Monday, December 17, 2012

Mourn with those that mourn

Sweet Mikkie,

Some thoughts have been weighing heavily on my mind since yesterday.
Yesterday, an extremely tragic thing happened at an Elementary school where many kids and some adults were killed. I was in shock when I heard the news, the tears came involuntarily as my heart literally began to ache. I felt sick to my stomach as I was trying to digest the reality of such an inexplicable evil.  I was first thinking of how each child that was brutally taken and how they must have felt, how scared they must have been. Oh, I pray that they did not suffer. I pray that angels were there to take them before they had to experience that. Just as I did with you- I can't even think about that in too much depth without falling apart.
Then, I thought about the parents. Poor parents... getting calls that I'm sure brought them to their knees and they sobbed uncontrollably thinking, "Why!" It hurts to even write about this, I feel as if I'm reliving the pain all over again. I feel their pain so deeply. They had no idea that their sweet children were not going to return home from school that day.
I then thought about all the others who survived but endured such a traumatic and devastating thing. Seeing their friends and teachers getting killed right before their eyes.

I bawled my eyes out for a while, along with so many others including your daddy. There were others, however, that were so focused on blaming the guy who did it. That's what I'm wanting to lean my focus onto, because it is a problem.

I feel so strongly, even more since you've left that we need to mourn with those that mourn! We are not just told to do so, the Lord commands us to. It is our duty. There is a time and place for everything, and right now is definitely NOT the time (nor is it ever ok) to sit here and place judgement upon the gunman or his mother, saying if she wasn't so neglectful he wouldn't have done such a thing. How in the world would they know such a thing and who gives them the right to say such things! If instead of trying to figure out the reasons the guy did this and finding someone to place the blame on and being so negative ... we focus all that energy on reaching out to all those poor grief-stricken families who just had their world come to an abrupt halt.

A certain comment from a random person mentioned she prefers not to sit around and mope and instead focus on happy things. While there is nothing really wrong with it in and of itself, there is when the point is completely missed. The point is this is a time for mourning. Many hearts are broken and aching out there.
Here's something that I've learned as I continue to grieve- we don't want to be cheered up. It should not be anyone's objective to try and make us feel better. It is a good thing to do for sure, but at moment's like this, we mourn with them letting them know we are thinking of them and share in their pain. If Jesus were on Earth again in person, thats what He would be doing, He would be by the side of each one grieving and mourn with them. He is doing so now through spirit and is working through others to show love and kindness and compassion.

What the world needs more of is love, Christlike love.

Thank you for being by my side also, sweet girl. The world is definitely going to need as many valiant angels like you with all the evil going on.

Love,

Mama
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Strong


Mikkie,

People have been telling me how strong I am ever since you left, but I haven't been feeling so strong. This past month, after talking with certain people, I am starting to realize my own strength and that I CAN do hard things. I CAN be happy regardless of circumstances. People will undoubtedly do or say hurtful things, and they can also greatly add to your happiness, but in the end your happiness comes down to one person- you. 

I'm realizing that I can be happy, and a majority of people will take that as I'm happily healed, while very few will see the pain still behind my smile. I've talked with a few of those recently and it's just amazing to me how the spirit works through others. While I said nothing about what's on my mind and kept a happy face, they looked beyond that and saw through me. How grateful I am for those that just 'get it', who show such a great example by mourning with those that mourn. 

The Lord has blessed me with great strength, He IS my strength. Without Him, I could not do all that is set before me, it's just too overwhelming. I need Him. I love Him. He is so good to me. I'm reminded of the hymn, "Lord, I will follow thee"..... "finding strength beyond my own.." That's me to a T. 

I love you very much, my Mikkie....

Love,

Mama
Thursday, November 15, 2012

21 days closer day 13

Reflect.

"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." (Isaiah 50:10-11)
Meaning.... This person has obtained knowledge, but instead of relying on the light of Christ, has chosen to rely on his own strength.

'One of the greatest struggles Christians through all times have faced is apathy. Going through the motions won't prevent us from distancing ourselves from the Lord. It's very important we remain focused as to where our commitment and devotion lie.'

Elder M. Russell Ballard says, "As I read and ponder the scriptures and carefully consider the Lord's counsel to His followers in every dispensation of time, it appears to me that the most important thing every one of us can do is examine our own commitment and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must carefully guard against spiritual apathy and work to maintain the full measure of our loving loyalty to the Lord."

'Trust in the name of the Lord. It takes a lot of faith to realize that we can't do everything on our own and then learn to trust in and be supported by the Lord. By doing this we come to know His will for us. When we trust Him enough to accept His will and learn to lean on Him for our support, then we will be filled with His light.'

Some ways I have been able to turn to the Lord for support and direction have majorly been through this grief. I'm slowly coming to the realization that no matter what happens, things will be ok, I will be ok. God wants me to be happy, not miserable, He doesn't do things to purposely hurt us, but to help us grow, learn and help us reach our full potential.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

21 days closer Day 12

Change.

The story of the 10 Lepers tells of Jesus healing them but only one came back to thank Him. The rest were celebrating the gift, the one who came back to thank him was recognizing the Giver. That makes a man a disciple. That man was not only changed physically, but spiritually healed.

A change I would like to make in my own life would be trusting in myself more. Not doubting the promptings or ideas I get, just going forth without hesitation. Not only does that show trust in myself but in God too.

21 days closer Day 11

Focus.

An important step in coming closer to Christ is finding time to focus on the Lord daily.

Talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ and preach of Christ are 3 distinct ways we can look to Christ in our homes. When we focus on Christ, He will become the center of our lives- someone we long to talk to and be with.

I have longed to be near Him, that is why I started doing this 21 Days Closer journey. I pray I may indeed be closer to Him through this.

21 days closer Day 9

Stand.

