Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Seeing with New Eyes

About four years ago I got really excited about having LASIK surgery.  Trent was totally on board with it.  He was always in favor of anything he thought would make me happy.  We planned to use our tax refund but of course after he was diagnosed that refund was always used to meet our incredibly high insurance deductible for his treatments.  Unfortunately, this year there was no deductible to meet.  I started toying with the idea of LASIK about five months ago.  Nothing was happening and I was not getting any closer to having the surgery until one day it dawned on me that I had to make it happen.  I guess part of me was waiting for Trent to say to do it.  Not like a heavenly message or anything...just that we always talked about every big decision and I didn't really have anybody to discuss this with and make that big decision.  So about five weeks ago I made a quick decision and picked up the phone and before I hung up I had a surgery date for three weeks later!  I was thrilled...except that meant that I had to wear my glasses for the next three weeks.  Ugh.  I hate them!  I never wore glasses at all except at night.  It was so hard for me to wear those darn things!  I hated every minute of it and swore that I would stomp on my frames the second I had the surgery done.  The only good part about it was that I think that wearing glasses made my 1.5 eyebrow situation less noticeable. :)

Zach and his "four eyed Mom"

Stealing a kiss from Jonny.  He loved that I had glasses like him.

Morning of surgery...last picture with glasses! Yay!
I was so excited to have the surgery done.  It was so easy!  I was in an out in less than an hour.  I was only in the surgery room for fifteen minutes and each eye took less than a minute to do.  The first day was pretty miserable because I felt like the doctor had thrown a fistful of sand in each eye.  I tried to sleep most of the day but had to wake up each hour to put drops in my eyes.
Gotta love the post surgery goggles!
I had to sleep with these beauties on for five days.  I always went to sleep with them on but never woke up
still wearing them. Oh well.  The only visible change in my eyes was the blood blister rings around each iris from where they had to stabilize the eye during surgery.  Luckily most of that was covered by my eyelids so I wasn't walking around grossing everyone out with my bloody eyes.  At my post op appointment the day after surgery I was seeing 20/15 from each eye and just one week later I am seeing almost 20/10 from each eye.  The best vision ever recorded is 20/8.  Yes, I am feeling pretty darn good about my decision!

Last week my mom brought home a bunch of new flannel nightgowns.  Weird, I know, but we loved them anyway!  We all chose our favorite and put them on to model.  We were in such a weird mood!  The evening may have included dancing, piggyback rides, and a dog-pile...but I am not talking!  We laughed about being the girls from "Little House on the Prairie".   I called dibs on being Laura Ingalls.  Trent had a crush on her when he was young.  I even considered putting my hair in braids for our photoshoot. ;)
Mom, Me, Mallory, and Megan sporting our fancy nightgowns.
It was nice to be crazy and fun and laugh with my girls.  It feels like a part of me is waking up again.  I love it! I have missed being fully happy.  I am trying to find the joy in each day and focus on the good things in my life.  It is difficult to always keep an eternal perspective on life but I can see that when I do, things fall into place a little better than when I try to force the pieces together.  I am so grateful for my "new eyes", literally and spiritually, because with them I am beginning to see that I can be happy again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


This morning Zach was frantically trying to get his assignment for Language Arts to print from my computer but was running out of time.  I told him I would print it and bring it over to school for him.  When I finally got everyone out the door and the dishes done, I sat down at my computer and read the poem Zach had written for class.  Of course, I was bawling instantly...

I am sorrowful and lost.
I wonder if my father is near.
I hear my mother cry at night.
I see reminders everywhere.
I want to run and hide.
I am sorrowful and lost.

I pretend it never happened.
I feel my heart crunch with sadness.
I touch the soft reminder.
I worry we will never recover.
I cry when no one else can see.
I am sorrowful and lost.

I understand it had to happen.
I say, “It’s better this way”.
I dream of going home again.
I try my best each day.
I hope it will get better.
I am sorrowful and lost.

This evening as I was taking Zach to renew his fishing license I told him how amazing I thought his poem was.  He told me his teacher had read it to the class and his classmates had applauded him.  He was very matter of fact about everything, but that is so Zach.

I sat quietly for a moment while my eyes starting "sweating", as Zach calls it.  I told him how sorry I was that this was his life and that I wished it could be different for him.  This was his reply to me, "It's okay Mom, I just figure that everybody was foreordained to their trials in life.  I think that this had to happen to me so I could comfort somebody else.  I don't even think I would change it if I could because it was obviously supposed to happen this way and it is only for such a short time and then we can be together forever.  So, if I can help just one person, then it is worth it.  I know that the worth of one soul is of infinite worth to Heavenly Father.  That is why I am so excited to serve a mission...it is going to be really great, ya know?"

