Monday, January 30, 2012

So Long, Farewell :(

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This morning, my parents drove out of town on their way to serve their second full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
They are going to Canada... to serve people there and to teach of Jesus Christ and His teachings.

It was a very tearful goodbye and I am a little bit in shock right now. When we came to their house today after they left, Aaron Jr and I sat in my Mom's recliner and watched the rest of a movie we had started. It is where my mom would have been sitting if she were there watching it with us. It tugged at my heart and I wished they were there watching with us.
Last time they went on a full time mission, Aaron Jr was only three months old and Aaron was still here. I had a new baby and a husband to focus on. I missed them, but this time around is so much more difficult having them gone.

 Theirs is the house where all of us kids congregate... where we know we will run into each other while we are visiting Mom and Dad. I like to call it Grand Central Station.
In these past four years, their house is where Aaron Jr and I go to visit when we are lonely... which is often. We go there every day at least once. So, having my parents gone is going to be very different for us... and extra lonely. We will have to call them and skype them a lot.

I am so proud of them. They are doing the work of the Lord and I know that blessings will come to them and our family who will be missing them so much while they are gone. They are to be gone a year or more. It is up in the air how long for sure, but at least a year. They are such great examples to all of us.

My parents are both going to miss us, but my Mom is super sad to leave her kids and grandkids again. She knows she is needed in the service of the Lord, but her family has always been her life.
My Dad, on the other hand, is sad, but also super happy to be off on an adventure with his wife of 49 + years and have her all to himself again.
They are going to spend their 50th wedding anniversary on their mission.
What an amazing way to celebrate 50 years together... in the service of the Lord.

Something is wrong with my hair... and Aaron Jr was trying so hard to put a great smile on his face, but this was his 'CHEESE' face while he waited for the photo to be snapped.
This is us with my parents last night after they got set apart for their mission.

 My amazing, wonderful, spectacular, splendid, brilliant parents.

Mom and Dad...
thank you for the examples that you are to us,
the people of Canada are blessed to have you for a time,
but we are blessed to have you always.
We miss you,
We love you.
God be with you 'til be meet again.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Hallmark Kind of Life...

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I have had so much on my mind lately... and I have wanted to write it down and I figured I would just start typing and see if any of it makes sense once it is out of my head. I am not writing this to get sympathy or comfort from others... I write these postings so that my thoughts are written down and so that those who read it can understand me a little better...
if they want to.

My mom and I have been hooked on watching Hallmark movies lately. I have always loved them, but it wasn't until these past few years that I have really paid close attention to just how many of them have the same theme to them. You would think that a Hallmark kind of life would be just like a Hallmark greeting card... perfect in every way and is just the way you hope it to be. But, Hallmark movies usually aren't like that throughout... until the end. In fact, a while back I never would have thought of my life as a Hallmark kind of life, but now I realize that my life is smack dab right in the beginning and middle of what a Hallmark movie really is; the grief, the sorrow, the pain, the working toward overcoming the hardships in one's path...
I just haven't experienced the END of a Hallmark movie yet.

Most of the Hallmark movies we have been watching on the Hallmark Channel are love stories. Those love stories usually go something like this: some sort of a love triangle where there is a couple that is already together and a single guy or gal who is a better fit than the one in the current relationship. Somehow, they usually get it all figured out by the end of the show... realizing that they are with the wrong person, and they end up with that other person who just happens to be perfect for them. A lot of those love stories are about someone who is divorced who is trying to find happiness again... and A LOT, more than you would think actually, are about a widow or a widower.

I have been completely caught off guard since Aaron passed away at the number of Hallmark movies, actually movies in general, that have a story line about a widow or a widower. Someone who has lost their spouse who is trying to find love again or just trying to navigate through their grief and figure out how to live life without their husband or wife. I notice more now that I am in that situation.