"There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devil's power. But now is also the great day of the Lord's power.... Each day we personally make many decisions showing the cause we support. The final outcome is certain- the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us are personally, now and in the future, will stand in this battle- and how tall we will stand....We will never have a better opportunity to be valiant in a more crucial cause than in the battle we face today.... Christ... is the most successful warrior that ever walked the earth, and He wants to help us win every battle."  President Ezra Taft Benson

Christ asks us to stand "at attention", just as captains ask of soldiers, in many different ways:

Stand by faith
Stand fast in the faith
Stand and testify
Stand spotless
Stand in the place of our stewardship
Stand in holy places
Stand as witnesses
Take upon us the Lord's whole armor, that we may be able to stand
Having done all, to stand for truth, righteousness, peace and faith

He cautions us, "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion." We do not have the luxury of "standing down" in this battle. One of our greatest strengths comes from knowing our Captain. Our relationship must never become stagnant. "We must know him, remember him more often, and serve him more valiantly than we are right now." Howard W. Hunter

Full conversion means that we have complete reliance on our Savior. He will watch over us and strengthen us so that we may become fully converted.


I can definitely see battles raging all over, the biggest of which are attacks on morality and on the family unit. Filth on tv (sexual, violence, profanity, etc) is becoming more apparent and more accepted. I can see how things are slowly creeping in media and elsewhere and sometimes we don't even realize what's going on. I've been taking a hard look at what I am letting into my home, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the words we speak, any entertainment we immerse ourselves in... there are some changes to be made. Some of the little things may seem harmless, but you give an inch and it will take a mile.
Where do I see myself in the fight? Undoubtedly fighting for the Lord, fighting for what's right, standing for truth and righteousness, and as the 13th Article of Faith states, 'if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy.... we seek after these things.'

21 days closer Day 9

Follow.

'Great temporal and spiritual strength flows from following those who have the keys of the Kingdom of God in our time.' James E. Faust

King Benjamin gave five items of counsel in his conference address, that helps us apply the words of the prophet in our life.

1) Open your ears that ye may hear. Take time to listen to the Prophet.
2) Open your hearts that ye may understand. Sometimes we hear counsel that we don't understand; we should pray to have our hearts open to receive new understanding and we can receive confirmation of its truth.
3) Open your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view. Study. Reread Conference talks, especially the ones that touched or stood out to you.
4) Remember the words we have been taught. Identify and apply one principle at a time.
5) "And now, if you believe all these things, see that ye do them". Apply this direction in our lives.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "It is the opportunity, the responsibility of every man and woman in this church to obtain... a conviction of the truth of this great latter-day work and of those who stand at its head, even the Living God and the Lord, Jesus Christ."

Conference last month was phenomenal. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. I soaked in every talk given, but there were a few that really stood out to me. The first one I heard was by Elder Shayne M. Bowen, "Because I live, Ye shall live also". It was a very much too close to home and hard to listen to, but was inspiring to hear. His words, though heart wrenching, brought me much comfort, especially coming from someone who has gone through what we have and understands! I love this part he shared:

 "Tyson has remained a very integral part of our family. Through the years it has been wonderful to see the mercy and kindness of a loving Father in Heaven, who has allowed our family to feel in very tangible ways the influence of Tyson. I testify that the veil is thin. The same feelings of loyalty, love, and family unity don’t end as our loved ones pass to the other side; instead, those feelings are intensified.
Sometimes people will ask, “How long did it take you to get over it?” The truth is, you will never completely get over it until you are together once again with your departed loved ones. I will never have a fulness of joy until we are reunited in the morning of the First Resurrection.
“For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
“And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.”3
But in the meantime, as the Savior taught, we can continue with good cheer.4
I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort that comes through His plan; His Son, Jesus Christ; and His Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost."
 So very glad he stated out loud for all to hear that losing a child is NOT something we get over, and we cannot be fully happy until we are reunited. That's exactly how I feel, I am happy, I have so much to be grateful for, but I cannot be completely, fully, truly happy until all my sweet family are reunited together again. I also can testify that this bitter, unbearable, heart-wrenching pain can become sweet and we can be comforted as we turn to Heavenly Father. I continually plead for comfort and peace and without fail He is there to bless me with it. 

I'm very grateful for General Conference, I look at it as a breath of fresh air, and spiritually rejuvenating. A few years back I had been challenged to pray for answers I need before Conference and I would hear what I need to. I now do this every conference and pray the whole week prior, and it is amazing how when I hear a certain talk I just know it was meant for me, it was what I needed. That and the fact that all the speakers are in tune with the spirit and inspired, is yet another testimony that God is listening and He is aware of our needs and how very much He loves us.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

21 days closer day 8

Listen.

To know the voice of the Shepherd is a privilege and a blessing. Setting aside time to listen to the voice is our responsibility. We show our devotion when we choose to listen to His voice and come when we are called.
So many things going on in the world, so many different voices we hear. He has set aside everything to seek us, we need to set things aside to seek Him.

How well do we know His voice? How often do we come when we are called?

I'm still working on recognizing exactly how He speaks to me, I try and listen but am unsure at times if I'm hearing my own thoughts or Him. I think I feel Him speak to me when I'm reading and studying. I usually read exactly what I needed to hear or feel what I need to feel.
I used to listen to the radio and watch tv a lot more but recently find myself turning it off, whether in the car or home, and just thinking or trying to listen. It is very helpful to set aside time special for that.

21 days closer Day 7

Pray.

1. Ask. The object of prayer is to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.

2. Ask in the name of Christ, He is our mediator and He pleads our case to the Father, giving us greater chance at victory.

3. Determine "which is good". Many times we can determine what is good only after we have done all we can on our own, then take it before the Lord and ask Him to help us make a decision.

4. Ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive. Usually involves moments of silence, a time of reflection.

5. "It shall be done unto you". The answers will be forthcoming. We don't always know how or when but we can learn to watch for and accept the answers He sends. We learn to receive answers, a step at a time, until we become familiar enough with the answers to prayer to appreciate them everywhere around us.

The step that I have been focusing on more is determining which is good. I would do great if God would just tell me what to do, I can follow instructions. The hard part for me is trying to do all I can myself and working for the answer. I expect such immediate answers most the time then I get frustrated when it doesn't come. I know that He does hear our prayers and answers do come- sometimes not the way we want or when we want but they do come.
Friday, November 9, 2012

21 days closer Day 6

Hope.

