Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy 5!

Sweet baby girl,

Happy birthday today! Such a beautiful day 5 years ago when you came into our lives; we were changed the moment we met you and will always be touched by your sweet little spirit.

Such a day full of bitter and sweet emotions. I feel fine, no tears in sight, one moment then the next tears flood out uninvited. I sure did feel your sweet spirit with us, can't really describe it to anyone and they may not even believe me, but I know what I feel and I know you were here. Who would miss out on their own birthday even if they were on the other side! I know you wouldn't have missed it for anything. I put so much love into everything I did for your celebration, I could just see you loving the purple and butterflies; I just put all I had into giving you an amazing birthday as I could. You deserve a fun birthday party just as much as the rest of our children. I regret never giving you one while you were here, but you sure did enjoy yourself at Faith's candyland one!

Daddy shared some thoughts today and was saying how some may think we are living in the past by continuing to celebrate your birthday with you gone, but we see it the opposite, we are living in the present and keeping you and your memory with us in the now. Remember the quote I put on your book.. "Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." No way in the world am I leaving you behind! You touched our lives too much, and we love you too much to not honor you and the sweet memories you left us with to just let it all be. I want the world to know that this mommy loves her angel girl more than anything and my goal is to never let your memory die.

I was reading something on grief, and it was saying something to the effect that moving on does not mean letting go. Even then I don't like to say moving on, because we're not, we are moving FORWARD, with you along as we meet each new day. Celebrating birthdays, angelversaries....are important times that include a lot of healing for me and hopefully for others who join us... I know we're not the only one who loved you so much and grieve at your loss, so it's nice to be gathered together and talk about you as we all cry, laugh and heal together. No one should be forgotten on their special day EVEN when they're not here... I actually think it's even more important when they're not here, because we need to talk about them even more to keep their memories alive. It will always always just be who I am with the goal to have you be remembered! Especially within our own little family. Faith will never forget you, Spencer and any other future kids will feel like they know you because of how much you are included in our daily lives. You are one incredibly loved girl, I hope you feel it! I hope you saw and felt how much love went into this little party for you, and the love that everyone brought.

I think about you turning 5 today, and memory is just frozen in time of being 21 months old, I keep thinking of the things you would be doing but they all include what an almost 2 year old would do.... I know one thing for sure though, you would be having the time of your life playing with your sister and brother who love you so very much. The image of you three playing together has been going through my mind a lot, and I would give anything to see that for real.... my three angels together, playing happily with each other. Faith is so good to her little brother, I can tell that you have for sure left a sweet impression on that girl, she has a soft spot for little kids and is so good playing with them. It's her honoring you, Mikkie... being super kind to little kids, as I know she's thinking of you, her sweet sister whom she loved to play with and have as her constant sidekick.

At the end of the day, after everyone left, it's almost as if your presence had left too, because the tears came pouring as I looked around at the party aftermath and your sweet little picture in your high chair..... the thoughts came once again... "it's just not fair, to be sitting here at the end of your special day crying and holding your picture, where I should be laughing and holding your little body in my arms so tight. I shouldn't have to be at the cemetery visiting my daughter on her birthday, we should be excitedly getting ready together and primping her up like a princess." Only normal thoughts of grieving mother who loves her angel so much it hurts, literally, and wants nothing more than just to hold her baby just one more time... just once.

I love you birthday girl, thanks for coming to our family 5 beautiful years ago. It was one of the brightest days in my life.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grandma June

Sweet girl,

The family reunion is just getting bigger up there isn't it? Like I've told many already.... I'm kinda jealous a bit. :)

Last week was interesting for sure. Last Sunday I went to church, then meeting after and right after that  I got a text from my sister saying that sweet Grandma June was passing away. My heart sank. I had just seen her a week ago. We jumped in the car to drive down to the hospital, unfortunately missing our opportunity to say our last goodbye's. Just like that, in a split second she slipped away from this life, leaving her husband of 60 years, 9 children, 38 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

We had just celebrated their 60th anniversary with them a couple months ago, I'm so glad they got to celebrate that. I absolutely adore my grandparents and the way they treat each other. No one knows true love like the elderly that's for sure. The respect and gentleness my Grandpa Dean showed his sweet wife, so endearing and tender..... and it didn't stop at the hospital. He didn't leave her side. I looked at my grandpa with great respect and admiration as I watched him through blurry teary eyes as he non- stop stroked my grandma's hair; it was very clear to all just how much he adores his wife. Not much more inspires and deeply touches me to the core than a moment like this.