Right after Aaron passed away, my Aunt and my cousin Mindy came to see me at my parents' house. They had a movie to give to me. It was a Hallmark movie that they both loved... and I guess it now reminded them of me. Well, when they handed it to me, I had no idea just how much it would hit home.

It is called 'Love Comes Softly'... (spoiler alert). I am not sure when I ended up watching it with my parents and Aaron Jr, but it was pretty soon after they gave it to us. It was a movie set back in horse and wagon times. It was about a young couple, Aaron (1st time it hit home) and Marty, who are heading west to begin a new life together. Her husband, Aaron, is killed in a horse accident (2nd time it hit home), and Marty was left alone in a place she didn't know. With winter approaching, there would be no wagon trains leaving to head back east where her family was until spring, so she was stuck there without a home. A widower named Clark, who had a daughter, came to her with a proposal. He told her that he would marry her so that she had a place to live through the winter, if she would help him with his daughter... and if she still wanted to go back east in the spring, he would pay her way back. Well, in those months together, she realized she was pregnant with her husband Aaron's baby. She had the baby while she was with Clark and she named him Aaron Jr (3rd time it hit close to home).

I guess I won't spoil the end by telling whether or not they ended up together... but I will say this. Once I saw that movie, I realized how much I hoped to meet a wonderful man who was a widower and fall in love and get married. I just figure that we would be able to understand what each other has been through and be able to be patient with each other in ways that someone else might not understand. I am not saying I know the future and I am meant to marry a widower... but it sure would be a little less complicated. The movie 'Love Comes Softly' brought me to tears many times because it brought emotions that were real to me, but I sure did love that movie and I am grateful to my Aunt and cousin for giving it to us.

I have been trying so hard lately to 'be of good cheer' like I talked about in y Christmas posting. I really have been trying to find JOY in simple places and to be cheerful and happy in everyday life even if life is not what I have hoped for or expected. I really have been trying... and even succeeding some of the time.
But I have been struggling lately, so it has been more difficult for me to look outside of myself... I have felt a little selfish and I have been experiencing feelings of jealousy more than I ever have in my life. I have been feeling jealousy about the things that I do not have in my life... jealousy towards those people who do have those things that I want in my life. I say 'things', but it is actually regarding the people that they have in their lives... women who have husbands, moms who have CHILDREN. I've said it on here way more than one time how much I want to have a family... a family consisting of a Mom (me), a Dad, and CHILDREN. As Aaron Jr gets older, he asks more and more about having brothers and sisters... and it breaks my heart. Also, the older he gets, the more I panic that he will not have a sibling close in age to him... if ever.

I am also getting older. I was 30 when Aaron passed away, and now I am 34. I will turn 35 this year and at this point in my life, I always imagined myself having 5, 6, 7, 8... kids. I have never put a number on how many kids I wanted because I only ever knew that I wanted however many kids were waiting to come to our family. I never wanted to put a number on it and limit what the Lord has in store for me as a mother. Whenever someone has asked me throughout my life how many kids I wanted, I always gave the same answer... I want as many kids that are supposed to be mine... but I did hope it was a lot. So yes... I am jealous. Jealous of people having babies because I am wanting more so badly. I probably sound like a broken record sometimes, but I am so sad that Aaron Jr is not getting to experience a real, true blue family life. Some of my fondest memories EVER are memories made with my brothers and sisters doing every day things on the farm we lived on... creating our own fun... together. I just know that I am simply not enough to fill up the life that I want for Aaron Jr. But I guess for now I have to try to figure out how to be enough.

Like I have said before... I am in a grieving period right now over something more than just missing my husband. I am grieving the unfulfilled dreams I have hoped for throughout my whole life. These dreams are all I ever wanted out of life... to be the loving wife of a loving husband, and the loving mother to lots of children. This is not meant to take away the gratitude I feel that I am so blessed to have Aaron Jr... he is everything to me... but the grieving I feel over these unfulfilled dreams... it is real sorrow and real heartache. Like I heard in a movie recently, I am grieving over relationships with a husband and children who I have never even met yet.