'Sometimes a small portion of hope will bring change in thought. This change simply helps us to evaluate the situation from a different view than we have previously seen. We are given small portions of knowledge, line upon line, as we work through the abyss. The blind man experienced this process. The Lord simply changed his point of view, dust was turned into clay. Simple. Then was told to go to place of healing, Siloam and wash- an ordinary experience that symbolized so much- Wash, Let go, rid yourself of what's holding you back, and heal. The man's eyes were opened, he could see.'

Like she expressed in an experience, I too have sought out answers for things, begging and pleading to know why or what to do, or how to do it. More often than not now I find myself begging for comfort. During one of the Savior's greatest struggles, Heavenly Father sent unto Him an angel to strengthen Him. I have learned to trust that in my darkest hours, when I require strength just to exist, He will send an angel to help me through.

In my poem I wrote for my Mikkie, it says, "Everytime I see a rainbow cross the sky it gives me hope to move forward for another day." Not always is the rainbow literal. It can also mean good things that have come to me through Christ. One recent example, my rainbow baby Spencer. Something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of clouds and darkness. Faith is just that.. a constant reminder to have faith that things will be ok and work out in the end. Recognizing this and more blessings brings me hope as it all proves to me God's love for me. That He IS aware of what's happening and how I'm feeling and even amidst the necessary trials we have to face He blesses us and sends us hope.

21 days closer Day 5


Discover.

Christ builds upon our knowledge line upon line; He will take what knowledge we have and add to it until we receive a fulness of knowledge. He knows us, every detail of our life and He will teach us in ways we can understand.

"Prepare to receive a simple learning moment, a "pearl in the field", as you go through your day. Let your search be constant, try to discover, "in every hour", some heavenly blessing that will bring you closer to Christ."

As I tried thinking and searching about this all that day and even these past few days, a couple of things came to mind. As I look at my own children, I marvel at their Christ-like qualities; the "childlike" qualities that we should all possess: patience, innocence, accepting, forgiving. I think of the scripture to 'become as little children". They are meek and mild and shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

Another thing I thought about was after an experience last night. I went to a Fireside with a popular LDS singer who spoke and sung. It was very uplifting and edifying and I felt a desire to be a better person after. Earlier that day I was thinking of all the things I needed to get done and wasn't feeling like going, but I didn't want to cancel on my friend. So I went and was very glad I did. That's happened to me many, many times. And it seems that things we don't feel like doing usually are what we need the most. Going to the Temple is a big one, there are many times where it seems like every force of nature is trying to keep me from going but when I do get there, I feel peace and realize how much I need to be there. Other things like going to church, reading the scriptures, to tired to say prayers, too busy to check on a friend etc.... Those are what we need to be doing the most. So I'm challenging myself that when I feel those feelings creep up, I do it anyways and with a little more determination because I know it's what I need to be doing and I will be better because of it.
Sunday, November 4, 2012

21 Days closer Day 4

Search.

The story of the woman who touched the garment of Christ and was healed was told as an example for this. She stretched until she received the miracle she longed for, we too can cultivate a relationship with Christ by applying these same principles. Most likely the answer will not come easily, the woman was plagued by her illness for more than 12 years before the answer came.
Joseph Smith said, "Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire." No matter how long or hard the search, if it brings us closer to Christ, is it worth it. The intensity of the search will make the treasure priceless, one that we will not ever give up.

This really struck a chord with me. Sometimes I feel like if a situation is important enough I should get an immediate answer, but I'm realizing that is not always the case. I know that the trials in my personal life are ones that I will never give up on because I know the treasure of them will be priceless. Like it describes in the book, these trials are demanding and relentless and stretches me to my limits again and again but all at the price of becoming so much closer to my Savior, learning so many valuable lessons.. all that, I'm afraid I wouldn't have without going through these things.

I cannot count the number of times where I've felt like giving up, like I just could not go on any longer; Christ was there for me and He made up the difference, He lifted me, strengthened me and comforted me. Through these trials I have had to search for the Savior more and harder than I ever have in my entire life, searching to find strength beyond my own. The question, "What was the process you went through in that search?" is asked. My answer..... Definitely more meaningful prayers. I've had more intimate, meaningful prayers with my Father in Heaven than ever before. I have not really known the meaning of true, heartfelt prayer until these recent years. He is there when I feel there is no one else, and I do not worry about what He thinks of me, I just let all my thoughts, worries, fears, frustrations, dreams, desires etc all out and I know He is listening to me with patience, love and understanding. I'm afraid I wouldn't have learned to really search for Christ without my particular trials.

21 days closer Day 3

Keep. 

"We renew our appeal for the keeping of individual histories and accounts of sacred experiences in our lives- answered prayers, inspiration from the Lord, administrations in our behalf, a record of the special times and events of our lives. From these records you can also appropriately draw as you relay faith-promoting stories in your family circles and discussions. Stories of inspiration from our own lives and those of our forbears as well as stories from our scriptures and our history are powerful teaching tools. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grandchildren, and others throughout the generations."  Spencer W. Kimball


We are invited to keep a journal of our relationship with Christ and record attributes we admire in Him, lessons He has taught us or moments when we have felt His love. "Do you have a written copy of your testimony of Christ?" I have written my testimony before, but I will write it for this.

I do not only firmly believe in my Savior and Heavenly Father, I know without a doubt that They live. I do not need tangible proof to prove that They exist. I remember a quote from a cute movie with a great point, "If you can't accept anything on faith, then you are doomed to a life dominated by doubt." That has really struck me especially when relating to the gospel. I have felt His love, countless times through both happy times and trying times. I have had too many experiences to ever doubt Him and His love for me. He is very aware of us. I love the way I feel when I'm doing the things I should and feel His approval of my choices. Having His spirit with me and feeling the peace, comfort and happiness it brings is one of my greatest desires and I would do anything to continually keep it with me. I cannot deny what I have felt and I know what I have felt to be true.