I'm so glad that you got to meet your Grandma June. Several times. I'm so grateful that we made it a point to visit them regularly. I absolutely cherish the pictures and videos and memories I got from those visits.

It was a hard thing to walk into that hospital room, seeing her lifeless body on the bed. Unwanted flashbacks of 3 years prior came to my mind as I remember anxiously walking into your room with the naive hope that you would survive. I had gotten to see my Grandma sooner than I did you, so she was still fairly warm, but the minute I touched my hand to her face, it's like I was shocked as I yanked my hand away and went to daddy's arms to cry, trying fiercely to push those memories into the back of my mind where it's been safely locked away. I replaced them with images of her giving you a huge hug and big huge kisses with lipstick left behind. Telling you how very much your mommy loves you and misses you.
I can imagine the great rejoicing of being reunited with family who's passed on before, including you, tears of joy and gratitude. I also imagine at least a little bit of sadness still? For those whom you have left here. I wonder, when my grandma hurried to give her baby boy the biggest hug, or when she went straight into her mother's loving arms..... did it make you cry at all wishing that was you and I? Because it sure does that for me. These arms are always aching to hold you again, sweet girl.

The funeral was beautiful, and once again it was like being at your funeral all over again, I tried to compose myself as best as I could. I grieve double these days.... little did people know that I was crying over you again as well as my Grandma. It hurts, so why do I put myself through such pain? It is hard, yes... but I know I can do hard things. I've already gone through the hardest thing, so I can do anything. And I would regret if I didn't attend important moments like these, moments you can't get back, so I force myself to be strong and pray for angels to strengthen me as I try to comfort and be there for others.

I want to share a few things that I love about my Grandma:

  • Whenever we would visit her while I was younger, she would give me a brush to play with her hair. She loved to have it brushed (didn't matter if it was pulled hard) and I loved to play with hair! I also love to have people play with my hair, I must've got that from her :)
  • She was ALWAYS happy to see everyone! I always felt important.
  • Famous Lipstick kisses. She would grab our cheeks and give us all a big kiss on the cheek, leaving a lipstick mark :) 
  • Always giving us compliments- "Isn't he just a doll!" or "You're such an angel!" etc
  • Always talking about her family, and how many grandchildren to keep track of- "so many blessings to count" she would say :) 
  • She would go hiking with us while I was younger, for many years.
  • She LOVED to sing. She was almost always singing. At family get-togethers she had everyone gather around the piano to sing. (it was usually at Christmas party. it was great fun!) She was a part of the Jay Welch choir for so many years. Beautiful voice. She was even singing and smiling on her death bed.
  • She loved to hear us sing and play the piano anytime we came over. She thoroughly enjoyed hearing us perform. 
  • I don't think I ever saw her have a bad day. She was a very happy person, always so kind to others, positive and upbeat; it was so refreshing to be around her.
  • Gardening was another thing she was great at. Both her and Grandpa Dean. They had an amazing garden, and I used to go back and help when I was younger. She was always always making a fresh, healthy salad from all her garden veggies. Very healthy eater. I am pretty sure I have her to thank for my love for a big huge salad piled high with veggies.
  • Loved visitors. We could tell every time we went to visit, her face lit up showing how thrilled she was to see us.
  • I had some funny moments with her too. When I was around 11ish, my dad had taken me to their house and I had been having a tooth ache. Grandma went straight to the cupboard and fridge, and before I knew it, she was pouring heaps of cayenne pepper and carrot juice into my mouth, saying, "here, this will help!" Wow, it helped... the heat of cayenne pepper and nasty combination with carrot juice completely took my mind off my tooth pain. I immediately threw it all up. to this day, I can't stand carrot juice. I have a good laugh now every time I think of it.
Here's her obituary:

March 7, 1935 ~ Sept. 15, 2013
Margaret June Wood Jessee, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend, passed away peacefully September 15, 2013 at the IMC Hospital in Murray, Utah, surrounded by her family after suffering the gradual decline of Alzheimer's climaxed by a brief bout with pneumonia. She was born at Grand Junction, Colorado on March 7, 1935, the oldest of seven children born to Oral Edwin Wood and Winona Darlene Daley Wood. She attended schools in Englewood, Colorado, Spanish Fork, Mapleton, and Springville, Utah, and also Ft. St. James, British Columbia, Canada where her family lived for several years. Shortly after graduating from Springville High School, she was sealed to Dean C. Jessee in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they have been blessed with nine children. 
June enjoyed her callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served in several ward and stake music positions, Sunday school teacher, and as Relief Society president. But her paramount contribution to humanity is reflected in the lives of her family. She taught them by precept and example the values of love and service. All who knew her loved her. June entered and left this world with a song in her heart. She loved music and willingly shared her talent as a singer in a wide range of church and civic settings. She sang with the Jay Welch Chorale during the entire twenty years of its existence and continued to sing with other choral groups afterward including the Utah Choral Artists under Brady Allred. 
She loved people especially little children and found friends wherever she went. She enjoyed her association with her husband's colleagues in the Joseph Smith Papers project and the Mormon History Association.
She was preceded in death by her baby son, Douglas; a great-granddaughter, Mikayla; her parents; a baby sister, Lois Marlene; and a brother, Kelly.
She is survived by her husband, Dean; her children, Lyle (Tina), David (Rose), Jeanine Ballard (Ron), Ron (Barbara), Teresa Cruz (Rob), Gordon (Sharon), Merrill (Sherrie) and Jonathan (Tamra); her siblings, Blaine (Carolyn), Nina Payne (Richard), Dennis (Karma), and Brent (Joanne); 38 grandchildren; and 37 great-grandchildren-all of whom June loved dearly.
A viewing will be held at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 4760 South State, Murray, on Wed. Sept. 18th from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be Thurs., Sept. 19th at 11 a.m. with a viewing from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service at Twin Peaks Ward, 5235 South Wesley Road, Murray. Interment: Elysian Burial Gardens.
The family expresses sincere gratitude to the doctors and staff at the IMC hospital in Murray for their loving care and also to the staff at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary. 
In lieu of flowers please donate in her name to the LDS Church missionary fund. Online condolences may be shared at

SO much to love about Grandma June. I love her so dearly and am anxious to join the family reunion up there in at least 40 more years :)

Love dearly,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day of Forgiveness 2013

Dearest Mikkie,

We once again observed the Day of Forgiveness in your honor. I love this tradition and love how it helps make such a painful day a more bearable one, to focus on something positive and carrying it out with so many loved ones.

I tell you, daddy and I are astounded by the amounts of love and support from so many, near and far, in person and in spirit. I'm continually inspired to see just how much people really care. It truly means so much to us when others get involved no matter how big or small it may seem. An email, a note, a text, a phone call, pictures, acts of kindness, gifts and service, and helping the memory of our sweet angel live on.

"Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten". I was reminded of this quote and it has stuck, it's exactly how I feel. You will never get left behind OR forgotten, especially by me. Never. I think it's extremely important to get together every year with loved ones and keep your memories fresh in our minds and honor the legacy you've left behind. I don't know if many people do that or not; some people prefer to be alone, some don't talk about the deceased at all, but personally one of the most important things to me is keeping your memory alive and making a difference, turning something tragic into something inspiring and uplifting. If any angel can touch others hearts so tenderly and inspire them, you are most certainly one of them! I want to help you in any way I can with that. You have touched my heart the greatest.

Here's some inspiring pictures I've been sent of others being involved in honoring your memory! You are so very loved by so many.

And here's a glimpse into our special memorial for you that night:

Love you so very much,


3 Year Angelversary

Sweet Angel of mine,

Three years, can you believe it? Like I've told people already, it doesn't get any easier.

Towards the end of July, things get a little harder and the anxiety and emotions build up in me. It's not that I don't feel peace and comfort, I do, my emotions happen anyways and the tears flow freely without warning.