My mother in law called me today to let me know that they were home from their trip to Hawaii. They had gone with some close friends of theirs and she told me that she and her friend were talking about me while they were on their trip. She shared with me that they were both crying as they talked about me and how lonely they know I must be. They talked about how this time of my life is supposed to be the best years of my life... the best family years with a husband and young children around me. She told me how much she wants that for me.

I think one of the things that is adding to some of my difficulties lately is knowing that my parents are leaving soon. I mentioned in my Christmas Festivities posting that my parents have received another mission call to serve a mission for our church. They are leaving in about a week and a half... and they will be gone a year or more. The first time they served a mission, Aaron was here and I had my own little growing family around me to take care of. I missed them while they were gone, but I had a home with my family. Nowadays, my parent's house is where Aaron Jr and I go each day when we are feeling lonely and want to be in a place where we feel at home with people that we love. Hence the many, many, many Hallmark movies that my parents and I and Aaron Jr have been watching together. ;) But once they leave, that will be gone. It will be so lonely while they are gone...

BUT... I have been trying to look at the positive side of it and I have been trying to see this coming year as an opportunity. An opportunity to use that lonely time to try to get out more and meet people. I am not a very social person... I do not do well in situations where I don't know anyone... but I am going to pray for guidance and strength to help me go outside of my comfort zone and figure out what the Lord has in store for me. My sister in law and I kept saying today that this is my year (I have hopes for it anyway). I want something big to happen in our lives this year. I want my Hallmark kind of life to get to the end of the movie, the part where the girl gets the guy or the guy gets the girl and the movie ends with the rest of their lives still ahead of them to find JOY together.
I am ready for my Hallmark ending... so that the life I truly want for Aaron Jr and for myself can begin.

I pray for it... I hope for it... I need it.

So please bless...

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Second Amendment Fans

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 During Christmas break, we went shooting a couple of times.
I took most of mine and Aaron's hand guns up with us.
Mark and Spencer brought the other guns.
In this photo, I am helping Aaron Jr shoot a real fun for the first time.


Spencer helping lil Spencer.

My Dad.

Richard, my brother.
Richard, my nephew.
Nathan, my nephew.

Matthew, my nephew.
David, my nephew.
Mark, my brother.

Spencer, my brother.
Spencer helping Spencer, my nephew.
Robert, my brother.

Here is a group shot of one of the mornings.
I wish all of my brothers and older nephews could have come with us.

This photo was taken of the time that I missed the wood that was thrown in the air...
but the next time, the wood was thrown into the air, I shot the shot gun at it as it dropped, and I hit it square on and sent it flying as it came apart.
It was awesome.

Me with my Ruger 9 mm.
Aaron bought this as a gift for me when we were first married.
He always called it MY gun, but I am sure he bought it for me so that he could have it as well. :) I got a kick out of it. I was always so proud when he would talk about the gun and the first time we went shooting with it. He would always tell people that I had been a better shot than him. He always seemed proud... and it made me happy.

Shooting the 9 mm and the 22.

This is the target we shot at with the 22 rifle.
If you look closely, I hit the number 8 circle...
thus getting the closest with that gun. :)

This is my Dad shooting three different guns.
The bottom one is Aaron's Ruger .22 pistol.

I can't remember which gun I am shooting here.
I think an SKS or an AK47.

Helping Aaron Jr shoot his Daddy's 22 pistol.

Somehow, it seems like it should be someone else here teaching him about guns and how to shoot them... but since he cannot be here, I am more than happy to teach him stuff like this.

Shooting Aaron's Ruger 44 Magnum.
SO powerful... it knocked me back a bit when I shot it.
It sure was fun though...

Dad, Robert, and Mark
all taking a turn with the 44 magnum.

And again... the 44 mangum.
That gun is a beast.

We missed those who could not make it.