21 Days closer Day 2

Covenant.

The invitation for this day is Covenant. The covenants we make with our Savior; we are reminded of them every Sunday when we partake of the sacrament. One of them is remembering Him always and keeping His commandments which comes with the greatest blessing He can give us, to always have His spirit be with us. Do we live worthy of this blessing? Do we bring honor to Christ's name? Do we consecrate our lives and serve Him?

"Today make it a priority to bear burdens, give comfort and stand as a witness. Try to remember Him always and let the walk of your life exemplify Him."

I find this a bit more difficult of a task because I am far from being Christlike. When the natural man kicks in like it always does, I pause and ask myself, "Would this bring honor to His name? What would Jesus do?" I used to be in the habit of saying this years ago, and found it really helped to change my perspective and see and do things as Christ would. I want to make more of an effort to do that again and have it become second nature.




Friday, November 2, 2012

21 days closer- Day 1

Hi my sweet Mikkie,

There's times in life where I experience this sort of emptiness, like I'm missing something and now is one of those times. It's when I take a step back, evaluate my life and realize I need to be closer to Christ, I need to strengthen my testimony and spiritually feed my starving soul.

Last year I had read a book called, "21 Days Closer to Christ". It was a beautiful read, but I didn't really put my effort into the journey of it, so I'm determined to do it this year and when's a more perfect time other than this season of Gratitude and coming up on celebrating Christ's birth. Since Thanksgiving is on the 22nd, I thought November 1st a perfect time to start and end on Thanksgiving Day. I'm a day late in posting Day 1, but here we go.... My 21 day journey of becoming closer to my Savior.

Day 1- Come.

This day talks about the invitation to "Come and See". Christ always asked His followers to come, then He showed them the blessings that followed the simple invitation (water turned to wine, loaves and fishes multiplied, the lame walked, blind saw, dead would live again). The invitation was always given and we could do as the disciples did and forsook their nets and followed Him or we could continue our journey alone, completely missing the blessings of wondrous sights we may have experienced.

It gives a good point when it says, "We are pulled at on every side by distractions that entangle us. Time constraints, daily chores, work demands, worldly pursuits, pride or other pressures may prevent us from developing a relationship with Christ. If we are to be truly happy, if we are to reach our full potential, we must create a place for the Savior in our lives."

Wow, went straight to my heart. Time is always slipping from us too quickly, and by filling the spare time we rarely have with things which will distract us... it becomes lonely, which is what I am experiencing. I need to feel closer to my Savior, I need to make more time for Him.
What fills my nets are really quite petty. Most of it anyways, and I'm done having them hold me back from developing a relationship with Christ.

Invitations to Come and See in this past day have been few due to my still lack of focus, but they have been sweet.

I feel invitations quite often to just hold your baby brother and look at him. As I look into his face, the miracle and tender mercy I see is how very much he looks like you, Mikayla. So much it brings tears to my eyes and I thank my Father in Heaven for this seemingly small thing but means the world to me. Had I not taken the time to pick up Spencer and hold him, I would not have gotten to have the sweet, tender moment of him cuddling up to and hugging me, reminding me of your oh so sweet "Mikkie hugs".

Not only do I feel the invitation to come to Spencer, but your sister Faith as well. I came down to the kitchen to see if she was ready to go to school and I see her hiding under the table. I ask her what she's doing and to come out from under there. She slowly comes up and clearly with a saddened countenance. When I ask her what is wrong she replies with tears streaming down her cheeks, "I just really miss Mikkie." My heart was immediately softened and I brought her in close to me and hugged her and kissed her head as we both sat there with tears in our eyes and longing in our hearts. I looked at her beautiful face and told her how very much I love her and that I know how much her sister Mikkie loves her, and probably misses her fiercely as well. I suggested that we talk about our favorite memories about you, Mikkie, and as we did we laughed, cried some more and smiled as we thought of all the precious times we had with you.

Both of these times as I took the time to Come and See my little children, I felt the love of God fill my heart, as children are so pure and innocent and the closest thing to Heaven. I'm confident that if everyone took more time to just really look at their children and hold them close more, they would feel closer to Christ.

I love you very much, sweet girl of mine. My heart is already full of gratitude as I think how incredibly blessed I am to have 3 of the most precious children I could ever ask for.

Love,

Mama
Friday, October 5, 2012

Stress

Sweet Mikkie,

It's crazy how much stress and emotional trauma a person can endure and still live to tell the tale. Stress has been bubbling up for a while and seems to have boiled over. So much stress that it's caused several physical ailments. Stress, it's a killer.
It seems like any problem that arises is amplified by my grief; I always have this painful hole in my heart from losing you so when more drama comes up, life tends to be a bit overwhelming and I keep wondering how much can a person take before they just kill over? I don't want to find out.

I seriously need to find some healthy ways to relieve stress, it's not healthy to keep feeling like this. I don't want to keep feeling like this. My goal right now is to build myself up. If I don't, I can't be there for my kids like I want to.

I tell you what, you and your siblings are my greatest treasures and give life more meaning than I could have ever imagined. You are my source of sanity. The gospel too. What comfort it gives me.
Speaking of comfort, you know the places where I feel greatest peace at? The Temple and your place of rest. Both are so sacred to me. When I need some time to think or a break, I find myself yearning to be by your side at the cemetery. Very special and beautiful moments.

I love you so much Mikkie. I sure wish I knew how life was all going to pan out, I wish everything that  mattered was certain; nothing is certain really, but this I am certain about- I am a child of God, He loves me, I love Him with all my heart, I love the Gospel and the peace it brings me even amidst trial, heartache and sorrow, I love my family, and I know that families CAN be together forever. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can persuade me differently.

Love me always, my sweet girl,

Mama
Monday, September 10, 2012

Talk about you

Dear Mikkie,

I've been thinking a lot about your Angelversary, I can't believe a month has already passed since. So much has happened since. Sad that the only way to get me to slow down is to get sick.