I try to keep myself busy, my mind occupied. I've noticed though on your Angelversary, I need to take it slow and not have so much to do. That's what half the day was like, but as I was rushing to get things ready and get dinner before the Memorial at your resting place, I felt anxious and irritated. Irritated with myself that I didn't start earlier so I could take my time and relax. As soon as I got to the cemetery though I allowed myself to breathe for a few minutes before people showed up. Taking time to just 'be still' is important. Clearing your mind of any negativity, rear your focus back to the present and what's important.

Daddy stayed home for the first half of the day, which was nice. Faith came up to me with a sad face and asked to watch Mikkie's movies. :) First we watched the slideshow with your song, having a most tender moment as Faith and I hugged each other and shed many tears. She loves watching your home videos, so many precious and fun memories.

It was crazy how the tears just kept coming that whole morning and the night prior. By mid afternoon I was so emotionally exhausted. I thought for sure I was out of tears, then someone would call and send a message and drop by to give us something, and the tears flooded back up.

I wasn't sure what to feel or expect about the whole day and the memorial at the cemetery. But after I had gotten there and took a few minutes to compose myself, I realized that it's not a bad thing to smile and be happy. I don't have to be crying every minute of the day and at every sweet, tender thing I hear or see.... if it brings tears to my eyes, then I let myself cry freely; if tears don't come but I feel this immense gratitude and joy, then I let myself soak it in and let myself be happy. You want us to be happy.

I felt like the whole night was just sweet and tender, full of tears, memories, laughs, smiles, heart-warming thoughts and incredible supportive family and friends (with us in person and spirit).
There was no doubt that you were there with us, sweet girl. Listening to people talk about their memories and things they've learned from you greatly touched me. Their tears brought tears of my own. It warms my heart to see people remembering you and that they have such fond memories of you. You are indeed a very special girl. It was especially sweet to see the little ones playing around and the babies gathering around your headstone, and hearing some of their memories of you... that's so precious to me to see your cousins remember you. It was great weather, and the sun was just shining a brilliant red-orange color, it was amazing. I wish my camera could've captured its full brilliance. Bright and vibrant, just like my little Mikkie :) That's what you were and are in my life, and always will be.

As I drove home after, I felt an inexplicable feeling of a sweet presence near, and a huge feeling of peace and happiness washed over me. My heart was full of gratitude. Oh Mikkie, I couldn't see you but I sure felt you, and I loved the conversation I had with you. :)

I love you always and forever,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to forgive

We're told a lot to forgive and know that it's good for our health, and it's just all around an important thing to do. As I was talking with some people recently and thinking about it more myself, I realized me, including others want to know how to forgive. It's easy to tell everyone including yourself that we need to forgive but how to get it done? Like really forgive.. having our hearts full of Christ-like love towards others, especially those who have wronged us no matter the extent. The kind of forgiveness like Chris Williams, and so many others who soften their hearts and allow the love of Christ to work through them, healing not only themselves but the person needing forgiveness.

I'm convinced that forgiveness and love create miracles, they are very powerful. Imagine if the world was full of a lot more of this instead of revenge, grudges, judging.... unconditional love is the answer.

Learning how to forgive does not come naturally to us. In fact, forgiveness runs counter to our human nature and our desire for revenge. We want justice. Sadly, we don't trust God with that. We need more than just our own strength.

Reading around, some things specifically stood out and inspired me as far as how to forgive.

Understanding our worth.
We are all wounded. We are all inadequate. On our best days, our self-esteem hovers somewhere between feeble and fragile. All it takes is disapproval—or perceived disapproval—to send us staggering. These attacks bother us because we forget who we really are.

As believers, you and I are forgiven children of God. We have been lovingly adopted into his royal family as his sons and daughters. Our true worth comes from our relationship to him, not from our appearance, our performance or our net worth. When we remember that truth, criticism bounces off us like BBs ricocheting off a rhino. The trouble is that we forget.

We seek others' approval. When they reject us instead, it hurts. By taking our eyes off God and his acceptance and putting them on the conditional acceptance of our boss, spouse, or friend, we set ourselves up to be hurt. We forget that other people are incapable of unconditional love.

Understanding others.
Sometimes our critics have ulterior motives. An old proverb from India goes, "Some men try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others." They try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. You have probably had the experience of being put down by a nasty remark. When that happens, it is easy to forget that others are broken just like us.