Wow.  I was so humbled to hear those words from my 13 year old son.  He is pretty amazing...and just like his father.  Trent would have been so proud to hear that little speech from him, and I am pretty sure he did.  I am so proud to be his mother.  I am in awe.  I am so blessed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Widow/Widower Conference

Yeah I know, the title makes me cringe too.  Last fall I had a few invitations to attend a Widow/Widower Conference.  The first thought that came to my mind was, "Eww gross!  What a meat market!"  Of course, I declined.  But by about December I knew I had to go to the next one which was held in the middle of March.  I just could not get the thought out of my mind.  I even knew who I had to take with me.  I had mentioned it to a few other friends who are in my same situation and their reaction was the same as mine, "EWWW!!!"  So I knew I either had to go alone or trust the promptings that I had been receiving to take Brad, a friend who lost his wife due to a complication in her pregnancy in June 2011.  Brad was reluctant as well but agreed to go and be my buffer from the meat market.  We agreed that we would not participate in any social activities during the conference and there would be no eye contact with anyone.  Pretty strict right!?

We were both pretty nervous as we arrived on the first morning, not knowing what to expect.  As soon as we walked in a woman ran up to us and hugged us, loudly introducing herself and exclaiming how happy she was to meet us.  I nearly bolted for the car right then!  Thankfully, I did not.

The first speaker was S. Michael Wilcox, author of several LDS books and talks.  "The Fourth Watch" is a talk of his that I have listened to several times and absolutely LOVE!  When he began speaking it was like the Balm of Gilead for my soul.  He could have been singing the ABC's to me and it would have been the same.  Just hearing his voice was so comforting to me.  He gave a fabulous talk and mentioned some of the same things that I have also learned.  He doesn't use the term, "moving on" and neither do I.  I prefer, "carrying on".  He came up with something even better though, "moving toward".  I loved that!  Each day I am moving toward my reunion with Trent.  He talked about eternal love going both forward and backward, how important it is to "pass through" sorrow, and that the grave is as important as the altar in creating eternal marriages.  Seriously, so good.

We attended workshops given by Kent Allen, a licensed marriage and family therapist.  He was amazing.  I would go back a thousand times just to hear him speak.  Not only did he tell us what to expect from our children at different ages and stages, he told us exactly what to do to help them.  He told us how to help ourselves and what is normal and when to seek help. He taught us about Love Languages and how they apply to our children.  He also bore testimony of the healing that comes through the Atonement and encouraged us to lay our burdens at Christ's feet.  Yes, I am a big, big fan of his now.

The cost of the seminar included lunch and dinner each day.  We made the mistake of eating the lunch provided on the first day.  No, the food was not the problem, it was having to witness the meat market in action.  Yikes!  We met some nice people but I wish I had a better experience with the group as a whole.  After that we decided to get food somewhere else. :)
We also got to hear from Chris Williams and his wife, Mikkel.  Chris' first wife and three of his five children were killed in an auto accident cause by a drunk driver.  He brought up some interesting points in his talk.  He talked about how it seems that during the first few months after loss we have such a strong spiritual support but that seems to fade, leaving us feeling alone and lost.  He said, "If we always have such a strong spiritual support we would never need to be strong on our own.  We would be spiritually crippled."  I don't really think that the support fades but it is like a parent teaching a child to ride a bike.  At first we hold firmly to the bike, steadying them.  Gradually the amount of support gets less and less until eventually we run beside them as they ride the bike all by themselves.  It is the same concept.  Heavenly Father never leaves us alone but supports us and loves us until we can be strong without as much help from Him.  Of course, He is always right there to catch us if we stumble too.  Brother Williams also spoke of forgiveness and faith.  He had to make a choice to forgive the other driver.  He likened it to a parent disciplining a child.  It is so tempting for other children to jump in, or pile on, as we call it.  But he knew that he had to not interfere in Heavenly Father's parenting of His other child.  He knew that he would be cared for and parented with peace and comfort, but he needed to "let it go" and forgive.  He then asked, "Do you have faith that Christ can heal you?"  I was sure I knew the answer to that when Trent was battling cancer.  I certainly had enough faith for Trent to be healed.  Unfortunately that was not God's will.  Now the question is do I have enough faith for me to be healed?  I have to ask myself that question every single day.  When Mikkel spoke she asked the question, "Who am I becoming because of this trial?"  We all have a choice in that matter.  Who we become depends on our reaction to our trials.  Heavenly Father knows who I can/will become.  I just have to trust the path that is getting me there.

