Monday, May 28, 2012

I Wanna Hold You High And Steal Your Pain Away

The title of this post was taken from the song Broken By Seether and Amy Lee .

"Little man I know. Where is daddy?"
"Sweetie, we've talked about this before. Daddy can't be here to give you a hug, but he is always in your heart, and he's always watching over you."

Mason had a pretty major meltdown last night. We were packing and looking at some old pictures, and he just started screaming for his dad. I rocked him as he slowly wore himself out. He finally went to sleep. I don't know if packing and the idea of moving has suddenly gotten to him, or if he just needed to get that out. He seemed better today, but I thought maybe it would be a good idea to take him to the cemetery so that we could talk some more. Here is our conversation as we sat by Mike's grave.
"Little man where is daddy?"
"I know his body is here, but his spirit is in heaven sometimes and it's here with us."
"What would you tell daddy if he were here right this minute?"
"I would tell him that I love and miss him, and that it wasn't fair for him to leave."
"Sweetie, do you understand that daddy didn't make a choice to leave us. It was just his time to go, and now he's with Heavenly Father."
"I know. I just miss him."
"I know. Me too."

The kids sprawled out on their backs and watched the clouds roll by as we talked. I know that they are all going to have their moments, I still do, I'm just glad that they know it's okay to still cry and be angry. It's okay to wonder why, and to let it all out. 

This is the view of the mountains from where Mike is buried.

Mason finally looks calm. Okay, I get this picture may seem a little creepy, but he was happy just being there and "talking" to his dad. I reminded him that just because that's where daddy's body is doesn't mean he has to be there to talk to him. He understands this, but something about being there today made things easier for him.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our House, Is A Very, Very, Very, Fine House

     The title of this post was taken from the song Our House by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young.

     I have a love hate relationship with my lawn. I hate mowing it, but I love when it's done. Last month my dad called and asked me out to dinner. I told him I couldn't because my lawn desperately needed to be mowed. I came home from school that day, and my lawn was done. Dad had come over and mowed it for me so that we could meet up with him for dinner. While I hated that my dad worked on my lawn, I should be doing his lawn, I was very appreciative. On a side note I need to add that later that week my brother in law Mikie came over to check on my lawn. I have to mention how much I love him for looking after me. Anyway, some mornings I wake up and force myself to get the lawn mower out. Is the grass usually too damp to mow, absolutely. Do I usually care that the grass is to damp to mow, absolutely not. My mower gets clogged several times, but I am able to take care of it. All of this kinda leads me in a round about way to the new house. There is much more lawn there and I am so going to have to buy a riding lawn mower. Oh, want to hear about the house :).
     I haven't said much about it because I was afraid that something would keep it from happening. The loan has been sent to the underwriters, and it looks like within the next two weeks I should be closing. There are no words to describe how excited I am. It is a great house! We are going from about 1,200 sq. feet to almost 3,000 sq. feet. It's not as accessible for Mikayla as I would like, but that just means I'll have to make some changes. It has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, two kitchens (one on the main floor and one in the finished basement), family room, living room, dining room, and three car garage. This house has more closets than I've ever seen in my life. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet, and everywhere you turn around there's another one.  It also has a nice patio and a garden. It's in a great little neighborhood and about two blocks from our church. I'll post pictures once it is mine :).
     I've started packing, not a lot,  but little things here and there. I went through a ton of stuff after Mike passed, and put aside the things that were the most important to me. I think it's time to scale down a little more and get rid of some things that I'm not particularly attached to. Even when I get rid of things I don't really need it's going to be a big task to pack all this stuff up. The house itself won't be to bad, but I'm dreading the garage. For the most part I've totally ignored it for the last year, and I know it's going to be emotional. All of Mike's Star Wars figures are packed up out there. I'm not talking about a few here and there, he probably has five or six hundred figures in their packages neatly stored in boxes. I won't ever get rid of them, but I'm not sure what to do with them either. All of his books are out there, and I won't get rid of them, but going through them will be hard. 
      I know this post is kind of a hodgepodge of stuff, but right now it's what's going on in my life. I'll post about the end of the school year in a few days. I have some great pictures to post. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lead Me, Guide Me , Walk Beside Me, Help Me Find The Way.

The title of this post was taken from the LDS Hymn I Am A Child Of God.

This has become my favorite talks by Elder Uchtdorf. It brings me comfort and peace.

Forget Me Not


Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It is my prayer and blessing that you will never forget that you are truly precious daughters in God’s kingdom.
My dear sisters, what a joy it is to be with you today. I always look forward to this annual general Relief Society meeting and the excellent messages given here. Thank you, sisters. It is a precious honor for me to be assigned by President Thomas S. Monson to speak today and to add a few thoughts addressing the sisters of the Church.
A while ago I was walking through a beautiful garden with my wife and daughter. I marveled at the glory and beauty of God’s creation. And then I noticed, among all the glorious blooms, the tiniest flower. I knew the name of this flower because since I was a child I have had a tender connection to it. The flower is called forget-me-not.
I’m not exactly sure why this tiny flower has meant so much to me over the years. It does not attract immediate attention; it is easy to overlook among larger and more vibrant flowers; yet it is just as beautiful, with its rich color that mirrors that of the bluest skies—perhaps this is one reason why I like it so much.
And there is the haunting plea of its name. There is a German legend that just as God had finished naming all the plants, one was left unnamed. A tiny voice spoke out, “Forget me not, O Lord!” And God replied that this would be its name.
Tonight I would like to use this little flower as a metaphor. The five petals of the little forget-me-not flower prompt me to consider five things we would be wise never to forget.