I mentioned how I didn't feel your spirit as much as I was hoping for, and it's been on my mind since. I think a huge reason is because I didn't feel I really got to focus on and talk about you very much at all, but instead had others talk about their little ones and bring the attention away from you. I realize that not every moment needs to be focused on talking about you, but when it's a day as hard as this and the fact that it is Your Day of Remembrance, I obviously want to talk about and remember YOU, and things you did, not other kids. Is that selfish? I don't think so, but if so I'm ok with that.

I think I spent most of the remainder of that night feeling hurt so it probably impeded my ability to feel you near. Who knows. All I know is I miss talking about you. I miss hearing your name. I was given a sweet gift, a small "brag book" with quite a few pictures of you to keep in my purse and show it to others, making it a bit easier to share memories about you with a visual. It will be fun to show specific pictures of you as I tell everyone about my angel.

Life sure is interesting, never a dull moment. Last night Spencer was eating watermelon and started choking, daddy and I raced over and I shoved my hand down his throat but it didn't help so I started really freaking out as your daddy laid him on his tummy and did the heimlich. Oh Mikkie, those same feelings and emotions all flooded back to me as I stood there feeling helpless all over again. When he finally coughed it up, I was shaking and bawling. It's so hard to even talk about it now. I can still see his face trying to gasp for air, I can't deal with that. I'm thinking, 'no more, God, please no more!' I've had enough "excitement" to last me a lifetime.. And then some.

Have I mentioned before how very fragile life is?!? I'm beyond extremely grateful that my little Spencer is ok. I can't even think about what Could've happened, not because I'm naive enough to think that it can't happen but because that is a dangerous road for me to dwell on. So I graciously count my blessings and hug and squeeze this precious baby even closer.

I love you so very much, sweet girl. I think of you always.

Love me,

Mama
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 14th

Sweet little girl,

I've been putting this off long enough. Not totally on purpose, there's been a lot going on. 

August 14th, your Angel-versary was a hard yet touching day. I was and still am in awe with all who participated in that day in memory of you. It was very touching to see pictures, receive all sorts of messages, calls, emails, etc. all to support us through this trying day. 

The latter half of the day was more of a challenge than the beginning. The memorial we held at your cemetery was sweet but I didn't feel your spirit like I would've liked.

Well, without a doubt I was grateful and humbled by everyone's support, and absolutely loved the pictures that were sent my way. They brought tears to my eyes. They probably will never fully know just how much this all meant to me.














Mikkie, I miss my little girl like crazy! I'm grateful for the angels on both sides (earthly and heavenly) that continue to strengthen and hold me up especially through the extra tough times. 
I really don't know what else to say other than.... I just love you so much. 

Love me always,

Mama
Monday, August 13, 2012

"Angelversary"

Dearest Mikayla,

I was talking to my friend, Derin last week and when I heard her say Angelversary instead of anniversary, I immediately knew what I wanted to call that day. It's hard to know what to call the day that you tragically lose someone who means the world to you; it's not a celebration (at least not for us), so Angelversary-the day you became an angel, seems so fitting.

That day, your Angelversary, is tomorrow, I can sense it coming, is that strange?

This past week has been... Tough, to say the least. And now we're coming upon the 14th; I just hope my body can emotionally handle it. My emotions are pretty much shot.
Last week was supposed to be your little brother's surgery on his awesome double thumb. We were surprised to find out it was just an evaluation that day, so the actual surgery isn't til the end of the month. But I still had to go inside of Primary Children's hospital, which I haven't been to since that dreadful day two years ago. Your gramma came with me and thank goodness! She helped to keep breathing. We were almost to the hospital when what should come zipping loudly past us but an ambulance. Flashes of memories came flooding in and so did the tears. My mom helped to not completely lose it, God bless her, really. We made it inside the hospital and after a bit I started to feel like those memories (nightmares) from that day were being clouded from my memory. That's the best I can describe it. It was a blessing, I knew that God was blessing me with strength and that you were there to help bear me up along with my mom. What a bitter yet sweet experience. Now we have to go back again in a few weeks but this time I'm going with an extra purpose in mind.

I find solace and peace by spending time at your grave... I don't like that word, wish there were a better name to call it... You place of rest? Sometimes if I haven't been for a while, I actually yearn to visit you there. When I'm there, I talk to you and feel like you are there listening and comforting. Sometimes I receive answers to things or get inspiration. Last week was one of those times; I yearned to be there and it was a sweet experience, even if I was bawling my eyes out.

I love you so very much, I just can't say it enough. I pray I can feel you wih me as I enter another week of hard things.

Love me always,

Mama
Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day of Forgiveness 2012


This time of year already, I can't believe it. How has two years gone by so quickly yet dragged on ever so painfully? Some think that after a certain amount of time, one is "done grieving." That is certainly not true and is certainly not for anyone to decide. The days of sobbing with an aching heart have become further apart but the pain is still there. I still burst out in random times. The second year has not been much "easier" than the first as there have been a whole new set of circumstances. Like I can no longer say, "Last year at this time, Mikkie was with us....." and just realizing that the more time passes the more my memory starts to fade. Though some things are crystal clear and I will never forget, there are some things that if I haven't written them down, or taken a picture or recorded a video... it would probably slip my memory. Thank goodness I recorded as much as I could in my journal and on here right after; though half of my journal during that time went missing and is now lost somewhere in the cyber world. I'm still grieving over that as well. 

There are a couple reasons I started this "Day of Forgiveness". 

First, to do something in memory and honor of Mikayla; something that would mean a great deal to her and also make the world a better place- which is just what she did... she made the world a better place, and life is no longer the same without her.

Along with that, I knew that by focusing my energy on something positive, it would make August 14th a little more bearable of a day and not dreaded as it has been.

I also did it because I needed to forgive myself. All the guilt and regret I felt was weighing me down and I was begging her to forgive me for not being a better mother, for not being there when she needed me most.... When I realized that she has already forgiven me and that I needed to forgive myself, I started working on and praying that I could forgive myself. People may say there's nothing to forgive, that it was an accident and it was her time to go, etc, etc... but to move forward in this process, I needed to forgive myself. How can I truly forgive others if I can't give myself that same mercy? The one who is the hardest and most in need of forgiveness is ourselves. 