Don't do this at home, kids. :)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Random December ~ 2011

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When we woke up the morning of Aaron Jr's birthday, the power was out and had been most of the night. The wind had been howling and raging outside all night. It was cold because the heat has to have power to run. THIS birthday of Aaron Jr's was one for the record books. I was SO sick on his birthday. I had a fever, a tooth ache, I think I had strep throat, and I was having back issues due to a back spasm the week before. I did not sleep the night before because I felt so crappy and all night I listened to the wind howling. When we got up on the morning of Aaron’s birthday, we were amazed at the power of the wind. We could hardly walk to the car to go to school. The fence that separates our house and the house next door was coming apart. A section of it had blown over and was under our car a bit, while I was moving it from under the tire, another piece flew off of their fence and hit our car. School ended up being canceled for two days due to the wind, power outages, and the debris that was blowing around. So, Aaron and I went to my parents' house to spend the day there. I figured it would be a little warmer there and I felt so awful, I needed some help for Aaron's birthday.
There were so many HUGE trees down across roads. It was unbelievable how much destruction had come from just the wind.
The power was out all day at Dad and Mom’s house but came on finally in the early evening. We stayed over night at my parents' house because our power was out for nearly two days.
I wish I had more photos of how many trees were down all over the place. SO many.

Bros with the chain saws cutting apart a huge tree that had fallen over at Teresa's parents' house.

John R.

On Sunday, they were expected another huge wind storm that night, so while we were sitting in church, after the sacrament was passed, the bishop stood up and announced that the rest of church was being canceled so that all who were able could get out to the neighborhoods and gather all of the debris and downed trees and take them to the dump so that the debris would not be blown around and cause more damage in the wind.
Church had been canceled all over the area for the same reason. It was amazing to see how many people were out all over the area helping to load downed trees and branches and debris into trucks and trailers to be hauled to the dump. Aaron and I rode along with my brother all day helping to load and unload. We made loads of trips to the dumping areas with a full truck. The photos above are of each dumping place and how many vehicles were waiting to dump their loads. It is difficult to see the line in the top photo, but it was SOOOOOO long. Thousands of people were out that day, serving each other, cleaning up the city... in case the wind storm was a bad one. It was an amazing experience to be a part of.

Here is my brother's truck that we helped load and unload all day.

Here are some photos of the dumping grounds. They started letting people dump at the high school and also by an off ramp by the freeway, the dump was too busy... so they needed to open up other places to dump.

Aaron Jr got to push the button to dump the load and then to put it back down.

It was such a cold day, but at least I got a few beautiful photos between truck dumps.

This is the tree in my brother's yard. They cut it back for winter in the shape of a Y.
Aaron Jr got a parachute guy for his birthday from Aunt April.
Steve took him up on the roof at Secret Haven to help him make him fly.

Aaron was REALLY into his video game.

Here is a photo that Aaron took.
It is a painting that has hung in my parents' house since before I can remember.

We went to Texas Roadhouse with Mark and Suzy and Dad and Mom.
We had them sing to Aaron and Evelyn for their birthdays that were both in December.

It was a busy month. A good, busy month.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Festivities ~ 2011

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Remembering Aaron and Bruce on Christmas.

 My mother in law always has this Santa and Mrs Claus come to her store the first Saturday of December. I think they are such a cute and perfect Santa and Mrs Claus.
Aaron asked for a remote control car.

 Spencer and Kristi's family were in town for Christmas.
This is Aaron Jr with their kids. They each had a balloon 'sword'.

 These are my nieces and nephews and Aaron Jr performing the Nativity while my Dad read from Luke chapter 2.

 My Mom made reversible aprons for ALL of the girls in our family.
I love her hand made gifts that she makes each year.
So much effort and so special.
We love them Mom.

Here is a close up of mine and Teresa's.
We are the only ones without a daughter, so we posed together.