First, forget not to be patient with yourself.

I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.
Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.
And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It’s wonderful that you have strengths.
And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.
God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths,1 but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect,2 and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.
Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.
In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences.
For example, insisting that you have a picture-perfect family home evening each week—even though doing so makes you and everyone around you miserable—may not be the best choice. Instead, ask yourself, “What could we do as a family that would be enjoyable and spiritual and bring us closer together?” That family home evening—though it may be modest in scope and execution—may have far more positive long-term results.
Our journey toward perfection is long, but we can find wonder and delight in even the tiniest steps in that journey.

Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.

An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth.
Giving up a little sleep to help a child who is having a nightmare is a good sacrifice. We all know this. Staying up all night, jeopardizing our own health, to make the perfect accessory for a daughter’s Sunday outfit may not be such a good sacrifice.
Dedicating some of our time to studying the scriptures or preparing to teach a lesson is a good sacrifice. Spending many hours stitching the title of the lesson into homemade pot holders for each member of your class perhaps may not be.
Every person and situation is different, and a good sacrifice in one instance might be a foolish sacrifice in another.
How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves, “Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?” There are so many good things to do, but we can’t do all of them. Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater with an eternal perspective. Sometimes, that may even mean nurturing small but beautiful forget-me-not flowers instead of a large garden of exotic blooms.

Third, forget not to be happy now.

In the beloved children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the mysterious candy maker Willy Wonka hides a golden ticket in five of his candy bars and announces that whoever finds one of the tickets wins a tour of his factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Written on each golden ticket is this message: “Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket … ! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you! … Mystic and marvelous surprises … will … delight, … astonish, and perplex you.”3
In this classic children’s story, people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket.
So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.
There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings—we hope and seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”4 The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event—our golden ticket—to appear.
One woman wanted more than anything else to marry a righteous priesthood holder in the temple and be a mother and a wife. She had dreamed about this all her life, and oh, what a wonderful mother and loving wife she would be. Her home would be filled with loving-kindness. Never a bitter word would be spoken. The food would never burn. And her children, instead of hanging out with their friends, would prefer to spend their evenings and weekends with Mom and Dad.
This was her golden ticket. It was the one thing upon which she felt her whole existence depended. It was the one thing in all the world for which she most desperately yearned.
But it never happened. And, as the years went on, she became more and more withdrawn, bitter, and even angry. She could not understand why God would not grant her this righteous desire.
She worked as an elementary school teacher, and being around children all day long simply reminded her that her golden ticket had never appeared. As the years passed she became more disappointed and withdrawn. People didn’t like being around her and avoided her whenever they could. She even took her frustration out on the children at school. She found herself losing her temper, and she swung between fits of anger and desperate loneliness.
The tragedy of this story is that this dear woman, in all her disappointment about her golden ticket, failed to notice the blessings shedid have. She did not have children in her home, but she was surrounded by them in her classroom. She was not blessed with a family, but the Lord had given her an opportunity few people have—the chance to influence for good the lives of hundreds of children and families as a teacher.
The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.
This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.
The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.

Fourth, forget not the “why” of the gospel.

Sometimes, in the routine of our lives, we unintentionally overlook a vital aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ, much as one might overlook a beautiful, delicate forget-me-not. In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.
My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.
While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.
Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.
My dear sisters, seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.

Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.

As a child, when I would look at the little forget-me-nots, I sometimes felt a little like that flower—small and insignificant. I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father.
Years later I can look back on that young boy with tenderness and compassion. And I do know now—I was never forgotten.
And I know something else: as an Apostle of our Master, Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart—neither are you!
You are not forgotten.
Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.
Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are the daughters of His kingdom. The Psalmist wrote:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? …
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”5
God loves you because you are His child. He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes.
The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow.
My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church. Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society. Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord’s help.
Sisters, there is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower. I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet. Please never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you.
Thank you for who you are. Thank you for the countless acts of love and service you offer up to so many. Thank you for all that you will yet do to bring the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ to families, to the Church, to your communities, and to the nations of the world.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh, You Make Me Smile

The title of this post was taken from the song Smile by Uncle Kracker.

I've had some interesting comments made to me over the last year, and I thought I would share. These are things that new widows or widowers do not like to hear.