So, as this day approaches here very soon, I invite anybody and everybody to help observe this Day of Forgiveness in memory of our sweet angel, Mikayla. To do so, participate in all or any of the following:

* Think of someone who you need to forgive or need to seek forgiveness from and make it an earnest, sincere goal to free yourself from that burden.
* Release a *white* balloon into the sky as you think of that person. 
Or just release a white balloon in memory of Mikkie :)
* Send me experiences of forgiveness, pictures of you releasing the balloons. Totally optional, but if you feel inclined, I would love to read/see your experiences on August 14th and share them (with your approval of course) on this blog to help inspire others! Email to lmjharper@gmail.com

I chose white balloons because:
White symbolizes purity, truth, perfection... While none of us will ever be perfect in this life, that is what we are striving for. I read that how the color white affects us mentally and physically is:
- aids mental clarity
- encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
- evokes purification of thoughts or actions
- enables fresh beginnings
How suiting.

I encourage you to read the following as you keep in mind the name of the person you seek to forgive.

This talk by President Uchtdorf is just amazing and inspired. I believe it was made for this day.

-----
Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin”

Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us. But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate.

The moment we judge someone else, he explained, we condemn ourselves, for none is without sin.

When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.

When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: STOP IT! We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.

“Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
 We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? Should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

Is this difficult to do? Yes, of course.
Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking—even a change of heart.

Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can dothat. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other.

In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”1

Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully with each other. Let us be kind. Let the love of God fill our hearts.
There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment. We are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. 
Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.
There is no true forgiveness without forgetting. 


Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.

Remember: in the end, it is the merciful who obtain mercy.

-------

Thanks ahead of time to all who decide to join me in honoring our Mikalya with this day I declare National Day of Forgiveness, which I believe can make the world a better place.
Sunday, July 29, 2012

Comforting angel

My sweet Mikayla,

A little while ago a new friend of mine, whom has also lost her little girl, sent me a picture that immediately touched my heart when I saw it. She sent it at a most needed time too. Now every time I cry (which is pretty frequent) I think of that picture and imagine you being right by my side, being my comforting angel. The problem is when I think of that, it makes me cry even more because it touches me so, thinking that you may be so close to me, I just can't see you! May all who have lost or will lose a loved one find at least a little bit of comfort from this picture.

This sculpture, made in Slovakia, originally represented unborn children (abortions) coming to give forgiveness to the mother. It very well depicts the sorrow of a grieving mother with her angel baby coming to her comfort also. It's just beautiful.

Now instead of the 'unwanted' memories intruding my mind, my thoughts turn to this image of you by my side. It brings me much more comfort.

Sweet girl of mine, thank you for anytime you may be at my side. You are probably here more than I'm aware.

I love you very much, Mikkie.

With all my heart,

Mama
Monday, July 23, 2012

Music

My sweet Mikkie,

Last night we had the pleasure of attending a musical fireside put on by your uncle Dale and Stephanie Hill (same one who sung your song). They are both amazingly talented and the spirit is felt strongly when I listen to them. I hope everyone's hearts were touched that were present.

Dale had asked me to bear my testimony at the end and I had no clue what to say. I got up there feeling like I was blubbering. I meant what I said though. I mentioned how music is such a powerful tool of God's. It can touch the deepest part of our souls. I quoted a saying that I happen to have on our wall in the living room; "Where words fail, music speaks." There are times where there are just no words to describe how you feel (which I feel more often than not), that's where music comes in and somehow, like magic expresses exactly what you are feeling. These past 2 years music has become even more important to me. The way it can connect with my soul and soothe my grieving heart is a comfort to me. A lot of Dale's music can do that for me. I cannot even listen to your song that he composed, without sobbing. I get frustrated that I can't even listen to my own song that I wrote for you very often, but it's because the words are very personal to me and the music brings out the rest of what I feel that I could not write. It's too perfect. So you can see why I have such a hard time bringing myself to listen to it, it's the perfect song for my little Mikkie.

I am inspired by those who use their musical talents for good, to uplift others and help build up the kingdom of God.

I have no doubt that music is a big part of your life as it is mine. The way you beamed when we would sing you lullabies, and the way you danced with such enthusiasm and personality and even the way you would dance to things without music- it didn't matter, you could pull your own beat from the dryer, washing machine or daddy's beat boxing. All of those things and more tell me that you loved music while you were here, I can imagine that you love it even more now.
As I think of what you are doing up there in Heaven, one of the things that comes into mind is the Mikkie dance :) Every time I ask Faith what she thinks you're doing she says you are playing with the balloons. :) Get ready for many more balloons here soon, as we are closely approaching your two year mark. Which I don't want to think about until I absolutely have to. Sigh.


I love you my sweet angel baby!

Love always,

Mama
Sunday, July 15, 2012

Accepting but not Ok

My sweet Mikayla,

I've had a good talk with your daddy this weekend. He's been such a good support to me, really helped by listening to me. He said a few things that stuck out to me that I really didn't think of.

God is a good God; loving, understanding, patient, accepting, etc... It wouldn't make sense for a loving God to take a loved one away and say, well good luck with that! Buck up and deal with it! He obviously knows what He's doing and what's best for us but that doesn't mean that He expects us to be ok with it. He knows how hard it is for us and He expects it to be extremely hard (that's an understatement). He knows and understands that some days I am just plain upset as to the unfairness of this all. He knows that I have only a fraction of the view and knowledge that He does and His understanding of it all greatly surpasses mine own. He also knows that I still love Him and always turn to Him in prayer, whether it's with a humble plea or a ranting of my pain. I'm not ready to tell God I'm ok with it all, that I understand; I just deal with life one day at a time and slowly trying to become a strong person that can totally and completely put my trust in Him.
It's ok because I feel like He doesn't have such high expectations that I hold for myself; He's more forgiving. He is understanding that I accept what has happened but am not ok with it.

