers death, both physical and spiritual. And provided we have so lived Today that we have claim on the Atonement's cleansing grace, we will live forever with God. This life is not so much a time for getting and accumulating as it is a time for giving and becoming. Mortality is the battlefield upon which justice and mercy meet. But they need not meet as adversaries, for they are reconciled in the Atonement of Jesus Christ for all who wisely use Today."Lance B. Wickman, "Today," Ensign, May 2008, 105

Now... the journey through the haircut...

My brother, Spencer, helped finish it... while I watched.

After he was done and we showed him the pile of his hair, this was his reaction. Then he said, 'Hey, I want that back on. That is MINE, put it back on.'

His first looks in the mirror. Not happy.

He kept rubbing it and this was him later that night. He has gotten used to it and says he likes it now. :)
It turns out that "Auld Lang Syne" is an extremely old Scottish song that was first written down in the 1700s. Robert Burns is the person whose transcription got the most attention, so the song is associated with him.
A good translation of the words "auld lang syne" is "times gone by." So when we sing this song, we are saying, "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet for times gone by."
This year, I wanted to make some resolutions. Of course, there are the normal ones... such as:
* Eat less junk.
* Exercise more.
* Read my scriptures every day.
* Pray more times a day.
* I also want to look at each day with a brighter hope for my future. Yes, I have had the storm of all storms come into my life when Aaron passed away, but I do believe that there is still such happiness yet to be had... here in my life. I want to try to be more positive about life... (I am reserving the right to still have horrible days... even while I TRY to be more positive :)
* I also made a resolution to be kinder to people. Not that I am not already trying to do this every day... but I wanted to make a specific goal to make sure I treat everyone as though they are going through the worst time of their life.
When Aaron passed away, I was literally going through the worst time of my life. When I did finally get out and about into the real world, I remember wondering why people were treating me as though I was having a normal day. Not that people were generally rude, but those who weren't as kind as they could be... I just couldn't believe they were treating me in any other way than with tender loving care. Of course, I did have to deal with some people who were rude, but they didn't know what I was feeling.
This is why I have made this goal... to be kind to everyone. To treat people as though they could be having the darkest day of their life. They very well could be...
I am grateful for fresh starts... each new year feels like we are being given a fresh start to do better.
Happy New Year to you all...
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