Jesus understood the brokenness of the human condition. No one knows the human heart like Him. He forgave tax collectors and prostitutes, and forgave his best friend Peter, for betraying him. On the cross, he even forgave the people who killed him. He knows that humans—all humans—are weak.
For us, though, it usually doesn't help to know that those who have hurt us are weak. All we know is that we were injured and we can't seem to get over it. Nevertheless, if we want to be forgiven, we need to forgive.

Understanding God's role.
When we have been hurt, our instinct is to hurt back. We want to make the other person pay for what they did. But exacting revenge steps over the line into God's territory.
Ever heard of the saying, "Let go and let God"? We need to let it go, like Chris Williams stated, and leave it to God to take care of. Trust that He knows our hurt and how to make things right.

How can we let it go when we have been unjustly hurt?
Rolling our burdens onto the Lord—that's the secret of life, and the secret of how to forgive. Trusting God. Depending on him instead of ourselves. It's a hard thing but not a complicated thing. It's the only way we can truly forgive.

I can remember the day my Mikayla died and the raw, unbearable pain I felt. I could barely do anything but just try to survive. I had no strength of my own, I had no will to move on. Then, all of that turned into anger and I was furious! Turning the blame from myself to God.
God, how could let this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this!? I don't understand, why would you take my sweet, innocent baby girl away from me so early? Don't you understand how much I love her, and how much this hurts? WHY?

I cried and cried and sobbed and just wanted this all to end. I needed someone to blame, didn't I? My little girl has been ripped away from me and I need justice, right?
Wrong. I fought these feelings for a while, it didn't happen just overnight. But overtime I felt my heart softening as I was putting my burdens, sorrows and broken heart on Christ. I turned them over to Him and He has helped heal me more than I ever could on my own.

Some other thoughts that I liked:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
 Wow, that's powerful!

"At my angriest point, I was convinced the person who hurt me did it with full intention and cruelty. I felt not a shred of compassion; just unadulterated pain and rage. Then I realized: unless someone is a sociopath, they are rarely without feeling. And if they’ve hurt another person, even if their ego prevents them from admitting it, odds are they feel remorse on some level.

No one is purely bad, and everyone carries their own pain which influences the decisions they make. This doesn’t condone their thoughtless, insensitive, or selfish decisions, but it makes them easier to understand.
After all, we’ve all been thoughtless, insensitive, and selfish at times. Usually, we have good intentions."

So how do you forgive someone when every fiber of your being resists? How do you look at them lovingly when you still have the memory of their unloving action? How do let go of the way you wish things had worked out if only they made a different choice?