My Dad picked out gifts for each of the boys in the family.
They are these awesome LED light things.
The kids were thrilled to have their own new little 'toys'.
They older guys will use them for the real purpose and they will come in handy.

My parents put in their papers for their second full time mission...
and they got their call in the mail the day before our family party...
so they saved it and opened it in front of everyone.

The Canada, Toronto Mission!
They are one lucky mission there...
my parents served there a little over 4 years ago as well.
They are SO happy to be going back to where they served before.
They know the people, the area, and what to expect.
They love the people there and the people love them and have been wanting them to come back there ever since they came home.
We will sure miss them when they go... a lot.

The nieces and nephews with Aaron Jr from the Harkness side.

The nieces and nephews and Aaron Jr performing the Nativity while Steve read from Luke chapter 2. I love having the kids involved on both sides of the family with remembering the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Me with Aaron Jr.

Aaron is here holding a little baby Jesus figurine...
and reciting a poem for everyone.
Here is the poem he recited:

"Day of light
day of birth
here is God
come to earth."

He recited it perfectly and I loved it.

Aaron took my camera and started taking photos.
Here are a couple of his photos.
Grandpa and Grandma Harkness.

 Uncle Kenny (Sue's brother) gave each of the kids a gift...
this is them telling him THANK YOU!

 Here is another photo that Aaron Jr took.
He took a photo of Daddy and Mommy's photo on the wall.

 Aaron Jr got some dinosaurs, and Sue gave him a couple of little remote control racing cars, I wrapped up Bruce the shark again just like I have done every year since Aaron passed away... Aaron bought this for Aaron, but since it is for older kids, we never had him open it at the time... so, I keep wrapping it up from his Daddy every year until he is 8. That is the age it says on the packaging.
The bottom right photo is the remote control truck I gave to Aaron for Christmas.

The meaningful gift that I gave to Aaron Jr this year was a photo book that I put together online.
I went through every photo of mine from the night Aaron Jr was born until the day that Aaron passed away... I was looking for every photo that had all three of us in it. I wanted to put together a book that has every photo of our family so that Aaron Jr had them all in one book.
It was a mixture of emotions... I was so happy to finally have them all in one place, but also very sad knowing that there will never be another family photo taken of our family.
I made one of these books for each of the grandparents as well.

 Here is my Dad making waffles on Christmas morning.
And this is my Mom with Aaron Jr at Aaron's headstone.

Aaron Jr and Me at Daddy's / Aaron's headstone. Our Christmas visit to see him.
There was a candle burning on the other side of the headstone that Sue had put there a couple of days before. It was still burning and it smelled SO good.

We also went to the headstone of my parents...
which is also in memory of my brother Bruce.
My brother is buried in Missouri, so this is the first Christmas that we have been able to 'visit' a headstone on Christmas to remember him.
For Christmas, I bought myself the cardinal shirt that I am wearing in this photo, I also bought the cardinal shirt that Aaron is wearing for him for Christmas. They were to remember my brother.
When my brother passed away, he was a sophomore in high school and he played several sports there... the mascot there was a cardinal, so ever since he passed away, the cardinal has been a symbol to remind us of Bruce.
I can't see an ornament of a cardinal and not buy it.
Aaron Jr has found two different puzzles now with a cardinal on it and wanted to buy them for Grandma to remember Bruce. We just got done putting one of them together a couple of days ago.
Anyhow, that is why I bought these shirts... to remember Bruce.

 Me with Mom at the headstone to remember Bruce on Christmas.
I could tell Mom was so happy to be able to have a place to put flowers in remembrance of Bruce.

  Aaron wanted to show off his new BYU beanie and his new Cardinal T-shirt.

Aaron loves his new remote control truck.

It is always a treat having Christmas fall on a Sunday.
We get to go to church and have a Christmas program.
It helps us all stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
I am so grateful for the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you to everyone who blessed our lives this Christmas with love and generosity.
We are so blessed.

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