I read an article today and part of what they said goes along with what I'm sharing:

Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this is the new reality;" is not permanent thank goodness, but nonetheless is still reality.
"We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live."

Spot on there. I'm very grateful for a loving God who understands me in my grief and is ever so patient as I imperfectly deal with this and thankfully not alone.

Im sorry you have to watch your imperfect mom deal with this all in such an imperfect way. I feel like I'm back at square two again in the grief process. Once again I'm finding the need to be patient with myself, it's not even been two years yet.

I love you so much little girl!

Love,

Mama
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Patience

My sweet girl,

This past little bit I've been thinking about and trying to practice patience. 'Trying' being the key word. :)  I used to think of myself as patient, and then I grew up, got married and had kids. Seems to get harder with age. I think it's a difficult thing to achieve especially in this "microwave" generation, as Pres. Hinckley would call it. We want what we want and we want it now!

I feel it's gotten even worse since you've been gone. I even find myself being bitter about it that I'm being "forced" to be patient to see you again. I have no choice but to wait. Wait for who knows how long before this void in my heart can once again be filled. I want you back now!

President Uchtdorf explained this perfectly:
"Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter."


No doubt he was talking straight to me. The reason it's extra hard for me now is because I'm having to put one of my greatest desires ever on hold.... the desire to have you with us, to raise you with your sweet siblings and watch you all play together. The desire to see you grow up into a beautiful young woman and discover your potential and cultivate your talents.

Patience isn't merely waiting, it's enduring. And not just enduring, but enduring well. I think right now I'm doing good enough to wait. I'm striving to endure, let alone endure it well.

"Never give up on anyone. And that includes not giving up on yourself."  That's my problem right there, not giving up on myself. We're our own worst critics right? It's been a long process over these 2 years but I feel I'm slowly making process; not only does everyone else need to be patient with me through this grief, but I need to be patient with them as well AND myself. Losing a loved one is one of the greatest tests of patience that's for sure.

You're always in my thoughts, Mikkie. Every single day. I love you!!

Love,

Mama
Monday, June 4, 2012

Alone

Dear Mikkie,

Isn't it weird how you can be surrounded by lots of people and still feel alone?

Missing you so much my little girl, it's especially hard now... This is the first time we've been on vacation with daddy's family since you left... I'm finding it hard to fight back my emotions sometimes. Everyone of course is real sweet but it's just not the same without you Mikkie. Mama needs you right now.

Love,

Mama
Sunday, May 20, 2012

Understanding

My sweet Mikayla,

I've been really struggling, wishing that people could understand without having to go through this themselves. As I was reading some talks I came across the lyrics to one of my very favorite hymns:
"Where can I Turn for Peace"



Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace 
When other sources cease to make me whole?
 
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
 
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows, Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
 
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
 
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, Reaches my reaching 
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend. 
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
 
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.
["Where Can I Turn for Peace?" Hymns, 1985, no. 129]

No song could be more perfect for how I feel right now. 

Who, who can understand? He, only One. While others may not ever understand what it's like, I have peace in knowing that there is always One whom I can turn to.

All my love,

Mama
Thursday, May 17, 2012

21 months

Dear Mikkie,

I've brought this up before, about not rushing life. Not rushing routines. Not rushing period. I wanted to bring up a specific memory that I thought of while I was sick a week or two ago.

I was sick, your brother wasn't feeling well, your daddy was still gone on his trip and your gramma came to my rescue. Again. She's a lifesaver.
She asked me what I was sick with and I was expressing frustrations that I wanna get up and do stuff, not make people have to clean up after me and such. She reminded me that I just need to slow down. I thought that maybe sometimes we get sick because we're being forced to slow down, and take it easy.
Rather than condemn myself for things I didn't do or how I did them, I want to focus on the time I'm grateful for when I didn't rush. A moment that comes immediately to my mind where you were teaching me this, was one of your last days here.
I can still see it in my mind. I was sitting on a chair at the beach with a couple other people. All the kids were playing in the sand closer down by the water, but you were right by me. I kept telling you to go play with the kids but all you wanted was to be held. You were usually running around playing with everyone, I thought maybe something was wrong. How completely clueless I was.
I cuddled you in my arms and stroked your strawberry-blonde, crazy wind-styled hair. There we sat in peaceful, relaxing silence as I held you close, feeling the beat of your heart against my chest.... Something I didn't know I'd die to feel, just a few short days later.

So when your Gramma mentioned 'don't let people rush you'. The first person that came into my mind was myself. I'm the worst at rushing myself, creating too much chaos in my life.
We never get time back, once it passes, it's gone forever. Time is strange.
I'm grateful for that Sweet reminder from you that day, some 21 months ago. Can you believe it? 21 months since you left.That's as long as you were here for on this earth.

Missing you so much baby girl.

Love,

Mama
Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's love

My dear angel Mikkie,

I came across this quote the other day and it touched me. I've wondered at times if you truly know how deeply I love you, and when I read this it made me believe that you just might.


No one else will ever know
the strength of my love for you.
After all you're the only one who knows 
what my heart sounds like from the inside.



What a bittersweet day. For so many, not just me. There shouldn't be just one day we focus on mothers, they should be commended and remembered every day.

I am so grateful to have your sister and brother with me, that's what makes this day bearable. I feel so honored to be their mother and yours as well. I definitely got the better end of the deal, to be your mother.

You have nothing to thank me for, I am the one that should thank you.. Thank you for coming into our family and for making our lives so much richer. Thank you for all the precious memories for me to often think on so tenderly. Thank you for making me a proud mama and for making me a better person, and not just from your life but your death as well. Your death has taught me so many valuable lessons that I pray I never forget, and has helped me to see how I can become a better person, especially as a mother. I try so hard not to focus on the things I coulda shoulda done, otherwise I spiral down into a scary place.