1) You're young, you'll find someone else. 
2) You're going to have a hard time finding someone willing to take on three kids.
3) How long are you going to play the widow card?
             Wait a minute...what? Surly this lady did not just ask me that "How long are you going to play the widow card?" ...what? I don't...what? Are you...what? Widow card? You mean like in the game of Spades where a spade can trump a card from any other suit? You mean like I'm using the fact that I'm a widow to...what? I can't really think of any benefits to losing my husband. Thanks so much.
4) Are you feeling any better about things?
5) Did he have life insurance? How much?
6) You're actually staying at your house?
      Yes, I am. What else am I supposed to do? It's my home, it's what the kids know. It's where they feel close to their dad. Since when do I have to justify where I'm staying.
7) My husband is getting on my nerves.

       I don't think that people realize that I didn't get my copy of the book How to handle losing a spouse AND make others happy. Instead I just got to pick out a casket, but thanks.

    I wrote that about seven months ago, but just wasn't sure what to do with it. I look back at how cynical I was at some points this last year, and I think how sad. I can only chalk it up to survival mode. When I read that partial post and then I read what I really wanted to post today I had to smile a little. I've come a long way. 
      I'm actually doing fairly well right now. School is almost over, 5 and a half days for students :), and I'm looking forward to summer. I have floundered over the last year. I've felt like my life was in a constant limbo, but a very dear coworker made a comment the other day that really put things into perspective for me. It was something close to this "Melanie, you're at the top of the mountain, and you can go either way." Meaning I can continue to push forward and allow myself a life with laugher, love, and new experiences, or I can turn around and focus on the destruction of the past year. This last year has been about simply making it through, and there is so much I don't remember. I guess my whole point is that I'm choosing to take all my wonderful memories and continue LIVING my life. I don't want another year in which the only way I remember what I did was by reading this blog. I want to live. 
     I like to smile and I like to have fun. My kids need to see me this way. Yesterday John and I went out while mom watched the kids for us. I think this picture says enough.

I know it's difficult for some people to know that I have someone special in my life. I was part of "Mike and Mel" for 15 years, and I know this is hard. I'm not trying to replace Mike or our memories. I'm trying to smile and find some hope for my future. Mike always said I had the most beautiful smile in the whole world. I know with all of my heart that he would want me to be happy, but most of all he would want me to smile.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cause I Am A Superwoman Yes I Am...Even When I'm A Mess I Still Put On A Vest With An S On My Chest

    The title of this post was taken from the song Superwoman by Alicia Keys.

      I couldn't remember if I had blogged about Mother's Day last year, and I had to go back and look. I didn't post anything nor do I remember anything about it. I don't mean that it's just a blur and there are bits and pieces, I mean I remember absolutely nothing about it. I couldn't tell you if my family got together or not, I'm sure that I let my mom know how much she meant to me, but I can't recall any of it. 
     I hadn't thought much of Mother's Day this year, and it kinda snuck up on me. I know it's selfish, and I should be doing more to honor my mother, but I can't help but to feel a little lost. I've been sick all weekend, and I haven't felt like doing much. John and the kids gave me a plaque that says "Coolest Mother In The History Of Motherhood" It was very sweet of them. Right this minute I'm sitting on my bed with Jasper. Tyler is at Mikayla's house, Mason is taking a nap, and Sebastian is watching T.V. John went back to Williamsburg for the night to visit some family. I'm surrounded by tissues because I can't stop sneezing, and I'm blaming my wet cheeks on the fact my eyes won't stop watering, but in reality I'm just sad. I don't even understand why I'm so sad all of the sudden. I've had wonderful friends text me to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. They understand the void that is there, and they try to fill it for me. I have a wonderful family that bought me little things to honor me today. So why am I feeling like this? I think it's because when I'm alone I allow myself to delve into those dark places that I've tucked neatly away. I let myself unfold those emotions that have been folded over, creased, flattened and shoved to the darker recesses of my being. I allow myself to take a peak at the used to be of yesterday. I let my mind drift to the land of what if's, and I give myself permission to grieve for a small insecure moment. 
      I must say that overall I'm getting better about allowing myself to have moments of happiness, but I also realize that it's important to allow myself some downtime when I am free to just be. Now is one of those moments, and it's in these moments that I feel like writing which really isn't fair. In writing only when I'm sad or upset I miss out on telling you about the funny or sweet moments in my life. Like how at 2:00am this morning John fixed me a cup of TheraFlu to drink because I was feeling so miserable. I miss out on telling you about the incredible friends I have or how my children can be so sappy sweet that I often just stare at them. I miss telling you about the wonderful things going on in my life, and how there may be some bigger changes in the near future. I'm not quite ready to go into those so you'll just have to wait. I guess right now I need to dry my eyes, pick myself up off the bed, and focus on what I have in my life at this moment. I have kids who love me....most of the time. I have a family that would and have gone to the ends of the earth to make me happy and be there for me, and last but not least I have John in my life. Time to take these paper thin tender emotions and fold them up once again, making sure all the creases match up and it's as flat and perfect as can be. I'll tuck it away into the part of my heart that Mike will always hold, and when I have another small moment of quiet time I'll pull it out and cry and laugh at all the things I miss and will never be. For right now I'm using this as my strength to get up and be the super mom I know I'm not. I wonder if I can squeeze in a nap?