  1. I remember them as a child and it’s much easier! -Joy Thompson
  2. I remind myself that I forgive not for them but for me and that it’s easier to forgive than to hang on to so much anger, hurt and betrayal. -Sarah Clark
  3. I just acknowledge that we are humans, so we are allowed to make mistakes. -Haydee Lizbeth Lopez Cruz
  4. Remind yourself that they are not separate from you; they only appear that way. Then you will realize you are one, and it is yourself you are forgiving. -Justin Hayden
  5. Do not keep thinking of the past or the bad thing that happened; when you let go of it, you get over the anger/bitterness that you felt and it clears the path of forgiveness! The best thing is time! -Ashna Singh
  6. Remember that we are all doing the best we can at the time. -Diane Paul
  7. Remind yourself of how much forgiveness would mean to you if it was your turn for a mistake! – Carol Mcbride-Safford
  8. Wayne Dwyer describes how hate is love which has been turned around. Seeing the expression of what can’t be forgiven as love makes it easier to forgive. Were also all doing the best we can, according to our own evolutionary state, including those we find hard to forgive. – Lise Heeley
  9. Because it takes less energy to love and forgive than it does to stay angry and hold a grudge. It brings peace to your life. -Linda Adams
  10. I know that I need to forgive someone, not for their benefit, but for my own peace of mind. Don’t do it for them, do it for you! -Cathryn Kent
  11. You remember why you love them. Love is about forgiveness.- Holly Chapman
  12. Forgiveness comes easier with the passing of time. I tend to find that, if I am wronged, I forgive the person before they forgive themselves, and when I am in need of forgiveness, it is I who feels the guilt for longer. -Mandy Richardson
  13. Stop thinking and just do it. Open your heart and forgive. -Lindsey Windrow
  14. Don’t force it. If I don’t feel forgiving, I can at least not act on my anger. Eventually forgiveness will come if you welcome it. -Julie Trottier
  15. Just learn to smile and let things go. -Sudharma Lama
  16. Give up on all hope of a better past. -Matt Child
  17. Every time you think of them send them love. After a while it gets easy. -Crystal Chang
  18. Meditate, meditate and meditate some more until it’s gone! -Margot Knight-Guijt
  19. The harder it is to forgive someone else, the more I am responsible. When I understand and forgive myself, forgiving others is easy. -Pamela Picard
  20. Two different approaches. One involves restoring your boundaries and sense of protection first. The other involves focusing on what your body is feeling and stop dwelling on the offense. Both involve being present. -Chris Campa
  21. Forgiveness comes easy when you know that what people say or do is about them, it’s not about you. -Kim Kings
  22. Shift the focus, feel the pain and think of the thousands of others in the world who are also feeling the same pain, then send a loving-kindness message to everyone to be relieved of this suffering. -Nick Ong
  23. When it happens I often ask myself “What strengths must I develop further from this?” Often the feeling of resentment just goes away, slowly but surely, because I wasn’t focusing on the person that wronged me, but the lesson that the event was trying to tell me. -Natassia Callista Alicia
  24. I allow myself to feel again whatever I didn’t express “in the moment” when I was with them. Forgiveness always seem to follow those (usually) difficult emotions. -Cynthia Ruprecht Hunt
  25. Write a brutally honest, emotionally raw letter telling them how much they have hurt and angered you, then tear it up and burn it. As you watch the smoke rise, think about the fact that you are not that hurt and that anger. It is fleeting, just like everything else. As the smoke carrying your hurt and disappointment disappears into the air, you can let it go. -Renate Wuersig
  26. For some wrongs, I just have to remember that they are responsible for their actions and then it is easier for me to just let it be. -Karen Garland
  27. By remembering that it will free me from the burden of the stress I feel, also, if I can’t forgive then how can I expect to ever be forgiven? -Leslie Brown
  28. Just look to the future instead of focusing on what’s past…think of creating new good memories to wipe away old bad ones. -Elizabeth Lindsay
  29. It becomes easy when you remember a time when you were forgiven, centering on how it made you feel. -Louisya Graves
  30. Understand this: whether you like it or not, over time, you will stop feeling the pain, so why hold on to something that’s going to go away anyway? -Nirav KAKU
How did I forgive when it was hard? I came to this realization: no one ever gets to the end of their life and thinks, “I wish I stayed angry longer.” They generally say one of three things: “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you,” or “I love you.

This REALLY helped me to read. I hope this helped more than just me. There is power in understanding people and there is power in forgiving and loving. These are really great thoughts from others.
Now I have to ask, how do YOU find a way to forgive? What helps you? I'd really love to hear.

Importance of Forgiveness

Dearest Mikayla,

Here we are again, coming up on August 14th. I'm grateful to have turned the awful day into something that will hopefully inspire many. I love having something to do in your honor, in your memory.. and plus it helps us to be better people. It's just a good idea all around.

My mind has been racing with all sorts of thoughts on the subject of forgiveness. I've been seeing how just within my own marriage how important.... hard, but important, it is to forgive. No matter what. Period. It does not matter what they say or do, we always have the choice to act or react. React with anger and revenge or Act with forgiveness.

A certain story keeps coming up in my mind, an experience that is awe-inspiring. One that brings great peace to my heart as I think of the hope this world has with people who can forgive like this. This story of Chris Williams, who lost half of his family in a car accident, is such an experience. The spirit felt while listening to his story is undeniable, there is no doubt that Christ is working through him.


What I was witnessing was absolutely unreal. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my head forward and closed my eyes. I was ready for death. I tried to will myself to pass out; I wanted to succumb to the process of having my spirit leave my body. From deep inside my body came a sound of excruciating anguish and pain, of body and spirit being crushed. 