It was a low-key, relaxing day. Daddy hasn't been feeling well for a while now, his body is just messed up, so we just took it easy. We turned on your home videos, it was about time to pull those out again. This was the first time we've watched with Spencer and it was interesting to see his reaction. Yes he's only 4.5 months old, but he knows a lot more than we give him credit for! I had him facing the tv and when he saw your face up close on the screen, he just burst out into a cry and then started babbling like he was trying so hard to say something! It was amazing! Having him part of our family is a huge blessing especially at this time. It's such a great comfort to me to have him look so much like you and do so many similar things. Daddy jokes that you were born to us again but with 2 extra digits.... ;) Another amazing thing that always brings tears to my eyes is when I am sitting on the couch, Spencer stares intently up at your picture and coo's, giggles and smiles like crazy and/or just sits there fixated on your face as if you were there. I have no doubt that you were here today, Mikkie. We felt your sweet spirit here. I don't feel it often, and that's probably because I make myself overly busy. So it was nice to have a slow day and to take time to think and ponder and focus on what a blessed mother I am! I love all 3 of my little angels.

Faith is such a sweet, patient girl. She has so much patience with daddy and I as we often bawl our eyes out. While Faith does miss you, we're obviously having a much harder time. This whole grieving thing is new to us all, and we're blessed to have such a patient, loving little girl who understands. She's so quick to give us hugs and tell us she misses you too. She's also does amazingly well with Spencer. She is so very good to him, it makes my heart melt. I don't have to ask her to help with him, she's always quick to rock him in his swing, sing to him, play with him, make him laugh. I can tell she has a very soft spot for younger kids. I hear from neighbors that while other kids are a little rough to the younger kids, Faith is so kind and involves them in activities. It does my heart good to hear this.

How did I get so blessed with such amazing children?! I hope to be the mother that they deserve and that you will be proud of.

I love and miss you so very much!!

With all my heart,

Mama
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is it still hard?

Hi my sweet angel,

I forgot to tell you about a new friend I met a little bit ago. Wish it could have been through different circumstances though. She lost her little girl as well last year and I wanted to get in touch with her and hoped to share feelings and insights. We were on the phone for a good few hours and had such a sweet conversation. She is a great person and my heart really aches that they have to suffer this trial as well. It was nice to have someone to talk to who has a lot of the same thoughts and feelings as I. She asked me what is the hardest thing for me. It's hard to summarize all of it, it's all been hard, each stage has a particular thing that's hardest at that moment, but I told her that as of recently it is how your name is not really brought up anymore. Everyone likes to talk about their kids, even if they've died... especially then do I want to talk about them. So what if I talk about the same things sometimes, I only have a 21 month span to go back on. I asked her what's the hardest for her to which she replied "guilt." Flashback of those feelings came back. I knew all too well what she meant. The exact same thoughts. Oh how I felt for her, her pain is still so raw and fresh. Not that I don't feel pain anymore, I still bawl my eyes out, but time certainly eases it a bit.

Since then I've gotten in touch with a few other moms who have lost their angels also. Again I ask, what in the world is going on over there, Mikkie? Why are so many precious little souls being taken? And a lot of the cases that have happened within the past year or two have just been bizarre, including yours. How and why does this happen?! I know I'll never actually get that answer, not in this life at least, but I still ponder it quite often.

We think about you every single day, sweet girl. How could we not? Just like in my song for you..... "You're in my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams".... Every. Single. Day.

I may not cry every day or go around clearly looking distraught but that doesn't mean that it's not hard anymore and definitely does not mean I'm "better" or "back to normal"...whatever that is. :) I still take life one day at a time and will continue to until the day I die.

I think people confuse my moments of numbness as me feeling better. No, my body is just trying to save and heal itself before the next round of emotional trauma. I think these moments are crucial to my survival, at least to save my sanity.

So in answer to the question of those who have asked or will ask..... Yes, it is still hard. I don't see that ever changing.

Loving you, missing you and thinking about you everyday!

Love,

Mama
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter

Dear Mikkie,

What a beautiful Easter we had! I love this time of year and the reason we celebrate Easter- Jesus Christ, the atonement and the resurrection. All of which have a greater meaning to me now.

It is a very humbling thing to lose a child and to be on this side of the spectrum. I forget that people forget and move on with their busy lives; it's not their child, so it doesn't effect them the same or not at all.
I'm trying to remember what it was like before you died, how did I respond when someone else lost a loved one? I was very sympathetic and shared my condolences but we all go on, maybe feeling a little more gratitude to have our loved ones still.

Our savior experienced the most unexplainable pain when accomplishing The Fathers will through the atonement. He suffered in silence and felt like He was alone as He exclaimed, "Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done.".
I remember begging God for the same thing only difference is instead of submitting to His will, I bitterly cried out "Why hast thou forsaken me?" (The same thing Christ cried out as He hung on the cross) when I realized It was not His will for you to live.
That's an extremely gut-wrenching realization to deal with.

Talking and thinking about the Resurrection brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart as I think of being able to see you again!
God has been my constant comfort in addition to sending angels, earthly and heavenly, every now and then, to help hold me up, to comfort and support me until that time comes to see you again. I've been needing that probably more times than others know. This has been and will always be a hard burden to bear; Though as I accept the Lord's gift of the atonement and lean on Him, putting complete trust and faith in Him... I will endure it well to the end.

As part of our R.S. lesson, the teacher read this touching parable about the atonement, i loved it.....a bit long, but well worth the read.

I love you very much sweet girl!!

Love,

Mama

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending school in Utah. Brother Christianson taught at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson's class. Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over. One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"

Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."

Then Brother Christianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Brother Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

"Do you think you could?" Again asked Brother Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," Brother Christianson said.

Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."

Brother Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want a donut?"

Cynthia said, "Yes."

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.

Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk. Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes."

Bro. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Bro. Christianson asked, "Scott do you want a donut?" Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"

Bro. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Bro. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Jenny said, "No."

Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved. Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters located on the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your pushups.. You can do them any way that you want." And Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"

Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come in."

Bro. Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him."

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."

Bro. Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

"Yes."

"Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started among those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut? Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda..

Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?" Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Bro. Christianson, can I help him?"

Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said.

"And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died - even for those that didn't want His gift. And just like some of those in this room, many choose not to accept the gift that was provided for them.