The whole weekend was such a spiritual experience for me.  I felt like Heavenly Father followed me around placing answers in my lap and comfort in my heart over and over.  On the way home on Sunday morning we were looking for a church house so we could attend sacrament meeting.  We saw several church steeples but had a hard time finding the church.  We finally found one that was a bit more out-of-the-way than we had planned on.  After hearing their speakers, I believe that was Heavenly Father, guiding me to exactly the right meeting that day.  My testimony grew by leaps and bounds as I once again realized how intimately Heavenly Father loves me and is involved in the details of my life. He has promised He would never leave me alone and He is keeping his promise.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Blessings

This weekend we faced another big first, Easter.  It was bittersweet, this time more sweet than bitter.  I feel like we are progressing! I wasn't sure what to expect with this holiday but it turned out much better than I had hoped.  I really tried to focus on the reason we celebrate Easter and not so much the fact that Trent was not with us physically.  Because Christ has risen, Trent will one day rise and take up his body and be whole. That is reason to celebrate!

We had a busy day on Saturday with soccer games, Easter Egg hunts, and family.  At the Easter Egg hunt they ran out of candy and ended up giving the older kids money instead.  I can't say I thought that was too horrible!
Jonny and Olivia ready for the hunt!

Mallory, Olivia, and a million other BC kids racing for the loot!

Money is way better than candy!

Later that day Megan and I went driving.  She is really getting better and it is fun for me to teach her to drive.  Plus, it is a good time for us to connect and talk.  We drove to the cemetery and cried for a little bit.  It was nice to share that moment with just her.

Saturday afternoon my brother in law was shooting my brother's pellet gun in the backyard.  I heard the shots and immediately headed out to take my turn!  The gun has a scope on it, which I have never used before.  I got all sighted in and pulled the trigger...that's when it all went downhill.  Nobody mentioned how much kick the gun would have and that I should back away from the scope.  I took a pretty good knock on the eye but wasn't going to say anything because it didn't really hurt that bad.  When I looked up Ben, my brother, said, "Oh Holly, you cut yourself." I touched my head just above my eye and didn't see much blood but by the time I got inside to the bathroom blood was completely covering my whole eye.  Mom doctored me up with a butterfly bandage and I drove myself to the pharmacy to get some glue for my cut.  I didn't really want stitches and I don't think it was quite deep enough to need them.  So, I opted for glue to repair the damage.  

When I came home I asked Josh to glue the cut shut.  I figured since he is a dentist and does this all the time for his patients, he would be the best one for the task.  Ummmm....not so much. He dropped a big old glob of glue right on my eyebrow, gluing it to my head.  At the time I didn't really care because I felt like I had my bell rung and just wanted to lay down and sleep for a little bit.  

The next morning I figured that when I showered most of the glue would come off and I could get it out of my eyebrow.  Wrong.  Most of the glue did come off the cut but my eyebrow was still firmly glued to my head.  So I covered my eyebrow with my finger and reapplied the glue to the cut.  It turns out I was not the best one for the task either.  I glued my finger to my eyebrow!  When I pulled it off, the eyebrow came too.  I sat there looking at myself in the mirror trying not to laugh too loud.  I could not believe I had just pulled off half of my eyebrow and it was still stuck to my finger!  I laughed for about five minutes before I could pull myself together enough to face everyone with 1.5 eyebrows.  I have selfishly chosen not to share those pictures. :)

Sunday was crazy.  I had to sing in the choir and also played a flute duet with my neighbor.  That cracks me up because I have not played the flute for twenty years!  I was a little rusty but we did okay.  The theme for  Sacrament meeting was the Atonement of course.  One of the speakers told of a friend who had battled cancer.  That was too much for me.  I lost it and had to leave the meeting, mostly because I was bawling like a baby and didn't have any tissues.  Throughout the day there were moments of tears but not the knock-you-down kind.

As the day went on I became more and more grateful for all that I have.  I cannot deny how much my life has been blessed.  I am in awe at how involved Heavenly Father is in the details of my life.  His love is constant and unconditional.  Our family has suffered much and have been required to make a very big sacrifice but we are being blessed continually.  We are surrounded by people who love us and are answering our prayers.  I always say that I am looking forward to the day when I get to sit down with Heavenly Father and have Him explain why everything had to happen the way it did.  But lately I am starting to think there won't be time for that conversation to happen because I will be so busy thanking Him for all the blessings, guidance, and tender love that I receive daily.