It was more profound than just feeling helpless or powerless or feeling physical pain. As I struggled to make it stop, I opened my eyes and turned to look out the driver’s side window. I saw the car that had just hit us resting upside down on its roof about 50 feet from my car. Suddenly an immense peace and silence filled the inside of the vehicle, my soul, and my thoughts. 

"I had no idea who had just hit us, and my mind didn’t think to consider if they were all right or not or what circumstances might have caused them to cross the median and strike us. I simply looked at the car in silence. My thoughts went quiet, I felt at peace, and then I heard a voice that was not my own in my mind as clearly as if it had come from someone seated next to me. It wasn’t a peaceful, whispered voice, nor was it the still, small prompting of the Spirit; it was straightforward and filled with power, and the voice said, “Let it go!”
 As I lay on that gurney I could feel the love the Savior had for that teenage boy. It was a soul-transforming and refining experience.
I felt no anger, no desire for retribution or justice, no questioning as to why this had happened; just an earnest desire to say the things the Savior would say, extending the same tokens of mercy and love that He always extends. 
Immediately I knew what I had to say, and it wasn’t anything that I had prepared. It was a short and simple expression of what the Savior wanted me to say:

This truly is a bitter cup that my family has been asked to partake of, but with such a miraculous outpouring of love and prayer from the community, I know that it will all be all right one day. 

On behalf of my sweet wife, our children, and my extended family, we would invite you if you are in a position to extend a single act of kindness, a token of mercy, or an expression of forgiveness. Would you do it by Valentine’s Day and then, if you feel to do so, write that experience down and share it with my two surviving boys by sending it to the address that the radio and TV outlets will provide. I can think of no greater valentine that you could give to someone, or that my sons and I could present to my sweetheart, than that. 

May God bless every individual one of you for your goodness. Thank you.

When I made the initial request at the press conference, I had no idea of the responses that simple challenge would create. I received thousands of letters and e-mails from all over the world describing acts of kindness, mercy, and charity that were offered. Hundreds contained this line of reasoning: “If you can forgive someone for doing that to your family, certainly I can forgive,” and then they would describe to me what they were newly committed to letting go of.
“If there is anything you have seen me do, or heard me say, or have read about me regarding forgiveness, you should know that it was merely the Savior working through me.”
"If my prayers weren’t being answered in the way I expected, they would be answered in a much better way, and it would be worth the wait."

What burden could you lay at the Lord’s feet, today, that He might be allowed to work miracles in your life?
Thursday, August 8, 2013


Hello my sweet girl,

I've been writing to you, just haven't 'sent' them yet. When I sit on my letters too long and revise them too much, I get distracted in the meantime and have a harder time getting back into it.

I've also been busy redesigning your blog. Do you like it? I have something in mind a little more personalized I wanna do in the near future but for now I thought it was cute.

Why am I spending so much time on it? August started last week, and I didn't even have to look at a calendar to know that, my spirit and emotions told me. I keep myself involved in something or a few things... I usually become more busy this month to help keep my mind occupied. I chose to update your blog and organize things. It's a lot more time consuming than it sounds.

I finally planned your Angelversary, are you proud of me!? A week before, that's not too bad. right.... I wish it wasn't so hard for me to plan, I always want to do something special for you. My ideas and thoughts always feel like they fall short of the greatness this day deserves.

I've been having so many mixed emotions. In some ways I'm coping better, but also feel like I'm still falling apart at times. As I was redoing this blog, I was going through older posts and some of the comments... it brought me right back to that time and tears involuntarily streamed down my face. So many sweet and comforting thoughts/comments shared. People are good, you know that? I've been blessed to see that more these past few years. More opportunities for people's goodness and kindness to really shine.

I'll be back soon, my angel. I promise.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Missing you

Dearest Mikkie,

I just want to tell you my heart is so heavy and aching right now and The hole in my heart is in pain again. I'm missing you terribly. Something just hit me as I was getting ready for bed and I couldn't contain the tears. 
Maybe it's the fact that Spencer especially reminded me so much of you today. 
Maybe it's because Faiths friend is the same age as you and is without a friend. 
Maybe it's because tomorrow is the 14th. 
Maybe it's because I'm scared maybe I'm starting to forget. 

Maybe all of it combined has caused this bubble of emotion to rise up in me and the only sensible way to deal with it is to go with it and let myself truly feel it. 
My spirit obviously needs to feel it, and I'm ok with it. I'm not afraid of the pain. 

I love you so much. That phrase doesn't even seem adequate for the amount of love I have for you nor the amount for how much and how deeply I miss my little girl. 

I can't see the screen anymore... I love you, be with me tonight sweet angel. 

Love always, 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Hello again :)

That 5k we went to on Saturday was a sweet experience. At the beginning, the lady who started this (also a mommy of an angel baby) released some white doves. It was a beautiful sight, and chills ran up my arms.
I was so touched when I saw the book that the race is based on, "Running with the Angels" with a mom running and 2 little angel kids behind her. So sweet. That's exactly what I felt at that race- it was an unmistakable feeling that there angels there with us. As we were all walking up to the starting line and the race began that's when I felt that feeling that overwhelmed me to tears involuntarily.

Later in the race when your little brother was freezing from the quickly pouring rain that drenched both him and his blanket, a lady came up behind me and gave me a poncho to put over the stroller. Yes, I should've come more prepared and looked ahead at the weather, but I'm completely grateful to this lady, an earthly angel to me. What a life saver. I didn't see her after to give her poncho back but hopefully she felt my genuine heartfelt gratitude.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition every year!



Don't give up

Sweet Mikayla,

Much has been weighing on my mind lately, but I'll talk about one at a time. Right now what I want to focus on, and that keeps coming to my mind is about not giving up.

A dear friend lost someone to suicide 2 weeks ago and Daddy and I were crushed for them, we felt their pain as if it were our own.. it was a tough day. We don't even know them personally but could feel the heartache and longing and sorrow of the family. 

Losing a child is undoubtedly amongst the hardest things to face, I'm not undermining my own pain and grief at all, but losing a child to suicide is just....just, no words for it. Lots of us lose our children in a horrific, traumatic accident-- accident, where we know that there's most likely nothing we could have done to stop it but still we drive ourselves mad counting the ways where maybe we 'could have'. Then there's those like these people, whose child takes their own life- no accident, this was on purpose. How do you deal with that?

I'm not sure what was going through this sweet girl's mind, and I'm definitely not to judge at all about any of it; but I wish she could've seen hope, I wish she focused on those that matter, who love her- most of all God, and how He doesn't want any of us to give up, but to lean on Him, reach up and He will reach down, ask Him to carry you because you can't possibly find the will to move on right now and He will. He will because He loves you so very much. No one loves us more than He and I've felt it countless times.

As I was listening to Josh Groban's song, "Don't Give Up", I thought about how this completely applies to God speaking to us... and totally gave me the chills and brought tears to my eyes as I watched the slideshow I found:

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I will lift it for you

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside
I will be there to find you

Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
- Thomas Jefferson

I wish to everyone out there that they could know, that when life seems just too unbearable and you would do anything to end the pain, to Hang on! Don't give up! Know that you DO matter, to many people but most importantly to God. You are his most precious treasure. Turn to Him, Lean on Him, TRUST in Him, have hope!
He has been there to lift the weight off my heavy heart, He has found me when I've been lost, He's been the shining light to guide me out of the darkness, He has been there to hear my cries, to listen to my pleas and has been there to envelop me in His loving arms, blessing me with comforting peace. He IS there, He IS real, He DOES love you!

I love you so much sweet girl. I know that when I cry and beg to God for help that He sends you to help. Thanks for helping me to not give up.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy People

Dearest Mikkie,

A friend had posted this article about happiness, called "22 things happy people do differently" and I thought I'd share it because I liked it so much. I linked the title to the original post.

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own. {I would add to this... seek GOD'S approval, it's the only opinion that matters- that is what will make you truly happy.}
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
16. Meditate.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves. {Of course I would add to this.... Prayer. Prayer and meditation are both necessary not just one or the other.}
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
18. Exercise.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

I love and agree with the points made in this. I can definitely attest to taking control of yourself and realizing that you can't change others and can only change yourself brings happiness and peace.